Alexandra Fidyk

Our Collective Need for Contemplative, Somatic, Relational & Creation-Centred Practices

As a transdisciplinary scholar engaging in funded participatory research with “girls,” self identified as LGBTQ2, Asian-Canadian, Indigenous, Métis, as well as settler, and vulnerable youth since 2014, frightening realities were uncovered regarding the lack of attention paid to the interplay of emotions, bodily perceptions, and felt experience. This dangerous reality has been amplified during the pandemic through the mandatory use of masks, measured distances, and school closures. What the youth revealed during our sharing circles, their creation-processes, body maps, and individual interviews, offers much for application in both pedagogical praxis and psychotherapeutic work.

Inspired by Marion Woodman’s work with her somatically attuned and imaginal body mapping, I have advanced her individual practice as an affective, relational, ecological, and decolonizing method used in groups.Jungian and post-Jungian feminist scholarship that has privileged the body— its sensations and affect—has been led by M. Woodman, J. Chodorow, J. Harris, and developed more recently by T. Stromsted, C. Monte, C. VanScoy, and M. Dunlea (acknowledging my bias of English language text).Coupled with trauma theory, psychodynamic—U. Wirtz, D. Kalshed, and E. Riedel, and others—as well as neurobiological, evolutionary (including attachment theory), and inherited family trauma (intergenerational andtransgenerational), my research takes a symbolic approach and integrates theory and praxis from expressive arts therapy, somatic experiencing, sandplay therapy, and integrated body psychotherapy.This ongoing research and its findings urged me to intensify my psychological training through numerous modalities. By extension, my therapeutic practice, teaching, and service to the public, teaching community and university has transformed through the centrality of emotions, sensations, and the body. Drawing from what I learned from the youth will be the premise of my presentation followed by explorations and implications of the application of these methods—informed and troubled by analytical psychology. The presentation will also highlight images of the artworks, including body maps, stitching, mobiles, poetry, and the like.


Alexandra Fidyk, philosopher, poet, professor, who serves the Faculty of Education, University of Alberta, engages with youth and teachers on issues of wellbeing, mental health, body-centred and creative processes, and trauma-sensitive pedagogy. Her transdisciplinary research unfolds through hermeneutics, poetic inquiry, and life writing in an aesthetic range of genres exploring questions central to living well, including silence, love, and suffering. She is a Registered Counselling Therapist; Jungian somatic psychotherapist; Integrated Body Psychotherapist; Somatic Experiencing Practitioner (provisional); Family Systems & Constellations/Inherited Family Trauma Facilitator; and working toward completing Expressive Arts Therapy and Sandplay Therapy trainings.


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