Minsk Peer Group Rules by Alexey Konstantinov

The Blog editors asked Alexey if we could post on our Blog this policy from his web site in Belarus ( to stimulate discussion of the different ways peer groups practice and set up safety.

Here is his response: "Hello Elizabeth, I attach a file (copied below) with our peer group policy.
It is also posted at our web site:
I'm looking forward to an opportunity of discussion of peer groups policies.
Best regards, Alexey.

Minsk Peer Group Policy

Common Goal
Our common goal is to practice regularly and successfully the amazing and fine discipline of Authentic Movement in its classical form. We regard it successful when the practice becomes supportive, challenging and meaningful, letting us achieve our personal goals in this practice.

Sharing the value of a regular practice we group together to create and sustain necessary conditions and to facilitate each other’s personal practice within the discipline.

After seven months of weekly practice during the first season we came to an understanding of the necessary conditions for our AM peer group. We state them in the following rules. The rules cover safety, processes and organizational issues.

Organizational Issues
1. We have the common goal, vision and group policy. The facilitators have an executive privilege to ask you (a participant) to leave the group in the following cases: your participation does not help attaining the common goal; you don’t share a value of the classical form of AM; you permit
yourself to break these rules
2. The facilitators have an executive privilege to make a decision in case group discussion is deadly dragging on
3. We practice in a closed group.
4. A participant should be able to attend a major portion of sessions.
5. We meet only on a monthly prepaid basis.
6. Being late is not acceptable.
7. We use a mailing-list to discuss various issues. It is private and only for current participants.

Safety issues
1. Participants are responsible for their behavior with respect to themselves and others as well as for observing these rules. Those who are in witness position take additional responsibility for observing group and individual safety.
2. If a participant has any acute complicated experience (disease, trauma, mental stress) or abnormal sensations in the body it is important to let others (or just to the witness) know before session. Such particular personal information will provide more adequate and secure work of the witnesses.
3. We keep all the content of the sessions within the group. All personal and processes information is confidential and cannot be shared outside the group and session time.
4. It is prohibited to express aggression directly to another mover. If you are going to commit abrupt and vigorous movement, make sure you will not harm anybody.
5. It’s prohibited to express sexuality directly to another mover.
6. Experiencing severe affect or distress as a mover it may be proper to open eyes or become a witness.
7. It is possible to deviate from earlier agreed format of a process in case it is a matter of safety orand psychological ecology.

Processes issues
1. The ritual of beginning and completion. We open and close each process standing in a circle with our arms stretched aside.
2. A witness in order to become a mover enters the circle’s space and establishes an eye contact with one or several witnesses (‘I see you’). When a process is over a mover opens hisher eyes and again makes an eye contact.
3. We use a bell ring to indicate a completion of a session. It can be done by any witness, usually the nearest one, after previously agreed time is over or agreed event has happened.
4. When a witness is going to ring a bell, heshe should rise hisher hand up to signal to other witnesses about it. And heshe is waiting other witnesses to raise their hands in respond to indicate their movers are not experiencing a culmination and that ring will not cause explicitly unfinished process.
5. Witnesses are responsible to maintain a safe circle space. They change their positions along the perimeter behind others if possible.
6. A witness should have enough energy to sustain an act of witnessing. It is recommended to become a mover (even motionless) when a witness feels exhausted.
7. When a witness observes a scattering attention heshe may raise hisher hands up for other witnesses to give support by raising their hands in respond. It’s OK to do it as often as necessary.

The Second International Laboratory of Authentic Movement, Belarus

April 29 – May 3 2009 

Alexey Konstantinov

The second gathering took place in Minsk region of Belarus in April 29 – May 3 2009. There were 34 participants from five countries (Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Lithuania and Netherlands). The laboratory was facilitated by Alexander Girshon and Alexey Kapterev.

A special visiting teacher and guest – Linda Hartley,  who was supposed to introduce  aspects of Body-Mind Centering work with the senses, organ system and developmental patterns, and integrate them with Authentic Movement,( focusing on witnessing movement, sensation, emotion and image) was not able to come due to unforeseen circumstances.  Vitaliy Kononov – a co-facilitator of the first gathering was also not able to come.

Nevertheless participants discussed, planned and shared experience of more than 20 AM processes. There was a variety of experimental formats, classical and related forms: AM and New Code NLP, AM and Systemic Constellations, AM and Meditation. A unique Long-distance format with a group in USA.  3-hour AM marathons. In total we moved through about 17 different formats.    

Overall conclusion: During the first laboratory in 2008 we focused mostly on processes’ content and experimented with contexts. At this laboratory our focus was upon the form itself, a spectrum of feedback formats, rituals, boundaries and rules.

 A significant influence on this focus was exerted by participation of Alexander Girshon, Denis Turpitka and Yulia Morozova from the Authentic Movement Gathering in Vienna in 2008. At that Gathering there was a high level of ritualization, “the taste” of the classical approach, and a great value placed on integration processes – all was practiced and discussed.

Among valuable findings we note a “contract witnessing” which enables a mover to choose a particular form of feedback before a process. A long-distance format  taught us about creating and maintaining the conditions to experience a collective body with its deep level of participation and pervasive ritual.  

A combination of AM and New Code of NLP again displayed its high effectiveness as a “body-storming” technique. Our attempt to combine AM and Systemic Constellations resulted in a number of serious questions necessary to solve in order to continue.  AM with a meditative preface is a very interesting format which creates a unique state and space. We repeated a 3-hour night marathon format to clarify the necessary terms, advantages and drawbacks of the format. AM and performance is as usual, a highly workable and inexhaustible theme.

Important issues of the laboratory were  – integration of AM into ordinary life, AM community


Preliminarily, we are planning the third laboratory in early May 2010 in Belarus.  A week-long event will consist of three days retreat with classical forms and four days of laboratory work.

Organizers:  Alexey Konstantinov and Yulya Korzunova  

© 2009 Alexey Konstantinov