InterPlay is a practice based on the premise that play helps people unlock parts of themselves they have psychologically buried over time. InterPlay practitioners, referred to as Certified InterPlay Leaders (CL), call this process “unlocking body wisdom.” Play activities are designed to help participants tap into experiences that have been locked away for a long time. InterPlay also helps people learn to use this “body wisdom” in ways that increase self-awareness and encourage better life choices.
InterPlay practitioners believe that “body wisdom” gets systematically suppressed over the years as people learn to behave and follow the rules. As we grow, we are taught to listen, sit still, and basically fit in with societal norms. Although these are important aspects of growing older, InterPlay founders believe that other resources and skills get suppressed in the process.
In our society, many people feel disconnected from themselves and their world. The basis for InterPlay is the idea that when everything is connected and whole, people live more vibrant lives. If people are able to reach out to various areas of their experience and unite them, they may achieve a higher degree of fulfillment and satisfaction. InterPlay utilizes playful activities like storytelling, song, and movement to rejuvenate a person's entire physical being: mind, body, heart, and spirit.
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Interplay is centered on fun. It supports participants as they strive to recognize all of their positive influences and strengths, both internally and externally. Whether people sees themselves as creative is irrelevant. Creativity can be taught and is offered in a whimsical, introspective, collaborative, and supportive environment. The primary goals of InterPlay are integration of body, mind, heart, and spirit, affirmation of the good in people, and most of all, fun.
Cynthia Winton-Henry and Phil Porter are the co-founders of InterPlay. In 1989, Winton-Henry and Porter began fine-tuning the philosophy and honing the techniques of InterPlay. Based out of Oakland, California, Winton-Henry and Porter have been growing their practice and spreading the philosophy of InterPlay all over the world. In 2004, just under 200 hundred “InterPlayers” gathered in Nashville, Tennessee for the first International InterPlay Conference. Since then, InterPlay training programs have continued to grow and InterPlay is now practiced around the globe, including in the United States, Australia, Thailand, India, England, and Germany.
Interplay is conducted through a series of incremental “forms” that take the participant on a journey through play. It can take place in classes, workshops, or performances. Things like storytelling, movement, song, silence, amusement, and ease are just a few of the types of play used in InterPlay.
Classes begin with a warm-up and then participants are led into a series of InterPlay “forms.” They are simple and easy-to-learn activities. Group interaction is often a key element, though leaders emphasize that people are never put on the spot. A few examples of InterPlay activities and techniques include:
- A Certified InterPlay Leader (CL) might ask her group to shake every body part one at a time and then shake all over as a warm up exercise.
- A CL might suggest that a participant tell the group a story about something remarkable that happened to him or her, but to tell the story only using movement.
- A CL might ask his group to try out a set of movements one at a time: swinging, shaping, hanging, thrusting, and being still. The CL would then ask his or her group members to each devise a unique dance using all of the movements they just tried out.
Although little research has been done on the efficacy of InterPlay, many who have tried it believe it to be beneficial. According to the InterPlay.org website, InterPlay can be applied to:
- Decrease stress
- Lower anxiety
- Tackle pessimism and despair
- Build and improve relationships
- Promote team building
- Improve self-awareness, self-confidence, and self-reliance
- InterPlay Co-founders. (n.d.). In InterPlay. Retrieved from http://www.interplay.org/index.cfm/go/about:cynthia-winton-henry-and-phil-porter
- InterPlay and Performance. (n.d.). In InterPlay. Retrieved from http://www.interplay.org/index.cfm/go/performance:home/
- New to InterPlay?. (n.d.). In InterPlay. Retrieved from http://www.interplay.org/index.cfm/go/newto:home
- Porter, P. (2010, February 9). Signs that you may need some InterPlay. In InterPlay Unlocking Body Wisdom. Retrieved from https://interplaybodywisdom.wordpress.com/category/interplay-basics/
- Porter, P. (n.d.). Unlocking Body Wisdom. In InterPlay Unlocking Body Wisdom. Retrieved from https://interplaybodywisdom.wordpress.com/2009/12/10/unlocking-body-wisdom/
- Schattauer, J. (2007). Got InterPlay? Turtle River Press. Retrieved from http://www.interplay.org/pdfs/Got-InterPlay.pdf