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 uses playful activities like storytelling, song, and movement to rejuvenate a person's entire 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 see themselves as creative is irrelevant. Creativity can be taught. In Interplay, creativity is offered in a whimsical, introspective, collaborative, and supportive environment. The primary goals of InterPlay are:
- The integration of body, mind, heart, and spirit
- The affirmation of the good in people
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. InterPlay is now practiced in countries around the globe, including 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. Storytelling, movement, and song are just a few of the techniques used in InterPlay.
Classes begin with a warm-up. Then participants are led into a series of InterPlay forms, which 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 the 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 they experienced, but to tell the story only using movement.
- A CL might ask the group to try out a set of movements one at a time: swinging, shaping, hanging, thrusting, and being still. The CL would then ask the group members to each devise a unique dance using all the movements they just tried.
Although little research has been done on the efficacy of InterPlay, many who have tried InterPlay 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 can be used to help treat a variety of mental health issues. It can also be a healthy part of a person’s self-care routine.
- 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