“I think that all mind patternings are expressed in movement, through the body. And that all physically moving patterns have a mind. That’s what I work with.”
Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen (OT, RSMT, RSME) is a movement artist, researcher, educator and therapist and the developer of the Body-Mind Centering® (BMC®) approach to movement and consciousness. An innovator and leader, her work has influenced the fields of bodywork, movement, dance, yoga, body psychotherapy, childhood education and many other body-mind disciplines. In 1973, she founded The School for Body-Mind Centering®.
She is the author of the books, Sensing, Feeling and Action, Basic Neurocellular Patterns: Exploring Developmental Movement, and The Mechanics of Vocal Expression, and numerous videos, including Embodying Cellular Consciousness, Embodied Touch as Transformative Practice, Exploring the Embodiment of Cellular Consciousness, Free the Vital Energy and Illuminating Presence of Your Spine, Embodiment and Expression for Musicians and Singers, Practicing the Basic Neurocellular Patterns, Four Special Children, and a series on Embodied Anatomy, and is featured in the following videos: The Origins of Movement: The Embodiment of Early Embryological Development, Dance and Body-Mind Centering® and Only the Child Knows.
She is currently teaching online classes and working on a number of other books and video.
Bonnie began her research in movement therapy and anatomy in 1958 and has an extensive background in movement, including various dance styles, dance therapy, bodywork, martial arts, yoga and voice. She has a B.S. in Occupational Therapy from The Ohio State University, where she also studied dance.
Bonnie was certified as a Neurodevelopmental Therapist by Dr. and Mrs. Bobath in England, as a Laban Movement Analyst by the Laban/Bartenieff Institute of Movement Studies and a Kestenberg Movement Profiler by Dr. Judith Kestenberg in New York. Her other teachers have included Erick Hawkins in dance; Marian Chace in dance therapy; Andre Bernard and Barbara Clark in Neuromuscular Re-education; Yogi Ramira in yoga, Warren Lamb in Action Profiling, Haruchi Noguchi in Japan, founder of Katsugen Undo, a method of training the involuntary nervous system; Drs. John Upledger and Richard McDonald in Craniosacral Therapy; Dr. Fritz Smith in Zero Balancing; and Frank Lowen in Visceral Manipulation.
Bonnie taught dance at Hunter College and at the Erick Hawkins School of Dance in New York, and kinesiology in the Graduate Dance Therapy program at Antioch College in Keene, New Hampshire. She has been a guest teacher at Naropa, Esalen and Omega Institutes, at the American Dance Festival, the American College Dance Festival, and in dance departments at numerous colleges throughout the United States. She has also been a guest teacher in somatic psychology at California Institute of Integral Studies, at JFK University and at the Body Psychotherapy Conference. She has worked with movement and bodywork at the University of Amsterdam’s Psychiatric Research Clinic in Holland and helped to establish a school for occupational and physical therapists in Tokyo, Japan. Bonnie is one of the founders of the International Somatic Movement Education and Therapy Association (ISMETA).
In addition to the program and workshops at her school, Bonnie has taught workshops across the U.S., Canada, Europe, Asia, South America, Australia, and New Zealand. For the past forty years, she has had a private practice in occupational therapy and the Body-Mind Centering® approach to somatic education and therapy. Although she works with people of all ages, her focus has been on infants and young children, especially infants with neurological challenges and children/teenagers developing scoliosis. She is currently turning more of her attention to writing and to producing videos of her work.
- Lifetime Achievement Award from the Laban/Bartenieff Institute of Movement Studies, 2018
- Pioneer Award from the United States Association for Body Psychotherapy (USABP), 2023
Photo of Bonnie (top) © Kim Sargent-Wishart. Used with permission.