Before teaching Focusing I taught courses in dance, dance studies, and anthropology at the University of California, San Diego, Los Angeles, and Riverside (UCSD, UCLA, UCR) as well as at Occidental College.
I am the author of Choreographies of African Identities (University of Illinois Press, 2006) a book about dance and politics in urban Senegal and in U.S. theaters.
In my anthropological work I have learned much from the collective wisdom of peoples in Senegal who over the centuries have used the power of dance to heal from slavery, colonization and continued cultural and political marginalization. The Mapuche peoples of Southern Argentina and Chile have taught me how self-determination is an essential dynamic for the ability of communities to organize in the face of continued political and ecological oppression, and begin healing the traumas of historical and ecological violence.
In my search for a decolonizing model of healing and growth I have studied Aboriginal/Indigenous Focusing Oriented Therapy with Shirley Turcotte, and became a certified Focusing Coordinator under her mentorship. I bring these concerns and understandings in my work with you as I am committed to respect and honor culturally specific understandings of both illness and wellness, as well as our collective and personal differences in being in the world, and the ways in which we as individuals may draw strength and wisdom from historical memories and collective visions of the future.
Having lived in Italy, the United States, Senegal, and Argentina, I am aware of the diversity of expectations, aspirations, and personal values that you may bring to our work together.
I consider teaching Focusing an experience of mutual learning, and I am always honored at the opportunity to accompany you on this journey toward self-discovery. I am also delighted when age differences allow for the gift of inter-generational communication.
Francesca Castaldi, Ph.D.
About Me And My Approach To Teaching:
I am a certified Focusing Professional with the International Focusing Institute and a certified Focusing Coordinator (active from 2010 to 2019). I am also a Somatic Experiencing Practitioner (certified in 2012 through the Somatic Experiencing Trauma Institute in Colorado).
I have found Focusing to be a practice of hope, liberation, improvisation, and friendship, supporting the organic unfolding of our being, while responding to the larger dance of life.
I bring to Focusing my dedication to critical studies of dance (Ph.D. U.C. Riverside) and the anthropology of the body (M.A. University of Chicago, BA U.C. Berkeley) and more than 25 years commitment to movement somatics and improvisation (yoga, Contact Improvisation, Halprin’s Life-Art Process, low flying trapezes and bungees, West African dance forms, Continuum).