There is a very clear distinction between therapist and teacher when it comes to the world of Alexander technique
I feel compelled to write because I had such a strong reaction to seeing myself described in error on the top of my google entries as an Alexander Technique ‘therapist’ aarrgghh!
For someone who is aspiring to a sense of spacious freedom in the area of the head, neck and back I was startled to find myself in the throes of such a pickle.
Knotty neck it certainly was.
Why such a todo about this aberration? and what really, is the difference in the end?
After all, I am skilled with my hands, I know lots about the body and how it works, and surely my pupils (not my patients) notice improvements in their well being…. but no, I do not see myself as a therapist.
As I see it, my work has the aim of showing people ‘how’
How to stop pulling the head back
How to go about activities in a way that will produce efficient results without putting strain on the body
How to apply thinking in action
How to prevent injury or reduce the likelihood of strain.
How to restore natural grace and poise
How to conserve energy
How to apply the principles of the Alexander Technique during every day life and on into the future
I teach I do not treat
In a way, my aim is to impart enough understanding to make myself redundant and to encourage my pupils to think and act independently so that they can draw on the technique for as long as it inspires them and is useful.
If I now consider what it is to be a therapist, I guess I would have to say something like the client/patient is more a recipient of a treatment than a lesson. That in some way as a therapist I would take more responsibility for her progress.
That whilst a patient participates in her treatment, and of course, pursues the suggestions made to her, she may not have such an active role in bringing about lasting change ( and now I can think of lots of therapies where it is essential to comply to get the most benefit…. dietary, exercise, etc)
There is, then, an element of healing or ‘cure’ for both therapy and re-eduction, but I think it is a matter of proportion.
The Alexander Technique is strongly weighted towards an educative process through lessons in awareness and how to apply a particular kind of thinking in activity….. with an element of the sorts of therapeutic benefit that could be called ‘getting better’
The improvement in, for example a specific condition such as back pain or headache comes about indirectly however, as a result of an overall improvement in the way in which the body functions, which in turn is as a result of learning how to release unhelpful habits and manage everyday activities in a more beneficial way.
I do not go to the problem and work specifically to alleviate it, I work generally throughout the mind/body mechanism to bring about better overall function. All sorts of ( unexpected ) benefits may arise as a consequence!
Therapeutic work treats people with conditions that they are needing help with and as a part of that there will also be an element of information and education, but I think this is secondary to treatment, not vice versa. The primary goal is to alleviate suffering or to ‘mend’
So having rambled my way through, I would be very delighted if there are comments/discussion!
In the end, perhaps the neutral word ‘practitioner’ would save a lot of hassle?
Ollie aged 3, balanced and soft despite his large object of desire!
Notice how he is absolutely not pulling his head back……