As many of you know, I have been pushing the idea of having more people write books on Moshe Feldenkrais and The Feldenkrais Method. Books are such an important factor for building credibility for individual practitioners and for the method itself. I am happy – very happy – to report that a new Feldenkrais book has arrived.
Written by one of Moshe’s original students, it is called “Ways out of Cerebral Palsy during Infancy and Early Childhood with the Feldenkrais Method.” Very well done and covering not only cerebral palsy but also the political and sociological aspects of the work amongst other topics. I will post a detailed review in a future blog post.
Enjoy. Here is the link again. You can purchase it and be reading it on your computer in less than a minute: Ways out of Cerebral Palsy with the Feldenkrais Method.
I have read several blog posts recenty in which Feldenkrais was mentioned. Specifically in regard to Trauma and how therapists have learned to treat it over the years. Here is one:
We were aware of the body and knew it held some power. But few practitioners used it in treatment (except the relatively few who worked with … Rolfing, Feldenkrais … and to some extent Gestalt therapy.
And here is a second:
And for my patients, I always recommend that they see somebody who helps them to really feel their body, experience their body, open up to their bodies. And I refer people always to craniosacral work or Feldenkrais. I think those are all very important components about becoming a healthy person.
Kind of cool, huh? The first quote above is from Dr. Ruth Buczynski regarding her yearly series Rethinking Trauma: The Third Wave of Trauma Treatment. And the second is from an interview on OneBeing, from Bessel Van Der Kolk, a guest on the trauma series above and a highly-regarded and effective trauma therapis.
It is nice when people give a nod to the method, yes?
Trauma, as many of you know is not just a professional topic for me, it is a personal one as well. As I have detailed elsewhere – drug use, alcohol abuse and sticking needles in various parts of my body were parts of my life from early childhood to my late twenties. And that is not mentioning emotional abuse and neglect at home. The effects of which lasted for decades.
Feldenkrais and Trauma
As much as I would like to tell you that Feldenkrais ideas and sessions were the “cure all” for me, the story is not quite that simple. Feldenkrais has been a major – perhaps the major – factor that got me out of my head and into my body and interacting with the world. But I was never able to resolve some of the core traumas until digging experientially into myself with processes I learned from Stephen Levine and Pat Ogden. Interestingly enough, the more I play with and use the ideas, the more they seem like Feldenkrais processes. That is, most of the so-called “Somatic Psychotherapies” use experiential and process-based methods have much more in common with Feldenkrais than they do psychology.
Anyway, as I began deciding how and were to promote trauma treatment with Ruth’s course and others, I did a little digging into my Feldenkrais archive to get insight into Moshe’s thinking. I was a bit surprised at what I found as much of Moshe’s writing was about physical trauma. That is, trauma to the brain during birth or in accidents and such. Much of what I was thinking of as trauma – emotional and sexual abuse and the like was not mentioned. When it was mentioned, it was talked about in regards to a paradigm which is recognized as not being particulary effective.
“…you can see that one real trauma, real painful trauma, lasts for some people a lifetime. They need afterwards to be ten or fifteen years in psychotherapy to get rid of it and maybe can’t; they don’t get rid of it anyway because it’s impossible to limit. It’s connected to so many different… associated with so many different things, that suddenly you think you’re fine and a real good association brings it back. – Amherst Training Transcripts Year 2 July 13,1981″
And this one:
“Many…stress the importance of reliving affectively the traumatic event with the analyst as the object of love and hatred. Guided by the analyst’s objective attitude and his skill the patient is helped in solving his problem. (Body and Mature Behavior)”
Those are rather prophetic quotes from Moshe as we now know with near certainty that “reliving” traumas or spending years talking about them is NOT necessary to the healing process. In fact, as Moshe alluded to above they can get in the way of trauma healing. Moshe got a hell of a lot right. And he was light-years ahead of his time. But there are some ideas and subtle adjustments we have to make if we are to stay ahead of the curve and be maximally effective in our work….
The science just keeps getting more and more detailed and as the application of neuroscience findings is revolutionizing the field of psychotherapy, I hope we can learn to use it as well. There are a lot of folks that come to us needing trauma-treatment and relief.
Ok! Much more that I could say, but for now if you want to dive deeper into this topic check out the webinar series by NICABM. Many of your Feldenkrais colleagues have been watching them (including me).
I thought about calling this post “Steal My Feldenkrais Sessions” but…I was afraid people might take me literally. However, the point remains…
I have email conversations on a regular basis on what people can or cannot do with the products and transcripts that I sell. After 8 years of selling online and having these conversations, I have decided it is time to formalize my views and what you can or cannot do with the work that I sell.
The short form is this:
You can pretty much do what you want with my Feldenkrais downloads and products as long as you do not duplicate or sell the original files. Use them in your own products, workshops and classes. Re-Record them. Remix them. Edit them. Whatever. Give attribution to me or Moshe Feldenkrais if you want to. If you do not want to, there is no legal requirement to do so. That’s it.
The long form (two pages) is here: License_to_Use_These_Feldenkrais_Products.
Hi there…About 60 minutes ago, I logged into my shopping cart system to increase the prices on all of the Feldenkrais downloads that I sell on my Feldenkais Store. But as I got ready to do so, I felt a twinge of anxiety and I realized I should probably tell everyone before I do so.
I have been selling my Feldenkrais downloads online for nearly 8 years now and this is my first price raise. Actually it is more than just a “raise.” I am doubling all my prices. Yep. Everything is going up by 100% or more…
When I first began creating and selling Feldenkrais products, I was a PhD student at the University of Utah. I was good at “working the system” and I was able to get grants to learn technology and web design and such. I got a grant to put a psychology class online…and of course, I did not tell the folks that I had already created the class (hahaha). So when I got the grant I had 3 full months to relax and play and create my first Feldenkrais series “Eliminate Back Pain Now.” Later I received another grant from the Psych Dept and did something similar. I also started recording Feldenkrais sessions and integrating them into my online and live classes in LifeSpan developmental psychology.
Anyway, the long and short of it is I was PAID to create my Feldenkrais sessions (how cool is that?) and I was able to keep costs down. Eight years later, my hosting costs have gone up. I have a much better sense of how powerful my teaching is and how powerful the work is and the prices need to reflect that.
So…If you want some kick-ass Feldenkrais sessions (many with written transcripts) and you want them at 2006 prices, grab them while you can:
“Ryan, Can I…”
By the way…I often get question such as: “Can I translate your sessions into my native language and sell them myself?” or “Can I use them to teach my own live workshops?”
Well, the answer is almost alway yes. I do not “own” Feldenkrais ideas. Ideas cannot be copyrighted. And as soon as you translate something, you put it in your own words and it belongs to you anyway. And hell – for some products I have actually created transcripts that come WITH your purchase. I did that to make it easier for you to use them for your own classes and workshops. So go for it!!
But…if you want to do at the lowest cost, you better grab them NOW. Once the prices go up, they are not going back down.
I found the quote below by F.M Alexander by searching for “Feldenkrais” on Pinterest. Well, it certainly could have been said by Feldenkrais as well. They were certainly on to similar ideas…
And Moshe Feldenkrais in a similar vein:
“There is little doubt in my mind that the motor function, and perhaps the muscles themselves, are part and parcel of our higher functions. This is not true only of those higher functions like singing, painting and loving, which are impossible without muscular activity, but also of thinking, recalling, remembering and feeling.” – From the article “Mind And Body, Moshe Feldenkrais, 1980.
Cheers to both men!
By the way…the highest ranked page on Google of Moshe Feldenkrais quotes can be found on the blog that I created many years ago while a grad student. I first published the post in 2007: Some Feldenkrais Quotes.
A few minutes ago, I bumped into the short transcription below from the San Francisco Feldenkrais training in the 1970’s. I thought you might enjoy it. Moshe is speaking to a group of people that he is attempting to train in his method. To what extent he succeeded with them or anyone else is a matter of debate. But he did his level best.
When people come into any training or any communicative environment each comes with his own assumptions and categories. Some are conscious. Many are not.
A major tendency of human beings is to “diagnose” and put people into categories based on any number of formal or informal criteria…based on folk taxonomies, “common knowledge,” medical taxonomies, psychological taxonomies and the like. Below Moshe speaks about his students tendency to want use – however informally or incorrectly – medical diagnoses while doing Feldenkrais-based work.
Moshe was not a fan of such things. On one level was his desire to protect himself and his students from lawsuits. Only certain qualified professionals have the right to diagnose. On a second level, was his absolute belief and conviction that “diagnosing” people limits the ability of a Feldenkrais-trained-person to do good work and to see and work with the whole person. Our departed Martin Weiner had something to say about that as you will see later…
Some people want me to teach them how to diagnose diseases. You are not supposed to know that and it is not necessary for you to know that. You only need to know enough so you know what you do not know. You need to feel that there is something and that you will get it with experience.
You will feel when a person is complaining of one thing and there is something else wrong. That you will feel with your hands. You have no means of diagnosis. You are not supposed to do diagnosis…
…But many of you have already found that you can do useful work. And of course by the end of this year, you will be able to do better work. That is my first obligation. (June 23, 1977)
Martin Weiner, a student of Moshe’s, who is now deceased, wrote quite a bit about the medical model and the need to see the person and not the diagnosis. In 2008, Marty first gave me permission to reprint his short article below. Below, he speaks to the limits of the medical model. First re-published September 19th, 2008 here.
I have often talked on the forum about how seeing things from a medical model limits our capacity to see what is there. I had an experience with a young woman the other day that I’d like to share in this regard.
A woman called me on the phone and asked if she could come see me. She said she had very severe pains in her neck that woke her up many times during the night. She also had numbness in her hands. She had gone to a chiropractor who took an x-ray of her neck and freaked out. He was so anxious for her that she had to quiet him down. He sent her to an orthopedic surgeon who had the same reaction and said she needed surgery immediately to fuse three of her cervical vertebrae. She was supposed to have the surgery next Monday. She is a mother of two toddlers and said she is very active.
I said, “Let me get this straight. You are not paralyzed or crippled or hobble about. You run after two little kids and exercise regularly. Your only problem is pain in your neck and numbness in your hands. Aside from these two guys freaking out you would have no idea that there is an emergency going on in your body?” She said,”That’s right”.
So I told her, “Great, I’d love to see you.”
My point here is that these two doctors looked at x-rays and did not see her. She is an active woman who runs around all day long. Instead of seeing her vertebrae they should have seen her and realize that these vertebrae live in this woman and she is pretty healthy. They saw what they saw which is conditioned by their training. Moshe trained us to see the world differently and to interact with people from a non-mechanical orientation. We have the capacity to help those who many others can’t because we do not get seduced into diagnostic categories.
She came to see me last Saturday and we worked. Today she came back to tell me that she has been sleeping through the night pain free and that the numbness is now down to just a little spot. She cancelled the surgery and is looking forward to feeling better without it.
As Hippocrates said, “Don’t tell me what someone has. Tell me who has it.” See the person and not the so called “disease” or problem.
Ryan C. Nagy, MA desde Starbucks Plaza Jardines, Mérida, Yucatan, Mexico