Abuse Allegations in Feldenkrais Guild Training Community

I want to let you know that I am aware of the various allegations of sexual harassment and abuse that have come to light in the Feldenkrais Guild community. Most of the allegations that I have seen are in regards to Guild Certified Feldenkrais Trainers and others involved in Guild Certified Feldenkrais training programs.

Below I have posted a link to a document on the allegations that was apparently presented and discussed at an International Feldenkrais Federation meeting in 2018. It read, in part:

"Us Too – The #metoo Movement & Mature Behavior: A Call for Transparency, Action and Accountability in The Feldenkrais World

“We, the Undersigned, have experienced, witnessed or have been informed of harassment and abusive behavior in Feldenkrais® Training Programs and Advanced Trainings by both teaching and administrative staff members and visiting practitioners (EDs, Trainers, Assistant Trainers, Practitioner Assistants and/or experienced Practitioners), which has negatively impacted students and staff members on many levels.”

“Some events are recent, others date back more than 35 years. Abusive behavior has been tolerated, dismissed, minimized, ignored, negated, covered up, and its seriousness disregarded by the leaders of the Feldenkrais Community for decades. This behavior and complicity is unacceptable. These incidents have had a destructive impact on many: on their physical and mental health, their self-image, their career and finances, their sexuality, their personal and family relationships and their compassion for and sense of pride and trust in The Feldenkrais Method and its leaders.”

You can read the document on the Feldenkrais sex abuse scandal in its entirety here:

Feldenkrais Abuse Allegations

Update from September, 21st, 2022. I have sent several emails to people in the FGNA and other international Feldenkrais Guilds asking them to comment on the abuse allegations that you can read about below. In particular, I have sent emails to Elinor Silverstein, a longtime FGNA Board Member, and to Roger Russell, a so-called Senior Feldenkrais Trainer who lives in Germany. I have also sent several emails to Jerry Karzen and David Zemach Bersin two other "Senior" Feldenkrais Trainers.

Initially, none of them responded to me. However, Jerry Karzen eventually wrote me an email saying that I belong in mental institution for bring the allegations to light. You can read his verbatum comments here.

The abuse allegations are numerous and cover a period of nearly 40 years, going back to events from the Amherst Training in 1981 and continuing at least to 2017.

The allegations are not only about horrific instances of rape, harassment, and bullying toward male and female students and Assistant Trainers. But they also include allegations that several Feldenkrais trainers were engaged in contests to see who could have sex with the most students. And that several male trainers were engaged in limiting the number of female trainers and refusing to support their applications.

The vast majority of allegations that I have seen are against what are called "The San Francisco Trainers." These are the men and women who trained with Moshe Feldenkrais during the San Francisco training that began in 1975 and who later began calling themselves "trainers" after Moshe's death on July 4th, 1984.

And not coincidentally, there are allegations that several of these same men and women are behind the scenes attempting to limit the investigations into their colleagues.

Short timeline of the allegations

The allegations first began to be discussed in the Feldenkrais community around January, 30th, 2018, when the FGNA reported on its website that “Frank Wildman “relinquished” his membership and status with the organization. Unfortunately,the Feldenkrais Guild deleted the page discussing Frank Wildman's departure. However, you can read a summation of the case on the Case Text legal research website.

In says, in part that:

Wildman's relationship with the FGNA ended on January 22, 2018, when the FGNA and Wildman entered into a confidential agreement amidst allegations of Wildman's misconduct. (Haller Decl., Exh. E, "the Agreement.") Under the four-page Agreement, Wildman acknowledged that he is no longer an FGNA member, an FGNA Certified Feldenkrais® Practitioner, nor an FGNA Certified Feldenkrais® Trainer. (Id. §§ 2-4.) Wildman agreed not to teach or practice the Feldenkrais® Method. (Id. § 8.)
Feldenkrais Guild of N. Am. v. Wildman, CASE NO. 18-cv-2340-YGR, 3-4 (N.D. Cal. May. 23, 2018)

I have since come into possesion of the agreement between Frank Wildman and The Feldenkrais Guild. That mentions that Frank "relinquished" his trainer status and status in the Guild in light of 14 people filing ethics complaints against him. Click to view a pdf of the agreement signed by Frank and the FGNA.

Near that time there began a Feldenkrais "MeToo" movement with two private Facebook groups of Feldenkrais practitioners and students discussing the incidents.

One group was for women and another for men. Unfortunately, the groups have been meeting for several years now and have made no public statements other than the International Feldenkrais Federation document referenced below.

And to the best of my knowledge, no Feldenkrais Guild has made a public statement. Several Feldenkrais practitioners and assistant trainers have communicated that they do not want to make any of the accusations public in order to "protect the method." They want to deal with the issue "in house" and out of the public eye. That is unfortunate.

If the allegations are true, then there is a history of abuse and violence in the Feldenkrais Guild system that goes back more than 40 years. And it is clear that the various Feldenkrais Guilds have demonstrated very little ability to police the behavior of the Feldenkrais Trainers.

Something needs to be done to find out what has been happening in Feldenkrais Guild trainings. The public, students, practitioners, and assistant trainers have a right to know. They need to know if their training environment is a safe environment. And they need to know if there are sexual predators, abusers, and bullies in Guild Certified Feldenkrais Trainings.