I walk into a room full of people who have paid more than they earn to hear and be in the presence of a the ‘master teacher’ for a weekend ‘refresher’.
It’s an end of that intense and emotionally fuelled weekend and no one is really sure what will happen to them when the master teacher leaves town.
This happens as part of many so-called psychosomatic methods. Ok, fine. The people who participate in such events do so out of their own will. But what happens when someone who is experiencing chronic pain that is physiologically based comes to a teacher who is promising ‘freedom’?
What happens when the teacher makes themselves a self appointed practitioner of ‘soft psychoanalysis’ without knowing ANYTHING about the history of the person in front of them, nor the dark and demented history of psychoanalysis: soft or otherwise.
I remember seeing a book by Wilhelm Reich in my Alexander Technique Teacher Training School’s library. It was just there just if anyone wanted to know about you know….bringing up and delving into client’s hidden sexual frustrations or something like that….Still, today there is much talk of releasing ’emotions’ and ‘relaxing’ as part of Alexander Technique. Ah! it works wonders! So many will attest!
Still, there is no notion of what teaching or non-biased observation nor the practice of seeing things from your client’s perspective might entail. There is talk, but one might have to delve into a research paper or two, reading a few books on the philosophy of education might be in order, one might have to listen to a non-Alexader Technique scholar’s voice and really hear the vast and varying perspectives on child development (across the various domains of development) past, present and with a critical look as to what might be gathering up now and towards the future. In short, one might have to do some WORK before delving into others’ childhoods or relationships with creativity.
There is no mention of the pedagogy of learning, no mention of the dangers of dealing with people in ways that might bring up any number of past experiences, especially within the context of group teaching!
And low and behold! If some notion of past trauma ‘comes up’ as the teacher is touching your neck or saying that ‘there is no longer any need to keep in your tension in your neck…’ then that teacher and their mere presence becomes the source of the client’s cure! The miracle, the exchange and the transference have taken place!!!
When the day comes that allows psychoanalysis practitioners (post-Freudian or otherwise) to truely take stock of what they have done and continue to do and why, when the time arrives when all those who continue to take the mighty Hippocratic Oath to write a formal apology to human kind for their severance of heads from bodies (as both a real and symbolic act) agains the wishes of the deceased First Nation’s and in the name of Eugenics, perhaps then we can start to see education and its aims in the way that allows for true dialogue between the combined perspectives of two people who are both seeking a better understanding of how human thinking and human action can perpetually interplay towards something more conducive to the practice of the principles of ‘love, beauty and justice for all’.
Until then…my hands are off someone else who has capacity to listen, gather their own thinking and do simple experiments for their own betterment, from their own will, and towards their own intentions! But the means can not entail endless psychoanalytical guess-work if they are to be conscious means. When science sees its fallacy of separating anthropology and psychology and using lower level cognition (such as meditation and Somatic Experiencing) as a way of solving physiological pain patterns that can only be addressed through higher level cognition (like language!) then we can get closer to a method that can allow for converging dialogues.
(This writing is dedicated to the memory of Ishi whom I became aware of when i was 20 and who’s life continues to haunt and teach me today).