Awareness Through Movement

Teacher Certification Proposal, Comments, Progress Report and Final Report

 

The following proposal was posted under the “Community Notification and Comment Period” provisions of FGNA Policy “E 2.2.1.5 Protocol for Changing Internationally-Approved Training Accreditation Policies and Guidelines (Including Trainer and Assistant Certification)”.

As specified in the policy, a 45-day comment period ended May 4, 2012. The proposal and comments have been reviewed by the North American, European and Australian Training Accreditation Boards (NATAB, EuroTAB and AusTAB). A progress report was issued by NATAB on June 18, 2012, and a final report was issued by NATAB on November 14, 2012. These reports were sent to the originators of the proposal, and to the Governing Bodies of the Training Accreditation Boards, for distribution to their members and to the members of affiliated guilds.

Andrea Wiener, NATAB Executive Secretary
November 14, 2012

NATAB Progress Report June 18, 2012

TABs Final Report November 14, 2012

Proposal for Stand Alone Awareness through Movement® Teacher Certification

Before submitting this proposal to the community at large, several of the members who have endorsed this document 1) explored divergent viewpoints and 2) had conversations with some members of the educational community regarding the feasibility of the proposal.

Background

Since the inception of the training accreditation process, it has been a fact that Awareness Through Movement certification was contingent on completing a four-year professional training. Like many aspects of the policy, this element of the policy has not undergone scrutiny or community wide discussion since the establishment of the policy. Many of us in the training community have independently come to question whether this continues to be the best policy for the future of our work and community and have become convinced that a stand-alone ATM® policy is a viable and desirable option.

Rationale

Reasons for considering this new certification are as follows:

1. Many students are only interested in teaching ATM. Some have little or no interest in FISM. If this remains the case by the end of year two a difficult situation can arise for both the student and the Educational Director. In some cases the reason they don’t want to do FI is that they really are unsuited for the hands on practice, but nevertheless if they want to teach the ATM they love, they have to complete the last two years. The ED is confronted with graduating someone, and certifying their ability to do FI, even when they are sub par, or denying them the permission to teach at all by not graduating them. Students who fall into this category include those with injuries or health conditions that realistically preclude them from active hands-on practice.

2. There are fewer students in trainings currently in the US. The Method does not appear to be growing at the rate it has in previous decades. The option of a shorter track to teaching certification may be a more appealing first step for many people both financially and in terms of time. Many of those certified as ATM teachers may go on to do the full training at a later time.

3. There are too few ATM classes generally available. Having a two-year track for certification would hopefully result in a much larger group of ATM teachers and more access to the Method.

4. There are many students who have previously completed two years of training who would then be able to join the community and teach ATM (after some refreshment of their skills). They could join the Feldenkrais Guild® and our community can be a bit more inclusive.

5. This new option would give the EDs more latitude to deal with students who, after two years, appear to have little aptitude for FI. We would argue that a broader group of people can competently teach ATM than can master Functional Integration®.

6. In North America, Guild- certified practitioners are offering shorter programs that teach the participants to be ATM teachers. They are using another name for our Method, but are teaching the Method. This is not in the community’s best interest in the long term.

The Proposal

The current policy allows that: After two years of attending a regular four-year training students may become authorized to teach ATM, and this authorization can last for 7 years from the date of the beginning of their training. This permission is contingent on them being “in make-up a from their original training. We personally know of people who have completed two years of training teaching ATM ten years later.) During this period they have to identify themselves as a student teacher.

We propose adding the option that somewhere in that 7 year period, before their authorization lapses, students would complete a minimum of 15 additional days of training focused entirely on ATM teaching. This would allow them to change their status from student teacher to permanent ATM teacher. Certification will be contingent upon significant ATM teaching experience in addition to the 15 days of extra training. Continuing Education would also be required.

The special ATM training would have to follow all the same guidelines as current training in terms of being taught by a Guild Certified Trainer, teacher student ratio of 20-1 etc.

We also propose that students who have completed two years or more years of training, but are outside of their seven-year period, could become eligible for permanent ATM teacher status by doing the following: retake the last month of year two in an accredited training, be recertified to teach ATM by the ED, and attend successfully the 3 week program.

If a Certified ATM teacher decides that they wish at a later date to re-enter a training and become certified in Functional Integration any extra requirements for re-entry are to be determined by the Educational Director. If they choose to continue their training with a new Educational Director then it is recommended that the new ED be in correspondence with the old ED regarding the history of the students participation in the original training.

ADDENDUM: A 2nd Track to ATM only Certification
An Educational Director would also have the option of creating an ATM only based training that would adhere to current guidelines, plus the extra days. This would give the participants the ability to do ATM and hands on guided touch for ATM classes only. New Standing Protocols would need to be developed and submitted for such courses.

Discussion

Responses to arguments against the proposal

ATM and FI are two sides of the same coin. You can’t separate them.

Response. Of course this is the case. However today hundreds of people in the US competently teach only ATM and do no FI.

The hands- on practice helps students be better ATM teachers, as does the maturation in theory, Feldenkrais® thinking etc.

Response: Certainly this is the case. However just because they do learn more one can ask, is an FI focused training the best use of their time in terms of becoming competent ATM teachers? We notice sadly that there are many incompetent ATM teachers out and about. Perhaps they would have benefited with the additional feedback and immersion into the practice of ATM teaching.

This will result in fewer training program students in the last two years of regular training.

Response: Maybe. It also could result in more students feeling comfortable starting a training knowing that they can leave after two plus years with a certification. In addition it’s easy to imagine there will be practitioners who will choose to take the 3 week ATM focused program to improve their ATM teaching skills.

If some ED’s prefer not to offer this option to the students in their training this could be their prerogative.

We also envision that some of the people who have left trainings after the 2nd year may want to pursue this new option of being officially certified for ATM only teaching.

In closing

Many of the requirements for teaching ATM have been in place for 25 years. We can experiment. We can try this new format for a decade and then revisit it. We can explore variations, take some risks and know that it is ultimately reversible.

Proposal submitted by: Elizabeth Beringer, Donna Ray, Ruthy Alon, Arlyn Zones, Jeff Haller, Olena NItefor, Dennis Leri, Holly Bonasera, Rich Goldsand, Aviva Fields, Laurie Wilson, Frank Wildman

Need help posting your comment? Email natab@feldenkraisguild.com for assistance.

Please post your comments about the proposal here, by May 4, 2012.

Thank you for your participation!

By Andrea Wiener, NATAB Executive Secretary on 03/16/2012

I can only speak from my experience, which is that I would not be as competent an ATM teacher if not for the extensive hands-on FI preparation I engaged in during the training.

My training’s ED observed that they keep us in training so long because they have to be sure we won’t do horrible things to ourselves before they can trust we won’t go out and do horrible things to the public (a rough paraphrase, I’m sure!). I don’t think that trust can be built in two years, nor without extensive FI practice.

By Adam Roth on 03/16/2012

this sounds like a viable option.
It would seem to me that one would want the ATM classes to get out there more in the community and be made more available because these classes are so invaluable.
Also classes ae affodable.
also, students who take 2 plus years might want to take continuing education- that should be required.

By jane shapiro on 03/16/2012

I am definitely intrigued by the option of the 2 year ATM teacher certification. I am thrilled to be enrolled in a training program period, so these are simply details.  I would like to offer my situation as an example of how this is a relevant inquiry.

I am currently enrolled in year two of a training, and am in a position where my interest lies in teaching exclusively in the ATM format.  Although I can see the direct through line of how the FI practice supports the ATM understanding, there are 2 more years of training to refine practices in FI I do not plan to use. I teach dance at a higher education institution and am planning on directly applying my ATM training into curricular development in our somatics course offerings at the college where I teach.  However, FI work would not fit this paradigm as it is one on one, and with my current teaching load doing FI work on the side is not feasible.  I could see that in the future I might like to look deeper in to FI work, but currently I do not personally see a direct application for it in my circumstance, and still have 2 years of budget stretching training. 

I am not interested in short cuts, however I am all for cutting out unnecessary effort ( we all are right, it is inherent in the form).  What is the most direct route, seems a relevant question, and I appreciate the inquiry even if only in the spirit of continuing to question if current organization is the most efficient. 

I do feel that should a shift occur, it seems appropriate to be even more stringent in the demand of excellence in ability to teach ATM, as a means of quality control, so it does not become a situation where the students struggling with the training opt out early, sacrificing the overall quality of ATM certification.  Also, if this equates to extra training opportunities in the ATM format, it seems this will strengthen the body of ATM work being done…a specialization if you will.

Thank you for the opportunity to weigh in.

By Sarah M. Nemecek on 03/16/2012

I believe this proposal is unacceptable for the following reasons:

1) It would dilute the Feldenkrais Method brand. The fact that to be a CFP requires a four year training is important to the public and to our professional reputation.

2) That there are less participants in US trainings is not a good enough reason to create a new, shorter ATM teacher track.

3) Competency—after 2 years, trainees are permitted to teach ATM as a way to gain experience and further their growth within a 4 year training, and are labelled “student Teacher” for a reason. If these are the 100’s of people teaching ATM that the proposal refers to, they are teaching atm as students. (and frankly—I would like to see evidence like class listings of these 100’s of folks teaching classes and not giving FI, as in the first part of the proposal it is posited that there aren’t enough ATM classes being offered in N.A.) In the last 2 years of a training there are many more aspects of teaching ATM that are developed and refined. years 3 and 4 are not just for learning FI—but are for continued learning about how to teach, understand and embody the method—both ATM and FI.

4) Regarding the “let’s experiment with this” reason: Some aspects of our professional reputation are too important to experiment with in this manner. Would FGNA allow Feldenkrais practitioners with 10 years experience to teach and run ATM teacher trainings? Open up the trainer accreditation process so practitioners with 20 years experience could run trainings? I doubt “experimenting for the next 10 years” with these changes to policy would be acceptable to trainers (or to me for that matter)—perhaps because it would dilute their brand?

5) the logic of stating that there are 100’s of folks teaching ATM and no FI around, and then in the following point, stating that there are many incompetent ATM teaches around leads one to question how these incompetent teachers were accredited? could there be a relationship between incompetent ATM teachers and too lenient graduation and certification requirements? Perhaps a more professional certification process is needed? a longer training perhaps? Instead of creating a shorter ATM track, perhaps 4 years of ATM training should be required to ensure competency?

6) Stating that the ATM certification would require continuing education is a joke frankly, in light of the new CE requirements recently enacted by FGNA—something like “don’t ask, don’t tell….”

7) The presumption that teaching ATM to the public is easier than giving FI is false. I’ve made my living as an ATM and FI teacher since 1997, and in my opinion, understanding and teaching ATM to the public requires just as much proficiency and expertise as giving FI.

With Respect

By Scott Fraser on 03/17/2012

I’m early in my third year of training and would love this option. I started the training because of my own problems and wanting to know how it worked. I think ATM lessons have the benefit of giving people (myself included) tools to help themselves when some recurring issue wakes you up in the middle of the night and you’ll be miserable if you have to wait until the morning to contact a doctor, FI practitioner, chiropractor, etc. I have another career and probably won’t do FI, but teaching ATM is an easy possibility. I would/will continue with the training because the two things (ATM and FI) are opposite sides of the same coin, but it would make for less pressure.
Thank you for considering this.

By Georgia Brown on 03/17/2012

I distinctly remember continuing to learn about ATM teaching even during the last two years of my training and to say that we move on to FI and leave ATM behind, feels a little off the mark.

Personally, I felt like the four years of training I did have, in both ATM and FI, only gave me a taste.  It would be a shame to “graduate” people with even less time to absorb and adjust to such a radically different approach to life, especially because there is very little post-graduate structure/support (I am thinking of all the hours and hours of internship and personal supervision my wife is having to weather to become a therapist) .  It seems to me that we already leave our students too early to be truly competent and that letting us all lose on the world with even less training would be doing a disservice to the Method.

I truly appreciate the opportunity to be part of this discussion and am so happy to be part of such a dedicated and wonderful community.

By Tim Wilson on 03/17/2012

I like this proposal.  I think the rationale provided in the proposal makes sense. 

In terms of personal skill levels, we all start our ATM (and FI) practice with basic “entry level” skills.  We develop our competency by practice, experience, and continued learning. The last two years of the training certainly helped me to better understand and teach ATMs - but equally, so did teaching ATMs and taking other Feldenkrais workshops that were not part of my training. 

All this to say, I think there can be more than one route (i.e. completing the final two years of a training) to support improved skill and practice in teaching good ATMs.

By Violet van Hees on 03/17/2012

I am in support of this proposal. Personally, I began teaching ATM as soon as we were allowed as student teachers, and have started and taught ATM programs in several cities in the last 18 years. There were periods of time where teaching ATM, often 12 classes or more per week, was my sole income. I actually consider myself to be quite a competent and successful ATM teacher, without maintaining a FI practice. I never intended to do FI because I have too many restrictions due to issues with my hands (although I did try for 2 years, it was not feasible). Although I am a certified Feldenkrais practitioner since 1997, I would be happy to maintain an ATM only certification instead of a full practitioner certification.  I have found it silly to act as if I am a full practitioner in my certification with the Guild, in terms of the renewal process, when I clearly haven’t been in 16 years.  I have wished there was a certification and renewal process more suitable to ATM only. I am also supportive of others doing the same, there are clearly many people like myself who can be excellent teachers without being FI practitioners.  Teaching ATM is a skill that is different than giving FI lessons, there are excellent FI practitioners who are not excellent ATM teachers.

That being said, it’s hard to know how skillful I would be as an ATM teacher if I didn’t have 4 years of training. My training was excellent, and I did feel competent to begin teaching ATM at the end of 2 years. It’s interesting how the practice of teaching ATM has an ongoing development because of the personal practice of doing ATM. I continued to do ATM almost every day, and my teaching grows accordingly.

I would love to attend more advanced training, or even teach advanced training, based on ATM teaching.

Those are my thoughts, I think there’s a great need for experimentation in this area. I trust that if there are ATM certifications then the trainings will reflect this emphasis in the 1st 2 years, and the FI emphasis will be in the 2nd 2 years. I believe my training 19 years ago followed this general schematic.

By Laura Paris on 03/17/2012

I totally agree with the points mentioned by Tim Wilson and Scott Fraser.
Furthermore, I believe this proposal is looking in the wrong direction for spreading the Feldenkrais Method in the US (one of the reasons stated for this proposal).
Someone mentioned that the ATM training track could be a “specialization”. However, in general, a specialization is done AFTER a basic training is completed. Our problem, in my view, is the basic training. Our community has had an on-going discussion questioning the efficiency of our trainings to bring about competent Feldenkrais practitioners, able to do BOTH ATM.s and FI’s. To try to simplify and avoid this questioning and instead, putting the emphasis on the need of having a shorter ATM training with larger numbers of students seem only to make sense for the trainers, economically speaking.
I appreciate the FGNA provision to allow for comments on this proposal and I hope this discussion will lead the Guild and its members in the direction of creating a more viable Feldenkrais profession for its practitioners.

By Isel Lamoureux on 03/17/2012

I support adding an ATM-only certification. I believe it will make our work more accessible to the general public by certifying more ATM teachers.

Also, it has the potential to attract more physically competent ATM teachers who may use this as an add-on to their other professions such as athletic trainers, dance and movement teachers, coaches, martial artists, etc. These are competent professionals and teachers in their own right, who will be able to reach niche populations that other Feldenkrais teachers struggle to reach and understand.

Just imagine how many more people could realize their physical potential with access to the Feldenkrais method - I’m thinking particularly of our youth. I believe this might just democratize the work by making it accessible to many more people.

I personally don’t believe that teacher quality will be compromised. There is a level of immediate support available via ATM materials which will go a long way towards keeping quality high.

By Hanya Lamp on 03/17/2012

I am quite surprised by the statement that “there are far too few ATM classes available.” On what information do you base this statement? In what parts of the U.S. and Canada is this true? Who are the people wanting ATM classes and not being able to find them? If there is a demand that isn’t being met I would seriously consider moving to that area, so please tell me. Really.

I do know at least 7 certified practitioners (myself included) who currently teach ATM classes which aren’t listed on the FGNA website, and I suspect there are many more. (There are numerous reasons for this, including the fact that some of them are not Guild members, but that’s a different email.) I absolutely agree that the more Feldenkrais Teachers there are the better we will all do, but only if those teachers really understand what is different about this kind of teaching!

800 hours is not too much to require for training a competent ATM teacher. During my fifteen years as a practitioner (following 30 years as a professional dancer/choreographer/improvisor/educator) I have tried to understand what causes the perception that teaching FI requires a deep knowledge and experience of ATM, but teaching ATM does not require a deep knowledge and experience of FI. Dr. Feldenkrais developed ATM out of his FI work, and understanding this - physically understanding it - is pretty basic to becoming a competent ATM teacher.

FI and ATM require different sets of skills, some common to both and others not. I have watched and experienced too many bad teachers to accept the notion that it takes less training to teach ATM than to teach FI - or that an incompetent FI teacher can cause more damage than an incompetent ATM teacher. There is simply a greater likelihood that a bad FI teacher will be sued than a bad ATM teacher. But an ATM teacher who doesn’t really understand the basic principles of the Feldenkrais Method is teaching a far greater number of people that the Feldenkrais work is trivial or “nice” or boring and uncomfortable than the FI teacher who is clumsy with one client.

For what it’s worth I have often thought that both FI and ATM should be taught from the beginning of the trainings (this happened to a degree in my training with Mark Reese and Allison Rapp.) However, I see no reason that the 800 hours has to be done over the course of four years, at such an enormous expense to the trainee. I also think it would be very enlightening to do a training that starts with FI and then moves on to ATM - again, that’s another discussion. And I am dismayed at the huge price difference between what most practitioners charge for an FI and for an ATM class. I think many practitioners grossly undercharge for ATM classes - perhaps an indication of a personal value judgement?

This proposal really does concern me; although 800 hours is certainly no guarantee of producing a competent teacher (and in some cases 400 hours will produce a wonderful teacher), reducing the “ATM Teacher” training by half will certainly cement the idea within the Feldenkrais community (and with the public) that FI requires more training and is therefore more important. If you think that this belief is not already out there then you are not paying attention. And if you subscribe to this belief, then let me just say that my experience tells me this is very far from the truth, and I strongly disagree.

Respectfully,

Cathy Paine
Norwalk, CT

By Cathy Paine on 03/17/2012

I think this proposal sounds reasonable. 

Tammy Rosen Wilbur
tucson, AZ

By Tammy Rosen Wilbur on 03/17/2012

Is this the only change in training format that the NATAB has to present?
These are top level questions to request information about the total picture we are to understand.

•  What is the Ultimate Goal for Feldenkrais Method ® trainings of the future?
•  What is required to maintain the purity of the Feldenkrais Method in both Awareness Through Movement (ATM)® and Functional Integration (FI)®?
•  What training format best serves to produce the goal?  What is the potential timetable for implementation?
•  What are the changes will be made in the educational director, trainer and assistant trainer policies to facilitate a larger population of people available to accommodate the new model of training?
•  What is required to facilitate the changes with the International Community?
For example: Where is the current level of communication with the International Community? Does the International Community have a total picture of potential changes including stages of implementation? Where does the International Community currently stand on changing the training format?

By Nancy Haller on 03/18/2012

My feelings are mixed.

This proposal has the possibility of being a step toward a more productive training framework (in that it produces more teachers who can competently teach). If successful, it would provide a framework and foundation for improving the training and certification of FI. Students in the 3rd and 4th years would conceivably be competent ATM teachers already, with a greatly enhanced understanding of the structure and teaching mechanisms of a lesson.

At the same time, without meaningful standards for certification put in place, it runs the risk of diluting this work further (in that it produces more certified teachers who can’t competently teach). A cynic might say that some training programs already operate as FeldenFactories®, grinding out certified practitioners without much concern for the quality of their teaching ability.

Which direction the changes take seems to hinge on a single sentence in the proposal that I would like to see expanded into something specific and concrete: “Certification will be contingent upon significant ATM teaching experience in addition to the 15 days of extra training.”

Does teaching one-third of one lesson to a group of people who have done a couple hundred hours of ATM qualify as “significant ATM teaching experience”? No?

How about this: a trainee must select, prepare and teach 10 different ATMs to individuals or groups. For at least 5 of those lessons, a practitioner who has been teaching ATM professionally for at least 5 years must be among your students—can be the only one—and must provide written feedback regarding your teaching. The trainee must prepare a written synopsis of what occurred/what went well/what went poorly/what was learned/what questions remain. Trainees must present each lesson synopsis, along with any practitioner feedback, to at least two other trainees. 

But I am concerned that there are far too many “musts” in the above paragraph to ever find traction.

Perhaps this: Educational Directors will set the standards for what qualifies as “significant ATM teaching experience”. But you must pay to spend 15 days in a room with a certain ratio of some people to other people.

Which set of criteria do you believe will lead to more competent teachers? Which set of criteria do you think is more likely to get implemented?

There are very good reasons for wanting to allow a separate certification. And there are very good reasons for wanting to reduce the transit time to certification. But let’s be real here. The current training framework doesn’t do a particularly good job of preparing people to teach ATM over a four year period. If you want to do it in two, the standards of certification will have to be raised considerably.

This would dramatically improve the training for people only interested in teaching ATM, as well as for the people committed to teaching in both modes. The quality of teaching would improve. Regard for the work would increase. I would love to see that happen, but given that it would require much more work than the current “trust the trainer” model, I sincerely doubt that any real changes will take place (beyond dilution).

Please, someone, prove me wrong.

Mac Prible

By Mac Prible on 03/18/2012

I voice support of this wholesome and expedient tonic creating a new option, perhaps the best alternative for many individuals considering the Feldenkrais Method as new ground for professional activity. And/or for those who discover, after entering the field of study,that teaching ATM is best choice if and when a choice must be made.
However imperfect, this option represents a net gain for sustenance of the Feldenkrais Method overall, notwithstanding what may be lost by reducing trainees’ experience of FI and exposure to its pedagogical bases.
I respectfully submit this opinion while citing a perspective that has long underpinned my own apprehension of the recent debates on continuing education, certification, and training: “Certification is not equal to competence.” [Carl Rogers, President of American Psychological Association, addressing his self-admittedly “passionate paper” at its 1972 annual meeting. In 1980 Rogers re-published the speech—- “an emotional statement that attacks a number of ‘sacred cows’ of the professional world”—- without apology.
Thanks,
Peter Boffey (2008)

By Peter Boffey on 03/18/2012

Will FGNA membership be required to maintain ATM certification?

If so, then my guess is that as with GFCPs, certified ATM teachers
will most likely vanish upon graduation or at the end of their
complimentary membership. 

And how will this new class of membership fit into the FGNA structure? 
Will this proposal create a category that current GFCPs may find more
attractive and affordable than the existing GFCP membership, and if
so, at what cost to FGNA?

By sandy on 03/18/2012

I am opposed to making ATM certification a stand-alone training option.  There are several reasons I have for opposing this direction.
The Guild leadership should be looking at other more PR/marketing specific ways to make Feldenkrais a ‘household’ word, and not sacrifice the integrity of the training process.

By Patricia Holman on 03/18/2012

When I signed the proposal, I saw it as the beginning of a discussion rather than as the beginning of an approval, or disapproval, process for the specifics.  As far as I understand, in order for FGNA to provide a forum for discussion of policy, the ideas have to come in as a specific proposal, rather than as a request to generally question the status quo.

The proposal does question the status quo, and what I see common in many of the responses above (whether pro or con to this proposal) is that there are many questions about the efficacy of the status quo.  Does the current policy serve the students/grads? Does the current policy serve the profound legacy of Moshe?  Why have we not had serious discussions on what is satisfactory, good, excellent ATM teaching? In 1997 Jean Houston gave the keynote address at the FGNA conference.  She held up a brochure and commented that she was absolutely puzzled that all workshops were geared towards FI and learning FI, but nothing to ATM. A large part of her message was - ATM is the diamond - why are you not valuing it more, and doing more to develop exquisite ATM teachers? I actually go on people’s web sites and listen to ATMs… So many come off as light exercise, and as far as I understand the work,  not ATM.

I have assisted since 1995 and have been teaching advanced trainings, mostly in Europe, leading up to a total of almost 2,000 hrs. (not boasting just giving a sense of the amount of time spent with practitioners) .  I have been trying to understand why so many people have trouble learning FI.  The thoughts I have are that students start learning how to “do FI” before they have the kinesthetic, personal and also conceptual understanding of watching, sensing and pacing “an intelligent whole” transform itself.  Teaching handling to people who cannot “see” and “be in” the whole as they touch, makes FI teaching about “parts,” and then “connecting parts” and finally “integrating parts!” Or, students are taught “positions” and “FIs” as though FI’s are things.  From leading a mentoring group of three years with the same group of practitioners (meeting 3x a year)  I am finding out just how long it takes for people to shift perception, understand transpositions, discover that particular handling “finds itself” when functional relationships are finally imbedded in the way you just see things. Then , the practitioner is not giving “an” FI that they learned somewhere, but are strategizing functionally with the client - through touch. These post grad people are beginning to report just that!

The way I envision creating the conditions for becoming a competent practitioner is to go through an ATM training only… during which you also watch the whole group “do”  whole ATMs, so you can begin to recognize and learn to witness a self learning process as it unfolds, without yet having to lead it.  Then you learn to lead it verbally - still relying on the intelligence of the listener to make more out what you are saying that you can (or should) be saying.  And only then learn to direct a system into self learning non verbally.

I don’t think it’s fair to say that because Moshe developed FI first and ATM second, that it makes sense for us to learn it that way.  Remember that he was already teaching Judo.  Higher Judo sounds as if he is writing about the feldenkrais method.  In the “hands on” he found how to work with his principles individually, and then from there went back out again to the group level in a way that was different from Judo and informed by what he had learned with working with individuals.

I do agree that the work as a whole is both ATM and FI. I would like to see a much longer ATM only training, prior to learning FI, as per my thinking above. During that time students would receive FIs, watch Moshe and others work and begin to appreciate how one can watch FI with a kinesthetic listening…. There can even be discussion about all aspects that show up in FI and are present in ATM experience. Time can be spent on developing a sensitive listening apparatus through the hands.  Mark Reese used talk with longing that the Alexander trainings spend much more time on building sensitivity in the listening hand than we do, and he thought that was a good thing! Those sensitive hands could be put to work following movement in ATM, in which case you would not follow with your hands, but with your whole self - thus imbedding self use, not as an after thought and correction, but just as way you are.

I don’t know what the poor NATAB will do.  From my time on that committee, I can tell you all, there was barely time to keep up with the applications!  Perhaps a community wide symposium?  I recall one FGNA yearly meeting (more than a decade ago, if not longer) that was fairly explosive in emotions about training guidelines.  Some of us are pretty passionate that things need to change and some others are equally passionate about keeping things the same way.  I think we’d need an excellent moderator and coach. And I hope we do it.  After 25 years or so it is peculiar to imagine that everything works just fine! Nothing human is like that…

Olena Nitefor

By Olena Nitefor on 03/18/2012

where do I start?

TO be simple, the question asked is do I support or reject:

I reject.

and, I reject based on the proposal stated. 

However, I do think and sense in my gut that NEW and different ways of approaching how we teach people to teach ATM is a must. BUt, I really don’t think the above proposal will do the job.

I also would highly encourage those on this committee to reflect on whether or not a trainer must be the person who takes on the entirety of teaching let’s say an intensive two-year ATM professional Teacher training. Perhaps a trainer can be a guide in the process, the mentor, but there are assistants as well as very competent practitioner’s who could do this job. This would open up a whole new life to the hierarchy our of profession and bring in new blood who have so much to offer as beginning ATM/FI practitioners….just a thought to ponder for you….

Firstly, a comment to what Olena has written:

This is a massive topic, and as Olena stated above, AND….. if I can recall many conversations I’ve had with the “elders” of this community who are still actively involved, or who have put up their coats in being involved with policy related to training’s, a whole restructuring and “pilot-testing period” of “how the heck do we effectively teach this stuff” must occur.

I’ve even had a trainer say to me “Irene, you have to wait for all of us old folks to die before your younger generation can implement and make changes that might actually make a difference in how this work is taught and grown….”....How’s that for encouragement!?

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1. INterest in Only ATM, not FI:

I know in my training there were folk who were the opposite, they only wanted to do FI, they HATED ATM, teaching it and doing it etc.,

yet now, they are coming around and dabbling in ATM teaching.  I believe that a training of Feldenkrais should involve the whole gamut and the curriculum should present it ALL and the students will gravitate to what their strengths are, refine them and so on.

2. The method not growing, less people in training’s:

How we find people to enter the training’s is lacking in skill and refinement, and I am not sure that making it faster for someone to teach Feldenkrais in a group setting is going to grow the work.

I have always firmly thought that the reason we get a greater proportion of incredibly “scared” and “feeling not competent” individuals in training’s is due to the fact that most enter the training’s out of a personal need to heal some really big traumas, both physical and emotional. They never have interest in teaching. 

These folk, in my opinion, should be guided to work with a practitioner intensively, as opposed to being in a professional training.  It would be very interesting to see of those who graduate from a training who actually entered into the training wanting to do this as a profession, and if they are in fact working as a Feldie, successfully. 

I have a sense if we recruited people to learn Feldenkrais in a way that was more refined, i.e., finding younger folk who are looking to teach and help people (those who are looking into nursing, OT, PT, medicine), that we’d have a much better growth and success rate. I’ve also had trainer candidate say outright to me that getting younger people to learn this work is a mistake because they don’t have enough experience in life….? Really, out of those on this committee (Jeff, Ruthy, Frank, Dennis…etc) I’d love to know how “young” you were when you learned from Moshe, and do you think that your lack of life experience made you less keen and apt to learn?

5. “We would argue that a broader group of people can competently teach ATM than can master Functional Integration®.”

This is ABSURB. 

Is it about “mastery” in the way Moshe had it?

Or is about providing a solid and wholesome experience for our students to experience potent action?

From my experience, the teaching of ATM - can be - way more intricate than FI.

Here’s why: in ATM you are working with multiple nervous systems, fostering a group learning environment, as well as (hopefully) talking to each individual nervous system and their function.

The classic example is in how people typically prepare for teaching ATM.  They prepare a “lesson”, they have it perfected, in their mind, say it is a lesson done in prone, exploring extension, and then they have a women who walks into their class who is 8 months pregnant. Or, they prepare a lesson in standing and balancing on one leg, and someone wheels themselves in a wheelchair, or walks in on crutches…..

.......how many people, after two years of ATM “doing” in a training program will be able to take this situation with grace, not freak out, and be able to pull out of their brains a learning experience that welcomes these new students with challenges, yet still brings in maybe the theme they wanted to teach that day?

I know this is an extreme example, but it is situations like these that kill our work and make our ‘new’ teachers look very unskilled, not to mention traumatize them into not teaching more…

This latter example is a perfect example for more time learning how to teach in the training. THere must be more opportunity for students to make mistakes and get their feet REALLY wet in a training environment, have scenarios thrown at them etc., so that they are prepared for unexpected situations. I have always sensed we are way too soft in our examination process.
We must get over this. I would really encourage more than one mandatory ATM Practicum.

Irene

By Irene Lyon (Formerly Gutteridge) on 03/18/2012

I’m in favor of the proposed change, offering an ATM instructor certification. And then re-visiting again.

And I’m deeply impressed by the intelligence and passion expressed in the comments.

As to the growth of the profession, perhaps FGNA might hire a strategic consultant to help us understand who chooses to study the method and why, so that we might then market to that kind of person or people; however, if the method were better known—here in Dallas it’s completely below the radar, for example—the number of people interested in studying would naturally increase.

By Angela Alston on 03/18/2012

My first thought is, that by the logic of this proposal-that the teaching of Awareness Through Movement requires little more than half of the time and learning that becoming a Feldenkrais Teacher entails-is that the requirements
to teach such a training will also be greatly reduced. If we are going to lower the bar than lets lower the bar for everyone.

No? I didn’t think so.

My second thought was that this was just a cynical attempt by few trainers to try and wring the last few bucks out of a moribund system. Since the proposal was signed by people I generally have a great deal of respect for, I choose not to believe that. I think, or at least hope, it was a shot in the dark, trying get some sort of movement towards change. A small doable thing that might upset the status quo enough allow the system to right itself.

The trouble is that shots in the dark seldom hit their mark and are likely to do a lot of unintended damage.

I think this is a bad proposal for a number of reasons.

First and most importantly, it would create more stratification and further separation within the Feldenkrais profession.  We don’t need to create new subcategories. We need to come to better and clearer understanding of the work we do. Whether we are trainers, assistant trainers practitioners, ATM teachers or FI givers we are all in the same business of creating a learning environment where people can discover new possibilities for themselves.

Our current training policies have turned the contextual details of where the learning environment occurs into an artificial hierarchy of status and mystery. I think that this proposal would only further entrench that thinking.

The proposal reflects what I think is an unfortunate trend in that it seems to assume that the ATM teacher is simply a kind of content delivery system rather than a skilled teacher engaged in a very precise and nuanced conversation with others. (Irene provided a great example of this.) If all you need are the lessons than lets just skip the teacher and put it on the internet and be done with it. (This leads to another discussion of how we might create online learning environments and our sometimes pathological fear that others might make use of what we do). ATM teachers should be much more than AY jukeboxes.

The next reason is that it fails to address or even mention the practititioner’s viewpoint. Many if not most practitioners rely on ATM classes as part of their income. In addition a good part of their FI clients come through their contact with the community through their classes.

The proposal asserts that there are not enough ATM classes. While I would agree with that, that is not the same as saying the demand for classes is not being met. Many practitioners struggle to fill their classes and to find places to teach.I have yet to see a want ad for a health club or school needing an ATM teacher. This not to say that teaching ATM isn’t viable, just that people don’t know they need it yet.

The assertion that there are many incompetent ATM teachers out there doesn’t seem to help make the case for this proposal. Who trained and graduated these poor teachers (someone else no doubt).

Bringing in a whole new class of people who don’t have the time or the inclination to be bothered with going through a training doesn’t seem like a prescription for building competency or professionalism. We already have the weekend training format which I personally have heard many trainers question. Now we can have the weekend ATM teacher training. Oh Joy!

Which brings me to a final (for now) objection. This proposal doesn’t bother with the details of how this would work- What the policies would change. What the training content would be.

What could this new class of ATM teacher call themselves?  Presumably they could call themselves Awareness Through Movement Teachers (R).  Probably Feldenkrais Awareness Through Movement Teachers(R) What about Feldenkrais Teachers? In the proposal there is a provision for ATM only trainings that would “give the participants the ability to do ATM and hands on guided touch for ATM classes only.” How big is an ATM class? If I give an ATM to an individual and I use “guided touch” am I still within my scope practice?

Voila ! a ninety -five day training program That allows me to call myself a Feldenkrais Teacher and work with individuals with touch as long as I don’t call it FI.

That may seem preposterous, but Feldenkrais Trainers are no different than the rest of humanity in their willingness to climb through loopholes. In fact much of our cumbersome training policy is an attempt to close loopholes that someone or another has already climbed through.

This proposal would in addition to creating a whole new class of teacher within the profession would also commit the Guild or Guilds to another layer of bureaucracy that they don’t have the resources to implement or the support to enforce.

I am all for change in our training policy. We will either change it or it will fall apart.  But dumbing down the method isn’t going to make things better or easier. Lets start with hard work of figuring out what it is we want to accomplish and the best way to get there.

Thanks for carrying on this discussion. We need it.

Sincerely,
George Krutz

By George Krutz on 03/18/2012

George Krutz nailed it in one.

I am determined to have some vacation after graduating a class of very competent Feldenkrais Teachers just on Friday. But will return to the discussion later.

With respect,

Paul Rubin

By Paul Rubin on 03/19/2012

1.As many practitioners, I see deep connectivity between ATM and FI practices. They feed one another in many ways. Cutting the students from learning FI, will end in emptying the content and meaning of ATM practice.
2. Students don’t always know in advance what will be their interest. The experience in Fi giving and receivibg during the training is very important.
3.In time of changes it is best to ask ourselves how can this enrich ourselves in our direction. Shall we learn more or less and what are the advantages of this. As I understand this current proposal, the idea is to shorten the time and coverage of the training programs. How can cutting the learning assist the process of deepening the understanding of ourselves and the Feldenkrais method? It will do the opposit. We will end up with shallower grasp of the method.
To my understanding, it is crucial to raise and deepen both the level of teaching and the level of demands from students, to have continuing education in related feilds to broaden the horizon of the upcoming practitioners.
This current proposal will not contribute to this direction.

By Dorit Dinur on 03/19/2012

We are discussing to prune the method for a couple of more sales… ?

I agree with previous posts in that teaching ATM requires more proficiency and expertise than FI. Vice versa. What came first, the hen or the egg?

“Lecturing” is the third modality in this ATM-FI duality. It’s too easy to forget that we should also be able to lecture, just like Dr. Feldenkrais did so masterfully.

By Alfons Grabher on 03/19/2012

As a student in my third year of training, I applaud the idea, and encourage the Guild to consider this proposal.
After watching some from my class drop out soon after their second year, I would hope offering an affordable choice over a 2-year training period would encourage students to enroll and enjoy their learning experiences, and possibly consider continuing their education; either during their training session or in the future.
I view this proposal as equal to those who endeavor to complete a 2-year Associate Degree, consider their professional options, and either continue their education or find their niche with the education they have received.
Please know; these thoughts come from someone who has a 4-year degree from a private University, and then returned to complete a 2-year program in order to find my niche in a specific medical field.  I plan to complete the full 4 years of my training and look forward to all knowledge shared with me over this time.

By Marty on 03/19/2012

I do not agree with the proposal.  I, too, believe that 2 years is not enough time to learn to teach ATM proficiently.  Whereas we are deemed “student ATM teachers” after 2 years, we are/were still just that.  Students.  I agree with George Krutz, Scott Fraser, Tim Wilson and the others on this who oppose diluting the Method.  If people choose to teach ATM and not do FI, that is their choice, but even the continued participation in ATM over the last 2 years is an immeasurably valuable part of our training.

By Stacy Grill-Ewing on 03/20/2012

I dont oppose the idea that not all students have to practice FI. On the other hand, 2 years are not enough to become an able ATM teacher. I would rather think of a longer term for students who dont want to master in FI, to complete their ATM training. the base you need for FI and ATM is the same. Therefore I suggest that students who study the entire course length, will master in ATM and FI. While those who want to teach ATM only, will study longer than 2 years (3 ?)to become ATM teachers.

By Orit Sarna on 03/20/2012

So many interesting and well thought out responses above address the training process already, I will address another aspect.  Also, I am pleased to see that Pandora’s box is open and being commented on with such vigor from the community, because nothing is going to change until this happens.

I think that such a proposal is a huge disconnect from the public and it’s perceptions, the perceptions of our work within the Feldenkrais community, and the market that supports,(or doesn’t)the practitioners out there already. Until we address what the problems are with our marketing issues and why we have many talented Feldenkrais practitioners unable to feed, house and clothe themselves through their work with the Method, I don’t know why we would want to undercut them with 2 year trainings that will then be their competition. Let’s not make marketing a dirty word, it’s how things are born and survive in the world.  Within the proposal itself is supply and demand, that there is demand for ATM with no supply.  I find this incredibly hard to believe and would like to see the numbers and places and documentation to support those numbers, because I think there are plenty to fill that demand if they knew there was a supply problem.

I think it would be a far more reasonable response to address how to learn marketing of the skill that is acquired through a 4 year, expensive, and life transforming experience. This aspect is completely not addressed in training and is a necessary skill for most people to go forward. A few might understand the business end, have the right connections, the support needed to begin or just the right timing and some luck to get out of the gate with income (or even the resources to rent an ATM space, but…....

There are experts in marketing out there that would be valuable resources for optional post graduate support, helping graduates find their niche, making connections for people, finding small business loans to get them started, offering their expertise so that graduates might flourish and spread the work. Coaches interested in seeing people succeed and become healthy, productive members of the self-employed community or helping them make connections with organizations that would enjoy their services, being the bridge between Feldenkrais teachers and their customer base.  There is so much to be offered and I think if people knew about how to find a good business coach for entrepreneurs the whole face of the Feldenkrais Method would change (in a good way as in people experiencing ATM and FI, and FM teachers would be making a living at their chosen profession.) 

This question still begs an answer, Why, after so many years, is Feldenkrais still some unheard of entity?  I don’t think that the answer lies in lack of ATM teachers and classes, it needs more creative thinking than this.  Do we dilute the Method to make an attempt at getting more publicly recognized?  Or do we welcome input from fresh eyes and ears to find more innovative ways to practice our work with the millions that could benefit from it?

There are many ATM teachers currently not working as such because the demand or the business know how is missing and they need to pay their bills. If you want more ATM teachers, educate and support the already trained masses that would love to be teaching. Right now, at the risk of sounding a bit cynical, it feels like a proposal that is the 1% and the 99% of the Feldenkrais community. The proposal seems also to have a hint of “Those who cannot do, (read FI)teach.” (read ATM) Which in my experience, unfortunately, is a common misconception that is rampant in North America already.

We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.
Albert Einstein

Respectfully,
Liz Winslow Fruits

By Liz Winslow Fruits on 03/20/2012

I have three concerns about this proposal.

1) What is the market opportunity?
* If we take this route, we create a new administrative layer. The Guild, as an organization, is already maxed out. Will the only-ATM-teachers pay dues? Enough to justify supervising the category?
* How financially attractive is it to prospective trainees to pay for a training and then only be able to teach ATM?
I have been in practice for 23 years. Feldenkrais is my full time income. I am not a PT or any other credential. Just and “all of” Feldenkrais. I have been teaching 4 ATMs per week for years and years; currently, though, I am at 3/week. It is MUCH HARDER to earn $1000 dollars through ATM than through FI, so the bulk of my income is from FI. By “MUCH HARDER” I mean, I it takes much more time. This is with a class size of about 12 people. Of course, if I had 100 people in the room, the economics would reverse. But I don’t have those numbers. Does any one? How many ATM classes have more than 15 people?

2)I am concerned about maintaining the level of magic. I am regularly amazed by this occurrence: a new person telephones or emails to inquire about beginning work with me. She usually says that she never heard of FM until a friend recommended it and that person said such wonderful things. Everybody says wonderful things about us! I think this is so because of the long time and financial commitment required to become a Practitioner. And then the even longer commitment required to become a successful Practitioner. It is our commitment that makes us Feldies magical.
By contrast, this proposal caters to people who are seeking a lower level of commitment. I fear that we dilute the only thing we have to sell—our reputation for beings agents of magic.
3) How will the existence of this choice impact the prospect pool for the full training?
I anticipate that some of those prospects will be cannibalized. How many?

In summary, I see this as a proposal to discount our heritage. Is it worth it?

By Maureen McHugh on 03/20/2012

What a great conversation!

It seems to me that the proposal to create an ATM-only track is really an attempt to address deeper issues, and not necessarily the best option.

What are the questions?  How can we bring the work to a wider audience?  (Become a “household word”?) How can we insure that graduating practitioners are competent?  How do we create conditions for practitioners to be more successful, so they will actually work as practitioners after graduation?  How do we address the different needs of the trainee who is in the training to become a practitioner and the trainee who has come for personal healing and growth?

These are my thoughts, (from the perspective of a 4th year trainee, actor,and physical therapist)...

Being a household word…  Maybe we need to be careful what we wish for.  Pilates and yoga are household words.  They are offered in health clubs, spas, and resorts everywhere.  You can buy 100s of DVDs of “Pilates” and “yoga” lessons.  But some of what is on offer has little to do with the Pilates Method as Joseph Pilates conceived it, or with the rich and complex physical, mental,and spiritual discipline that is yoga.  It is just exercises tarted up with a trendy title and some trimmings.  I would hate to see the Feldenkrais Method diluted and marketed in such a way.

Also, “Pilates” and “yoga” can be sold as ways to “get thin”, “get fit”, “get strong”.  This plays into our societal need to match the current definition of youth and beauty.  Again, would we want to see the Feldenkrais Method marketed this way?

I have been hearing discussion about the problem of graduates not necessarily being competent to teach since before I started my training.  I always find myself thinking of my education as a physical therapist.  Halfway into our training, we did 2 2-week internships working with a licensed PT in the setting of our choice.  At the end of our training, we had 3 8-week internships.  During these internships, we evaluated and treated clients, but under the supervision of an experienced clinical instructor.  Even after I graduated and passed my boards, I was so grateful to have more experienced PTs in my work place who were generous enough to mentor me.  They would co-treat with me, pull me into a treatment room and teach me a new evaluation or treatment technique, discuss cases with me, and offer incredibly useful “tricks of the trade” they had learned over the years.  I started taking “continuing education” classes while I was still in school, to learn additional skills.  All of this hands-on, mentored, practical training was essential to my development as a skilled practitioner.  So perhaps we need to be discussing, as Mac Prible suggested, ways to increase the actual teaching practice trainees receive and to be exploring avenues to provide mentoring during and after the training.

The problem of trainees not pursuing the work as practitioners…

Again, looking at my own experiences…  When you graduate as a PT, a massage practitioner, a yoga instructor, there are so many places you could work—hospitals, clinics, health clubs, spas, resorts, schools.  But when you graduate as a Feldenkrais practitioner,you are looking at being self-employed.  I myself have worked as an independent contractor as an actor, but have never tried to run my own business.  In order to be successful, I will need information about how to start and maintain my own practice.  There is so much I don’t know:  how to write a business plan, how to set my self up as a small business, what permits will I need?  what insurance?  How can I market myself successfully?  What about local, state, and federal taxes?  What’s the difference between sole proprietorship and and LLC and which is the better option?  The list goes on.  Including education about how to run a business seems to be a crucial part of creating conditions that will foster more successful practitioners.

Finally the problem of differing needs within the training.  You can’t be all things to all people.  Perhaps we need intensive workshops, separate and different from a practitioner training, available to students who wish to explore the Method more deeply for their own growth and healing but who are not interested in teaching others.  This would allow the actual practitioner training programs to be more rigorous.  (It can be very frustrating in a training to work on a group project with a trainee who has little or no interest in learning how to teach ATM or FI…)

I look forward to the ongoing discussion.  Thank you.

By Beth A Cooper on 03/20/2012

Most important.  No matter what training, in any science, modality, school, art or otherwise, people will always drop out for some reason.  That is no reason for changing those programs and models of education.  The same applies to us.

I do not agree that a person who has only completed two years of training should be considered competent in teaching ATMs.  There is a lot I learnt in the last two years that was of great benefit in my teaching ATMs and that we cannot reduce the standards that Moshe Feldenkrais established in his development of training individuals in the method. 
ATM teaching is to be able to identify those that need individual help and be able to offer that component to the student if required.
Many people have to make a lot of sacrifices to be able to become fully qualified, and I do not feel that creating some other form of training for the sake of a few who will not, or cannot complete a training. 
Some people do not continue with their development after a training, however, this may be due to them finding that it has led them to some other direction that the training made them aware of or produced an inspiration that made them change direction, or seem to.  It may be that without that training they may never have discovered their direction.  So really we cannot make judgements and change things around just because a few drop out, or do not continue.

By thomas Vudrag cfp on 03/20/2012

Reading the proposal and responses gives me a overview of a community working together. what is common for this community? our basic training. this will change after pouring in a new trend of learning and graduating. i think it will create 2 communities, and i’m not sure it will act to the benefit of all of us.
I also think that change in the basic training should evolve and maybe this is an opportunity for practitioners to post their opinions, most of which welcome a change.
A.T.M and F.I are bound together. to my understanding and experience they derive from each other and feed each other at the same time. understanding ATM with no hands-on implementation will build a different attitude. the question is: is our community ready for two different basic approaches?

By tamar weil on 03/21/2012

From my experience the ability to understand and comprehend the Feldenkrais method is related to a process that takes time. For me the 4 years program (especially the last two)  not only enriched my understanding between FI and ATM lessons but also deepened my understanding of ATM.  Our profession is where it is today because of a high standard. Reducing training will result in losing recognition that was gained through serious work done by serious people.

By Gaby Hagity on 03/21/2012

Great conversation. I can see both points of view and it is a quite a dilemma for me. I support the basic ‘stand-alone’ ATM training as I am keen to see our work made more available to the general public. However I don’t believe 2 years plus 14 days is sufficient. I have noticed that so many graduates (‘emerging practitioners’) still feel they are floundering and have not deeply understood the essence of the work or how to apply it. Safety is the ultimate consideration - people with pain and injuries do and should be able to attend our classes with confidence. In my opionion at least 3 years is needed and at least some experience with FI / handling should be included in that.
Jodie
Perth Western Australia

By Jodie Krantz on 03/21/2012

I take note of the esteemed colleagues who put forth this proposal, mostly trainers or assistant trainers, and many of my favorites.  It occurs to me that they have the position to better observe the path of current trainees, and this proposal requires serious consideration.  Nevertheless, I have numerous questions and concerns.  Does this proposal fit with the long term, world -view for the Feldenkrais method? I suspect that those who stop at two years to teach ATM only, will do so whether or not they gain a more prestigious title than “student teacher.”  Although the reasons provided for the proposal seem sound, I wonder if lagging numbers in trainings has unduly influenced this proposal?  More people teaching ATM would not help spread The Method if the teachers did not comprehensively understand and embody the work, and four years only provides a start on that in my opinion.  Additionally, if this proposal passed, why have only trainers teach the extra 15 days of ATM emersion?  Why not have a general certified practitioner who has taught ATM exclusively, year in and year out for ten years or more teach that part from an agreed upon format?  If this change aims to make The Method more widely available, wouldn’t wider utilization of general practitioners help The Method to spread far and wide better than trainees having to go to where the less-in-number trainers work? 

I do not involve myself with trainings anymore, but it seems to me something has gone amiss if a steady decline of trainees has happened, which seems like one of the motivating factors behind this proposal.  I wonder if certifying for half of The Method will correct what ails this situation?  I wonder how a person who has not had a full training would perform guiding movements with their hands during ATM?  How many of Moshe’s original students went on to only teach ATM and not work with all aspects of The Method?  Has that ratio changed?  If so, why?

I believe the “in between” state of trainings, calling them “professional” yet not requiring anatomy for instance (and more) has condemned The Method to struggle for participation and recognition all along, not to mention having a cumbersome and outmoded form of governance. Let us not forget that Moshe himself looked at the students after three years and decided on the necessity of a fourth year.  “Trying out” this proposal for a number of years and then reverting to the previous format would appear “flakey” in my opinion, it would damage what credibility we have managed to generate now.  I suspect this proposal would cheapen The Method, not improve it.  I do believe change in training structure needs to happen, but my move would consist of making trainings more professional, not less.

Respectfully,

Pamela Lewis

By Pamela Lewis on 03/21/2012

I have many reservations about the 2 year ATM teacher training proposal. Rather than write a long letter that few will read, I am going to focus on just one aspect. Why are so many graduates so insecure? Because if that is not addressed effectively, then there will just be a lot more insecure people with certificates doing little to promote the method.

Many times over the years, I have heard trainers say to their trainees, start when you feel comfortable, but maybe that’s been taken too far. Because you cannot always be comfortable, there’s a lot to be said for being uncomfortable and doing something anyway.

As a person who has learned (sometimes uncomfortably) to make my living over the last 20 years teaching ATM, workshops and doing up to 26 FI’s a week, I can say this unequivocally—I learned to teach ATM by teaching ATM and I learned to give effective FI’s by giving FI’s. The training program was necessary, some advanced trainings were very helpful, but when it comes to delivering consistent results—working with paying students with (gasp!) real problems is essential.

Before we start an irreversible ten year experiment, I would prefer that the FGNA do an annual survey of 2nd, 3rd and 4th year students to assess their subjective experience of readiness to teach ATM, and FI and as well as their level of interest in doing so. Doing this for two or three years, might give us the kind of information we need before making such a big change which has so many other issues attached to it.

Kevin Creedon

By Kevin Creedon on 03/22/2012

I know there may be a difference in opinion on this topic; some for it and some against it.  I can say from experience being a graduate of a training allowing practitioners shorter programs that teach the participants to be ATM teachers…  It does work.  You have to visit Anat Baniel’s training to see the differences.  Her shorter time formula of teaching group classes (atm we call it) or tml she calls it-does work!  She has transformed the educational model to the next level!  Call me and I can explain in details Ray Burns in Michigan.

By Ray Burns on 03/22/2012

Dear Colleagues,

I have just read the new proposal for the Stand Alone Awareness through Movement® Teacher Certification and honestly, I’m not sure where to begin. 

I believe that our work can always benefit from new ideas and we should always be proactive in considering all the possibilities.  Just like in movement, where we would not eliminate a pattern of action, any new proposal needs to be considered as a prospect for our futures.

In the case of this particular proposal I am both confused and concerned about the reasons claimed for attempting to create a process like this (and I want to be clear, I am not against it as an idea, I just don’t see the justification for it as it is represented).  I am concerned about this as a process educationally and I am confused by the arguments presented for explaining the need for this format of training.

I have been very involved in the training community since the mid-80’s as an organizer, Assistant Trainer, Trainer and Educational Director.  I have taught in and directed programs on 4 continents, in over 10 countries, in over 40 programs and I am a current member of 5 Guilds.
In all my years of teaching, at all levels, I have had less than ½ dozen people say they were only interested in only being an ATM teacher (and they all finished the training and were glad they did).  I can only wonder at the Rationale stating that there are people out there who just want to be ATM teachers.  Enough to justify a training solely for this purpose?  How come I have never heard this before?

I agree that trainings have become smaller and that there could be many more ATM classes available to the public.  But to say a new training like this will ‘hopefully’ make a difference, is just that, hopeful, but not based on anything concrete.

And the number of people who want to be ‘join’ the community again…how many can there be?  I would bet that most of them left the training for other reasons than not wanting to learn FI.  The idea of including them again is a great sentiment but if more than 20 people returned to the fold I would be surprised.

As to an Educational Director’s dilemma with ‘sub par’ trainees, really, is this such a dilemma? Create a personal program for them, or don’t graduate them, I have done both and have felt fine about my choices.  But this is no reason for creating a whole new certification, and again, how many people are there who are both sub par and also want to teach ATM?
In fact I doubt that a 2-year certification will prepare people more than they already are prepared.  When doing a 4-year program there is the chance to continue the development and inquiry of teaching ATM.  To say 2 years is enough is, well, I just don’t know where this line of reasoning comes from.

There were many times Moshe said something like, ‘And now I am going to tell you about…explain…describe…FI’.  But he never once said, and now I am going to explain the structure of ATM (and I have asked everyone I know who might know).  If we look back at our trainings historically, most ‘training’ for teaching ATM came out of doing a lot of ATM.  Sure there was always a little bit of time spent on themes, strategies and things of this nature, but basically there was very little done to help trainees understand the actual process and structure of ATM.  This is the equivalent of eating a lot of meals and thinking from that, one knows how to cook.  It’s almost silly.  Sure we all learned a lot from doing ATM, but most of how we learned it was by teaching it.

I think trainings today are doing a better job of it.  But there is nothing in this proposal that leads me to think that anything significant will change in how people are taught to be ATM teachers.  There is the option for an ATM only course (A 2nd Track to ATM only Certification) and this, to my mind, has the most merit.  In a course like this we could focus solely on ATM, its structures, how to teach, etc.  But to do the first two years of a training as they exist now and then just another 15 days, will neither create better ATM teachers nor create the market for more public classes.

This proposal seems to have answered the questions of how to include and recognize someone going through this process, whether re-joining the community or a period of eligibility or even continuing onto with learning FI.  But there is absolutely nothing that shows that there is a real need (nor the real curriculum) to manifest something like this.

As I said earlier, from an educational point of view, I am concerned and I am also concerned from a logistical frame of reference.  I am trying to imagine how this would impact my trainings.  If a significant number of people left after two years would I have enough trainees left to continue in years 3 and 4, with an even smaller student teacher ratio?  You have already stated that trainings have become smaller…wouldn’t this make them smaller still? 

Educational Directors introduce FI in different ways and in different timing.  I begin with it in year 1.  So would I now leave this out of my curriculum and not waste the time of the ATM only participants?  Only to begin FI in year 3?  That would be an even bigger waste of time!  I need the four years to help people develop their sense of touch, their thinking, and their self-use.

The Rationale, as stated, leaves too many questions unanswered.  For some this package may seem to have some pretty bows on it, but upon opening the box, it seems pretty empty to me.
Our ATM requirements have been in place for a long time, as was stated.  Let’s change them!  But let’s do it with more thought and preparation than just how to qualify people in hours, or just hoping that this will create more classes and better teachers.  Let’s come up with a new training format that would really attract people to it, one that would even be useful for practitioners.

I really wish I better understood the reasoning for the proposal as it stands, but as it is, I cannot support it.  And if you have the smallest bit of the same feeling, please make it public, write about it, post it, even if you only say, ‘No, I don’t like it, work on it some more’.  That would be plenty.
yours truly,
Alan Questel

By Alan Questel on 03/22/2012

I am against this proposal:
1. As several have stated, there is much learning about ATM during the final 2 years.  There is much interaction in the learning of FI and ATM. 
2. Teaching a class visually and verbally, ie. ATM, requires the skills acquired in learning and practicing FI.  Teaching without these skill would lead to the rote recitation of lesson instructions.
3. The general public barely knows this method, whether it required a week-end class or came on the back of a cereal box.  They would never differentiate an “ATM teacher” from a full practitioner.
4. If someone only wants to teach ATM or if the ED feels they lack skills in FI let this flavor the usual training program for that individual, don’t create a new species.  Thank you, Jim Gallanty

By Jim Gallanty on 03/22/2012

I’m excited about this discussion and the potential for change. I think if this is handled well, it can push us toward a new kind of excellence.  I believe that ALL students in training programs who want to be ATM teachers should go through the extra 3 weeks of teacher training, whether or not they plan to continue training for four years. ATM class is often a person’s (the public’s) first introduction to Feldenkrais and we should do everything possible to insure that everyone who wants to teach ATM has all the skills and resources to do it well, to teach themselves how do it better, and to regularly re-assess their skills and make a plan for how they might continue to improve. I still work hard, in a disciplined and focused way, to be a better ATM teacher, even after all these years, because I plan to be a better teacher next week than I am this week. Maybe I would have become a good teacher anyway, just with time and repetition. But, in my training I learned about the value of having a clear intention and I’m clear about this: good ATM teachers are good for all of us.

I’m much less enthusiastic about this proposal from a practical standpoint.  I’m imagining our future and I have all kinds of questions about what this may mean for the training process and for our community. For instance, will the content or sequence of the trainings change? Will there be much less FI practice in the first two years to satisfy the folks who have no interest in becoming “full” practitioners?  What happens if the majority of people in a training stop after two years? Will the shrunken training fold up? Will the remaining four-year students have to search out another program? Will some trainings deliberately become simply two-year ATM trainings? Will trainings therefore graduate many fewer practitioners? What will happen with FGNA dues? Will ATM teachers pay the same dues or less? Will FGNA survive financially if many fewer new “full” practitioners begin to practice? Will FGNA flourish because all the ATM teachers are paying dues? What will happen at the conference? Will ATM teachers be able to take FI workshops or will they be excluded?  Will experienced practitioners be comfortable practicing with them? Will there be special ATM teacher workshops? Will our community develop some kind of unfortunate social and/or professional hierarchy – maybe the ATM teachers feeling that their ATM skills are so much more developed than those “generalists” who do a little of this and a little of that?  Will the four-year people waste energy convincing themselves and others of their superior understanding of the method? Is our community large enough to support another level of complexity?

I think Kevin Creedon’s idea about a student survey is fantastic and practical. While we’re debating the merits of this proposal, let’s find out how many students currently in training programs feel prepared to teach, and also how many would embrace the two-year option were it available now. Then, we can project into the future and run the financial numbers.  Let us be creative but also sensible.

By Candy Conino on 03/23/2012

While both ATM and FI are functional modes of the Feldenkrais Method, and can independently provide excellent results, from teaching both I sense that both are critical to the integrity of the work. I do not look forward to a day when an ATM teacher is not also an FI teacher by training and qualification. If such a day comes, I think three years needs to be a minimum training for an ATM Only teacher. I know that two years of very good training did not make me a highly competent ATM teacher, and I had other teaching experience.

Regardless of whether a trainee will one day use the Feldenkrais Method to teach FI or ATM or both or neither, both modalities are aspects of a whole that includes both. Teaching in one modality, increases our understanding of the other modality, our understanding of the Method, and our capacity to deliver effective lessons in both.

By Margot Schaal on 03/23/2012

It would be nice to get a wider audience for the Feldenkrais Method. People would benefit from it. A field that has gained a wider audience over the last 30 years is yoga. I remember teaching it way back in London and Amsterdam, and being considered rather odd. Presently there are lots of yoga teachers, good and bad. There are all kinds of trainings that give out certificates, and you can even teach without a certificate. It is up to the public to figure out which ones benefit them. So, I can see, that maybe the Feldenkrais Method might begin to blossom among a larger audience if we took away the restrictions and standards for practicing, and the protection of the method. I have heard of practitioners wanting to make AY public domain!
And I would ask: if a person is going to teach only ATM, why be so protective? Of course this is an inflammatory idea. But, frankly, if people go through only part of the training, and only want to teach ATM, why, what is there to be so protective about?

It is my opinion that a practitioner who goes through the 4 year training, has a much deeper understanding of ATM, is much more deeply informed than a person who only does two years, (depending on talent and intelligence). Therefore, if we want to hold the status and profession of the Feldenkrais teacher in honor, I think we should not shorten the training in favor of exclusively ATM teaching. So, I mean to say: either dilute it and then you might as well open it wide, let anybody (the very talented and the not-so-talented) teach Feldenkrais, or, enhance it, and refine it based on current standards.

By Yvonne Apol on 03/23/2012

I feel most people that go into this line of work, are lifelong learners.  The ones that are not will fall by the wayside. 

I believe we need to get more people teaching the work, and let it grow exponentially.  I have taught this work with my Pilates since 1999, never really teaching “pure” Pilates, but a flair of ATM.  When I first learned of ATM, I had no idea there was hands on or FI work.
People are quick to learn, as we all do the movement lessons to learn, it is experiential.
Add more people to the profession, get the word out and most will follow through with the whole 4 year training.  Anat Baniel, Mia Segal and Ruthy Alon have developed systems of learning that trust the new student, to a point!  At that point most carry on learning longer!

By Karen Toth on 03/23/2012

I think ATM could be taught much sooner.  Of course that is if the education directors re-shuffle the order and which AY lessons they teach.  My sense is the education model still in use today was developed by a group of select people, pushed into creating an educational model because Moshe became ill while teaching at Amherst, not being able to finish teaching.  This model is outdated.  The educational model was changed or challenged by Mia Segal and Anat Baniel; both changing their educational models.  I’ve trained under Anat and have taken post training from Mia.  Give them credit.  They are on to something.  Chair lesson can be taught right away to seniors if the students are exposed to certain AY lessons that focus on the head-pelvis connection.  This work is way to valuable to the world and needs to be out there.  Knock down the walls within our own organization.

By Ray Burns on 03/23/2012

In my humble opinion, I think that ATM and FI are well linked, and in reality ATM teachers need FI to find the complex movement within ATM Lessons, In fact some present day FM practitioners do very well in solving the riddle, the key movement within the ATM, not by showing or doing the movement for the student but by addressing the student’s central nervous system, non-verbally, thus allowing the student to find the answer him or her self, which can be quite a ecstatic revelation. Judging by the height of this accomplishment, an mere ATM teacher is but half a creature. The real skill is in the FI, but it must needs an ATM to solve.

Of course in all this we have the matter of ‘touch’. I can’t imagine an no-touch ATM teacher, There must be touch somewhere in this business. In my long ago Gindler training, avant de la Feldenkrais, we touched from the get go. Touch must be learnt. I learnt some important touching skills in Gindler. Still,the FM is the summit of touching. That is where the magic is.

I am oppossed to this bi-furcation proposal. {JQ}

By John F. Quinn on 03/23/2012

I appreciate the thoughtfulness of this group in their desire to respond with more flexibility to the different ways people come to trainings and go forwards from them. Unfortunately it’s hard to see how this shift wouldn’t work given the gradual learning of the community that introducing FI early in the training is better than leaving it to year 3. Would this not shift trainings back in the direction of 2 years on ATM and 2 years on FI?

I don’t think the arguments about increasing ATM teaching in communities and growing trainings (or keeping them from shrinking) are the strongest ones. If we start from those issues and problem-solve around them, I don’t think we’d come up with this specific solution (compared to all the other issues with trainings that could be addressed).

My thanks to everyone involved for investing energy and thought in improving the community and the dissemination of the method, and creating lines of communication for discussion.

-Lynette

By Lynette Reid on 03/24/2012

I studied with Moshe. He did not see FI and ATM as separate. I see them as part of the same: The Feldenkrais Method. To have an only ATM training makes me question the understanding of the Feldenkrais Method by those who propose this.

By Patrick Douce on 03/24/2012

Is the idea to reduce our method into some sort of an exercise program?

By Patrick Douce on 03/24/2012

Regarding the ATM stand alone training proposal:
ATM + FI = Two hands clapping
ATM alone= Nothing
In many trainings, including my own( the last one Mark Reese did) experiencing oneself while traversing developmental ATMs formed the basis for the first half of the training, which opened into FI during the second half.  The expansion of personal experience formed the basis for teaching others.  To develop oneself, and then from that experience develop professional skill.  If there is a ‘need’ for more ATM classes, reward existing practitioners to increase how many they teach.  Our professional has a great deal of latent unused potential. ATM and FI are two sides of the same coin.
I do not support this proposal.

By Sissel Svanoe Rhyme on 03/24/2012

I agree with Laurie Paris, and I’ve had a somewhat simililar development more toward ATM than FI in my practice.  Everything I do in my work is steeped in the educational philosophy of the Feldenkrais Method, so I proudly call myself a Feldenkrais Practitioner, and I have regularly taught ATM since I graduated in 1997.  I don’t think I’ll ever have the same talents in FI work as I do in ATM and general movement education.  I’d like the opportunity to stay inside the Feldenkrais Method and focus where my true talent lies, rather than forcing myself into an competancy that demands the same skill levels for ATM and for FI, which I do not naturally posses. 

I think 7 years is too long, though to say that one could still be fresh in ATM training, unless it is obviously been used and practiced that whole time.

By Lori Sweet on 03/24/2012

Please do not cut our baby in two!

It is true that most of us , after only 2 years in the course, feel insecure about the hands on intuitive FI which demands a great deal of experience. Most of us (if not all of us) had the same feeling of insecurity at the end of our course. We were, however, better equipped to find our way to becoming FI teachers. I therefore understand the demand for the change, especially from trainees.

I feel sure that if would be an irreversible mistake to make the proposed change. A mistake which I am afraid we will all regret. I certainly hope we will not fall into this trap

I know that for myself, the more FIs I give, the better ATM teacher I become. It is not enough to merely listen to a CD or read the written instructions from a manual and then repeat them. One has to feel the movement of one’s own and other bodies to be able to communicate the alternatives coherently.

Feldenkrais is not a form of exercise.  It is communicating of the body with the brain. We all know deep down that the training course is too short! Not too long.

If a teacher chooses not to practice FI on completion of the course, that is his choice.
For my part that makes him a poorer ATM teacher. Such a person is less likely to participate in post graduate training programs and is more likely to see his work only as a source of income and not as a calling.

To claim that physical problems preclude the possibility to give FI is not entirely true. One needs only to view on You-Tube the work of Paul Doron Doroftei, the Feldenkrais teacher with CP, to know that anything is possible with our system. It is all about finding another way (Is that not so?) Most of us come to the profession from some physical adversity. It is overcoming that adversity that makes us better teachers.

In conclusion, Moshe Feldenkrais taught us that FI and ATM are one and the same.
I hope we learn the biblical lesson from King Solomon the Wise, and refuse to sever our baby in two

Eddie Solow. “The Fountain of Youth Feldenkrais Centre”. Kibbutz Yizrael. Israel -  http://www.free-moves.com

By Eddie Solow on 03/24/2012

Standing ovation to you Alan Questel - very well said !!!!!!! I made the following comment to this group March 18th—- My concern is that Feldenkrais’s intention be at it’s best; be realised by FM graduates having an understanding of the methodology of the FM. There is an obvious need for time for the gathering up of kineasthetic tools as well fine tuning and sharpening up of the senses for many students who first enter training programs. An important requisite well before considering giving a qualification for ‘teaching ATM’ is learning how to apply cognitively new levels of kineasthetic knowlege.(If and only if that kinaesthetic knowledge is attained (but that is not measurable)  Premature ‘Qualifications’ given at a time when students still do not have any real ability to articulate what they know about the methodology or the meaning of the work. Let alone ‘really’ knowing (what does that mean???) HOW to teach ATM or do we continue to graduate some who only know how to imitate or copy someone else’s lessons. I say 4yrs study before teaching ATM…........to produce more aware ATM teachers…...... There must be a good metaphor for a warning of weakening the essential essence of a miracle medicine that stops only the miracle when the medicine is given

By Kim Wise on 03/25/2012

for many of the reasons already stated by more illustrious and knowledgeable practitioners than myself, i totally disagree with the proposal to separate the ATM path from the full training.  once people are finished a training, they are completely free to chose to teach only ATM or they may surprise themselves and become interested in FI as well.  this happened to me personally, and i love to give FI’s now, make a comfortable living at it, enhance my ATM skills with it, which enhances my FI skills.  let’s not make this change which i think over all will dilute rather than enhance the tremendous power of our beloved method!

bonnie angelie RN GCFP CBFL teacher
tucson, arizona

By bonnie angelie on 03/25/2012

I agree with Alan Questal’s comments.  The reasons given for this proposal are tenuous and contradictory.

How many practitioners only want to teach ATM ?
How many teach only ATM because they lack the confidence to teach FI ?

I know plenty of the latter.  This proposal side steps this issue.
I believe public awareness of the Method will grow when we have greater numbers of confident, competent practitioners.
The more that people experience the Method, the larger the pool of people likely to be interested in Training.  And 800 hours is not much - massage therapists do as much.   

I’m concerned about a reduced training diluting the Method, and affecting the quality of what is offered to the public.

I’ve spent a substantial amount of time at trainings other than my own, and believe trainings are improving.  I’ve seen some trainers being more creative about helping students understand function , engage in the FI process,  and be less fearful about being in the unknown.    How about requiring (not just encouraging) trainees to build FI experience (in study groups/with friends..) in between training segments.    Experience is a great teacher.

I also like the idea of internships , providing an opportunity for an intermediate stage between new graduate and “professional”.

By Sue Field on 03/26/2012

Dear All,

I must say that I find the entire issue off the mark. As long as there are no competencies and ways to assess these competencies in our work then the number days 95,55 72.5 ,185 are meaningless and random.

If you want to get people out faster and have more on the market why not make the entire training 90 days like Anat and Mia ( or choose another number).  This way you have more teachers and not only doing ATM but also FI. Can anyone assess of Anat’s graduates at 90 or Mia’s are any better or worse at FI or ATM teaching. Any reasoning pro and con are useless unless we have ways to assess and competencies that we access.

Anyone who has been in the community for any period of time knows that this is essential for any real forward movement in the FM locally and internationally.

I do not think this approach of an ATM teacher training will solve anything.

This is my opinion.

Best,
Jeremy

By Jeremy Krauss on 03/27/2012

What an interesting discussion. I enjoy very much following it. Many here reject the idea of separating ATM certification from the whole. Three years ago, I was one among several people in Germany who argued for exactly this in Eutony Gerda Alexander®: to separate the certification to teach groups (Eutony GA Teacher) from the full training to a Eutony GA Therapist. And we succeeded and many, me among them, now enjoy the new certification. The ‘old ones’ had a very hard time letting go of the previous certification procedure. But there are more Eutony GA classes now.

My arguments were the same as they are for our situation: the length of the training will not necessarily guarantee confident and competent practitioners. And there are today ‘good’ and ‘bad’ Feldies with 4 year graduations, as everyone knows. This cannot be prevented by making people attend a certain amount of hours spread over 4 years. There is no way to guarantee personal growth. But to want to determine who can do something and who can’t can be tricky. I have heard incidents where trainers show students how to do movements ‘right’ and yell when they do it ‘wrong’ - which I found not in accordance with my understanding of our Method. So who is judging whom - and with what competence?

Several people here have said that they learned teaching ATM by teaching ATM - and I agree. I couldn’t agree more! We learn by doing, some learn more because they are interested in deeper ways, some learn faster, some slower. I also believe that we attract the people who are interested in what we offer. I will never teach a class to olympic athletes, and that’s alright.

I personally prefer teaching ATM because it is more empowering to the participants in my opinion. I can give ‘homework’, have people explore activities that are of interest to them and we have an exchange about that. I also find that when people share their experiences in class, others listen in another way that if it is me (the practitioner) telling the recipient anything or asking questions. The peer level again instigates another level of responsibility and ownership, one that I am interested in. In FI, there is often that expectation of: “Do it for me. You fix me. You show me.” In ATM, a set of movements is presented and people will own their discoveries. I myself benefited much more from ATMs than the FIs I received. Even in an ATM that was badly presented, I could make worthwhile discoveries - because the movement structures were there, even if the teacher just read it from AY, and even with horrid timing. So what exactly is a “bad ATM teacher”? What makes a “good” ATM teacher? - Irene had the example of the 8 month pregnant lady joining the class unexpectedly. Yes, this adaptation will require experience, but this experience is not provided in our trainings as they are now. This experience comes from teaching ATMs, many ATMs, mistakes and learning, - and maybe from future ATM teaching workshops where such issues are looked at.

If we maintain our somewhat elitist attitude, I am afraid that there will be more decline in our numbers as practitioners. People will just take what ideas they like and use or integrate them into what they are doing already. No one can stop them, as long as they don’t call it our trademarked name, but we can lose movement teacher who would otherwise help promote our method. Here in New Mexico, our number has shrunk from when I was newsletter editor 2003 - 2005 from 47 to now 22, of which 2 are ATM teachers only and 5 are trainers;- and we have constantly training programs in this state since 1994. Doesn’t this suggest to you that something is not going as intended?

A well planned ATM training program and separate certification could very well spread the use of movement to become aware of oneself. I feel we should trust more in the ingenuity of Moshe’s lessons. We are so lucky to have so much written material today that is the basis for ATM classes. People with the ATM certification will probably not invent their own lessons for a while, but they can let others learn while they themselves learn by doing, as several of you - and me - have described.

By Cornelia Sachs on 03/27/2012

I’m involved in sponsoring Feldenkrais Training Programs in Germany for more than two decades and have organized some 20 FPTPs over these years.

I reject the proposal as I think it will not further our method in any way but much rather will out in down in the longer run.

Here are my reactions:

Initial thoughts

Aspects of the foundation of the Feldenkrais Method in our society:

The Feldenkrais trademarks can, at least in Germany, not be legally protected. This is probably true
for other European Countries as well, if the trademarks would be challenged in front of a court
there.
So we actually can’t hinder anybody to teach ATM, even people without any TAB-Training could do
this.
Right now we have a certain protection by the public opinion that people offering Feldenkrais, who
are trained so they can be member of the national Guild, are the ones who are really able to do this.
This public opinion results a lot in the long time we expose our trainees to the method before they
can fully go out and teach the Feldenkrais Method.
If we weakened this up by adding a second (lower) level of certification we might lose the above
public opinion.

Pedagogical Aspects

Having seen many hundreds of people going through the process of becoming a Feldenkrais
Practitioner I see that the level of understanding function at the end of year two, when students are
eligible to become student-teachers of ATM, is actually pretty poor.
Actually we tell our students frequently that the possibility to be a student-teacher is meant to be
part of the training process for them to deepen their understanding, test themselves in the public and
be able to come back to the next segments with further questions about their ATM teaching.
One could make the point that we might need to use different teaching strategies which would
further the students to have a better understanding by the end of year two plus adding another 15
days of ATM-certification.
I doubt that this could work. Of course I see options for enhancing and developing the current
training programs, yet I see that the understanding of function is only slowly developed over many
years.
A lot of this understanding of function is developed through a deeper understanding of Functional
Integration as well as being exposed to ATM for the second half of the training as well. Especially
the more complex ATM-series are usually taught in the last two years of the training, woven in
between different aspects of Functional Integration. All this together enables the students to get a
deeper sense of what we mean with function and slowly be able to understand the ATMs as well
instead of just teaching them “from the book”.

Response to the “Rationale” of the Proposal

“Many students are only interested in teaching ATM. Some have little or no interest in FI”

I actually do not have this impression. There are a few trainees for whom this might be true, but I
only remember two over the last 20 years who explicitly told me this.

“There are fewer students in trainings currently in the US.”

Is this an argument for the change? What would we do if the numbers in the ATM-teacher courses
would lower again? Add a one-year track for only teaching certain ATMs?

“There are too few ATM classes generally available.”

This is also no pro-argument, it is just an assumption, not being documented at all. If it is true, I
would think we can understand this with general economic understanding of supply and demand
much rather than with the number of people being eligible to teach ATM.

“There are many students who have previously completed two years of training who would then
be able to join the community and teach ATM.”

Again an assumption without any documentation.
From my experience of having organized and administrated almost 20 training program over the
last two decades, this is not true. People usually drop out during the first year of the program,
students who continued with year two usually stay until graduation, although they might not be able
to finish the training in 4 years. I can only recall two students who have finished year two and did
not continue with the training.

“We would argue that a broader group of people can competently teach ATM than can master
Functional Integration®.”

This might be true.
Again my argument would be about the public opinion of the method. I think the better qualified
people representing the method are, the more likely we will gain social acceptance in our
community.
Again: I think two years of training is not enough to understand ATM.

“However today hundreds of people in the US competently teach only ATM and do no FI”

My question again: Where do these numbers come from? And if they are true would that be an
argument for lowering the educational standard?

“...is an FI focused training the best use of their time in terms of becoming competent ATM
teachers?”

It is simply not true, that the second half of the training is only FI focused. Of course there is a
stronger emphasis on FI during the last two years, but ATM is still taught during year three and four
and after the students had some ATM-teaching practice.

Patrick

By Patrick gruner on 03/28/2012

I’m troubled by the use of the word ‘aptitude’. Does it belong anywhere near a discussion of Feldenkrais training?

It’s especially troubling when – certainly when I did my training – there were no objective measures of success. Who is going to decide who has aptitude, and how?

If the issue being addressed is a drop in enrollment for training programs – fair enough – but I think it’s best to be clear about that; not treat any potential change as an accommodation for people who lack “aptitude.”

ATM was my primary interest when I did my training, and it still is. However if I’m a good teacher it’s because I did the whole four years, and experienced a profound change in my habits. This could not have happened in a shorter time. Also, we were introduced to so many ATMs that I feel I equipped to teach a wide selection of them. How could you possibly do all those lessons in two years ... or have enough time to see connections between them?

I don’t do a lot of FIs, but being trained to do them helps me respond to a class more spontaneously and more confidently, rather than just delivering the lesson as a mechanical series of prompts.

I do like the idea of making the trainings more flexible and open to people who only want to teach ATM (or for that matter just understand the method better); however, chopping the training in half is not the answer. Would it be possible for some people to train less intensively (to audit certain aspects of the training), and alter their fees accordingly?

Also, I do think that if some people are specializing in ATM teaching the “trainer” role should include more people who work exclusively with the public and make ATM teaching the main focus of their practice.

By Maria Meindl on 03/29/2012

I do not know the circumstances that have bought a group of North Americans, some of whom I know and value, to the place of submitting their proposal. It does seem to me there is a desire to once again perturb the waters in the hope the momentum for change will pick up and “something” will happen. However the work of making this change does not rest with the writers of the proposal but with the community at large and, within that community, their elected representatives. It is they who must undertake the bulk of the work emanating from the writers’ desires. And the work is huge. I feel for the members of the TABs and the executive bodies to whom they relate.

I wonder how we would view the proposal if it had been written with a pedagogical rationale, a report on the outcomes of a trial, collations of numbers of people resigning from programs before graduation and the number of those people who want to teach ATM.  This has not been done. Is it too much work?

Can ATM be it’s all without FI and vice versa? Will classes fill and proliferate because there are more ATM teachers? Or will they fill and proliferate if the ATM teachers capture the interest of the participants who value the benefits?  What type of learning environment best facilitates trainees to learn to engender the learning to learn processes in their future clientele? What standard of ATM delivery do educational directors choose in graduating trainees as competent practitioners of ATM? What I am asking is “What is required of a practitioner of the Method to competently offer ATM”.  Had a rationale relating to the answers to this question been included in the proposal (or even a best guess scenario) we, the community would be assured of the intentions of the writers and be able to offer an opinion on something more concrete than a wish to do something because it will produce more guild members, be inclusive and shorten training times (apart from the maybes and hopefullys).

I have always understood specialisation to be a postgraduate process. I believe this choice rests with the individual. My highest-level intention is to protect the integrity of the Feldenkrais Method. By this I do not mean to stultify the work in unchanging, uninteresting, boring stagnation.  But, I do not understand the claim that a supposed quick fix change implemented and then trialled for 10 years is reversible. Our history shows the exact opposite.

It took a number of readings of the proposal for me to sort out what was actually being proposed. I came to the conclusion that the proposal suggests
•  Graduation of trainees within an 800-hour/4 year FPTP as ATM teachers after 400 hours as long as an additional 15days dedicated ATM teaching is undertaken.
•  ATM-only FPTPS of 445hours (no outline of curriculum, strategies, standards of competence)
•  Retrospective certification of non graduates who meet the above criteria
•  More latitude for educational directors
I cannot be sure of this because of the circuitous style employed in writing the proposal. I found it easy to understand the proposal was about ATM-only Certification but the content was not arranged in a way I could be sure of exactly what was being suggested.

If I am correct, these suggestions form a desire not a substantive proposal. The content seems to be evidenced by opinion, anecdote and assumption. I can find no pedagogical reasoning in the proposal. Most of the rationale seems to be based on lines of reasoning peppered with non-sequiturs.

I note the proposal is titled “Awareness Through Movement® Teacher Certification Proposal” and outlines classes of individuals who may benefit by being retrospectively certified to teach ATM without completing a TAB accredited FPTP. The addendum titled “A 2nd Track to ATM only Certification’ proposes the creation of “ATM only based training that would adhere to current guidelines, plus the extra days”. The current guidelines require 800 hours of training with authorization to practice ATM as a student teacher in the wider community. Both ATM and FI are “taught” throughout an FPTP. I assume the writers are inferring a 400-hour training plus the extra 15 days. Be that as it may, the most substantial change is proposed as an addendum, and the lesser change, that of retrospective authorization, forms the body of the proposal. What is the intention here? Is the proposal in fact a submission to introduce ATM only based short training and an element to grandfather-in/retrospectively authorize those who would qualify under the suggested system. If so, why not say so


I note too there are many half facts in the proposal. Some examples;
*  “Background   Since the inception of the training accreditation process, it has been a fact that Awareness Through Movement certification was contingent on completing a four-year professional training. “
Actually, it is contingent upon completing a four-year TAB accredited FPTP AND being endorsed by the Educational Director as competent to be a Feldenkrais Practitioner, i.e. graduated by the Educational Director.
*  “Like many aspects of the policy, this element of the policy has not undergone scrutiny or community wide discussion since the establishment of the policy. “
Change to the entire Training Accreditation Policy has been attempted through the TAB/Trainer meetings of 1999 to 2004 and through the International Working Group on Training Policy 2006.

*  “The current policy allows that: After two years of attending a regular four-year training students may become authorized to teach ATM, and this authorization can last for 7 years from the date of the beginning of their training. This permission is contingent on them being “in make-up a from their original training.”
What is not said is that authorization to deliver ATM as a student teacher lapses after one year of not being enrolled in an accredited FPTP. Training to be a Feldenkrais Practitioner must be completed within 7 years. For authorization to continue, the trainee must be enrolled in a program
Whether we are reviewing this proposal or any another, the process we currently use to endorse change is not serving us in my opinion. No matter what is suggested for change in International Training Policy our history shows we rarely implement a change. To date changes have been relatively minor in the Training Accreditation Policy.  This is not due to a TAB predilection to stonewall change.

We have no peak body to which decisions for change to policy internationally can be referred. Hence we are left with a consensus process between the TABs and their governing bodies. That process to date, has been ineffectual, long, time consuming and expensive. I am not suggesting the TABs and there governing bodies are inefficient or ineffectual. Rather the structure of the decision-making processes. Putting the TABs aside for now, we often hear that the Trainer Community would like to instigate change. However, we then find that in fact all the trainers do not agree, but it is a group of trainers who feel so. There is no process or process body through which they can operate as a whole in order to put forward a proposal. All the groupings to date have had an essentially geographical basis. So, whichever way we turn we do not have a peak body or a consultative practitioner body for international decision-making. Were this proposal something I would want to support I still would not feel confident that the proposal could meet with success.

There are many aspects of Training Accreditation Policy I would like to see changed for the benefit of the wider community, our own practitioner base and The Method.

The Training Accreditation process was developed almost immediately after the death of Moshe Feldenkrais when the community was still very small and decisions could be made with relative ease – and under the pressure of do or die.

The current arena is extensively differentiated with a plethora of wants, needs, desires and intentions. I cannot see how consensus can be gained on all aspects of International Training Accreditation Policy when culture, language, law, population numbers, finances, geographical sizes, markets, politics and preferences are so different country to country, Guild to Guild and training arena to training arena. I cannot see how change will be evoked until we change our change process.

Please, can we look at differentiating policy so that local needs are met, national laws and circumstances are observed and international intentions are common? It means time, energy and skill but currently we employ time, energy and skill in a process that is not working well enough. I feel on reading this proposal an overwhelming sadness. Here we go again! - The same wheel – different water flowing through it. For elaboration please see IWG report Part B Chapters 4 and 6.

I am of the opinion that there is not enough substance in this proposal to warrant endorsing it. I for one want change to policy – not this change particularly – but change. I do not believe substantive change is possible until we address the decision-making process.

Chris Lambert 1990
Sydney
Australia

By Chris Lambert on 04/03/2012

Thanks, Chris, for your well thought words.

I was actually just trying to respond to the proposal but deep in my heart I feel that we have to go about the accreditation process in general instead of just pimping the current system here and there.

Patrick

By Patrick Gruner on 04/04/2012

Some more thoughts on the subject:
Perhaps if so many people are reticent about practicing FI, it is time to rethink the way FI is taught.
Also we need to investigate whether trainees fully understand what is involved in the profession before they commence the teachers’ course. Perhaps that is the real issue.
Eddie Solow. “The Fountain of Youth Feldenkrais Centre”. Kibbutz Yizrael. Israel -  http://www.free-moves.com

By Eddie Solow on 04/04/2012

I’m totally against the proposal. I find it offensive for those of us who have invested 4 years of their lives, study, work and considerable expense to become practitioners. Training to in ATMs cannot be separated from training in FIs. 2-year practitioners wouldn’t have as deep an understanding of ATMs and therefore
4-year practitioners would have cheap competitors who would corrupt and degrade the Method and the professionalism we offer it to the public.

Learning and understanding ATMs goes beyond simply learning to move, something which cannot be taught in just 2 years. This proposal looks like a really cheap attempt at finding students for the trainings which are undergoing a shortage of clients – as it’s happening in all sectors – due to the economic downturn.  I believe that anybody who believes in and takes the Method and his profession seriously should speak clearly against this proposal.

Francesco Fabiano
Italy

By Francesco Fabiano on 04/08/2012

This proposal, as presented, is (in my mind and experience) more of an initial concept/idea rather than a full proposal. 

When I first read it, I anticipated that if there was some initial indication of interest to examine this concept further, more work would be done to:
- become really clear about what problem this change is intended to solve and/or what new opportunity is to be created,
- substantiate what is driving this, and
- provide more detail to describe what is envisioned, how it might work, how it effectively addresses the initial problem or opportunity to be created, and what it might mean in a very practical way.
(That is what would make sense to me, anyways, in terms of process.)

I share the concerns stated by Chris Lambert about decision-making capacity:  I am not sure whether/how the Feldenkrais world can make any substantive changes, within the current change policy and process.  It seems that the bigger and more divergent and internationally differentiated our Feldenkrais world becomes, the smaller and less substantive are the changes that we can all agree to through complete consensus.

We do, on the Guild and international level, need to create some better way to change, create, and develop as a profession - while being true to the essential elements and aspects of this work. We do this as individual practitioners.  But it seems to me that we do not have a functional structure to do this as a profession, at this time.

I would be interested to know - what happens from here? 

A concept has been put forward.  In the comments provided above, a wide range of considered thought and ideas have been expressed in relation to that concept.  I am sure this is but a small slice of the full spectrum of thoughts people have on this topic. Lots more work would be required to provide the practical details and substantiation needed to support well-informed choices on this matter.

But that work to flesh out the details would only be worth doing
- IF there is an interest (determined by whom?) to examine this matter further, - IF there is “someone” (who?) willing and able to do the work to flesh out the details, and finally,
- IF there is an actual capacity, interest, and will among decision-makers to consider a substantive kind of change (i.e. not something that just tweaks things on the edges a wee bit).
If that third “IF” is not present, there is no point in doing the other stuff.
 
So - who could help me with this - what DOES happen from here??

thanks -
Violet

By Violet van Hees on 04/08/2012

Another Point of View

Over the last several months, Arlyn Zones, Elizabeth Beringer, Nancy Forst Williamson and I have brainstormed about the possibility of creating an ATM teacher category. We stated in the proposal some of the reasons why we think it would be useful. We have discussed this with numerous trainer colleagues, assistant trainers and practitioners along the way. Some were heated discussions, some friendly open-minded ones. We are a passionate community. Many of these opinions are represented in the on-going discussions.

Included in our talks were the facts that people such as Judith Stransky, Betty Fuller and other ATM teachers were given permission to teach by Moshe and that at one time Moshe was encouraging an ATM only training program.  I believe Ruthy Alon, with Moshe’s encouragement, was going to do this training in Colorado along with other trainers.

I remember way back when, that we as a community, did indeed have an ATM teacher category and it was abolished. I believe this was done because all involved thought that more training is better than less training, and as some have said, ATM and FI are two sides of the same coin. This certainly remains to be true.

I agree with others that more training is better and have always promoted this idea. Those of us that have dedicated our lives to teaching the FM, see that there is always room to improve our abilities and we continue to study and practice.  In addition, I still firmly believe that as a community, we must develop a way to separate graduation from teaching certification, so that we can evaluate our graduates teaching skills.  So far, quality control is something we as a community can improve on.

With that in mind, I have a small hope that if we create this 95 day ATM teacher training we could, from the beginning, separate completion of the 95 days of training from the certification time.  Perhaps, having a teacher training period that includes student-teacher communication and evaluation would improve ATM teaching.  This could be put in place from the beginning of the ATM training. This could even be done with a recorded ATM lesson review process of some kind. The 15 days could also be broken up into two or three segments with practice time in between. This would be up to the ED’s discretion.

Perhaps trainings in general would benefit, because there would be additional pedagogy developed for the teaching of ATM. This proposal also states that it would be up to the Educational Director to embrace this option or not. Therefore, trainings may go on as usual or they could include this ATM teaching option. Or, we could have trainings that are 95 days for ATM teaching only.

I see- as you all do- that ATM teacher trainings are already happening in our community, ie: Bones for Life, and Somatic Education in Canada (in Quebec, ATM teachers are welcomed into their Guild) and others trainings are being developed in addition to these existing ATM trainings.  There are also classes that are being taught by people that have not been formally trained.

It seems that our community has a need for this category of teaching due to the fact that it is already happening. By including this within our Guild we could expand our teaching community instead of watching it splinter into different trainings that are based on the FM. With this ATM teacher category we would have continuing education requirements similar to the ones we have for FI/ATM practitioners.

I strongly want to uphold the standards in our community and want to improve them. This proposal, in my opinion, would not lead to watering down our educational process; rather it would enhance the ATM portion of trainings. Trainees on the FI track may in fact decide to do the additional 15 days of training. The ATM teachers may decide to do the entire program. And people that should not be doing FI may feel proud of the fact that they choose to only teach ATM. This ATM teacher category creates more possibilities for trainers and students. I think more options would benefit our professional community and the general public. I am not in favor of a shorter FI/ATM training. I think the 160 day training is barely adequate.

What if we do an experiment and allow ATM trainings to take place for ten years. Then review the situation and adopt or cancel the policy. We could keep the existing ATM teachers but stop producing more of them. Whatever we see fit at that time.

I think this ATM teacher option would stimulate some creative excitement in our community and it would benefit the communities in which we live to have more ATM classes.

I wonder if our community, a community that promotes self-examination, awareness and change can allow some change within its own structure. I am curious to see the outcome of this proposal.

I would like to add one fact. It is possible for North America to adopt and experiment with this proposal, without the agreement of the international community.

In addition, I have nothing to gain personally or to loose from this proposal. I am satisfied with my professional practice and my experience teaching in trainings. And I am grateful to be part of the Feldenkrais Community. I look forward to further discussion on this topic

By Sincerely, Donna Ray on 04/09/2012

Hi Donna -

Thanks for providing some more background about this proposal.

I am curious about one thing you mention:  “I would like to add one fact. It is possible for North America to adopt and experiment with this proposal, without the agreement of the international community.”

Could you say a bit more about that, and how that might work? 

As stated in my note yesterday, I want to understand what happens from here, when an idea/proposal like this comes forward. If there are options about where/how a proposal like this could be reviewed and adopted, I would like to understand what those options are.

thanks!
Violet

By Violet van Hees on 04/09/2012

Hi Donna,

thanks for your lines. What you describe about the FM splitting up might be true for the US but I think this is not what is happening in Europe.

One of the reasons I see why this is happening is that some of the trainers are fed up with the restrictions of and the impossibility to improve the current TAB system.

We should much rather talk about how to change these structures into a functioning professional system based on quality criteria instead of quantity.

I’m also VERY interested how exactly the NATAB could accept such a proposal without the ETAB and the AUSTAB agreeing to it (within the current system).

I’m absolutely of the opinion that changes of the system must be much easier and I think the international accreditation system as such is absurd.

Patrick

By Patrick Gruner on 04/09/2012

This is what i think about the proposal.
I am completely against it because I believe that the 4 years of training are indispensable to deal with the process of learning and understanding the Method in its entirety and complexity, which means both FIs and ATMs. The two faces of Feldenkrais cannot be considered as separate and I believe that 2 years are not enough to fully understand the process of ATMs. I too believe that this proposal appears to be born more out of the need to find new clients than out of a seriously thought-out examination of the Feldenkrais Method.

By Giorgia Bartolini on 04/11/2012

One more comment from me, before I move back into the background for a while.

I am intrigued that we, as a professional body, seem to have created a web for ourselves in which we seem to be stuck:  We have identified ONE way/structure through which to teach people to become Practitioners of the Feldenkrais work (be that ATM, FI, or both).

Moshe talked about needing at least 3 ways to do something, in order to have choice and the freedom to engage in one’s environment effectively.

With our one training structure, we don’t have choice.  We also don’t know (because we have not experienced other options) whether some other structure could give us equally good or perhaps even better support and function as a profession - and as learning and practicing practitioners.

Whether it is through this proposal, or broader consideration of a “new training format” as mentioned by Alan Questel in his comment, or “a functioning professional system based on quality criteria instead of quantity” as stated by Patrick Gruner above, or other ideas that have come forward here and at other times, there seems to be a key central question: 

How do we give ourselves/our profession the opportunity and freedom to explore different, non-habitual ways to organize our training programs so that we can learn more - through experience - about what other options might also serve us well? 

thanks -

Violet

By Violet van Hees on 04/11/2012

NO we would be watering down the Feldenkrais Method

By David on 04/12/2012

I’m totally against the proposal. I find it offensive for those of us who have invested 4 years of their lives, study, work and considerable expense to become practitioners. Training in ATMs cannot be separated from training in FIs. 2-year practitioners wouldn’t have as deep an understanding of ATMs and therefore 4-year practitioners would have cheap competitors who would corrupt and degrade the Method and the professionalism we offer it to the public with.
Learning and understanding ATMs goes beyond simply learning to move, something which cannot be taught in just 2 years. This proposal looks like a really cheap attempt at finding students for the trainings which are undergoing a shortage of clients – as it’s happening in all sectors – due to the economic downturn.  I believe that anybody who believes in and takes the Method and his profession seriously should speak clearly against this proposal.

By mario pagani on 04/13/2012

No, I don’t agree with it; please, work on it some more.

I would like to share some aspects of the question which I feel more:

1) I think that you should make distinctions between USA and Europe.
USA is one huge country, with hundreds of millions of people.
There is a big difference in the rhythm of growth and spread of the Method in USA, from the one in Italy, or in others European’s nations…
In Italy we are still working to put the foundations. We are not ready to support such a big change!

2) I would ask all the trainers in the world to help the student’s understanding about the meaning of FI.
As far as FM is concerned, we became more aware of ourselves and we know ourselves doing ATM, teaching ATM,    receiving FI and giving FI. When we touch a person during an FI we receive feedback not only from that person, but also   from ourselves. It does not matter if we want/are able   to give or not FI. This part of the training, I think it is very important for the students.

3) Generally speaking, I am concerned about the spread of the FM. I think that it is time for everybody to work on this goal. How can we make the Feldenkrais Method more attractive?

Daniela Ranieri, Milano - Italy

By Daniela Ranieri - Milano Italy - 14 april 2012 on 04/13/2012

My name is Anna Maria Marangi, a practitioner from Turin, Italy. I’d like to state what I think about the proposal for the 2-year ATM training.
I’m against the proposal and here’s why. During my training we were repeatedly taught that change is both ongoing and endless, gradual and that it happens according to our experiences. I believe that after 2 years (80 actual days of training, part of which isn’t actual ATM study), it isn’t possible to speed learning up. Learning ATMs is not learning a bunch of lessons to be repeated but conveying your own experience of learning and of change. The personal and individual quest that over the years each future practitioner undertakes to “feel him/herself” and through him/herself “feel” other people is basic and not immediately gotten. I don’t believe that the fact that we may never teach an FI is relevant. Gearing everything to collect numbers for enrollment is not respectful for those who spent 4 years of their lives and invested money, time and effort.  Maybe the way to get higher enrollment in upcoming trainings could be making the Method more visible to the general public, investing resources in publicizing it as it’s done for other techniques, methods or disciples.  I rarely find people who know what Feldenkrais is, except maybe for occasional physiotherapist or “enlightened” doctors. At least this is the situation here in Italy.
I’d like to thank you for the opportunity to express my opinion.
Sincerely,
Anna Maria Marangi

By anna maria marangi on 04/13/2012

Hi All.

This is the 2nd time I’ve commented, but as I read more and more I can’t help but to propose the following (along with some back story, so be patient in the lead up to a very different suggestion to our community)

//

I want to bring to light a training model and mode of forming an organization that seems to be working and has trainings that are turning away people! (yes, turning away people due to a recent surge of interest and desire to learn this work).
That is the model that Dr. Peter Levine has developed with his method of Somatic Experiencing, SE for short.
I bring this to light as I completed the 3-year SE training in the Fall of 2010, and am already involved in assisting trainings at the beginning level.

This saddens me when I think about the insanity of time and hoops one must go through to become an assistant in the Feldenkrais world. (and don’t even get me started about trainer candidacy!).
There are numerous parts of the way these SE trainings are structured, as well as how the organization works that governs SEPs (Somatic Experiencing Practitioner) that I think, our community could take a peek at. Of course, no organization and model is perfect, but his method is growing at a very fast rate and I’m quite certain it is partially due to the level of professionalism, consistency and mode of facilitation at the beginning levels.
Here are a few comparisons:
1) Ratio of Assistant to Students
-Training’s have a very HIGH ratio of assistant to student, 1:3
-Assistants volunteer their time, but nonetheless are a MAJOR part of the training. Training’s could not run without the assistants.
-Assistants and their level of experience range from beginner to advanced. They learn and get their feet wet as soon as they have a desire to contribute to the growth of the community.
2) Hours Outside of Trainings
-For each level of training, and there are three levels (Beginning, Intermediate, Advanced), a student MUST have a certain amount of personal sessions with an approved provider of SE, and as well a number of consultation hours. It seems daunting at the start of a training to complete a massive amount of extra work, not to mention the money involved, but it forces you to do the work in between segments, it gets your questions answered (that is what the consults are for) and you must work on your own “stuff”.
3) The question of money and trainings being “entrepreneurial”:
-This is where it gets interesting…..and may be a massive difference in that the founder of this work is still alive, versus Dr. FEldenkrais not being still here, but I have been attending Dr. Levine’s post-graduate trainings.
They are pricey if you compare them to FEldenkrais advanced trainings.
To give you an idea, a 4-day workshop runs you 1300 dollars US. THey are with the founder. He only works with those who have graduated.
Two weeks ago, there were ~65 people in a 4 day workshop. I thought to myself “wow” that is a good 4 days worth of work, but I did some investigating and the money that comes in - minus the money that you take away for the running of the event plus his salary - is going to building a kick-ass website for his foundation. It isn’t going to fund his extravagant lifestyle or retirement.
It seems to me that our organization, whether it the FGNA, or the entire worldwide contingency of Feldies,  needs to desperately hire an OUTSIDE mediator that has no vested interest in our work, but is able to help solve very tricky situations and help find solutions.
I wonder if the higher power trainers out there who may be reading this would be willing to put their time towards holding a post-graduate event for those in our community who are serious about making this work a true profession with the knowing that the excess profit could go towards getting some professional help.
The clock is ticking. Our elders are either dead, are old, or will soon be gone. I would love to fantasize that for those of you who had the privilege of studying with Moshe, that you could offer an intensive retreat for us future flag-bearers of Feldenkrais. I’d pay the ticket price of 1300 for a 4 day event knowing that a big portion of that money is going towards a real solution!

Anyone else interested in such an idea?

Irene.

By Irene Lyon (Formerly Gutteridge) on 04/15/2012

After reading many responses on both sides and feeling there may be nothing left to say on the matter, I decided that feeling so passionate about this method, I will still write down my response.

I’ll base my response first on reacting to the rationale behind the proposal, and then put forward some more ideas I have.

Reasons
1) Many of the students are only interested in teaching only ATM:
* In my experience, most students are not interested in actually becoming practitioners at all; many are there to deal with some trauma they have, others are just not ready for all the business aspects of being an active practitioner.
* In training programs, you can find people who are only interested in giving ATMs while others are only interested in FIs. People can equally gravitate towards one or the other; they need to meet both and learn from both approaches, which are two sides of the same coin.

2) Fewer students in trainings:
* This has to be addressed through PR activities.
* Shortening training programs may put more students in programs in the short run, but will lower the standards for practitioners, give weapons for opposing bodies and ultimately block the road to recognition from large institutions.

3) Too few ATM classes in North America:
* I practice in Israel. Over here, anyone looking for an ATM group can find it. The set of challenges here is altogether different, and I imagine it is so in every specific regional setting. Best to consider this reason on a local base only.

4) Students who completed two years:
* I’m sorry I have to say so, but these people knew what they were going into. They can be guild members BUT they still need to further their studies, or otherwise show adequate competency (another discussion sorely needed, what is “adequate competency”). By the way, people who’ve graduated from such programs are also practising FI, perhaps even more than they practice ATMs.

5) Latitude to EDs, more people can teach ATMs than FIs:
* I disagree with the assertion. There may be a greater amount of legal liability upon a practitioner giving an FI than a practitioner giving an ATM, but if the benefits of ATMs and FIs are similar then so are the risks. I assert that if programs began with FIs and then transition to ATMs, this flawed argument would have flipped as well.
* The latitude issue deserves attention, so that EDs don’t need to accredit students against their better judgement.

6) Method teaching to become ATM teachers:
* The Feldenkrais Method is one body of knowledge. To divide it is to dilute it. Whoever ventures that way does so at their own risk. We can’t be responsible for people taking short-cuts outside the Method; all we can do is make sure the public is aware of the differences between us and them, and that means that sometimes the gloves must go off.

Now, to my ideas in general:
* All students need to meet with both ATMs and FIs.
* Less training is not the way to go.
* Training completion and certification must be divided - the latter being based solely on the student’s actual abilities to deliver a lesson.
* There must still be room for students who are not interested in becoming practitioners.

My suggestion then, is to create a UNIFIED BASIC TRAINING PROGRAM, consisting of no less than 95 days, which involves both ATM and FI lessons as it is today. This would do for students who are not interested in practising.

Then, a follow-up certification program for ATMs and another one for FIs, each consisting of no less than 50 days. Certification requirements are to be clearly defined for each of those. Students could decide whether to take one program, both or none, and in any order they choose.

I hope my suggestion will be seriously examined, I think it covers all the issues that were mentioned.

With great appreciation and respect to all those involved in this open discussion,
Tomer

By Tomer Hollander on 04/16/2012

I agree with the proposal even if I suggest to re-build the training structure because as we have alredy it could be confused and it is not enought to become a good CAM teacher in only two years.
The time is changed around the world and a lot of training process also of other activities are running very fast, a lot of F people develops news training to export our methods but sometime they producing confusion in the client who decides to follow their instead study the origin of the F.method.
It is time to think on that proposal in USA and also in Europe because the multimedia information can help us in better our professionaly.

Silvia Dominici

By Silvia Dominici on 04/19/2012

WHY TRANSLATE THE SCRIPT FROM THE MASTER???

WHY CONFUSE A ‘FUNCTION’ THAT IS ALREADY EVOLVING???

IF THERE ARE PROBLEMS IN THE ORGANISATION THEY ARE OVER COME THROUGH ‘AWARENESS’ SURELY.

The butterfly will always turn into a caterpillar and of course the reverse is a definite possibility.

I am currently in a training in New Zealand.
We have recently completed Segment 5.
My instinctual curiosity for learning would feel horrified with a meager 2 years of training! An insult to my intelligence!
I am only beginning to understand the Feldenkrais Method.
There is so much more to awaken within me AND the other trainees on our training.

ATM and FI are like BROTHER and SISTER, MASCULINE and FEMININE, YIN and YANG, SUN and MOON, one can not and must not exist without the other!

I say NO to the ATM Certification.

And… Jerry Karzen is an inspiring and creative Educational Director for our training! Go Jerry!

By DEBI LLOYD, WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND on 04/19/2012

While I had an instant opinion on this proposal, I did hold on to wait and see just what could be the benefits of this change in direction.
The way it stands, I must say I disapprove of the idea, which to me seems to be a short sighted reaction to perceived ( not even carefully analysed ) ‘market forces’.
I am also wondering what other political, monetary and personal agendas may be driving this proposal.
Could we, with our unique approach of working with human development, the stuff of a lifetime affair, decide to not go down the currently fashionable track of quick fixes ?!
Our ATM training extends over four years, not two !
Any training that creates a kind of dichotomy between ATM as being the basic undergraduate stuff and FI as the advanced ‘sacred cow’, is ill-conceived.
With the FM we don’t simply learn a ‘trade’, rather we immerse ourselves into a vastly comprehensive method that has the potential to reshape us in our wholeness.
Obviously this kind of transformation and the skills that begin to emerge from it don’t happen overnight.
Certainly, learning how to competently instill the possibility of such a process in others isn’t happening in four years, let alone in two.
Reading the submissions was a rather riveting Feldie lesson in itself, and it could be promising how this untenable propsal may just have opened a ‘can of worms’ that needs to be sorted out. The fattest worms being, as mentioned by various commentators, the paedagogy and methodology underpinning our trainings, and in association with that the administration and policies around this.
So I hope there is hoping that aspects of our profession can be reformed in a constructively responsive manner.
KATHARINA SCHAFFACZEK, 16/04/12

By Katharina Schaffaczek on 04/21/2012

I am so happy to see the wide variety of comments on this proposal.  I am especially gratified by the level of civility and respect that is an inherent part of the comments -  we are maturing as a community! All the comments are being carefully read and notated as input for the Guild, and in particular by the TAB. Later this year the NATAB will consider this proposal again and probably suggest changes to the original before asking the original writers if they want to revise their proposal. In addition, I am particularly interested in specific ideas about what you, my colleagues, think about these topics. You can use this forum to respond to the proposal as written and you can impact current training design as well through sharing your experience and thoughtful observations on any of the following:
1. The time and elements necessary for learning enough to BEGIN as an ATM teacher.
2. What is your commentary on how an individual’s readiness to teach ATM might be assessed?
3. Did you feel that you received adequate instruction and feedback on teaching ATM in your own training?
4. How much of your sense of competency arrived after you began working with the public?
5.What was the role of mentoring or advanced training after graduation and how did it affect your ability to teach ATM classes effectively?
6. Have you taken ATM classes from anyone who is from a briefer or “other-named” training? How did it go?

As a member of the TAB during both the “early” era and now the current one, I am all too aware of the constraints that come with this volunteer job, and the temptation to retreat into ever more restrictive regulation and policy in an effort to create a sense of fairness and efficiency is strong. Of course, some regulation is necessary to maintain an orderly organization. However, part of Moshe’s wish was to make this work available to the world and I think we can creatively and conscientiously do more.

Violet (on 4/08/12) addressed my original thinking about the lack of alternative routes to learning this beautiful work and becoming an active part of the Feldenkrais community.  I believe that there is a neurosis and split within our community that the current system fosters. We have only one Guild-approved training pathway, which works well for only some. The few available variations to that main path are detailed and arduous to enact.

Surely, after all this time and growth, we can create more training options without sacrificing what currently exists, or retreating into the fear of loss that comes from having only one option. The Feldenkrais community has an extraordinary complement of trainers, assistant trainers, and educational directors as well as many gifted and brilliant practitioners to enact new options.
My hope is that this proposal is a first approximation towards opening and legitimizing inclusive new entry points so that we can grow in many directions, not just in one direction and still be true to Moshe’s vision.  The work did not become a fixed thing with Moshe’s death, and if he were still alive, I don’t believe that his trainings would look the same almost thirty years later. The Feldenkrais community has an extraordinary complement of trainers, assistant trainers, and educational directors as well as many gifted and brilliant practitioners to enact new options.  I am curious, what can we come up with?
Thank you,
Nancy Forst Williamson

By Nancy Forst Williamson, Lincoln, NE on 04/23/2012

I just wanted to briefly register my thoughts on this proposal - I am just not quite sure of separating ATM from FI as teaching tools. To me, they are really one and the same. Plus, the additional 2 years of training helps refine ATM teaching skills (as well as teaching FI), and seems essential. I believe all this has been said much more eloquently above, but I thought it was a good idea to add another voice in.  Thanks for hearing/considering all of our thoughts on this!

By wanda on 04/25/2012

First of all, I am writing as an individual, and not as a member of NATAB.  I speak only for myself.

My first impression when I heard this proposal was how this could be of benefit in many ways.  My vision of this proposal, successfully implemented, is that the standards of teaching ATM would be raised, and that ATM teaching would become a more highly valued and respected skill.  More time might be devoted to it in trainings, which I think could be done without sacrificing the teaching of FI.  (After all, they are two sides of the same coin; more emphasis on the intricacies of ATM would transfer to doing FI.)  The fifteen day trainings for ATM-only teachers would be a resource for practitioners who want to improve ATM teaching.  There would be more time devoted to ATM teaching at conferences, and more advanced training on ATM teaching, in order for the ATM-only teachers to get their continuing education. We would have a cadre of people who are passionate about ATM who teach classes, and then refer those who want hands-on work to practitioners. This would create advertising and referrals for practitioners.

In the discussion on this forum, many people have pointed out potential pitfalls and problems that may arise.  I would like to pose this question to those who are opposed:  Do you think that ATM-only certification is inherently a bad idea?  Or if the proposal were changed, might it be a good idea?  What if ATM-only teachers were required to have 2 1/2 or 3 years of training before the 15-day special training?  Or, what if they did 2 years of training, and then met 2 or 3 times for additional 10-15 day trainings with homework assignments in between?  What if they were required to do certification exams, and continue study until they showed that they were competent?

After all, this proposal is a first approximation, not a final proposal.  As many have pointed out, no one learns enough in training alone to be an expert in either ATM teaching or functional integration.  We learn by doing, and those who do, with awareness, and learning from each approximation, do well.  I was unable to do hands-on work for several years as I had an inflammatory arthritis in my right shoulder due to undiagnosed Lyme disease.  During this time, I extensively taught ATM based classes to massage therapists and craniosacral therapists.  I learned a considerable amount about ATM teaching during this period, even though I was unable to practice FI.  So from this experience, I gained empathy for those who may have a disability that prevents them from practicing FI, but want to teach ATM.  I also experienced the fact that you can learn a lot about teaching ATM without practicing FI at the same time.

So, how can the proposal be tweaked to overcome the potential pitfalls?  Or should it be thrown out?  Thank you for your thoughtful responses.

By Ann Harman on 04/27/2012

I am opposed to the idea of an ATM only certification.  As a Pilates teacher and GCFP, I can say that pilates has been diluted and misunderstood, even by Feldenkrais people, to the point where I feel I have to defend Pilates to Feldys and defend Feldenkrais to Plates people.  the dilution of the pilates method by the whole Sean gallagher fiasco is what awaits the Feldenkrais community if we allow a quickie cert to take place.
We need to spend more resources advertising the method, not training in half measures.

By valerie grant on 04/27/2012

If a 2 year option for ATM would provide an easy way for people to enter a training, it could also provide any easy exit for people to drop out of a training after 2 years — and students, upon hearing of this proposal, have told me this. Although it is easy to say, “leave the details for later”, I feel it is useful to consider that these 2 year teachers would not only have the expense of the training but would need to maintain Guild membership. It just doesn’t seem practical. People with small practices already grouse about the Guild fees (ASIDE — not remembering that those fees keep the service marks which give us a profession — no matter how we use it).

In a 4 year training program one is learning the Feldenkrais Method — not FI, not ATM, but the method as a whole.

Good teachers (in any subject) are those who have studied their field and often don’t have any instruction in how to teach (example being most teachers at universities). Are 2 years of training enough to give the depth of experience of the FM? I don’t think so.

I’m of the perhaps small fraction of people who believe one learns best how to teach ATM by lying on the floor and doing it. Can one help a student in a training feel more comfortable teaching? Absolutely. No matter how comfortable one is in teaching, one has to have something to teach. Experience matters — and this is very much experiential (procedural is the technical term) learning. I feel after 2 years of study one is only beginning to connect to the FM and doesn’t have the experience to do more than begin to experiment with teaching ATM.  I have seen students from the 4th year visit a second year training and their attitude and demeanor are noticeably different. I remember when Amherst or San Francisco graduates would visit our training and I could see the difference in how they stood in the world. Something happens to people after those last two years that just doesn’t happen in the first two. I’d hate for ATM to become simply a technical skill.

By Deborah Vukson on 04/27/2012

I am in favor of having ATM only certification. There is a great need for ATM instructors and to get the word out about the Feldenkrais method. There is no better way than someone participating in the method to understand what it is about.
Having taken a few ATM classes from someone who was certified in another program, I found him excellent, he understood the concept of The Feldenkrais method. He has since gone on to take programs on geriatrics, babies and is doing hands on work.
The ATM certification should definitely have more student teaching in the training, and community teaching before becoming certified. Practitioners could volunteer to go to a community class and give the student feedback on her or his teaching. I for one would be happy to give back to the community by volunteering a few times to mentor ATM student teachers.  Things change and keeping Feldenkrais training exactly as it is will not help the Feldenkrais Method.

By Gloria Sandler on 04/27/2012

I like FI, but I really understand ATM much better.  That’s why I think an ATM only training is a great idea, because then I can focus on what I’m good at and my friend who likes FI can do the FI only training.  There will be an FI only training path, right?

Can I do an ATM training certification with only flexion ATMs?  I would like to be a Guild Certified Flexion ATM Practitioner.

All of the above was just having fun.  I agree with those that think there are fundamental issues with the training and certification process as it exists now that should probably be addressed before anyone starts making major changes.  Feldenkrais said the way to make a better human society is to make better humans.  By extension, I would suggest that the way to make a better Business, Brand, or Guild is to make better practitioners, and I think truncating the method may not be the best way to get there.

By Brian Hassler on 04/27/2012

No , it’s a silly idea.
It is my understanding that Moshe Feldenkrais practiced and developed the F. I./ hands on work long before creating & teaching the ‘Awareness through movement’ classes.
It’s a very natural progression.
To do one without the other is like building a home with no foundation.

Stephen

By Stephen Emery on 04/27/2012

It has not been my experience (31 years teaching ATM classes) that people are looking for ATM classes but can’t find them.  In fact, all the practitioners I know have to work to fill their classes.
Are there really practitioners out there who support themselves by only teaching ATM? I don’t know of anyone who can make a living just teaching ATM.  Which means that either the graduates of this 2-year training would not need to make a living from teaching ATM (being retired or independently wealthy) or they would already have to have a profession, and ATM would be just another modality they could add to their Pilates/yoga/fitness/etc. practice.  Are they going to be interested in joining the Guild, promoting the Feldenkrais Method, maintaining high standards for the Method, etc?  It doesn’t seem likely.  I’m sorry, but this seems like a way to dilute the Method, not support it.

By Katrin Smithback on 04/27/2012

I am against the proposal.  I would argue that 7 years is too long

a) Current ATM certification is not strict enough already.  It requires that you teach one supervised ATM and assumes(but does not verify) that you are teaching on your own.  This is not enough of a requirement to have person teach for 7 years after that, even as a student teacher.

b) From what I hear and see it many recent graduates want to teach ATMs, but can’t find students/venues, while proposal assumes the opposite to be the case.

By Igor Shteynberg on 04/28/2012

I am strongly against this proposal and find most of the arguments in favor without merit. As the ED of a dozen training programs my experience is very different than the writers of this proposal. I will try to follow the numbering of the proposal writers.
1. I have maybe one or at the most two students in each program who decide that what they really want to do is only teach ATM.
2. The ATM certificate at the end of Year 2 was never meant to be considered a terminal degree, ie. that the student has all of the skills necessary for teaching and understanding ATM in terms of both structure and process. We continue in Years 3 & 4 to do ATM, to de-construct, analyze and develop our understanding of both ATM and teaching. The Year 2 certificate is simply meant as a way to enable students to begin to accrue the experience of teaching while still in the training program.
3. Where is the data about too few ATM classes ?  Maybe in rural areas that is true but I doubt in urban areas. As a profession we have larger problems than the number of ATM classes available.
4. This is not an argument for making policy change.
5. As an ED I feel no need for this option. I do not wish for a world full of ATM teachers who have done only 80 days of a training.
6. I do not know anything about this and have never heard about it. I would appreciate more specifics.

I spoke with one of the writers of this proposal and basically was told that they just wished to see some policy change and shake things up. I would say that for me, this is not a great argument for policy change. I was also told that there are fewer FPTP students every year and I am certain this is not true, and would like to see the numbers. Even if it is true, this is also not a valid argument for policy change. Training Program policy does not exist to create training program students for Trainers and Organizers. It serves a much higher purpose.
I would rather see us become a more skilled profession than a less skilled profession. If someone is so interested to teach ATM, I don’t see why taking another 80 days of learning and understanding is such an incredible hardship.  I think our problems as a profession lie not so much in needing more ATM teachers, but in needing better branding, more energy and money being put into marketing, promotion and publicity, which will create more work for Practitioners. This is what I would love to see the Guild doing, rather than lowering training program standards so there can be more students for trainings. I am not against change of any sort, but unfortunately I feel that the change in this proposal will not be of benefit to us as a profession. I apologize if I have misunderstood the intention of the proposal or unintentionally offended anyone.

By David Zemach Bersin on 04/28/2012

This was my post to the FeldyForum regarding the proposal.
I am delighted that this proposal has come out. It is great to see the community assert the value of our work. And I hope it was a clever ploy to get some improvement in our visibility.

Katharina Tribe <katharina@starryskies.plus.com> wrote:” we don’t know how to advertise”

Yes.

Incompetent ATM teachers. That would be me. Trained by Dennis Leri, Elizabeth Beringer, Yvan Joly, Mary Spire, Diana Razumny (then an assistant)- I certainly had the exposure. I paid close attention, re-reading transcripts between training segments, participating in local study groups, processing and integrating with anyone who would talk with me.

But the results…

I know how to teach experts. I do not connect well with people new to ATM. I expressed my frustration to my son who teaches Tae Kwon Do (full time). He said “You are teaching black belt lessons to white belts”. My classes had great lessons- that only the experienced appreciate.

I am not teaching more until I have sorted out my results and analyzed the data, and made significant improvement. Recently, I taught a weekly class for a year. I paid the studio. I made nothing beyond that. I would have made more by not teaching, since I would have gotten more FI income from some of my ATM students.

My two biggest problem areas- Too much challenge for the students, and too few students coming in the door at all.

My hypothetical solution: Create a marketing campaign that draws students by making it clearer what the benefits are- and then make lessons that are directly and obviously relevant to the stated goals. Repeat much more material. Charge twice as much. Give homework. Deliberately nurture a community of learners.

Also- to lie more. That seems to work for everyone else.

Ok- that is the big issue from my perspective. Our culture is filled with bold lies that alter the perception of truth. Unadorned truth sounds ridiculous, and leaves my offerings unregarded. Yoga- the science disputes what most teachers claim.  Also too many injuries, too few qualified teachers. Pilates ditto. Personal training and athletic training are filled with simplistic lies repeated systematically.

Actually, I don’t plan to lie. That doesn’t fit my self image, nor do I want to reduce the gift I have been given. Finding a way to market/advertise successfully will need to include integrity. I do plan to see where I am lying-especially to myself.

“Simplicity is for simpletons.”- Tom Robbins

I want to learn to differentiate between stultifying reductionism, and accessible clarity. And I want to get paid to present great material to large classes of excited students.

There is no need for ATM certification.

John Friend with his Anusara yoga is work famous. Dennis Leri is smarter and more relevant to many more people- perhaps 1000 times as many. His work remains largely unknown.

There is a HUGE need for business training. Nothing else matter as much to our profession. If we want to have the coolest hobby in the world- we are there. If we want to be professionals, we need to remember that business is implicit in the word “profession”. Our lack of business acumen undermines our public standing.

The Guild needs to get engaged in the business end of things. Aside from that, we are good enough practitioners. Yes there is more to learn, and there always will be. But on the job training is the American way. We need to get everyone who is already trained actively working.

Note to Guild officers: I know you work hard, for little or no money. I sense an anger toward the membership about under-appreciation of your contributions. I hear it goes both ways. It is time for an open dialogue. More folks are unhappy on both sides. I still pay dues, but I do wonder why, and I almost didn’t this year. Thank Diana Razumny for offering the Gratitude Workshop and keeping me in the Guild.

Note to self: Learn to ask questions. Talking down is a bad plan.

Thanks,
Dan

By Daniel Schmidt on 04/28/2012

not sure about this
it seems even after four years it is a challenge at first. This method promoting a basically new way of looking at ourselves and others, it takes much to sink in. If this is decided for, I think in all trainings there should be new guidelines about some more time spent on “how to facilitate ac class” within the first tow year, this time could possibly be taken away from “doing ATM for self-exploration” Although I love that intense self exploration aspect in the trainings, I still feel we did receive little guidance about how to pass on ATMs to others.
More demo lessons with each other with feedback or filming or such.

By amona on 04/28/2012

I agree with David Bersin, Alan Questel and Kevin Creedon

By Anna Ruocco on 04/28/2012

I love teaching ATM.  I only do FI work on close friends and family ,and that could change at some point in the future.  Continued training is important to me, not only for my ATM practice but because when I learn more about FIs, it greatly enhances my ATM work/skill/observations.  My hands learn to “see”.

I just do not follow the logic of the proposal.  As others have said, a quicker route to certification will dilute the method AND, I believe, will not entice more folks into the method.

Honestly, me receiving FIs and attending ATM classes teaches me a lot too. Yet, this is not part of formal and recognized continued training. 

I just feel that this proposal is a lot of wasted energy.  It is not simple and it is not elegant. 

Respectfully,
Jodi Freedman

By Jodi Freedman on 04/28/2012

I began to study ATM from books and tapes I made myself and ordered in the mail 34years
ago when a crushed ankle and torn achilles tendon resulted in the prognosis of arthritis
and a permanent limp. Many significant changes occurred in mind and emotions as well as
the limp stopping after a year and no arthritis now. I had no FI and no teacher in person.
I actually made money with no training and no other experience in any hands on modality by
reading and practicing from Yochanan’s book. I couldn’t call it FI until I’d been at it for 9 years—-when I completed my training in 1993.
  I fervently hope that trainings are better now. If you want freeze dried Feldenkrais do Hanna Somatics. I am certified as a teacher of Robert Master’s Psychophysical
Method—-I got real value from that teaching. There’s Bones For Life, and I bet Frank
will be certifying teachers for Change Your Age.If we have a moral obligation—and I
think we do—to try to get the somatic education slant on movement and life into the
mainstream, then these related methods ,with shorter training tracks serve that purpose
  I have taught, over the last 29 years,more than 8000 hours of classes to the public,
outside the Feldencult[preaching to the converted]—5000 of those legally ATM.That does
not mean that I would, by my present standards,be proud of all those, that they met the
multiple criteria of a real ATM.
  The Feldenkrais training world should preserve the unique integrity of ATM, which may take the graduate years to master—but it’s worth it.Let spinoffs do the rest.I
vote for longer trainings with more personal coaching, on the off chance that more
people become competent sooner.We all need more training, not less. Brian Lynn

By Brian Lynn on 04/28/2012

I think the proposed solution does not adress the stated problem.  People quit teaching ATMs becuse they don’t fill their classes, or don’t start teaching ATMs because they don’t feel competent to do so or don’t get sufficient enrollment.  More ATM teachers will not equal more enrolled ATM students.

I believe that Feldenkrais might benefit from more supported teaching experiences, internships, supervision.  Whatever you want to call it, its a part of preparing sucessful PTs, Alexander practitioners, SE practitioners, Psychotherapists - many more Feldenkrais practitioners might both consider themselves competent as well as successfuly sell their competency if they went through this type of system.

I felt that I needed all four years of my training and the interplay between FI and ATM to become competent at teaching ATM.  On the other hand, my first exposure to ATM was from a dance instructor who was (illegally, I suppose) teaching ATMs she had learned FROM A BOOK.  She is one of the best ATM instructors I’ve had.  Clearly, there may be other ways to comprehend and synthesize Feldenkrais in a valuable way.

The proposal also referred to practitioners who are branching out and offering ATM type trainings under different names.  They are offering much more specific concepts- which happen to be more marketable both to students as well as to potential teachers.  Perhaps the Feldenkrais trainings could encourage offering ATMs focused around specific goals, as a way to make Feldenkrais acessible to people where they are at.  Taking things one step at a time does not have to mean losing the beauty of the whole concept.

However it is acomplished (better marketing or business training?) I think that if Feldenkrais practitioners are more sucessful financially, enrollment in trainings will increase and general visbility of the Feldenkrais profession will increase as well.

Happy Spring,
Tara Vamos

By Tara Vamos on 04/28/2012

Thank you, all, for thoughtful responses. I am neither for or against. Curious to hear more detail about the how’s and why’s.
Twelve years after completing my training, and many ATM’s and FI’s shared, I find more and more my FI work informing my ATM teaching. The transcripts and lesson templates are quieter, buried deeper in the lesson, and the fluid interactions with the group—the group of students as an organism—happen more, with better strategies, and more creativity. It makes me wonder how my teaching would be without my FI practice.
But, then, one of my colleagues who teaches only ATM, and does not practice FI, is wonderful.
I also wonder how much my understanding of the skeleton in motion comes from feeling it under my hands. It is hard to measure. But, perhaps this is taking it too far. Certainly an ATM training might also involve hands-on study.
I look forward to more exchange. I have a great deal of respect for those who attempt to grow and improve our method.

Regards,
Sheri Cohen, GCFP
Seattle

By Sheri Cohen on 04/28/2012

I would love to see a basic FM training program, an immersion in this incredible process. This training would also include fundamental ways of expressing to the public what we do. From that point, one could specialize in ATM or FI or both. This would include supervised ATM/FI in a practice and some basic business instruction.
As a practitioner of 19 years, I now understand how these two “modalities” are integral parts of the whole.  I did not have a clear understanding of that upon graduation. This is not “the fault ” of my trainer,but rather a sign of my maturation or not. 19 years ago I would have have agreed with this proposal. Today , my vote is NO.

By Anita Elsey on 04/28/2012

I hope that before our organizations remove FI from any form of our training, we draw on the experience of people in our community who have created shorter trainings that are highly effective and that support trainees in feeling capable of doing the work in the world.  I refer to the trainings designed by Mia Segal and Anat Baniel, as both have developed such curricula and used them to train many practitioners. 

I have seen the quality of work that their new graduates can do after 90 days. Being able to go out and teach movement classes and work hands-on with individuals invigorated them and encouraged them to keep learning, both from practicing and from teachers.  Let’s move beyond any personal issues we may have with Anat and Mia or anyone, and look at how it could contribute to all the people we wish to serve.

To do something over and over again roughly the same way is not “Feldenkrais thinking.” Moshe would not have wanted us to keep training people as he did 30 years ago. I’m sure he would have varied what he was doing considerably.  That is core to our method!  Let’s vary how we do our trainings, but not remove the wholeness.  ATM and FI are complementary in our work; a practitioner without the experience of both will not be as powerful.  Instead of splitting off ATM from FI in order to have a shorter training, let’s learn from these colleagues who have already been teaching shorter trainings.  Let’s see whether we can draw the circle of community large enough to include everyone, rather than focusing on definitions of ourselves and our work that lead people to define themselves outside of it.

By Kathryn Goldman Schuyler on 04/28/2012

I agree with certification of teaching ATM. (ATM teacher certification would not have to preclude experiencing and learning FI, just that the certification to practice FI would require further training.)
The quotes below are excerpts from Moshe’s 1976 San Francisco evening class workshop first lesson where he is introducing ATM to the group. I interpret the essence, the intention as being to pass on the optimism that self knowledge provides to as many people as possible and in a manner that is effective for each person . My opinion is that the proposal to certify ATM teachers is an accurate expression of this intention.
“...So we do two kinds of things where both things mean the same thing though it doesn’t look it, Individual treatment, normally it will start with individual treatment for people who need it. Those who have no special complaint and can at least sit on floor by themselves without trouble needn’t have any individual treatment at all… It was used in order to make available to great masses the benefit which you can get from that individual treatment therefore it’s a very curious way of doing where you’re not instructed to do like that and you’re not given an example it should done be like that and that is very difficult the first few lessons you will see those who have never… been confronted with that…you will find it very difficult to do , because they are left to themself to both listen, perform, do what is explained to that and judge by themselves whether they do it right or wrong….it is intended to make you do what you do better after your own judgment, therefore we will try to improve your judgment, improve your doing , and so that you yourself keep on improving the way you are better and discover in yourself perhaps things that you don’t know at all and therefore be able to produce in a better account of yourself to yourself . This of course when you improve in your own eyes has the great advantage your self confidence grows, your ability to judge and compare yourself afterwards with others if you like but you should be making advances relative to something that you feel necessary and not us…

By Marianne Rivington on 04/29/2012

A poet (translator, essayist) and educator, I joined NY4FPTP and am—it seems to me—all too quickly approaching the end of my third year of training.  I am in my late fifties.  The more ATMs I do with patience and attention and the more FIs I receive and practice giving, the longer and better I feel I will be able to live.  I cannot say whether the Feldenkrais Method® has improved my poetry YET.  But it has opened me to additional possibilities: I have co-translated a book of poetry from a language not among those I can say I “know.”  I would never have done that before.  Was I prepared?  As I went along, I learned about the poet’s work, about working with a co-translator, about my own resources and resourcefulness . . . even in the face of what appeared, time and again, impossible to convey!  Although I learned the Greek alphabet, the sounds its letters make in various combinations, and many, many words in modern Greek, I did not learn the language.  I give this background on myself, not only because I come to the training largely from non-somatic practices, but also because two years’ work on this book has coincided roughly with the middle of my first through the middle of my third year of training.

I have printed out and read the Proposal for Stand Alone Awareness through Movement® Teacher Certification and commentary, amounting, at this point, to nearly 50 pages of material.  Although all the comments interest me, at my stage in the process, I can best respond to the remarks made by Kevin Creedon who suggested on 3/22/12 that FGNA survey 2nd, 3rd, and 4th year students on their subjective experience of readiness to teach ATM and FI and their level of interest in doing so, and perhaps, too, Alan Questel’s of the same date asking people to write if only “work on it some more.”

During and toward the end of my second year, with the permission of my ED, before our practicum, I taught one full ATM to a class of poetry students I was teaching at a college in another state, and with whom I had begun (of necessity I felt) our weekly seminars with a few minutes of standing meditation that incorporated small movements, which helped settled them into an attentive state for two hours.  Since the time of my practicum and student-teacher certification, I have given perhaps four more ATMs, all to individuals who are friends or acquaintances of different ages (29-94).

It has been more a question of the logistics of daily life and the very real physical and economic environments in which we live now that it has been difficult to get people to commit—even at no fee for a start—to get down on the floor for an hour of anything, than of my personal fear of teaching an ATM.  I have always prepared the classes I’ve taught (in writing and literature), perhaps over-prepared, and more recently over-prepared less and relaxed into them.  I know I will have to teach many ATMs to improve at as a teacher.  I would not object to additional hours of training built into or added into training programs so that trainees would spend more time practicing, as well as developing or discussing different series of ATM lessons to offer the public. 

Additionally, and perhaps more important, I must say that only recently, well into my third year of training, have I felt major changes occurring within myself concerning my relationship to the Feldenkras Method® itself. I am actually comprehending the relationship between FI and ATM in a more than intellectual way.  Maybe this sounds strange to the many trainees and practitioners I have met who come to the training from dance or other more somatic or other “physically” therapeutic practices.  In any case, I may not have come to this point after only two years’ study as the training is presently structured.  When it comes to learning, more is more, and I think, better.

Finally, I’ll say that during the last segment of my training, which consisted of much FI and much ATM, it became easier for me to practice ATM with my fellow students, and I have had less trouble approaching my friends about practicing small things on or with them, so I believe I am now moving toward become a practitioner.  Indeed change happens in this third year.

Continually improving,
Rika Lesser

By Rika Lesser on 04/29/2012

Before voting on this I would like two areas well clarified:
a) a new methodology for presenting and teaching ATMs to include not just the verbage, but pacing, tempo, tone, provisions for assisting clientele, and a real exposure to variety of lessons, themes, and focus on particular needs, abilities, liabilities, and class sizes. If the intention is to follow what has been done in the past—then it appears to me that this is attempting to capitalize on the fitness certification bandwagon (with the abundant 200 hour yoga teacher trainings, etc) which are producing plenty of inept teachers.
2) if ATMs are to be a separate track, will there also be a separate trainer track (and assistant trainer track) for ATMs only?

By Misha Forrester on 04/29/2012

I am not going to come out and support either option. There are pros and cons to both and many have already been expressed. One that was alluded to I would like to address a bit further. Whether 2 years of training can qualify ATM(r) teachers I think has quite a bit to do with how students are taught. The shorter the training, the greater the imperative that the trainers take some responsibility for the students “getting” the ATMs they are doing. It is about finding the critical balance between allowing people to have their own process and learning experentially and ultimately having the opportunity to somehow see what they would be guiding their students toward and having the chance to experience that to the extent possible.

Yes the argument can be made that teaching a class is in some ways easier than doing FI(R). For this reason it might be possible to teach group classes without being an FI practitioner. It is probably true that a well trained ATM practitioner can teach a good ATM without having either the desire of skill do FI. However my personal experience is that FI is easier for me than ATM teaching. (Graduated from my training in 2003 and admittedly had a decade of hands on work behind me when I started.)

When I work with individuals in an FI format (I do often include some movement) I have one person and their concerns to deal with and have my hands, my eyes and my voice to work with. In an ATM class I have many more people with a wide variety of concerns to attend to at once and for the most part have only my eyes and voice to work with.

Marsha Novak
29 April 2012

By Marsha Novak on 04/29/2012

Very interesting discussion.  In other professions, everyone receives a “general education” followed by specialization according to their personal interests.  For our practice, the 4 year training program gives students a period of time to explore both ATMs and FIs.  If there is a separate program to accelerate students who are just interested in teaching ATMs, would this be more divisive for our practice in the long run?  Will there be separate requirements for continuing education as well??!!  For myself, teaching ATMs has been an invaluable resource for understanding and developing FI lessons.  As a trainee, I didn’t watch students doing ATMs in class, and attending ATM classes outside of the training segments exposed me to different teaching styles.  Learning how to teach effective ATMs is by teaching for years-and I’m still learning.  My FI practice has indeed been a resource for relating what I learn by listening with my hands with movement variations I see in class.  The proposal to add 15 days to a 2 year training program isn’t adequate from my perspective, nor does the 7 year deadline seem to be an enticing incentive. 

Respectfully,
Virginia Yao

By Virginia Yao on 04/29/2012

ATM and FI are two halves of the same work. I do not support allowing different/exclusive training for either ATM or FI.

By Anita Noone on 04/30/2012

I feel it is worth a try. There indeed are people who cannot physically give FI and do take the training for their own health benefits, without intention to become a practitioner. Allowing ATM-only certification would broaden their horizons and the FM’s awareness within the community. I know at least a dozen people who expressed interest in enrolling in a training after experiencing ATM, until they heard the time commitment and cost of a four-year training.

If ATM-only certification is allowed, I think the students should be immersed in an accredited four-year training and if the ED is willing, be granted certification as an authorized ATM teacher after two years with the option to return to complete the last two years as described in the above discussion.

The continuing education should include hands-on components to keep the students attuned to the FI experience. Does NATAB need to wait 10 years to review the policy and make amendments, or could this be done earlier on in the process? I believe this should be done cautiously and monitored closely if put into effect. Although I did not meet Moshe, from what I’ve learned, I believe it is safe to explore change and learn from successes or difficulties, trial and error.

By Jennifer Yagos on 04/30/2012

The Feldenkrais Method is complex. As I understand Moshe’s rationale for developing training programs that begin with 2 years of ATM only, is that it takes that much time for individuals to begin to build the level of self-awareness and organization needed to take the work to the next level of FI. Even after 2 years of training (whether or not hands-on practice is included), students do not have the depth of understanding necessary to really be proficient. The ATM only student status allows the trainees to practice – while continuing to learn.
The current proposal assumes that 2 years of doing ATM is sufficient to understand the lessons well enough to REALLY teach them, not as a series of ‘moves’ but understand the essence of the lessons.  Adding 2-3 weeks extra will not give them the necessary competence to add a hands-on guidance during the ATM class, since the students will not have enough FI work to really be able to sense what is happening for the student on the floor. If an ATM only professional track were to be established MORE time, not less time would be needed to really teach trainees HOW to dissect the lesson in order to fully understand them for teaching. Trainers should understand the difference between doing and teaching.
I was on the NATAB at a time when training standards were being discussed. Some of these same trainers who are putting forth this proposal, were very vocal about the importance or maintaining the training standards, or if they were to be changed, changing them from the standpoint of improved education and learning, and not to provide economic benefit to the trainer. I find it ironic that these same trainers are putting forth a proposed change that is VERY weak on educational standards.

Why do they think that “The option of a shorter track to teaching certification may be a more appealing first step for many people both financially and in terms of time. Many of those certified as ATM teachers may go on to do the full training at a later time.”
Has any data been collected to support this statement. How will shortening training time for trainees teaching ATM (80 days instead of 120) improve the quality and popularity of the Method in the US. Would it not be better to provide new practitioners with training in how to grow a practice – something that has been given lip service to for years.  Should trainers find that there is indeed real evidence that an ATM only training is needed, an educationally well thought out training curriculum would then need to be developed. The current proposal does neither.

By Marina Gilman on 04/30/2012

It sounds like you are trying to solve a problem instead of create a vision.  What is your vision?  To have more people introduced to the method, and/or for the people who are introduced to the method to get excellent results.

I do think a two-year program can achieve both results, but the current method of teaching people to teach ATM’s needs to change in order to achieve both goals.  (Note, I am in the end of my third year of training.)

Currently, the student doesn’t get to observe others moving (at least not very often) during an entire ATM lesson.  After the ATM, we get to see a few varieties, but not the whole ATM generally.  I think being able to observe the vast array of bodies’ approach to the various movements and how the practitioner adjusts the ATM accordingly is a key point of learning.  This could also stimulate some great discussion.

Currently, the students also don’t begin teaching ATM to each other until the very end of the second year. Beginning this earlier with the instructor present, is tantamount to creating better instructors.

With that said, I personally have had most of my growth and understanding come during the middle of the third year.  I’m looking forward to the fourth year of training.

Kind regards,

Angie

By Angie on 05/01/2012

I share the many concerns raised about this proposal and do not support it.

I have great respect for some of the members of the authoring group and appreciate that the rationale speaks to important community issues, especially for the FGNA, along with concerns for the future of the Method.

Practitioners who have graduated from a 3 year minimum, TAB accredited FPTP being given the option of applying to their guild for ATM-only certification to reflect their area of specialization makes sense to me. Therefore, in response to Ann Harman’s question above, “Do you think that ATM-only certification is inherently a bad idea?” I would have to say no and add that this certification category would not require change to international training policy. A 15 day additional training focused entirely on ATM teaching also makes sense, as an Advanced Training for practitioners who require further learning in this area.

However, the introduction of ATM-only trainings or ATM certification after 2 FPTP years is a separate question and makes no sense to me. Nor do other points such as “hands on guided touch for ATM classes only” with no FI training… It suggests ‘guided touch’ in ATM as a corrective measure, separate from and possibly counteractive to, the client’s learning process. 

Significant change to international training accreditation policy is clearly needed but efforts by the TABs and their governing boards to achieve this within the current TAB governance structure have shown that to enable training policy change in an effective, efficient and timely manner, an organised international decision making process first needs to be established. The 2006 International Working Group (IWG) report provided valuable recommendations on policy change, some detailed options for the development of a clear, organised structure for decision-making processes on training policy and a Special General Assembly (SGA) for Guilds, TABs and the training community to come together ‘in a neutral forum of discussion to explore and develop an overarching plan’. Whilst there is strong community support for these recommendations for change, efforts to implement them under ‘The umbrella of the IFF’ finally (and painfully) confirmed that this option is not the way to go. Hopefully, other options are now being explored.

For now, this proposal highlights the need for clearer guidelines in 1.3 of the Protocol For Changing Internationally-Approved Training Accreditation Policies And Guidelines, before it enters the lengthy process of being added to the meeting agendas of all TABs and their governing boards to carefully consider before the challenging work of negotiating an internationally agreed response. Additions such; as providing the alternative options explored and the reasons why they were not considered valid/feasible as well as reference to the specific policy section/s being proposed for change would go a long way to support this process.

Considering the valuable comments in this community feedback process and the volunteer effort/community costs involved to formulate an agreeable international response, I respectfully ask that this proposal be withdrawn by the authors for review and further consideration.

Luz Stanton
Brisbane 2000
Australia

By Luz Stanton on 05/01/2012

Dear whoever is going to read this,
I am adding my name to the list of people who do not want a separate ATM certification program.  I’ve a number of reasons for my NO vote. 
The first is historical. Moshe was in a quandary in 1981 because I told him that some of the Amherst students were going to teach ATM classes after the second years summer session was completed.  He said in effect that they should definitely NOT do that without knowing more about FI.  He was very upset at the news. I reasoned that we would have to chase down any student who was reported teaching an ATM class and take legal action against them.  So I advised him to give a temporary ATM teaching certificate.  In retrospect this was a mistake of mine that has lasted over 30 years thanks to my foolishness and the various Guilds/TABs inability to change an ill conceived precedent. In my own training it was understood that no one should represent themselves as a practitioner (FI and ATM teacher) of the Method until they were graduated.  Moshe’s decisions to let people teach ATM prior to the San Francisco program of 1975-77 were in the days when there were no teachers available with any real training in teaching either ATM or FI.  Moshe was interested in getting the Method out into the world.  He was well aware of the inadequacies of this decision. The question we are now asking ourselves is, should we be content with ATM ‘teaching’ which was good enough just based on the lessons themselves to possibly generate interest in the Method during the days when people read lessons or played tape recordings as in interest groups in Australia or after Moshe’s workshops in Berkeley California,…..or should we continue to issue a ‘product’ that will at least maintain the current standards or even raise the standards of the teaching and understanding of the ATM lessons that we are now offering to the public at large.

My second reason for a NO vote is simple.  Moshe developed ATM from his own extraordinary ‘body awareness’ by first developing FI.  He was a judo master.  It seems to me that the people who are advocating this proposal have forgotten that their abilities are a product of their having touched/manipulated/researched anatomy books/prodded/cajoled….live people! They know for example how to suggest altering or emphasizing an aspect of an ATM to a room full of ATM students by a slight touch of a different angle of movement for the person because of both verbal and hands on experiences. They have touched countless individuals.  ATM and FI are so intimately the same that it amazes me that anyone could think that by simply studying one part of the two seemingly different modalities, like only steps in a dance or a kata in a martial art or operating on someone simply by reading instructions would actually learn what they need to do. Imagine the speed of performance enhancement and the reduction in injuries of the students of such traditional modalities like ballet, golf, tennis, musical instruments, etc…if they had teachers who knew how to enable their learning through touch. 

My third reason for a NO is that there is an unspoken assumption in the proposal that really needs looking into.  The assumption is that every training gets people ready for the ATM practicum.  And as its corollary, that every person who finishes a second year and has ‘passed’ the ATM practicum is as good as anyone else and equally qualified from any other certified program.  I disagree with his assumption.

First an example from one of my own programs.  Some years ago I was unable to be present during the first part of the time allotted for the ATM practicum.  The assistant(s) had worked with me before in ATM practicums.  I normally ask students to choose lessons from trainer’s CDs, the ATM book of Moshe, AY lessons, to create their own, ATMs from the training, from a practitioner’s class, etc. The practicum is meant to be a serious learning situation.  Every kind of ATM is open for discussion/criticism/construction critique/ manner of presentation, etc. What the assistants did when left alone was to translate a lesson from the ATM book along with one other lesson from a trainer CD series and told the students to teach either one of these lessons. Fortunately I caught what was going on and stopped this parroting of a lesson as a ‘learning situation’ before it was implemented. I was very upset.  It is not the way I like to conduct an ATM practicum. These assistants have been and are working in other programs. I have no idea what is ‘acceptable’ in those trainings.

I have also substituted for other EDs in their ATM practicums.  I was present when students read the entire ATM lesson while not once looking at the group.  I have been present in programs where the ATM practicum is given only to fellow students (in my programs ‘outside’ people are invited into the practicum). I have served as a trainer in programs where the students had a choice of teaching one of 4 lessons. I have been in other practicums where two students taught the lesson as their final one, etc.  So the commonly held and unjustified assumption is: that all trainings are equally good in meeting the criteria needed to qualify someone as a teacher of ATM.  My experiences as a trainer of 30 years is that this is simply not the case.  I’m not saying that many programs are not doing a good job….but they are very different.  And if they are indeed different, how are we going to give another 15 days which will also be presented by a variety of individuals which will also not perhaps be compatible to their initial training. How will the ATM only trainer(s) know what material was covered or even what the student needs in relation to their first two years of learning with other teachers? 

Many programs are always taught by the same group of trainers.  Husband/wife teams teach an enormous amount of the material in a given training.  Am I supposed to believe that their programs are really similar to some other trainings, or mine?  How often do they have trainers in their programs whom they have never met?  How often are they in other programs learning from other trainers or assistants?

I have another reason for a NO vote on this proposal.  This past weekend I did a public workshop in Honolulu.  It was held at a one year old center which was offering 3 different kinds of Nia classes, various yoga classes each with a new twist/name, and four kinds of Pilates classes.  One class which was finishing was aerial/yoga which I observed had women hanging from hooks from the ceiling in colored slings doing all sorts of “yoga” while hanging in and out of these slings.  There was a room where a woman was giving a massage to a man while she was holding onto a rope pulley attached to the ceiling that ran the length of the table so she could hold herself from falling while she walked along his back. I also met a woman in the workshop who calls herself a Feldenkrais person because she took a bones for life training.

We are now living in an age of world-wide, almost instantaneous,transmission of information and culture.  As a consequence, people are quickly blending a world wide variety of food, music, dance, healing arts and more, from all over the world. With this need to create something new to tantalize at least someone, the hope is that this new mush mash of ingredients might meet the tastes for the cravings of the never ending desire for something new and unique in the world at large. I think it is time to dig deeper into some traditions and make them stronger. Like ATM and FI.. 

Do the proponents of having an ATM only practitioner program really believe that having this training will not reduce the number of would be students in the 4 year programs?  Does it really meet the needs of a lot of people as is being suggested or does it really meet the needs of very few individuals. Does anyone really know?  Most practitioners I know, from different parts of the world, say their ATM classes already have too few participants.  Why dilute their possible attendees even more?  Why create a battle for students between fully 4 year accredited practitioners and 2 year ones? Why do we want to make a hierarchy visible before a general public? 

I wish to vote no to the proposal for an additional reason. In response to the argument that it might make life easier for the ED in a program.  Maybe we would be wise to consider that the difficulty lies more with the ED’s honesty and openness with 1st and 2nd year students in the early stages of the program.  With his/her difficultyin telling them openly of their evaluation at this point in time. The ED’s assessment might be wrong, but they can say that to the student, and they can have an honest and ongoing dialogue about the student’s process during the term of the program.  What’s wrong with an ED having this kind of ‘problem’?

I’m also curious to know how the change in personal self-esteem might be calculated for those people who come into a program convinced that they are only good enough to teach ATM and not good enough to touch people.  And then how we should calculate when they actually become ‘good enough’ and exhibit their being ‘good enough’. Or just the opposite, how should we calculate the value to those individuals who are shy and afraid to get before a group of people for whom it takes perhaps until the 4th year and practicing a lot of FI explorations before they are willing to ask questions in the training and do their ATM ‘practicum?  We may never know about these ‘transformations’ if people do not participate in the process of becoming a practitioner.

I would like to make a few proposals myself. I would propose that the NATAB really do what it should have been doing since its inception which it has never done. Namely consider how to honestly regulate, and assess the competency of any training.  I have never had a TAB person come to any of my over two dozen programs as an ED to assess its viability other than by my sending to the EURO/NATAB/AUSTAB a form listing how many students were in the program, how many left, did they receive the number of FI lessons due them, did they complete the necessary 2 ATM or FI lessons in the practicum, etc.  For their reviewing of the information which I/and or the organizers collated for them which may have taken a ½ to 1 hour of their time to review, they have been paid on the average 3-4 thousand dollars a year…and I guess (because I have rarely ever been told ) that my program received continuing certification. This “service’ when calculated, was roughly $12,000/training, for at least 24 programs, or over a quarter of a million dollars……from just my programs as the ED.

What I would like to propose is adding a week to each training year.  That the various TABs enforce the idea that at a minimum of 4 different trainers with different ‘takes’ on the Method are to be in a program.  That the ED can teach only 50% and not 60% of a programs material.  That programs can have at a maximum only 45 students so that programs with more students having trainers teaching via TV sets in adjoining rooms and assistants basically teaching the program is NOT what a program is supposed to be like. That the TABs let at least EDs or soon to be ones, know who has become a trainer so they can invite that person to work in a training; and not just send out a questionnaire along with the prospective trainer applicants dossier without ever knowing whether or not that person has achieved trainer status.

Doing just these things alone will only be a start in upgrading the trainings.  But for sure implementing the ATM teacher proposal will be another step in watering down the Method.  The proposal is in a way equivalent to calling Somatics as good as the Feldenkrais Method which its (Somatics) practitioners are wont to do.  However Somatics is really not as good. And neither is the ATM teacher only proposal.

By Jerry Karzen's comments sent at his request via Be on 05/01/2012

Wow. Great discussion.  Would love to take it all in, integrate and respond. Instead, in the interest of time, from a more selfish point of view as an ED and organizer of trainings, I mainly see the inherent logistical difficulties that many in my position have mentioned above.  I’m very interested and invested in improving ATM teaching skills of students in our trainings. I love the challenge. And rather than spending the time towards this proposal, personally I’d like to be having a conversation with trainers about their latest creations in ATM teaching processes.

By Diana Razumny on 05/02/2012

I am in full support of continuing the conversations that arise from this proposal, but am NOT in favor of it as it stands. What’s the rush?  I agree with many of the points so beautifully articulated by George Krutz and Alan Questel. Let’s listen and take our time on this one.

By Becci Parsons on 05/02/2012

Chloe Scott, who introduced me to the Feldenkrais Method when she was taking the training in the mid 1970’s, used to quote Moshe:  ATM-FI, FI-ATM – they’re the same.

ATM and FI are both living embodiments of the Feldenkrais Method.
My FI practice informs my ATM teaching and my ATM teaching informs my FI practice.  What I discover with my hands helps me see my students in class, and what I observe as I teach helps my touch with clients.
One of the strengths of the Method is that we are always looking to go deeper, to feel more.  This proposal seems to be going in the other direction.
If people don’t want to do FI, or don’t want to practice FI, maybe they shouldn’t take the training. Who likes doing FI in the beginning?  It’s terrifying and very difficult.
The fact that others are plagiarizing our work – while troublesome – does not make a good argument for weakening our standards.  To the contrary, we have what the copy-cats don’t – we are deeply trained members of a Guild which sets high standards and protects those standards so that being a member of the Guild means something.

It is difficult not to see this proposal as arising primarily from the need of trainers get more students.
 
The Feldenkrais Method is a new paradigm.  It’s unrealistic to expect the Method to sweep the country in 30-35 years. .  As for awareness of the Method, I rarely encounter a person who has not at least heard of the Method.  When I graduated 12 years ago the reverse was true.  That seems like a huge increase in public awareness in a short time – even for Berkeley.

As for the lack of ATM classes, perhaps the trainers should teach more public workshops – they are always filled to capacity in Berkeley. 
Finally, this is not the kind of change that could be reversed some years down the road. If the Guild decided the proposal was a mistake does that mean those trained under this proposal have their certification revoked? That would open a big can of worms.
I see no value to be gained by this proposal and in fact I see it as weakening the integrity of the Method.

Respectfully,


Kay Ellyard, GCFP

By Kay Ellyard, 2000 on 05/02/2012

I agree with those who say that an ATM-only track would water down the Method. For those who started late in life (I graduated in my late 50s), we need all the help we can get. Instructions on teaching ATM were interspersed with FI instruction during all four years of my training. Still, when I started teaching ATM before graduating I felt as if I was teaching a bunch of statues. I couldn’t see what was happening. (Granted, I’m a very myopic Mrs. Magoo.) Gradually, as I did more FI and took more advanced trainings (which always include both FI and ATM) I started being able to see. It was from feeling and sensing my FI students that my visual acuity—and thus my ability to adjust my ATM teaching to what was happening in front of me—grew.

Would ATM-type people not even receive FIs? I think people need to participate, to the the extent possible, in the full Method. A student of mine who is in a training tells me how fellow students with disabilities are learning to adapt to do FI within their limitations, and doing a beautiful job—learning about themselves; learning to work with delicacy and precision, if not full power; learning to function in the world. Maybe they won’t end up doing FI for a living, but they are being enriched by participating in the full scope of the training. If they choose, they may then go out and teach ATM and not do FI. I’m heartened that that’s an option for me when I get even older than I am now.

I just taught an ATM lesson and was able to clarify something to a student whom I know also from FI (and generally by doing FI) by having her do a little FI move with her own hand on her own ribs as she did a flexion movement. A found movement from FI into ATM.

I agree with many others that the problem is not a lack of ATM teachers, but a dearth of ATM students. The Guild might better place its efforts into helping us (and leading us) to develop an audience for this wonderful Method.

I continue to learn to be a better and better ATM teacher, recognizing that it takes many, many things to do this well: an ability to speak and communicate clearly and with warmth and humor, life experience, understanding how personalities and histories affect how we move, compassion, love, having the singular privilege to put my hands on my FI students and have their lives leap into my sensorium—and then translating those beautiful lives into my understanding of how to teach ATM. How sad it would be to leave half of the Method out.

By Judy Windt on 05/02/2012

I am opposed to this proposal.

By igene engell on 05/02/2012

Dear  all,
 
Thanks for this conversation, and for the many topics that are coming up, which need further discusion and revision.
 
As part of a community of individuals in this virtual, fastpacedbook world that we live in, I am happy to notice that everyone´s posting comes from an honest, brave and real place, wether supporting or rejecting a proposal from respected and loved trainers and colleagues, which whom we have all shared a learning experience or two.
 
Thanks also to the practitioners that made the proposal. Surprising at first, I see how you succeded at shaking the waters and gather all of us here, sharing our self-images, and creating change. We have a passion. Feldenkrais Method.
 
I join those that vote NO to your proposal. There are many reasons, depending on where I stand to look, or which lens I use:
 
= as a trainee, since during all those hours on the floor and at the table, there are no divisions. As you are learning to become a practitioner, where ATM starts and where FI begins is not so clear. One modality informs the other. You understand because of the interelation between the two. Thank Moshe for it all, no doubt. 
 
= as an individual, since many people come to the training to heal something, to recover from injury, to improve their performance, not interested at all to teach anybody.
> Because the experience of self-FI in ATM, as part of the ATM is invaluable. Huge. (See AY 217). A Milestone for Moshe, revealing the very origin of the method, of he working on himself, and opening a path to continue growing, creating, developing his ideas and taking them further. If Moshe continued creating ATMs, wouldn´t he made more of these lessons? If you remove FI from ATM learning, wouldn´t you miss the whole?
 
= as a practitioner, I feelk (feel&think;, thanks Aliza Stewart), that there is no way anybody can be ready to teach this work in 2 years. No matter if this hypotetical 2-year graduate wants to teach only ATM or the whole method. In fact, the complexity of the work is such that the actual 120-day training is not enough, and that´s why recent (and not so recent) graduates walk a long trail of advanced trainings before they feelk self-confident enough to embrace the practice.
 And because there is only ONE Feldenkrais Method, a whole, integrated piece of work. The multi-disciplinary person that created it conceived it as such, and it was only for the public that the divisions between ATM / FI were created, or that´s the myth.
 
 = as a musician, I know that no matter what are you playing (call it Fedenkrais, call it Mozart, call it Coltrane), and despite how talented or incompetent at the instrument you are, you wont survive nor thrive without PRACTICE. Only after hours and hours, years and years of practice will you get a glimpse of what music is.
 To shorten the amount of practice and learning of a student of anything would only create a cross-motivation of interests. (You want to be good, but you sleep the whole day. You want to play better, but you don´t even touch the instrument to dust it). Restraining ATM to 2 only years of study would be like pretending a violinist can play solo concerts at the second year in music school.
 
= as part of the public, who crave to know what Feldenkrais means, and would benefit tremendously from our work (its just that they dont know it yet).
I´ve been at panels where trainers, assistant trainers and experienced practitioners all the same struggled to articulate an easy to understand, sexy and catchy description of the Feldenrkais method to about-to-be graduates.
After 17 years of my own immersion in this work in 1995, I still continue searching for easy words to describe what it really is that I do (and that I studied for 4 years)... to family members, friends, at the art gallery opening, the elevator at work… in a way that hopefully won’t involve mentioning the brain too much, or pulling out scientific evidence that will put some of my listeners in momentary shock, confusion or sleep….  
How many traines feel ready to describe what Feldenkrais is after 4 years of training? And after 2?
 
= as an FPTP Administrator: I worked as the administrator of David Zemach Bersin’s professional training programs in NYC during 2010 & 2011, providing information on the phone or via email to hundreds of potential trainees. I don’t recall any conversation where my mention of the fact that our training goes over a three and a half year period didn’t add to the “professional” aspect of the currisulum, and brought the conversation to a whole other level. Something like a feeling of ‘oh, they are the real deal, not just like those other certifications out there’. Could it have discouraged people that weren’t serious about the method?  Maybe. Do we want to graduate people that are just looking for a quick certificate, a fast track to bodywork? Not so sure. How many of those prospective students were interested in ATM only? A very small percentage, since many of them didn´t really know what Feldenkrais was but were considering against other disciplines (PT, massage), or were following a friend´s referral or promotional material. 
 
= the paradox of the elusive obvious
In my humble experience of just three trainings (the two I coordinated and my own), getting to know about 200 of students, listening to their experiences as they dealt with the wilderness of a Feldenkrais training, only a small percentage from each training showed an interest in only teaching ATM, and most of them were somehow drawn to stay until the end. A couple of my closest friends from my training were somehow ´converted´at some point. I feel that fortunately for us as a community, the beauty and potency of our work is such, that once people begin to get a glimpse of what this work can be, it engages them even more into the spiral of learning.
 
=?=  I honestly don’t understand the need to lower our standards of training or practice. I agree with other practitioners in this discussion that if anything, we need to toughen our practicums, especially for ATM. Or, thinking about it in a Feldenkraisian way, we need to provide our future graduates with more ‘real-life situations’ opportunities to make the mistakes and have at least one ‘aha’ moment while teaching ATM before graduating. The conditions to observe, practice, learn deeply in times of fast food and global information. For our own sake as a community and within a discipline that is here to stay past the trends..
This could only come from MORE time in training, MORE mentoring, MORE post-grad training. More proficient practitioners of the Feldenkrais Mehod… even if they don’t practice FI after graduating, they will be thinking in those terms, connecting the dots, and have had experienced FI in themselves and others before working with large groups, and become representatives of the method to the world. We are the legacy.
 
YES to:
* more visits from NTAB and regulation of trainings, quality control, guidance.
* > ratio of assistant trainers / experienced practitioners per student in training. 
* variation trainer/theme during trainings (not same trainer same theme always).
* more post-graduate training (see Irene Lyon & Jerry Karzen above for reference).
* more peer interaction, discussions, interdisciplinary scientific research on FM. 
* more forums like this to continue working on our craft together.
* revision and integrated to all new policies that are created, after a certain number of years. A debate and feedback process carried by all the practitioners no matter their affiliation to a Guild or another, based in the understanding that just as we learn in succesive approximations, the nature of our work requires the same approach to teaching it, learning it, and thinking about it.
* a description of the Feldenkrais Method in a clear, appealing, interesting way to the general public.

It is up to us to let this method grow and take the shape that only an evolving organism would, and that it’s also up to us to appreciate and respect that FI and ATM feed, nurture and inform each other. And that it would be a great loss to disembody ATM from the FI experience. I hope that this is just the first step in a long and healthy revision of where we are as a community and discipline, and where we want to lead the present and future students of this method.

In gratitude and respect,
Dayana Henwood

By Dayana Henwood on 05/02/2012

Hi,

I don’t have the impression that this proposal is completely thought through. I applaud the attempt to get something moving, which it seems to have accomplished.

I cannot judge the North Ameican scene as to ATM classes available, and I don’t know if a shorter track will make a difference there. Maybe. The arguement about some students having less interest or aptitude for FI seems plausible to me based on my experience in our trainings.

The real problem I have with this proposal is the two year program. The students in our trainings who teach ATM after two years are doing so to gain experience. Most of them do not understand the lessons, nor are they really skilled in teaching them. They are practicing. Two years is definitely too short to graduate competent ATM teachers.

An ATM Only training would have to be longer. The third and fourth years of the training expose students to much more depth in ATM. They learn to understand the lessons better by learning how to translate an ATM into an FI. I could go on.

This sounds like a hybrid that will not work as well as it is presented on paper. Some of the arguements sound weak to me.

I can well imagine an ATM Only training. I think that the graduates would not have the same understanding of the method as ones who also learn FI. I am not sure that this would be a problem if the ATM training found ways to deal with these differences in experience. Why not propose an ATM Only training with real quality? What might that look like? I would like to see at least a 3 year ATM training if it were to be done. This could concentrate entirely on ATM. As this proposal stands now, I disagree with it.

Roger Russell

By roger russell on 05/03/2012

What a robust discussion!  Only good things can come from an examination of this kind.

I am a third year student and a Guild member.  I believe this request for comments was directed only toward people who belong to the Guild.  Most of my student colleagues do not yet belong to the Guild.  I feel that the discussion should be opened up to all current Feldenkrais students, Guild members or not.  Please consider a separate invitation to elicit responses from all current students.

I have not yet formed a complete opinion.  I would like to hash this out with my fellow students first.

By Jayne Kuhlman on 05/03/2012

Dear all,

We, the Board of Directors of the Feldenkrais-Verband Deutschland e.V (“the German Guild”) have read and discussed this proposal. Our common view is that we do not support it in its present form. We think that by shortening the training to two years and at the same time omitting the teaching of FI, two fundamental “ingredients” of the training would be given up simultaneously, which until now were both regarded amongst our community to be necessary for developing quality work. Since we have no way to determine if and how these two measures would affect the quality of teaching ATM as part of the Feldenkrais method, we think it would be irresponsible to establish a shortened training as you submitted in your proposal.

Regards,

Corinna Eikmeier, Joachim Foss, Anna Maria Kleinhuis, Claus-Jürgen Kocka and Inge Lobisch

By BoD German Guild on 05/03/2012

I am definitely against this proposal. Offering 2-year ATM-only Guild trainings, to turn out ATM teachers more quickly, in order to a) increase the number of ATM classes available; b) improve the quality of ATM teaching; and c) compete with Anat and Mia’s trainings (???), sounds like a very strange way to make the Feldenkrais Method more visible and attractive for the general public. Hiring a public relations professional for a limited number of time (a year) to promote the method more extensively in the media would probably be more productive.
Now conceivably the 4 x 8 weeks of a 4-year Guild training could be converted to a 3-year training of 3 x 10.6 weeks a year. But in those 3 years the full program of FI and ATM should still be taught, as one unit. If later the practitioner prefers to offer only ATM, or only FI, or both, is a personal choice. But you need to learn and internalize and understand both in order to become a competent practitioner, believe me.
In the 1990’s I participated in an advanced training with Mia in the Netherlands, where a German practitioner complained that there was not enough work, since there were too many practitioners already (there are more practitioners in Germany than in the US and Canada combined). Mia’s answer: “There is always enough work, you just have to be good.” I thought that was brilliant. How do you become good? Practice, practice, practice… (Ask not what your Guild can do for you, ask what you can do to become the most competent, inspiring practitioner, assistant trainer, trainer……)
Thanks to Moshe, we have this superior product, the Feldenkrais Method. Let’s not water it down, but pass it on intact, as one unit, the way he developed it. And thank you, Jerry Karzen, for your input.

By Eve Strauss on 05/03/2012

Whom It May Concern:

I stay out of Feldenkrais politics and have never written anything for Feldenkrais readers.  But, having given almost half of my lifespan to the Feldenkrais Method, I feel compelled to write.  This entire proposal is like cutting the Mona Lisa in half and saying,  “Now we can have two masterpieces instead of one!”  It appears that the oneness of FI and ATM has been lost and therefore the knowledge, spirit, creativity and joy of the Method radically stifled.

The following examples may be interpreted as arrogant and/or self aggrandizing, but they are meant to exemplify the interdependence of FI and ATM, a oneness that Moshe never intended to be broken and which I will never separate in my practice.
Five out of eight years of my full time residency in Maui, about 80% of all the ATM lessons that developed came exclusively from my FI work. My practice went 52 weeks a year for eight consecutive years, with ATM classes at least once a week, plus a three to five hour workshop every three weeks. The ‘original’ ATM lessons formed from the FI practice were successful financially and otherwise, despite the fact that Maui is known for flaky, non paying, come and go students, and is also heavily saturated with health practitioners.  I would sometimes receive calls from Feldenkrais practitioners, massage therapists, acupuncturists, martial artists and yoga instructors asking:  “HOW do you have such a successful practice on Maui?”  As a rule, I do not advertise my services or actively seek clients.  It’s all by word of mouth.  I am extremely reclusive, have zero business sense, and can be obnoxious and abrupt, even with my students.  Hence, I attribute this success not to some ‘gift’ but rather by following, to the best my ability, the purity of Moshe’s principles.

Currently, I am on the mainland and I just finished a weekend workshop in Fairfield, Iowa two days ago where half the attendees had not done any Feldenkrais work before.  Two fifths of the workshop consisted of ATM lessons developed from FI’s.  Two months ago I worked here for two and a half weeks and gave three workshops.  The last one consisted entirely of ATM lessons formed from FI’s.  All workshops were over-booked within twelve hours, and were overflowing with students lying on the floor in hallways.  Converting FI’s to ATM’s (and ATM’s to FI’s) is the most exciting part of my practice.  One’s nervous system embodies lessons differently as the lessons come through from the inside out rather than relying solely on reading and audio lessons, and my students can feel the difference.  Both are useful. This form of learning is unsurpassed and greatly improves my ability to sense more acutely a large variety of nervous systems with growing ease and simplicity.  Lessons continue to blow the back of my head off and keep me coming back for more, and the intuitive faculties keep expanding in this direction.  Based on my experience, I cannot fathom the possibility of even considering an ATM certification program devoid of FI and the four year training program. 

Even if the proposal does not pass, it’s mere existence demonstrates to us that Moshe’s work is no longer being respected or understood, because we all know Moshe believed ATM could never be properly understood or taught without a minimum of FOUR years training.  The proposal assumes that graduates will be able to teach what is not even part of their curriculum, and it turns a blind eye to the fact that each ATM graduate would be representing the collective whole of the Feldenkrais Method.  (Ouch!)

Whatever decision is made, it will not effect my practice or income.  However, if the proposal is passed, all future Feldenkrais students will not have the opportunity to develop more fully as Feldenkrais practitioners,  and likely make it more difficult to reach their greater potential as human beings.  Ironically,
I was one of those students who adamantly wanted to teach only ATM by applying it to dance and acting students at my university job at the time.  In fact, I graduated from my training insisting that I would teach ATM only.  I was still clueless to the FI/ATM connection.  Trainees do not have enough knowledge, comprehension, or understanding to participate in making these critical decisions.  It is not their place to participate in these discussions or decisions, which is yet another example of how we dilute the Method.

For those trainees who think they are too handicapped to do the entire four years and believe they cannot give FI, remember this Method was born from a man who lost his ability to walk.  Hands down the best FI I ever received was given to me by a woman 35 years my senior recouping from hip replacements.  Your pain is all the more reason to complete the fours years!  And, if it is impossible, we cannot sacrifice the integrity of the Method to cater to the few!  For myself, I did not know if it would be possible to complete the first month.  The first week of my training was spent hanging by door to vomit.  There was still a little pain from the tailbone to the occiput after four years, but the Method continued to bring me to higher levels of organization until it disappeared.

There are loads of reasons why Feldenkrais is not more successful.  I find it most disturbing that I have met more people from the general public who claim they have been injured, or wasted their money on private sessions, than I have met who claim it helped them.  I have no idea how trainings are conducted anymore (outside of gossip), except Jerry Karzen’s in Maui.  (And, of course, I highly commend his abilities as a trainer.)  But surely, something has gone awry and it is much wiser to address this FIRST.  Also, with all the free online ATM’s, I know plenty of folks who now have stopped attending ATM classes.  People also have many more modalities for awareness based healing than we did ten years ago.

My suggestion to those considering this proposal seriously: Trust Moshe’s genius and discover for yourself the inseparable relationship between FI and ATM.  My wish for you is that you fall in love with the Feldenkrais Method all over again and rediscover the depth and beauty of what it means to be human. Increase your organization as best you can until the lessons work directly on the mental, emotional and intuitive levels.  Try to remember what it was like when you were a beginning student with that fresh sense of discovery.  If this occurs, there will be no question that Moshe’s wisdom and spirit will take hold of you, and this silly ‘ATM only’ business proposal will be abandoned.

I could write a few more pages of reasons why this proposal would be the death of the Feldenkrais Method.  If you want more, just ask.

Sincerely,
Alexsandra Burt

By Alexsandra Burt on 05/03/2012

I am unequivocally against any form of ATM only trainings or FI only training programs.

ATM and FI are not “two sides of the same coin” which seems to be the metaphor of choice. Even so, I have seen coins sliced down the middle. What is left is two thin ,weak pieces of metal.  When looked at from just one angle they may fool some people as to what they represent. But they have neither the substance nor the value of the whole.

In my mind, these FI and ATM in their relationship resemble more the warp and weft of woven fabric. They are inseparable and only together make a whole.  Even if after learning from both, one chooses to practice mostly just one or the other, each is necessary to of the learning of the other.  In either case – coin or cloth - separating the elements leads to a weakening rather than an improvement in integrity.

FI is an invaluable support in developing the understanding of both function and structure necessary for becoming more than someone who as merely recites ATMs. Touching and being touched is essential to gain a glimmer of understand the myriad ways that people vary each from the other in a way that visual observation alone can never provide.

ANY teacher who graduates from a training program already has the right already to decide on how much ATM and how much FI to practice. The most common experience I have had in 20 years of practice as an Educational Director is that many people do not know how they will feel about ATM or FI even a few years after their training or what will call them in the way of practice. It is almost a cliché for people to intend to not practice one or the other only to find that the less favored form not only captures their interest, but also helps them improve their early favorite. 

It has also been my very frequent experience to have most clever or students come in third year of their training to say, “NOW I am seeing how broad and deep this work is. It is so much more than merely the movements -  and in ways I am just beginning to realize.”

A process MEANS time. It does not work to bake a cake at 650 degrees for 15 minutes instead of at 325 for 30. Teaching ATM requires the full 160 days ... and a lot more. Trainings should be longer not shorter.

I have, in a very few instances in the course of graduating over 500 teachers, made a deal with a student that they would not practice FI without further training and given them their diploma. This has mostly been in the case of someone who was not able find ways to practice FI because of physical disability even while their exposure to FI practice has clearly helped form their understanding of ATM.

In short, there is no conceivable reason to make a change that will have so many unintended effects and so many known negative impacts on the activity of training teachers and on the quality of the Method just to suit those very, very few people who wish to practice ATM only.

I am also concerned for graduates of the 160 days trainings who will face competition from cheaply and quickly trained graduates. Contrary to the claims articulated in this proposal, there is no evidence that I know of – and certainly none was offered!!! - of widespread and unmet demand for ATM classes. I hear quite the opposite: that graduates have small classes, too few classes. I hear that they need their classes to expose them to people who might become their FI clients.  ATM classes taught by quickly people who have only an understanding of ATM will undercut those who have invested considerable time, money, and self into becoming a teacher of the entire Method and who deserve protection rather than sabotage at the hands of their Guild and its TAB. 

This proposal would be an utter betrayal of many.

Further, in a general sense, it disturbs me that this proposal contains so many other unfounded claims, so many appeals to emotion,  so damn little of the kind of hard work that any decent proposal should have before it is even put before the community. To me, it is especially noxious that it has been suggested that anyone who opposes this change must against change per se. This smacks of the language of a political campaign and of emotional blackmail.

ATM only trainings will also undermine the integrity such as many of us have worked hard to achieve in the 160 day programs.  Many of us have come a long way to integrate learning from touch and sight and kinesthetic sense and cognitive material all together from the early days of training. A model like this would be a strong economic imperative to return to training models that segregate learning from ATM and FI into quite separate parts of the training and to offer ATM first and hands on practice only later. In other words, this proposal that has no strong reason for being brought into being would undermine important advances in variety of styles and structure in training programs while it is the opposite that is claimed.

I have been in contact with two of the teachers who signed this proposal. Both have distanced themselves from it, calling it just an attempt “to get something going.”

I suggest that this is an inappropriate use of this process. I suggest that making policy involves very dedicated and detailed work and that the community does not benefit from having to deal with ideas so scant and so poorly researched and substantiated.

Policy design requires:
  -careful research and documentation of the need for suggested changes - not unsubstantiated stories and emotional sales language;
  - careful and extensive analysis of how any proposed changes would be implemented;
  - careful and extensive research on the effect proposed changes would or might have on the wellbeing of existing teachers, models of training, and public perception.  (I am with those, by the way who think that ATM trainings only is a first step towards the kind of decline in standards that have become problematic for Yoga and Pilates and many other fine disciplines that have yielded standards in favor quick, quick, quick.)

Finally, I would like to discuss the “Protocol for Changing Policy.” I was one of the people who designed it and I proposed it and wrote its first several drafts. I did so because training policy was being changed wholly within TAB meetings on the fly much, much too quickly. Sometimes a change was proposed, discussed and adopted in a single meeting. Self-interest is a very hard thing for even the most scrupulous to see in themselves – perhaps particularly for those people. I thought that a policy that called for stages of review by the community at large seemed to be needed. A major revision of policy had recently been done ad hoc while creating and following many of the ideas that I adopted into a formal proposal for a Protocol for Change. As is usual with policy in the hands of bureaucrats over time, it has indeed become needlessly complicated and difficult to manage.

Still, some observations:
  - The current proposal is only the third or perhaps fourth time that anyone or that a group has sought to use the Policy for Change. Hardly a track record on which to judge if the policy expresses sound values on the way such things should go.
    - Every attempt has met with failure for the same kinds of reasons demonstrated in this attempt. A quick account of that process is this:
    -  proposals have been very poorly written and have reflected nothing so much as reluctance to do the really hard and time consuming work that is needed when making changes to complicated systems. 

I cannot help but note that people who routinely reject applications for assistant trainer certification – let alone trainer certification - on the grounds that the application in question does not demonstrate enough of care or clarity in thinking and reasoning seem too often willing to change the whole landscape of the profession via a proposal not nearly so well thought out nor developed with as much care and due diligence as some of the proposals they reject. This is not a small thing to my mind.

  - no proposal to date has gained the support of a substantial percentage of the community at large let alone anything approaching a majority. I suggest that this is not the fault of the Policy but reflects on the proposals themselves.

  - interestingly, EVERY proposal has been for making things quicker, easier, shorter. The exceptions have been in regard to certification for assistant trainer and trainer in which change has inevitably been in the direction of making it harder, longer, more difficult. No proposal about change in training regulations have been based in “let’s raise our expectations, let’s give more to students, let’s demand more of Trainers and Educational Directors.”

  - Every proposal has had its eye on the marketplace rather than the quality of our graduates or pedagogy in training programs.

Personally, there are changes I would love to see. They ALL involve giving more to students: more contact, more guidance, more respect, more careful pedagogy. But this is for another day.

Though my comments are sometimes strong and direct, I intend critique of the proposal and this too casual use of the processes of “Protocol for Changing Policy” and thereby of the resources of the community. I intend no personal disrespect for the authors.

Sincerely,

Paul Rubin,
Teacher of the Feldenkrais Method
Trainer and Educational Director

By Paul Rubin on 05/03/2012

If the conversation around this proposal begins serious inquiry into why, as Kevin Creedon states, so many practitioners graduate insecure that if very positive! I am not in support of the proposal. There are so many points to speak to and many have clearly. I am going to use this opportunity to speak to issues that I feel strongly about. They may not all seem directly related to the proposal, I feel they are. Overall, I agree with George Krutz (including strongly against touching in ATM when one has not completed a full training). Kevin Creedon, (survey Yes!) Alan Questel, Katrin Smithback and many who have pointed to the need for the Guild to focus on marketing.
    Years ago when trainings were shortened by 20 days I opposed the decision based on the importance of more time for ATM. I feel the extra 20 days would make a difference in both the teaching of ATM and FI. I cannot imagine cutting the number of days even more for an ATM only certification without revamping the entire program.
    I am totally against a trial period of 10 years. How many people might be exposed to a less than interesting, inspiring, empowering experience and decide that the method was not worth their time? How many people would they tell?
    I do not know the facts of the following. I’ve heard that the original group of trainers took many years of weekly ATM classes before beginning to learn FI. Was that only 80 to 95 hours? I doubt it.
  I want to respond to the practitioner who suggests how beneficial it would be to have already competent professionals such as athletic trainers, dance and movement teachers, coaches, martial artists, etc. “add-on” to their other professions. As a former dancer and dance teacher, I would suggest that most often these highly educated movement teachers need the full training at least, if not more than other trainees to be able to teach ATM well. Professionals learning of “correct movement” is so ingrained in habit that we do not know any other way until hours/years of ATM experience begins to open our minds. The fact that we may be able to “do the lesson” has very little to do with understanding our feelings, discovering options and valuing variation in movement for self discovery. Learning to provide a space where people are encouraged to explore freely within the constraints of an ATM lesson when you have been trained “the proper way to move” takes time. I know there are practitioners who disagree with me, and of course it depends on what type of training one has had. Having a passion for working with dance teachers, young dancers and a variety of movement teachers over the past 20 years I have observed this to be true for most.
    We learn this work through self discovery, self inquiry and learning to be present through movement. My excitement around my experience in training led a significantly large number of people to ask about joining training and proceed to do so. That excitement came from a newfound confidence, feeling empowered in my ability as a human being to succeed in life. At the end of four years I was not confident in FI and if there had been competency rules I would not have graduated. Because I had found confidence in me through a huge number of hours of ATM I was able to learn FI, and have supported myself entirely with the Method since graduation in ‘91. I feel I learned both how to teach ATM and FI initially from my experience doing ATM and receiving FI from experienced practitioners. The actual teaching of FI in training and advanced training is important only if we have enough experience doing ATM learning to be present, listen to ourselves kindly, and bring that experience to others. I know I am referring to FI and the proposal is for ATM teaching only. As many have said they inform each other regardless of which you prefer to practice.
    In regard to trainings becoming smaller. I feel extremely sad that over the years I have heard from, and about, a number of people who have not had positive experiences in training, some completed training, some not, some built practices, some did not. The most painful are those I have observed and heard from whom have felt judged in trainings to the point that they feel they have failed. Moshe spoke of having no “bad students” wrote about the failure of education where only a few succeed. It is hard to excitedly recommend training when these stories multiply. When taught well, people do not fail in ATM. We need quality skilled, not mediocre ATM teachers to attract more interest in the Method. Thank you for this opportunity to be heard. Prisca Winslow Bradley

By Prisca Winslow Bradley on 05/03/2012

I’am against this proposal. I agree with the points mentionned by Tim Gallanty - 03/22/2012

By Marie Christine Monmignaut on 05/04/2012

A brief apology and request for indulgence for my poor proof reading skills. My post of yesterday has typos dangling words here and there from incomplete late night writing.

I hope what I was trying to express still comes through.

Best wishes,

Paul

By Paul Rubin on 05/04/2012

After having read most of the responses, I must add my “NO” to the proposal. I agree with David Zemach Bersin, Alan Questel, Jodi Freeman, Valerie Grant and Dayana Heywood. I also believe that 2 years is too short a time period to really come to understand the Feldenkrais Method, even 4 years is too short for a lot of people. I wouldn’t want to see the Method separated or diluted for a quickie body work certification for anyone, regardless of prior experiences.  We really need more publicity about the Method, making it as well known as yoga has become. WE all need to work on this!

By Judith Mazzer Frank on 05/04/2012

I am opposed to this proposal.
After reading the proposal and through the  majority of comments, the main question that keeps coming back to me is : Why do we want to make it easier to become a Feldenkrais Method Teacher?”  ( or ATM teacher ? )   Is” easy” a criteria for a Professional training program? 

One question that I hear from people new to my practice, almost to a person, is what type of training do I have.  Each person seems reassured and relieved I have more than cursory training and are impressed that my training was over a four year period. They always ask for specifics and are interested in the process of becoming a Feldenkrais Method Teacher. I am proud to have completed my training, as would any other professional.

The Feldenkrais Method is not a ‘modality”; I don’t want it to be some part of a “tool bag” where someone teaches ATM and whatever. The split between ATM teachers and FI/ATM teachers could very well split our community as well.

I agree with the comments that many of our problems are not of who teaches what.  Is the reason Practitioners aren’t making a living, offering classes, or filling classes  due to lack of public awareness about the Feldenkrais Method ? The conversation about marketing  is possibly for another time, but it is an issue that in real life is more important than this proposal; because  real life is doesn’t count how many teachers are churned out, but  if any one shows up to your class, workshop or appointment.

This Method is not a collection of bits and pieces and trick FI moves. It is deeply intense, personal and reaches us in a manner so completely human; by touch and movement.
It is not like anything else one experiences in the field of ‘bodywork” or “sensory motor learning”. So why do we propose to make it common ? Why do we propose to make ourselves and our work less?  It takes time to learn this particular way of thinking , seeing and sensing. It takes perseverance and integrity to commit to the practice and learning.

Respectfully,
Pamela Beets
May 4, 2012

By Pamela Beets on 05/04/2012

I am opposed to this proposal.

The first reason has to do with our organizational culture.  We are already so stratified:  those who worked with Moshe directly, those who did not; those who trained with Moshe in Israel, in San Francisco, in Amherst; which trainers one has worked with; and on and on.  Do we really want to create a new division within the profession?  The “fully trained” and the “not fully trained?”  The “I’ll have mine without the bun, please?” level? Do the ATM-only teachers get to vote and make policy about the future of the Guild, the profession, and the further development and outreach of the work?  We do not benefit as a profession, nor as an organization, with a less-fully trained cohort.

The second has to do with a perceptual and emotional reality that is the “elephant in the room” of our organization. There are many, many practitioners who choose not to be associated with the Guild because they have not been well served, by whomever.  Some trainers have over-promised and under-delivered on the built-up career aspirations and expectations of some students—and those students feel ripped off.  Some people on the career path up the Feldy food chain feel thwarted and blocked by decision makers. Or, after having attained the rank of Assistant Trainer, find themselves without work in trainings, and then THEY feel ripped off. Our organizational culture cannot win for losing.  We treat each other pretty badly, at the organizational level.

THE ONE THING that we have that is of value is the credential, and the investment of time, energy, and personal transformation involved. We have ALL trained for 3-4 years, at significant expense and sacrifice.  I believe that to create a lower tier, with lower demands, will devalue both levels of accreditation. You will have ripped off 100% of the existing practitioners.  It is then difficult to make the case that our organization acts in the best interest of its members. You will put yourself in the position of being perceived as saying, “Well, we soaked them for as much money as we could get out of them—so let’s throw them under the bus.”

We need to root out the prevailing notion that Feldenkrais lessons are a commodity, or a consumable, where price is the primary driver.  Why pay more for paper towels or coffee beans, when the product is basically the same stuff?  This notion is destructive to our self-image.  Feldenkrais teachers have a high level of expertise, and deliver (or should deliver) an unparalleled level of “customer service.”  People are paying for the EXPERIENCE.  The value is in the experience.  Granted, many current practitioners could improve their continued learning and expertise, and in the way they relate to and treat other people.  The point is the same: you get something extraordinary from a Feldenkrais teacher! Why?  As stated in many other responses here, it is the training, the perseverance, the depth, the evolution of understanding that happens within the training and far, far beyond.

Cut-rate Feldenkrais will not be Feldenkrais. The reality is that ATM-only teachers will not confine themselves to group ATM only, and will be offering a lower-level of expertise, quality, and experience, at a lower price.  This does not serve them, nor fully-trained practitioners, nor the public.  The notion that more ATM-only teachers will increase the availability of Feldenkrais for those who need it is akin to putting more fast-food places in areas where obesity is rampant. It creates more problems than it solves.

Nobody likes to feel like a sucker—that they paid too much. This policy, if adopted, will make suckers out of every single Feldenkrais practitioner. Any authoritative body (Guilds, TABs, etc.) will be viewed with unassailable contempt. Those of us who have supported the FGNA will be left without a leg to stand on. Work harder to be inclusive and supportive of our highly trained practitioners, and don’t create a sub-class half-trained teachers. A fool knows the price of everything, and the value of nothing.

By MaryBeth Smith on 05/04/2012

I have lived in a multi-facited world: academic, social work, athletic, massage, professional theatre—and my experience necessitates that I point attention to the differences,and (publically) percieved differences between Feldenkrais and the other “certifications” that are flooding the public arena.
This culture pressently is full of 200 hour/2 year geniuses. They know everything about everything and are an embarassment( smoking/drinking/improper protocols, etc.)Perhaps they should study instead of smoking ciggys!! A person can study and be “certified” in almost anything,if they can pay for it.
Feldenkrais is a more serios work, and IS coming into the public consciousness. Perhaps in an effort to increase the students and, therefore $$ at trainings: a goal might be more effective public information and more efficient guild communication. National Association of Social Workers notifies members of relivant trainings and has created a respected public immage. This has happened due to work, and not cutting corners eg “special ATM” trainings.
Perhaps part of the time/effort of the trainers having “trainings”(that are not so profitable) should be to work for the common good and help the guild upgrade the website and find an effective communication method for existing members. If members knew about workshops and there was an appropriate “public info” session that might be the beginning of a solution. Networking and communication can solve alot of issues.
Cheapening the Feldenkrais work by this common “certification” is a weakening of the work. I chose Feldenkrais because of Feldenkrais’s background and the 4 year training. 
As a sociology( DR Phillip Schlechty- mentor)vewpoint,this looks bad from the outside word into Feldenkrais. “Certifications” are available in everything,  if a person can breathe and has $$ for tuition. If trainings are down: people can get part time jobs and help FIX THE ISSUES THAT ARE HOLDING BACK FELDENKRAIS !!! I have been a member since 1994 AND STILL CANNOT GET INFORMATION via E mail
in that I do not want my email address shared. Come on fix the problems !! Grow up folks..get organized,communicate, network. Public Image must be earned. Feldenkrais was a totally amazing person…we owe it to him to get this worked out without cheapening his legacy !!

By Virginia Lee Dickerson, Asst. Prof, Feldenkrais Pr on 05/04/2012

I have responded earlier in the process, and would like to add a couple of points.

The rational of offering a shorter ATM based training because there are shorter bones, CYA or sounder sleep trainings is faulty, as they are all different methods than the FM.

As for the committees statement that they will “tweek” the proposal—I suggest that due to the overwhelmingly negative response, they withdraw the proposal. To continue pushing this proposal leads me to conclude that the Guild is hoping to make more dues fees, instead of responding to member needs.

I agree with Paul, and was insulted that those of us responding negatively to the proposal are “stick in the muds”—I had hoped our leadership had matured some.

Plus ca change…

By Scott Fraser on 05/04/2012

I am not for this proposal. The posts are passionate and it has been great hearing from people. I would agree that maybe it is time for a change but not this one. It seems that people need more hours of training not less. People also need more diversity in the training so they are prepared to do business. There also needs to be more testing throughout the training to find out how prepared students are to be teachers. This is the conversation I suggest takes place next.

I feel ATM and FI inform each other it would be a shame to take FI out of the training process and still call it the Feldenkrais Method. The proposal as it is seems like “Felde Lite”.

I dont know how many trainings are only studying ATM in the first 2 years. What happens to trainings that incorporate both FI and ATM throughout. What is wrong with studying FI even if you dont plan to practice it. There are plenty of people who dont teach ATM and just give FIs, should they have a 2 year training? In any educational process there might be courses you are required to take that dont seem to have anything to do with what one plans to do as a career. They are part of the process.

I think of this work, in part, as an art form.
Imagine if we were talking about educating ballet teachers. I wouldnt want a teacher that is only trained to teach Barre. I want a teacher that understands Ballet.

By Ellen Sevy on 05/04/2012

Thanks all who reminded me to post before sundown.
And I quote
“I do not think this approach of an ATM teacher training will solve anything.”
-Jeremy Krauss
And I quote
“The movements are an idiotic thing.”
-Moshe Feldenkrais
And in case no one else has -I also quote
“Find your true weakness and surrender to it. Therein lies the path to genius. Most people spend their lives using their strengths to overcome or cover up their weaknesses. Those few who use their strengths to incorporate their weaknesses, who don’t divide themselves, those people are very rare. In any generation there are a few and they lead their generation.”
- Moshe Feldenkrais
And the always useful adage
“When you know what you’re doing you can do what you want.”
- Moshe Feldenkrais
And I’m quite sure I heard him say
“The day you understand this is the day I roll over in my grave.”
Happy Birthday Moshe,
Love,
csa

By Carolyn Sue Albin on 05/04/2012

I am strongly opposed to this proposal.

As I initially reacted and read others’ comments, I subscribed to the two sides of a coin metaphor. But I am grateful to Paul Rubin for his reframing of it: a sliced half-coin is thin and weak, has little value, and is in fact potentially deceiving.

In my experience, if we’re doing our job well a student in an ATM class should have an FI-like experience. The instructor should facilitate each student finding the safety, invitation, permission, and creative inspiration needed to make the lesson his or her own, to find just what’s personally needed in the present moment.

From a teacher’s perspective, I sense more and more that ATM is teaching FI to a group. Moshe’s first generation students will know better than me, but was this not in large part why Moshe created it?

Only my experience of FI teaching—the required clarity of my intention, and all the practice of careful observation of a student’s response through my direct tactile and close visual experience—has given me the agility of observation and imagination needed to “be in” the experience of a student 20 feet away from me, among 20 other people! It’s a tremendously refined skill, and I’m humbled by how much more I have to learn.

How an 80-day ATM training without the deep well of FI experience could lead to much more than “script recitation” ATM teaching, I cannot imagine.
In fact, I’m still concerned about how unprepared I felt to teach ATM after the 160-day training (and I had already had 10 years of teaching experience and an advanced degree in another field). Many questions have been raised already in these comments about perceived insufficiencies in our current four-year ATM training. I’d like to add/emphasize that currently:
- we don’t get any experience teaching ATM to the public while being observed and critiqued by our trainers. I didn’t know what I was doing, and thus couldn’t do what I wanted to do. I had to work with a generous mentor for several years after graduation to get this kind of feedback, and it was invaluable.
- we are not required to attend public ATMs as trainees. Again, I began doing this as frequently as possible after graduation when I realized I didn’t know how to do what I wanted to do!
- we are not required to study recorded ATMs or transcripts and prove some understanding of what’s actually going on. This gets into the certification issues that have been raised by many others above.
- the public knows instinctively the difference between a competent Feldenkrais practitioner (whether in ATM or FI) and an incompetent one.

We will not serve ourselves well by separating our certification, and putting more less-prepared ATM teachers out in the world. I’m worried about our community when I get the comment, “my doctor recommended Feldenkrais, but said to find a good practitioner, and one that does it full time.” I have heard this twice in recent months. The implication, I believe, is that mainstream professionals know enough about the value of Feldenkrais to recommend it, but already know there are major qualitative differences among those certified to teach it.

(NB: obviously there are excellent part-time practitioners. The quote does not reflect my beliefs.)

In closing, our message and methods are so counter-cultural, and our current ATM training and certification process is already insufficient. For these and a myriad of other reasons we have to fight for recognition and respect in the mainstream community. Why would we want to further dilute our professional reputation, and Moshe’s intentions? (See Jerry Karzen’s historical commentary above.) Let’s raise the bar, not lower it.

By Nick Strauss-Klein on 05/04/2012

My short response to the proposal is that, at this particular time, it is a very bad idea.  While I wholeheartedly support individuals creating teaching opportunities and curriculum structures designed to meet specific needs of specific populations, answer to specific curiosities in fashion at any time, and morph to the economic realities and cultural proclivities of a given time and place (including ethnicity), I do not support the collective efforts of for example FGNA being tailored, warped, subverted or distracted to make such accommodations.  While trainers have developed tremendous skill, that skill has developed in the confines of the times they live in, the economic circumstances, ethnic biases, current personal and cultural tastes and interests.  Different persons, a different time, or ethnic, or cultural reality would manifest a different variation of skill development and emphasis or focus.  The organizations should not be used to chase a moment in time.  Efforts would be better spent continuing to develop the understanding of the pedagogy in rapport with the broadest possible realization of humanity.

By Laura McMurray on 05/04/2012

I am disappointed about this market-driven, short-sighted proposal and opposed to a shortened training for ATM teachers. Learning, practicing and teaching Feldenkrais is a process - it is not an ‘instant’ method - the journey is the reward.

By Gerhild Ullmann on 05/05/2012

I am currently finishing the Victoria 4 year training program.  At this point, I do not support breaking the training into two pieces.  Although 4 years is a long go, I have enjoyed a wonderful layering of understanding that certainly was not there at the end of two years.  This understanding improves my ability both in ATMs and FIs.  Also, at the end of two years, trainees can already give ATMs.  If people really don’t want to complete the training, there’s nothing to make them so do and the ATM classes they’re giving will just continue.

By Sharon Radcliffe on 05/05/2012

I have read the proposal and responses to it and have mixed feelings about the proposal as it stands.  My main concern is that the integrity of the Feldenkrais Method® be maintained. I would not like to see our work diluted. If we are suggesting change I say - let’s add more days to the training.  As a Feldenkrais® teacher and a classically trained musician I understand that to achieve mastery of one’s art, one must put in the necessary time-hours and hours of learning and practice.

All would benefit from a 15 day ATM only intensive- why not include this as part of the training- end of year 2? And then certify those who do teach effectively and not for those who need more time/learning/practice.  This would maintain high standards and the certificate would have meaning.

I do agree- more students might be interested in a 2 year(+15 days) program for time and financial reasons. And maybe they only are interested in teaching ATM.  This would allow them the option of continuing the training to completion or to return at a later time to finish at another training.  Many might join a training knowing that after 2 years they would be able to teach as full teachers and not as student teachers. I assume that this training would include FI .

I am not in favor of the second option: “an ATM only based training that would adhere to current guidelines, plus the extra days.” Does this mean both FI and ATM will be taught or just ATM?  What are the current guidelines?  If only ATM then I would argue that the Feldenkrais Method is FI and ATM-“two sides of the same coin”.

I thank all who have spent time and energy formulating this proposal.
I would like to have more clarification and dialogue before making it a fait accompli. The comments posted speak to our readiness as a community to come together, discuss and make positive changes that will enrich our work.

Respectfully,

Mary Spire

P.S.  More marketing is very much needed to get the word out about the effectiveness of the method.

By mary spire- on 05/05/2012

I thank the people who created the possibility of this discussion by putting forth a proposal regarding ATM-only certification, and all the participants whose comments have broadened the content to include larger questions facing our work and community.  That opening proposal has to do with expanding the educational infrastructure at early phases of the training.  I see merit in arguments both for and against it, so can’t make a definitive statement either way.

I respect and appreciate all the educational infrastructure that has been put in place thus far, and recognize that much work was required to establish it.  I’ve been thinking about expanding that infrastructure at later phases of the training, due to several considerations:

- Moshe’s concept of movement as based on the activity of the nervous system conforms to actual function—which makes the work so powerful; but contradicts the culturally normative view—which makes growing a practice somewhat complicated.  Potential clients who are not motivated by curiosity need a compelling reason to take on the strangeness.

- many FPTP graduates initially don’t feel solid in the work, and would benefit from more support and more foundation while developing their own practice, beyond a variety of one-week individual advanced trainings.

- many people are living with conditions for which nervous system learning can yield benefits far greater than that of other approaches—a compelling reason to take on the strangeness; in my observation, most sustainable FM practices are built around such a client base—and they really make a difference in clients’ lives.

Olena Nitefor has been working with a post-graduate group for three years.  What good fortune for those graduates—and for their current and future clients.  Does it make sense to offer that kind of structured resource available to more of the community under the authority of the TAB or the Guild?  How is it being done elsewhere?


some other considerations regarding education into FM practice:

- how many of us can explain the mechanisms of the work that Moshe developed?  does it matter?  how much effort should go into that learning?

By Leslie Schwartzman on 05/05/2012

Following this discussion over the past six weeks led to a refinement and discovery in my own practice.  Yes, FI and ATM together are the essence of Moshe’s method.  I also find an interesting distinction: going-from-FI-to-ATM brings a quality that is distinct from the quality of going-from-ATM-to-FI.  Each is important and the two directions enhance each other.  The direction of FI-to-ATM brings me a precision in knowing which lessons, and just how much, will be best for my students. The direction of ATM-to-FI tells me something more about my students’ abilities and edges of learning, edges of growth.

I echo Alexsandra Burt: “Trust Moshe’s genius and discover for yourself the inseparable relationship between FI and ATM.  My wish for you is that you fall in love with the Feldenkrais Method all over again and rediscover the depth and beauty of what it means to be human.”

With gratitude to you all, Happy Birthday Moshe,

Katarina Halm

By Katarina Halm on 05/05/2012

Many Practitioners have already eloquently expressed my thoughts and opinion regarding this certification proposal.  So I will not be redundant on those points and simply add this:

We undermine the unique specialness and potential for personal growth of student-clients, AND for ourselves as
Practitioners, to take a reductionist approach to ATM by allowing for a two-year certification program.  And why, really?!?!  There is nothing in the proposal that suggests this is truly needed to INCREASE THE QUALITY AND AVAILABILITY of the Method to the public at large. Let us not succumb to the American tendency to fast-track things for a buck and dilute the opportunity to be the best we can as modern representatives and keepers of Moshe’s teachings.  To paraphrase Parker J. Palmer (teacher, philosopher, Quaker),  “If your heart isn’t in it to do what is necessary to be the best teacher you can be, do students a favor and don’t go in the field of education and service”. Let us consider taking Moshe’s work forwards into the future in more productive, thoughtful, mindful, responsible and qualitative ways.
  P.S. I loved the analogies of the Mona Lisa cut in half and the one about clapping hands!  Thanks for those!!!

          With regards to my fellow Practitioners here in America and around the globe!
                  molly l. gibb
                  * a former neurotrauma patient myself and as a Praticioner who works primarily in the medical model I could not, would not recommend to a student-client to participate in such an ATM class

By molly gibb on 05/07/2012

I agree with many of the arguments aginst the proposal for a stand alone ATM teacher certification. I do not support the proposal and although I feel that it is time for change, this is not the change required to take us into the 21st century.

Theresa Sawicka
Wellington NZ - 2010

By Theresa Sawicka on 05/09/2012

Again, I am against this proposal!

Do not allow it to pass!
Alan Questel

By Alan Questel on 06/10/2012

The comment period has ended.  See TABs Final Report November 14, 2012:
https://www.feldenkrais.com/download/TABs_Final_Report_11_14_12.pdf

By FGNA on 11/14/2012

This proposal is utterly nonsense. Some of us are currently working with medical professionals dealing with their patients with severe neuro conditions. Our reputations are at stake as well as our lively hoods. Why bastarize the FELDENKRAIS Method similiar to Pilates and Yoga?! Next I’ll hear we can teach ATM’s after an “intense” weekend course. Please whoever thought of this ridiculos idea let’s box it up “throw it over board” and pretend it never happened it was a bad dream.

By Nino Sonsini on 11/20/2012

I agree with Laura Paris.

By Lori Sweet on 11/22/2012

In re-visiting this proposal, my opinion has not changed.  I see this proposal as simply a bad idea which would harm our credibility, lower the standards of teaching and more.  Although I think structural evolution in our organization is over-due, this proposal misses the mark by a long shot.  I also think sufficient commentary exists to let it go as one of our creative ideas that came to naught.

By Pamela Lewis, RN on 11/24/2012

Certifications and the technical diplomas are quiet helpful to get a job. It’s good that you are looking to add certifications to the list. A medical assistant Income has on rise and it’s only just need to have some diploma and training. BLS shows that till 2022 such jobs are one off the most demanding jobs of that time.

By James on 06/30/2014


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