Another Key to Lasting Lessons: Self Image

by / Wednesday, 26 March 2014 / Published in Feldenkrais Practitioners, Movement Health

Another Key

While teaching a segment of Dynamic Functional Integration, I had participants gently pushing and pulling each other so they could get a sense of their own self organisation. I noticed, and was intrigued by one student who just didn’t “look” very strong. When it came time to demonstrate some techniques for FI, I asked her to lie on the table. For the class, I began demonstrating the technique I wrote about in the previous blog for practitioners (here). For her, I wanted to find out if she were to use her pelvis differently when standing, that she could have more strength with less effort.


After working with her on the table, I had her stand up and “test” her strength by pushing her colleague’s hands as she’d done before. All the other participants could clearly see that she was better able to push with less effort. She sensed it herself, but, when I asked her how she felt about it, she wasn’t sure. She said, “I can sense that I’m better organised for strength but it feels foreign me.”

This was an important moment in the lesson and we needed to do some more work so she could integrate what she had learned into her self image, if she chose to do so. Had I not asked her about HOW she felt, I might have just assumed that she was satisfied with the lesson, who wouldn’t want to feel stronger with less effort?  But, because that strength wasn’t part of her self image, she might have been confused or left in a state of feeling that her strength didn’t belong to her, not a good way to end a lesson.


 What next?


It was important for me to find a way in which she could decide for herself choosing between “strong” and “not strong,” and even navigate the possibilities in between those two extremes. As we often do in our FI lessons, I had her recreate her previous self organisation that felt, “Less strong.” Giving her time to sense not only how she pushed but also her emotional state, I had her stay in that place for a bit and then asked her if she could move back to the stronger state? She was able to do this quite easily and that’s when I decided that she now could decide for herself how to use the lesson. We talked about what these different states meant to her and she said she needed time to work on this for herself. Because she’s a fine practitioner, I knew she would be able to do that and ended the lesson there.

If you’re finding that your clients are coming back and saying things like, “I felt great after the last lesson but that feeling didn’t last very long,” then you may need to find out if the changes they’re experiencing fit in with their self image. In my next post, I’ll talk about some ways to elucidate what fits into a client’s self image and what might need more time.


2 Responses to “Another Key to Lasting Lessons: Self Image”

  1. stacy says : Reply

    I John, great post. I love looking at the self image and creating contexts to carry over what our clients learn. This helps work with those that get addicted to the table, IMO.

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