These courses teach skills drawn from craniosacral biodynamics, within a context framed by bodywork pioneers including Wilhelm Reich, Alexander Lowen, Stanley Keleman, Arnold Mindell, Ron Kurtz and others. They are suited to all practicing therapists, not only those using physical touch. They are for people who want to integrate craniosacral concepts into their existing therapeutic practice without retraining as craniosacral therapists. They are not intended to constitute a craniosacral therapy training.
Although craniosacral work offers techniques aplenty, the key to the work lies in the deepening of the practitioner’s relationship and perceptual skills. Without this deepening, the techniques are just techniques. With a willingness to enter this process of deepening, the work begins to sing. The courses offer participants abundant practice and feedback and encourage a the development of each person’s unique style of work.
Craniosacral Therapy – Module 1: The healing power of stillness
The American osteopath, Rollin Becker, tells us that stillness is the key to healing the body-mind, as stillness liberates the potency contained within the breath of life. This thirty-hour course is all about stillness, taught within the context of craniosacral biodynamics. This is a practical course taught with the intention that participants carry away skills to integrate into their current therapy or bodywork practice.
Module 1 introduces the basic concepts of craniosacral biodynamics but with special attention on working with the emotional body.
Generally, body-oriented approaches to psychotherapy use physical or psychological exercises to bring unconscious material (held as tensions in the body) to the surface where it can be consciously processed through some form of spoken dialogue.
Apart from some notable and important exceptions (addressed in module 3), craniosacral therapy offers a way of integrating unresolved experiences held in the body without the need for verbal processing. In this respect, we find some common ground with EMDR.
This course explores how we hold and organise unresolved experiences using the transverse structures of the body (thoracic inlet, respiratory diaphragm, pelvic bowl, etc.) The craniosacral techniques taught are those we can use to bring attention to and invite softening within these structures.
Throughout the course we will search for a movement towards holism – not as an idea but as a shift in perception. This shift reveals the stillness within our own and within our patient’s being. Out this stillness the intentions of the healing process can manifest.
The syllabus covers:
- A brief history of the development of craniosacral therapy, with special emphasis on current biodynamic thinking.
- An exploration of the concepts of inherent health, breath of life and primary respiration
- An exploration of the neutral, the relational field and levels of stillness
- An exploration of the mid-tide, long-tide, and still-points
- Palpating and perceiving tides and rhythms
- The transverse diaphragms and their role in organising experience
- Practitioner and patient resources
Craniosacral Therapy – Module 2: Venous sinus drainage
Andrew Taylor Still, the founder of osteopathy always reminded his students that the physician’s task, “was to remove with gentleness all perceived mechanical obstructions to the free-flowing rivers of life (blood, lymph, and cerebro-spinal fluid). Nature would then do the rest.”
This thirty hour course focuses of the movement of fluids through the body and teaches craniosacral techniques to work with problems of fluid congestion and stagnation such as swelling, headaches, sinusitus, etc.
The course is structured around a specific protocol called ‘venous sinus drainage’, designed to encourage lymphatic drainage, especially from the head. This protocol also promotes blood flow and encourages relaxation of the sinus cavities.
The course explores the reflection between head and pelvis and the connection between fluid stagnation and emotional and mental stagnation.
The syllabus covers:
- Primary Respiration as motion in fluids and tissues.
- The Reciprocal Tension Mechanism (RTM).
- Perceiving the membranes of the RTM.
- Mid-Tide and Cranial Rhythmic Impulse.
- Palpating motion at occiput, temporal, parietal and frontal.
- Relationship between the sphenoid and occiput.
- Cranial bones and the membranes of the RTM.
- Venous Sinus Drainage protocol.
- Trauma and resources.
- Practice of Venous Sinus Drainage and integration.
Craniosacral Therapy – Module 3: Trauma and happiness
The first two modules teach a quiet way of working, through the development of subtle relationship and communication skills. These skills allow the practitioner to become a conduit and mirror to the sensations, emotions and feelings of the client. The aim is for the practitioner to create a relational field in which the patient’s own intelligence is called into the service of their healing. The therapist offers a still point around which the patient can safely let go and reform, free from the practitioner’s expectations or limits.
Module 3 moves more into the world of words.
Inevitably in our practice we will engage with our patient’s trauma. Often this is processed easily and quietly within a session. Sometimes, however, we will come to work with stronger memories. These might be known events such as accidents and injuries or less conscious events such as surgery or stroke. Our work may also uncover more deeply buried memories of trauma or abuse.
During this course we will explore our limits as therapists and gain some insight into what we can handle as bodyworkers and when we would do better to enlist the support of a psychotherapist. Peter Levine talks of ‘waking the tiger’. We need to be sure that we and our patient are ready to invite a tiger into our practice space
We will look at the appropriate use of language in order to gather more information to help in our bodywork and to help the patient make sense of memories released without jumping to false conclusions.
We will explore more directed and intentional techniques than those covered in modules one and two.
This will include:
- direction of energy/fluid
- working with energy cysts
- trauma release work
- emotional release work
- working with disassociation and embodiment
- working with ignition.
Ideally, this module is aimed at people who have completed modules 1 and 2 but it is also open to experienced and competent bodyworkers who already find that their work seems to open their patients to more emotional states.