Movement Work Is Not Patterning

Pages: 21-22
Year: 1982
Dr. Ida Rolf Institute

ROLF LINES – March 1982

Volume: 1

February 25, 1982

Dear Rolfer Colleagues,

Ever since Judith Aston left The Institute and we movement Teachers regrouped within it, we have had an on-going discussion about what the name of our work should be. One name that has kept recurring is the name Patterning. For six years Structural Patterning was the name of the movement work associated with Rolfing, and some Rolfers still have not made the switch & call Movement Teachers Patterners and the work Patterning. The question keeps arising, “Why not just call it Patterning? That would be simpler.”

I feel very strongly that Patterning is not a good name for our work and would like to share my reasons with you.

First, Patterning does not adequately or acccurately describe what we do. When I was a Structural Patterner, people were always asking me, “What is Patterning?” and I wood need to explain. Nothing in the name Patterning makes it clear to the ordinary person on the street just what we might do in a session.

Even more important, for one who looks closely at the word to understand its meaning, it is very misleading. We do not in fact pattern people; we un-pattern them. They come with their pattern, their one option for relating to the world, themselves and each other, and we guide them out into a world of many options and choices. The word “pattern” implies sameness, and we are not about making all our clients look the same.

Secondly, to use the name Patterning would lay us open to continual confusion with two other schools of movement education. Doman Delacotto Patterning has been around for decades. In fact, Dr. Rolf was always after Judith to change the name of her work from Structural Patterning to avoid confusion with Doman-Delacotto Patterning. Judith’s work called Patterning has been around for ten years and is close enough to us in history and content that the confusion between our two schools would be rampant. I feel that it is very important at this time to define our work as distinct from Aston-Patterning. Using the same basic word for our name blurs that distinction, and also seems to turn the clock back.

Third, if we are at all concerned about service-mark, Patterning is a poor choice. It is a generic term, and as such is not service-markable. If we take the term Patterning for our work, there will be three schools of Patterning. There is nothing to prevent more schools called Patterning from opening up in the future, thus proliferating the confusion.

Just recently the Movement Teachers put this issue to a vote, and only three of all the teachers polled were in favor of the name Patterning. So our name remains Rolfing-Movement Integration. Actually I think it describes our work rather well; but it is, we all agree, a clumsy mouthful. We are still quite open to listening for something simpler, but in the meantime, Rolfing-Movement Integration is our name, has been for more than two years, and it does have some possibilities.

For instance, you do not have to say the whole mouthful every time. You can speak of Rolfing Movement or Movement Integration (my favorite option just now) or just Movement. You can write it RMI. We who are trained in Movement Integration are called Rolfing Movement Teachers or simply Movement Teachers.

One possibility I especially like is that we see Rolfing as the name of both modalities, and under it Structural Integration and Movement Integration._ This balances quite well, and makes a public statement of our whole effort since the beginning to bring Rolfing and Movement closer together.

What I would like to ask is that you support us by using the proper name for our work when you refer to it. Also to ask, if you feel comfortable doing so, that you educate your clients and the general public when the occasion arises to the effect that Rolfing now has two modes, and Movement is one of them.

So if you refer a client to one of us, recommend they go to a Rolfing Movement Teacher for a Movement session, not to a Patterner for Patterning.

If people ask, “Isn’t that Patterning?” (which they do less and less), I’ve been saying that it is an outgrowth of both Rolfing and what used to be called Structural Patterning, and that it is more focused on Rolfing principles. It does take some education and education is our business.

In closing I think I can speak for all of us in saying that we are proud to be members of The ROLF INSTITUTE and carrying on the work of Rolfing in the movement mode. Though we are deeply indebted to Judith Aston for her rich contribution to what we now do, we see Dr. Rolf’s vision as the root and source of our work, and are glad to share the name that says that.

Thank you for listening to these concerns.

With love,

Heather Wing
Certified Movement Teacher
Boulder, ColoradoMovement Work Is Not Patterning

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