Letter from Hans Flury

Pages: 13-15
Year: 1983
Dr. Ida Rolf Institute

ROLF LINES – June & July 1983



Dear fellow educators and/or therapists,


I succumb to the temptation of injecting my own present state of confusion into this important discussion.



Webster’s: The treatment of any physical or mental disorder … Duden (German Webster’s): … in order to restore health. Health being a state (!) of well-being.

Within the paradigm of self-organization (Erich Jantsch) Therapy operates on the level of self-regulation, characterized by negative feed-back loops.

Health is in practice defined as absence of symptoms of disease, or, operationnally, as all parameters being within a “normal” range. Medical science at least doesn’t provide any means of distinguishing different kinds of health. As in: “Mr. Flury, you’re in perfect health, but of course you’re not twenty anymore.”


In this simple graph, therapy is indicated only when you’re below the line:


Nowadays, medicine recognizes premorbid states (!) above the line which may be described as of restricted range of adaptation (stress, risk factors).

An example: I, Hans, or HANS, or Hans, am defined as healthy. When I become Han = Hans -s, I’m sick. Therapy puts me back to Hans, or at least something like Hanf: Stable with residual damage.




Webster’s: (1.) The acquiring of knowledge or skill (by study, experience, etc.)(to) educate: To develop the knowledge, skill, or character of …


The traditional view could be illustrated in the following way:


Hans acquires skill x: Hans – Hans + x.

This leads to ptolemeic difficulties.

So, with Galilei, we might redefine it in such a way:


Hans – Hans + x – Hanx (or some such)

(I suggests Integration, but we wouldn’t mind!)


Learning, in the self-organization paradigm, operates on the level of self-transcendence. Its features are positive feed-back cycles.



Education and Learning seem to be complementary (cf. definitions). I feel more comfortable with “Learning”, but IPR said “Education”. So how do we “develop the … character of”?



(to) profess: to declare openly. (Webster’s)

(a)  professional is one who declares openly from within which consistent framework he acts on the larger whole. (my definition)


Put together it could come down to: As professionals we’re dealing with structure. The organ of structure is the c.t. We are educating the c.t.

It may sound ridiculous, but when I’m chatting with a client about his/her vacation, it’s related in the back of my mind with his c.t. When it’s not., I feel I just fumble around.


Therapy – Learning

Among the favorable conditions for self-organization on a higher level given by Jantsch, there is one that asks for a range of oscillation around the equilibrium point as wide as possible (my interpretation). Another one is a highly evolved system to begin with. This implies that the optimum plan of action contains a switching forth and back between the two levels mentionned, wich, by the way, constitute a true, old-fashioned dialectic contradiction.

In practice, I suggest that the ANS, as one of the primary guardians of homeostasis, indicates neatly the level on wich one is operating at the moment.

Therapy (self-regulation) is indicated by release and relief. Self-transcendence is indicated by signs of strain in the ANS, spaciness, cold extremities etc. (when working right!)



“Therapy” and “Education” seem to be mutually exclusive and intertwined (complementary!). The dangers of concentrating on the pleasures of therapeutic effects (for both Rolfer and Rolfee) appear to me greater than closed-mindedness on “education”. After all, what do you really learn in a school that’s no fun or pleasure at all?

Submitted with love and respect by


Hans FluryLetter from Hans Flury

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