Bill: There has been a split among the instructors of the Institute with four instructors leaving, one to start another school. What are the reasons for this split? Are there other than personal reasons?
Michael: Yes, I think the instructors reached a stage of development where divergent views of the work resulted in disagreement about how the work should be taught. Unfortunately, these views were never fully articulated and discussed. For personal and other reasons, which I do not fully understand, true discussion among the teachers about the work has not been possible. As a result, what is really inevitable growth in theory and practice and the resultant diversity of view points, have led to political separation. In the process, the really important discussion about the nature of these divergent viewpoints has not occurred. We are left with personal attacks, hurt feelings and claims of having sole access to the “real” and “true” Rolfing. The split has occurred on an emotional level without the benefit of a discussion of the issues involved.
Bill: What are the issues?
Michael: First, I think there has been disagreement about the nature of the advanced class and advanced work. There is general consensus that a Rolfer’s training should start with learning, under-standing, and mastering the basic ten session recipe, as we have learned it from Dr. Rolf. For some, it seems to be important that the recipere main as the sole format for the practice of Rolfing, regardless of the experience and expertise of the Rolfer. Others, myself included, believe that our advanced training should be organized to produce Rolfers who can think about their work, understand the structure of the recipe and see through it to the individual structure they are working with. This means that a well trained advanced Rolfer maybe it takes more than advanced training to get there should be able to apply the recipe to different structures in different ways; everyone is not treated the same. This view of the work conflicts with the view that a basic ten-and an advanced five-series (with perhaps a three series of 8-9-10) are all that is needed.
Secondly, I think there has been disagreement among the teachers concerning the possibility and role of innovation in the work. There are some who think Rolfing is complete with the knowledge contained in the basic ten series and the series that has been taught in advanced classes. Others, again myself included, believe we can learn from those who have gone before us and those working alongside us in allied schools and that our purposes as Rolfers can be occasionally served by appropriating techniques developed outside of Rolfing; that if a better way can be found or a deeper structure integrated by the application of a technique that comes from outside Rolfing, we should be free to discuss it, try it, and if it furthers our purposes in integrating structure, use it. Specifically, I mainly refer hereto what we are learning to call indirect techniques.
I suppose this differentiation or diversification of viewpoints is inevitable in the development of any school. I do not think it necessarily leads to a split. I also think these diverse view points continue to exist among the current Institute instructors. For some reason, we were unable to create a climate among the teachers that made possible a discussion of these differences. This has been a failure. Again, for whatever reasons, the split seems to have released us from the impasse, and discussion now seems more possible. I trust we can conduct the discussion about the work in a way that educates and enriches us all.
Bill: Thank you, Michael!A Conversation with Michael Salveson