The Advanced Class

Pages: 29
Year: 2005
Dr. Ida Rolf Institute

Structural Ntegration: The Journal of the Rolf Institute – March 2005 – Vol 33 – Nº 01

Volume: 33
The Advanced Class is one place where Rolfers can participate in a rigorous, community-wide dialogue about creative developments in our work. As creativity in Rolfing® occurs at all levels of the work (as we absorb the rapidly expanding body of knowledge in the field of Soma tics), it is useful to have such a designated place, where this new knowledge can be discussed, evaluated and demonstrated, toward the responsible integration of new knowledge into our clinical practice. To support this dialogue, the Advanced Faculty will sponsor a column in the next four issues of the Journal devoted to recent developments in the Advanced Class curriculum, reports on recent Advanced Classes and discussions of challenging, creative advances in the work. This first column will feature Michael Salveson's comments regarding the value of the Advanced Class, to be followed in the next issue by comments from Jeff Maitland. We invite your participation by submitting letters to the Journal with opinions, comments and testimonials regarding the Advanced Class and the continuing inquiry into the creative edges of our work.

Why take the Advanced Class? Completing the Basic Class gives anyone the right to practice as a Rolfer. What more can there be? Other techniques can be learned from other organizations and then added to the Rolfing.

The issue is mastery and having a reliable path that will take one there. Mastery is developing a personal style of working that is profoundly connected to one’s unique sense of self, while having justifiable confidence in the power of one’s view or perspective when working. Just add technical skill. Mastery is more than a process of collecting techniques and certifications.

Every school of bodywork, every collection of techniques requires, of necessity, a point of view from which the work views the person and the body being worked with. The danger in collecting techniques and not developing depth and confidence in a point of view is that strategizing and making decisions in a session becomes confusing, as different techniques imply different priorities. Working from a consistent and profound point of view allows one to form clear priorities and make significant distinctions, which lead to effective strategies of intervention.

The point of view or theoretical perspective of Rolfing is rooted in an understanding of structure and its emergence from an interaction with the fields that support it. This point of view is embedded in the ten-session series taught in Basic Classes. But the requirements of learning the goals of the sessions and the techniques used to achieve those goals takes all the available time and attention of the students in Basic Classes. It is not possible to go into detail regarding the larger perspective of Rolfing and how one understands structure from this point of view, independent of any recipe or set of instructions. After working for a few years, getting comfortable with the work, and learning a few more techniques or styles of working, it is possible to come together with colleagues and study in detail the implications of the structural point of view that is the heart of Rolfing. It is by working more deeply with this structural point of view that one finds a way to integrate all the knowledge and techniques acquired as a result of an expanding interest and education. The Advanced Class provides an opportunity to do this.

Rolfing also creates its own expanding body of technical knowledge. Rolfers assimilate Knowledge from other fields, like Osteopathy, and apply it to their structural practice. Over time these techniques become shared knowledge and form the basis of a practical body of knowledge for implementing the goals of Rolfing. The skills taught in Basic Class are just the beginning of mastering the technical knowledge of Rolfing. Because the students in the Advanced Class have extensive experience working with the basic skills of Rolfing, it is possible to go into much greater detail regarding the structures that can be affected by Rolfing. In general, this involves looking closely at the articular and ligamentous system and the membranous structures that support viscera and the central nervous system. These are the deepest expressions of the connective tissue system.

Doing all this requires a profound inquiry into the nature of touch and the ways it implicates the practitioner in the process of Rolfing. The styles of touching learned in Basic Class are developed, evaluated and expanded. Working in a collegial environment, it is possible for perceptions to be enhanced and validated. Each Rolfer can explore the limits within which they are working and find ways of expanding their sensitivity and confidence.

The result of all this is to strengthen a connection to a personal style of working. Each Rolfer is unique. Although sharing a common point of view in the work, each Rolfer finds and develops strength, wisdom, competence and compassion in their work in their own way and time. It is the work that provides a vehicle for the growth of each Rolfer and it is the common inquiry and point of view that supports the work. The Advanced Class explores these aspects of the work of Rolfing in detail.

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