January 22, 2021
January 22, 2021
The Magazine By, For, and About Feldenkrais® Practitioners and Trainees
In Touch 
is a monthly e-newsletter about developing one's competence as a Feldenkrais® 
teacher. Issues will contain articles about teaching the Feldenkrais Method® of somatic education, 
running your own business, and more.
In This Issue
From the Editors  

Photo by Lanju Fotografie on Unsplash
When participants in Zoom Cafes began expressing interest in learning about post-graduation growth opportunities and mentoring, we embraced the challenge of taking a closer look at the spectrum of mentoring in our community. We came up with so many questions. How do we know what we need?  How do we get clear about strengths and weaknesses? How to find an appropriate match? What models or programs exist? How do I learn of the qualifications of a potential mentor? 

Many practitioners describe their professional evolution as a "journey" and creative process. Like Telemachus in the Odyssey, whose footing in life was unclear until Athena disguised herself as "Mentor" and offered wisdom and advice, most of us have stories about finding our way to the best "fit" for our learning needs. 

In this issue, Jenni Evans and Candy Condino guide us through an expert description and analysis of mentoring and learning models. Understanding the dynamics of adult learning, including structures of power, parameter setting, and clarity and negotiation within a specific framework for learning are all addressed. 

Sheri Cohen offers her experience of learning within a Balint group. Focused more on listening than on seeking advice, practitioners in this group share a question about their practice within a safe inquiry process. See below for a description of what is possible when learning begins with the assumption of one's competence and training.

We know that mentoring relationships frequently arise from an organic process of connection and shared interests and styles. We offer below a pairing of personal reflections from fourth year student Dawne Roy and her mentor, Marsha Novak. 

Mentoring continues to be a high interest topic in Zoom cafes, so please note the announcement below about the next Cafe date. And did you know that you can search the Guild Web Site for members who formally make themselves available as mentors? Watch for an improvement that will make that search even more useful, as you'll see below.

--Lavinia, Mary and LeeAnn
Master or Mentor?

Photo by Jessical Ruscello on Unsplash
By Jenni Evans, MAFG Certified Assistant Trainer 
and Candy Condino, MFGNA Guild Certified Assistant Trainer

Every wise, old, experienced Feldenkrais® practitioner, as well as every newly graduated practitioner knows that there are many ways in which learning contexts are created. Our teachers and our practice affirm for us that a clear intention is essential to create an effective context for learning. Often our intention as teachers is to pass our skills and knowledge on to those with less expertise in our field. Sometimes our intention is to explore new ideas, or to build skills together.  Whatever the intention, it is essential that it is clear and agreeable to all participants. Teachers, students and colleagues all need to know which roles and responsibilities will be appropriate in order to participate effectively in the learning process. For example, is my role to teach, facilitate, coach, questionor learn at the moment? When might this change and what would be the cue to do so? How does this match with the expectations of the other participants? Do we need to negotiate a plan?

Finding the right fit

Clarity about our intention and plans is also useful as we identify those who will be best suited to learn from, and/or with us. Do we simply want to share our own knowledge with anyone who happens upon it? Do we want to facilitate others in discovering a particular skill or idea for themselves? Do we want to find others who have a shared interest and explore together? Do I want to find someone with more skill or expertise than me, to learn from? Exactly what kind of skills and expertise do I need to learn? Do I want to be challenged as I learn? Do I simply need to be heard and supported? In the Feldenkrais Method® of somatic education we value the idea of individual responsibility for learning, however there will be times when each of the models described below can also be useful and appropriate....

Candy Condino is an Assistant Trainer and an international facilitator. She is currently the Director of Learning for the Feldenkrais Training Academy in Seattle. Candy has a busy online mentoring practice for Feldenkrais® practitioners and students as well as private Feldenkrais® practice in North Carolina. She works predominantly with people who have complex pain disorders. Her website is http://www.center-of-motion.org.


Jenni Evans is an Assistant Trainer and an international facilitator. She is currently the Program Director of the Feldenkrais Institute of Australia. She maintains a diverse private practice near Melbourne, Australia and is passionate about the development of competent, confident and potent practitioners. Her website is http://www.heartland4u.com.au/.

Six Blue Circles by qthomasbower is licensed under CC BY 2.0
What's Between You and Your Client: A Peer-to-peer Mentoring Model
By Sheri Cohen, 
Assistant Feldenkrais Trainer, RYT

There is so much dynamic content that transpires between our clients and ourselves. Feldenkrais was, of course, very aware of this. The dyadic structure of FI® sessions - the 1-to-1 relationship -is a large part of its potency. We experience this every day in our work, we see it enacted in the videos we have of Feldenkrais' lessons, and we read about it in The Case of Nora. We know from current science that we are built to be in relationship, and that our overall health depends on it.* For many Feldenkrais® practitioners, it is in the dyadic relationship where we feel most effective. 

We may also experience this potent relationship as complex, to say the least. Feldenkrais practitioners are trained to be sensitive to subtle increments of change in our clients' movements by listening carefully to ourselves. We are, in a sense, conduits for our clients' experience of themselves, which carries the potential for confusion. For example, in some clients who have experienced trauma, our freely touching them can provoke resistance or anxiety. They may become controlling, directing how and where we touch and move them-in essence, interrupting the flow of the lesson. We may feel friction with this in our thoughts and in our physical sensations.

Sheri Cohen, Assistant Feldenkrais Trainer, RYT is based in Seattle, WA, USA. You can find out more about Sheri's upcoming Balint offerings with Kris Wheeler by clicking here. Learn more about her online classes  on her website www.SheriCohenMovement.com


Nervous system by Dreaming in the deep south is licensed under CC BY 2.0
A Snapshot of Mentoring - A Mentee Perspective
By Dawne Roy

The Snapshot

My story begins at a New Zealand airport where I came across Norman Doidge's book, The Brain's Way of Healing. The book ignited my curiosity, leading me to investigate the Feldenkrais Method® of somatic education. I had been seeking a movement program that would deepen my work in the domain one might call learning differences. Eventually, I entered a training program with Diana Razumny in Santa Fe. At that time, we were assigned a mentor. I was fortunate to be paired with Marsha Novak, who I had actually met previously in a Feldenkrais® workshop. Over the four years of training, now entering year five due to Covid, I find myself continually inspired and motivated by this wonderful mentor, to discover, learn, and grow. She has been a trusted shepherd and gardener for my learning journey. I am forever grateful that this opportunity was offered.

In this final year of my Feldenkrais® training, with a focus on Functional Integration® and the link between ATM® lessons and FI® sessions, I am learning to ask questions in order to direct my attention, increase my awareness, and deepen learning connections. In pondering the role of a mentor and mentee relationship, I am likewise inspired to ask and respond to a few questions to illuminate my experience of the mentoring relationship. This is one way to perhaps provide a "snapshot" of my mentoring experience. Hopefully, the picture will increase in clarity as I proceed...

Dawne Roy, M. Ed. (Ed. Psych.), M. Ed. (Literacy)
 has worked in private practice as a Learning/Reading Coach and consultant for over 30 years. She is specifically interested in underlying developmental, visual, and movement factors impacting literacy issues. She is presently completing the final stages of training in the Sante Fe 6 Feldenkrais Training with Diana Razumny.  
Photo by Klara Kulikova on Unsplash
The Accidental Mentor
By Marsha Novak

About five or six years ago I met Dawne Roy who is also writing for this issue. We were in Santa Fe for an ATM® intensive about neurodevelopmental movement. We learned that we shared an interest in how movement issues might relate to learning challenges in areas such as writing and reading, her specialty. We stayed in contact and ultimately Dawne decided to do a training, and not surprisingly, I became her mentor.

Dawne lives far away. Though we have actually worked together in person a few times, technology has been our tool through the process, preparing us well for when COVID hit in her fourth year of training. Early in the training we mostly emailed with an occasional Skype chat. Back in the day, when travel was possible, we were able to be together three times working quite intensively. When I visited, I had the chance to give lessons to the children she worked with and speak to how she might progressively integrate Feldenkrais® teachings into the work she was doing...

Marsha Novak
graduated from the Berkeley 3 training in 2003. She lives and works on Bainbridge Island, Washington, though currently potentially anywhere in the world as long as it is virtual! Over the years she has worked with a wide variety of clients ranging from professional dancers and musicians to children and adults who have "special needs". 
Her website is www.movingwellbainbrige.com.

Promote Your Practice

Mentoring Discussion at the Zoom Cafe  
Wednesday, January 27, 7-8:30 p.m. EST

Attendees in 2020 wanted to know about post graduate learning and mentoring options. The theme for next week's meeting is, "How do you know what you know: Exploring strengths and goals." We will break into small groups so that everyone will have the opportunity to voice their interests and needs, using the competency cards as a guide.  

Zoo link:  

Mark your calendars for the Zoom cafes on the fourth Wednesday of each month.
The upcoming dates are: Jan. 27, Feb. 24, March 24, April 28, 7-8:30 p.m. EST

Update on finding Mentoring Resources 

There was a recent call for practitioners who formally offer mentoring support to enter their information into a form. That project has resulted in a soon-to-be available field in your membership information to enter "Mentor" as a service that you provide. Members will then be able to find an array of mentoring options by using the key word "Mentor" in the search option.

Resources: Recommendations, Play, and Research!

From Sheri Cohen:

*References for, "We are built to be in Relationship"

Eliot, L. (1999) What's Going on in There? How the Brain and Mind Develop in the First Five Years of Life. New York: Bantam Books. ISBN: 9780553378252

Fogel, A. (1993). Developing Through Relationships: Origins if communication, self and other. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. ISBN: 9780226256597

Cozolino, L. (2006). The Neuroscience of Human Relationships: Attachment and the Developing Social Brain. New York: W.W. Norton and Company. ISBN: 9780393704549

Stern, D. (1985). The Interpersonal World of the Infant: A View from Psychoanalysis and Developmental Psychology. USA: Basic Books. ISBN: 9780465095896

** American Balint Society, https://www.americanbalintsociety.org

Engaging Embodiment: Somatic Applications for Health, Education and Social Justice
This timely conference, organized by ISMETA , brings together more than 80 of the world's leading Somatic Movement professionals to share how our work in Somatic Movement impacts Health, Education and Social Justice.
  • Explore and learn through in-depth embodied experiences.
  • Participate in panel discussions and roundtable conversations.
  • Meet and learn from others in the Somatic Movement from around the globe.
Whether you are new to somatic movement or an established Somatic Movement professional, this conference will offer opportunities to dive deeply into our collective wisdom, nourish our creativity, and honor the tremendous growth of the Somatic Movement profession since ISMETA first began in 1988. Visit www.ismeta.org for more information. 
Have Something to Say?
Guild Publications Schedule 
March SenseAbility: We are accepting queries from practitioners who wish to contribute an article, interview, or recording on the theme of Your Potent Self: Sexuality and Wellbeing. Send emails to fgnacommunications1@gmail.com to share your idea for a possible contribution. 

Watch for the February issue of SenseAbility as contributors share how the Feldenkrais Method® of somatic education supports them in their work supporting diversity and inclusion. 

Reminder: SenseAbility is for public subscribers and is published on the first Friday of each month. The deadline for an article submission is the Friday before publication date
Articles are a maximum of 1,500 words in length. 
Multi-media submissions are welcome. Contact us to discuss the topic and length.

Guild News is the monthly newsletter with news for members. It includes announcements from FGNA as well as FGNA sponsored events. It is published on the second Friday of each month. 

Header image: Europeana on Unsplash