Sunday, February 10, 2013

W06.07 Guest Post From Christie Johnson in Reply to My Case Study...

I am delighted that Christie seems intent on putting an Alexander fire-cracker under the OT, PT and ST rehabilitation worlds - although that’s my descriptor, not hers. She will match the sensibilities of that market respectfully so, I'm sure, reading the tone of her response below. In case you are new here, this is my sixth case study of Alexander Technique teachers, applying my 12 Point plan to build a financially successful practise to their own situation. Read on…


Dear Jeremy,

You’ve certainly dialed my Alexander Journey into two posts with very finely tuned details for me to explore… Truly I think centering on the OT, PT and ST (Speech therapy) arenas is a good fit. These three entities overlap and work together serving many of the same patients. Just today I was able to observe Speech Therapy and the therapist was super excited to learn more about how to serve the stutters and voice patients that she has better. Like you - she said, “You need to start doing workshops, in-services and classes for all the rehabilitation centers.”

Indeed, I am starting to see the theme/niche. My dark spot is that I need to get out of the dark and see the light that apparently is shining very brightly. Perhaps so much so that I’ve been blinded by the light and had to take time to reorient. Other matters related to family and education took more priority over the last decade and now I am putting it all together.

The only thing that is keeping me from diving deeply into this new journey is graduation in the OT world. Graduation is set for the end of May. Boards are targeted for June. Between now and then I continue more internships and study for the boards – exhausting tasks in their own right.

However, I am excited about the internships because they allow me practice and time to focus on the skills of observation, experimentation and analysis in the OT community. I will also continue to network with the PT and ST worlds along the way. Due to OT school protocols, I need to hold back slightly before I can begin my workshops, but I can start tilling the soil. Graduation will also allow me more credibility in connecting with these main stream rehabilitation arts.

The feedback on my tagline of “Freeing your Form, Function and Flow” was helpful. I do see your points. As I began OT studies I found that these are all aspects that demand constant attention. What is the individual’s current shape or form? What level are they functioning at? How may I help them to optimize their form and function in order to flow in their ADL’s (Activities of Daily Living)?

It is also a bit of a baseline for my Alexander students to monitor their own use patterns. Many times they catch themselves tightening muscles which put stress on their form and their function in activity. Then their flow in music, sports, yoga or the like is limited until they take that milli-second of observation to free their back and down compressive patterns. It is an on-going exploration of noticing form, function and flow. Alexander spoke about the function of the self regularly too. Thus, I guess I was attempting to summarize in a few key words a way of being in relationship with the “Use of the Self.” Perhaps others on this journey will have more to add to this aspect. I have tried new taglines in the past and look forward to finding one that fits the target niche in such a way that the OT world can’t live without it. I welcome further suggestions from the other blog readers here too.

Regarding energy outgo from the past -- Yes, I have worked like crazy and gone in many directions with networking and you are absolutely right, “It is exhausting!” This is the main reason why I decided to go for something mainstream like OT to use my skills of observation and direction more with people who have are faced with immediate needs for change versus those who are constantly networking. Networking requires building relationships, nurturing those relationships and a significant commitment with education. Alexander does too. Given the choice, I’d much rather be with those who are primed for change versus those who are on the networking merry-go-round. Most people have no idea what Alexander Technique is and why they would need it if they’ve never heard of it. I was networking to an entire Ocean versus a special little lake with all the fish that need the skills that I offer.

Like you’ve said, you really don’t want to say, “Now, we are going to do something called the Alexander Technique.” Eyes may glaze over and the person may say, “What does this have to do with putting my shoes on or brushing my teeth?” They simply want to know how to accomplish the task in the most energy efficient manner without pain.

When I first trained in the Alexander Technique, I remember going to conferences and some master teachers stating things like, “I never mention my occupation at a dinner party – it takes too much time to explain.” After a decade I understand this now. No, it is not a massage. No, it is not Yoga. With being in the domain of OT, I feel like I can simple stick to the beauty of teaching in the moment of the student driven activity. Although I love this very smooth facilitation of practicing the principles of “the work” I wonder about the future of Alexander Technique if we decide to not use the name within the various niches that are being created globally. Do we then devalue “the work”? It seems like a double edge between wanting to gain global awareness for Alexander Technique and wanting to have individual entrepreneur niches using the principles.  How do we achieve both?

In closing, I appreciate all that you have done to stir the Alexander Technique soup. It seems to be bubbling well. I look forward to introducing the mainstream rehabilitative arts to a taste of Alexander Technique that awakens their awareness and improves their week spots and career fulfillment.

All the best,
Christie Johnson

TOMORROW: We start the next Step in my plan: Building Your List!
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