As Structural Integrators, our focus is on releasing adhesion between layers of fascia that bind muscles to each other and to bones. And there are as many ways to release these adhesions as there are practitioners. My way of releasing adhesions that limit clients’ mobility is to actively involve the clients in moving their bodies as I work.
To be honest, I’ve never believed it’s my responsibility to fix or change my clients’ bodies. Instead, I believe it is theirs. I know that sounds odd, given that most of the clients and students who come to SI are hoping for a quick fix to a structural problem or to learn powerful techniques for changing their clients’ bodies. And in this age of instant gratification and quick fixes, long-term growth processes that don’t guarantee clearly defined outcomes can be seen outdated and ineffective.
But over the years, I’ve come to see myself more as a dance teacher than a bodyworker, and more like a coach than a mechanic. In the same way, a dance teacher would never try to dance for their students, SI practitioners can’t really do the moving and changing for our clients. After decades of doing this work, I’ve learned that a creative partnership with clients – with their active participation in each and every stroke – is the most efficient way to release adhesions and achieve greater mobility and better alignment.
It can be a great burden for students and practitioners to think that they are solely responsible for fixing and changing clients’ bodies. And it can be a great relief for clients when they are asked to be an active participant in changing their own bodies and are thus empowered and supported in their work to grow and change.
When we as practitioners stop objectifying our clients, and when clients stop expecting practitioners to change them, it becomes possible to enter into therapeutic partnerships that really succeed. When we move together with our clients, we engage their bodies and their spirits. And when we stop objectifying our clients and ourselves, we become less competitive and judgmental – of ourselves and of our clients’ processes.
In short, we become better dancers and better dance teachers.