Trust—Essential to Unplugging the Survival Mechanism

January 20, 2014

Have you ever participated in a trust circle? You stand in the middle of the circle with your body rigid like a board and allow yourself to fall backwards letting the people on the outside of the circle catch you before you fall to the floor. If you have done this exercise you know that there has to be total trust among participants. In a Feldenkrais® hands-on (Functional Integration®) session there has to be that same level of trust for the client to willingly give over control of voluntary movements to the practitioner.

When we have on-going chronic conditions we begin to organize our movements to avoid discomfort. We know our personal limitations and where we will encounter pain. If we give over the control of our movements to another person we wonder if s/he is going to cause us more pain and discomfort. We become vigilant so when necessary, we can stop any movements that are uncomfortable or painful. The irony is that the more we try to inhibit pain the more likely it is to occur. When we come for a Feldenkrais hands-on lesson we must have confidence/trust that the practitioner can guide us through uncharted waters and that we will be safe. It is the practitioner’s job to instill trust as s/he helps the client feel secure in the exploration of new effortless movement possibilities and inspire confidence that life and movement can be easy.

The following conversation about trust was part of a longer discussion that took place during the 2013 Okanagan B.C. Feldenkrais Practitioners’ Retreat. For anyone that is not familiar with the Feldenkrais Method is will give you an idea of how seriously we take the comfort and safety of our clients. For those of you who are Feldenkrais practitioners it will affirm what you already know to be true about trust in the practitioner/client relationship.


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Feldenkrais®, Feldenkrais Method®, Awareness Through Movement®, and Functional Integration® are registered service marks of the Feldenkrais Guild® of North America. Guild Certified Feldenkrais Practitioner ™ and Guild Certified Feldenkrais Teacher ™ are certification marks of the Feldenkrais Guild®.