In past years I have often taught private workshops to other health care providers, to animal-owning clients whose animal(s) I have treated, and to the general public.
Regular requests come in asking me when and what I’ll next be teaching.
In January, 2013, I will again be offering a course to people with animals.
– mostly for dog handlers – but I could do a separate one for cats (or the people they own) if there is sufficient interest. Here is a pdf of a brochure I recently updated. Private Sessions and Courses – Animals 2012 I have not taught this particular course in almost ten years.
Those of you familiar with my work will know that while I do work with animals, the vast majority of my work is with people – from pregnant Moms and new-born infants, to older children, adolescents and then adults, right up to seniors in their upper 90s. The demographics of my practice swell in two places: the first year of life (I see lots of young babies) and then also in the 45-70 years age range.
There are three areas of particular emphasis in my practice:
1. Pediatric osteopathy – After my training at the British College of Naturopathy and Osteopathy (now called the British College of Osteopathic Medicine) in London, UK, I worked on a rotational basis at the Osteopathic Centre for Children (also in London). There we worked with pregnant Moms and new-borns (sometimes assessing and treating whilst the babes were still in incubators, within hours of being born). And then we saw children presenting with a huge range of birth-trauma/complication-related disorders, neurological sequelae and syndromes, cerebral palsy, cystic fibrosis, muscular dystrophy and on and on. But every child was an individual existing within a context of his or her family and/or care-givers attending the child. Always it was necessary to remember the crucial importance of that contextual milieu, for if that was not also seen and addressed appropriately the child’s progress would be impeded. All of that was learned and incorporated into how I work with all the people and animals I treat.
2. Post-traumatic scenarios – These scenarios might occur after physical injuries resulting from (for example) such things as motor vehicle accidents (MVAs), sports/industrial injuries; or the soft-tissue or joint-related complications left after surgery or illness. By working with subtle self-regulating mechanisms – which work behind the scenes in every living being – it is possible, osteopathically, to support a move toward more balanced, harmonious and integrated function, on every level of humanity – not just the physical.
3. The interplay between psycho-emotional and/or spiritual-energetic issues, or crises, that arise around major transitions in one’s life, and, the bio-dynamic dysfunctions/manifestations that emerge while that is going on. To make this more concrete, let’s imagine a man who has injured both his low back and right shoulder at work. Since the injuries were serious enough to have him off work for many weeks, the situation has also led to a long battle with his employer, and his insurance company, about differing opinions of his “readiness for work” five months later. At the same time as those stressors are operating in his life, his whole financial viability feels in jeopardy, his relationships are “changing for the worse”, he is struggling with tolerance and maybe even addiction to medications for pain, and eventually, depression. This is a composite of many different people I have seen over almost 25 years of practice, but it is highly representative of a certain group of patients I see.
Now in such a complex scenario, I would likely be just one of a team of practitioners seeing and working with this man (I will call him Mr. R.). My job would be to help Mr. R.’s body release some of the more counter-productive tension and strain patterns that have been set up to compensate for altered function – and in an effort to limit his pain on movement. His posture will have changed, his breathing pattern will be different, his stamina for tasks that he enjoys – and maybe more so, those he doesn’t – will all be different than before. He might be grieving, angry and frustrated, by turns, about having to forego the former pleasures of playing hockey, or guitar, or sculpting, or antique car restoration. And, how he approaches working with the challenges I have illustrated (and there are more that I have not mentioned in this fictitious, but realistic scenario) will usually be crucial to what progress he can make.
In this scenario I would perhaps be even more likely than with most patients to use a multi-displinary approach – in two ways:
Firstly, if he was not already (or had not previously been) seeing a counselor, I would strongly encourage that. Having asked what other practitioners he was consulting, I would endeavor to bring some co-operation and integration of his treatment/care plan amongst the team of practitioners, including his GP.
In what I was offering Mr.R. directly, I would also be utilizing a multi-faceted approach . This would include communicating an understanding (in terms he could relate to) of my clinical conclusions about the functional dynamics of his back and shoulder injury. That is, his specific muscular and fascial injuries, and their state of healing, the compensatory dymanics forced by those injuries and his present resources for maintaining those patterns, the scarring and altered proprioception pathways that were operating, the bio-chemistry, bio-dynamics and bio-energetics of his present state, and how our work together could ideally help him identify and then begin to meet his own, realistic treatment objectives. Subtle osteopathic articulations, mobilizations and manipulations would be utilized to help his body’s inherent self-healing and self-regulating capabilities reawaken, and do their healing work.
Then there would be suggestions about dietary and lifestyle measures that would support and encourage the healing process for him. For instance, there are dietary guideline resources I have personally found of huge value, and which have worked very well for specific scenarios more similar to those of Mr R. which I would share with him. And, since I have found meditation and present-moment-awareness to be of fundamental importance in my own life, I would introduce some of those kind of practices into the sessions and/or the home care ‘assignments’. As always, I would need to be sensitive to how open, or not, Mr. R. was to such things. People still regularly surprise me in their openness or closedness to such phenomena – not always following my preconceived notions in this regard. So, I have learned to acknowledge and simply set aside such notions, to make whatever recommendations seem most appropriate, and to let the patient make the call as to whether, and to what extent, to apply those measures in their own lives.
So, all of the foregoing is a long-wided introduction to what the content of my upcoming courses will be.
I plan to give some free public talks on general measures that almost everyone can benefit from incorporating into their daily life.
Talks on dietary/lifestyle orientations.
In my view, one should always look at what measures are sustainable in the long term. Crash diets not only don’t work, they usually tend to make one’s health even worse.
We’ll look at exercise approaches and what I have learned in the last while. Some of the things I consider of fundamental importance fall outside my area of greatest expertise, and exercise is one of those things. Having said that, I have certainly seen good results in my own life from use of some new methods and approaches. So, I will get one or more local experts in those approaches to come along and give you more of the straight story on those things.
All of this is just coming together, but you will hear more about it if you watch this blog space, and/or you follow the Victoria Community Health Co-operative’s calendar of events. I will probably do some of those public talks through my long term association with them.
Finally, there are the courses I am proposing to offer other osteopaths, chiropractors, physiotherapists and physicians and massage therapists. These will again be different than what I have offered in previous years. They will be more focused on Presence. That is, there is a space from which any healing practice (and any experience under the sun, for that matter) can operate. If that space is filled with Presence – the awareness that I Am Here, conscious of my own breath, my connection with the Earth, and every other being or object; and all of that is not at all in the way of (but is in fact is in support of) my availability to be exquisitely WITH the client, then I can “do” osteopathy. Or, more accurately, osteopathy, healing practice in whatever way you conduct it, is not actually “done” by me, or anyone, – it simply and absolutely flows unhindered, with Grace and unerring efficiency. This is what I am called to share. Please watch this space for the particulars of what will be offered and when.
I am asking any and all readers who have bravely come this far in this lengthy treatise to please make any comments you will, below. I want to know whether what I am proposing here interests you. If so, at the very least let me know it. But if you leave a comment here you may help to spark interest in a colleague or friend of yours. Thank you for your time.