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About the training

The training offers a 50 day practitioner course for individuals wanting to become qualified craniosacral therapists. The training is biodynamic in its approach orienting to the body’s natural wisdom and allowing innate intelligent processes to arise and bring about authentic change. These changes will be physiological and psycho-emotional. The body’s own priorities for change are listened for and encouraged to arise. The art of the therapist is to connect with the underlying forces of health and facilitate a process of natural reorganisation. These forces express as subtle motion of tissues and fluids that can be felt by sensitive hands. Biodynamic craniosacral therapy takes a whole-person approach to healing and the inter-connectedness of mind, body and spirit are deeply acknowledged.

Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy

William Garner Sutherland, a student of Andrew Still the founder of Osteopathy, is considered the pioneer of Cranial Osteopathy. The science and skills of this form of Osteopathy evolved over Sutherland’s lifetime (1873-1954) and with his students and eventually started to be taught to non-Osteopaths in the mid 1980s by John Upledger who created the term Craniosacral Therapy. This modality then developed separately to Cranial Osteopathy.

In the late 1980s, Franklyn Sills originated an approach to the work that included a fuller model of working with trauma processes, an orientation to deeper expressions of health, use of lighter intention and a recognition of the holistic nature of the human body. Courses became longer as these aspects of the work were developed more fully and now biodynamic trainings are typical 45-50 days over two years.

There are a number of training organizations inspired by these teachings in Europe and North America and now the work is spreading to Australia, New Zealand and Asia. In 2006 the International Affiliation of Biodynamic Trainings (IABT) was created to define standards in biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy trainings and the term Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy (BCST) was coined to differentiate the approach from other forms of Craniosacral Therapy.

This approach’s paradigm is to become highly skilful at listening to the body’s inherent health mechanisms and the therapist typically looks for and encourages the forces of health to set the priorities of the session and to bring about natural adjustments from within the body’s own resources. It is hallmarked by a strong interest in the holism of the human experience where both the body’s anatomy and physiology are related to in real time with the subtle forces of life that act through the interface of the body’s fluids. Subtle movements in the body’s fluid and tissue fields are being listened for and the natural movement towards stillness is seen as deeply resourceful.

The simplicity of this therapy is its beauty. The practitioner takes up a position of being neutral and allows the process of the treatment to unfold. The practitioner is interested in facilitating the body towards deep intrinsic reorganizations across the body’s tissues, its fluid matrix and its energetic and emotional layers, so that there is a holistic movement towards greater health. The therapy creates a safe space for traumatic experiences to emerge and resolve smoothly without being overwhelming or re-stimulating.

Intention of the training

The intention of the training is to provide a life transforming educational process that creates practitioners of excellence. The training is in-depth and comprehensive and honours the classical roots of the work along with recent developments in the field. Emphasis is placed upon the development of palpatory, perceptual and treatment skills which the student practitioner can integrate in a step by step process. The course is designed so that the information and skills gained in each seminar are layered and built upon during subsequent seminars. There are a number of elements running through the course that create a basis for successful practice: contact and treatment skills, clinical understanding, practice management and self-development. The training’s goal is to facilitate student practitioners in the application of skills and theory to the practice of craniosacral therapy on real people with real issues and conditions, in order to provide effective and safe treatment.Here are some of the key skills you will learn on the course:

  • Palpatory skills – in order to become aware of subtle motions and qualities in the body it’s necessary to develop a high degree of sensitivity. To enable this, the course places an emphasis on body awareness exercises and covers anatomy through self-experiencing. This opens up ways of becoming more body conscious and creates an ability to differentiate tissues and structures within your own body and ultimately in your client’s. The course therefore includes anatomy as a way to increase body awareness.
  • Perceptual skills – you will learn to perceive the body at different levels of organization, the physical, the fluid and the energetic and follow how the body unfolds between one state and another. This leads you to be free flowing and mobile in your ability to perceive things and see the body and the world with different eyes.
  • Treatment skills – learning the art of how to deal with different clients and their needs, how to work with the variety of situations that arise in the treatment space. How to manage traumatic expressions skillfully and safely.
  • Contact skills – learning how to access the sensitivity of your hands so that you can feel deep into the body by creating a spacious inviting touch. You can learn to touch in a way that creates a holistic relationship and brings you into awareness of structures remote to your hands along with an appreciation of the continuity and connectivity of the body tissues and fluids.
  • Clinical understanding – learning how to use good judgment as a practitioner. Being able to be balanced and sensible in your approach to different health conditions. Having a sound ability to assess change to better health and identify baseline patterns.
  • Practice management and self-development – learning how to set up in practice as a professional therapist and being successful. In practice, working as an ethical practitioner and making a commitment to continually developing your skills.

     

Living anatomy

In order to become aware of subtle motions and qualities in the body it’s necessary to develop a high degree of sensitivity. To enable this, the course places an emphasis on body awareness exercises and covers anatomy through self-experiencing. This opens up ways of becoming more body conscious and creates an ability to differentiate tissues and structures within your own body and ultimately in your client’s. The course therefore includes anatomy as a way to increase body awareness.

Learning process

The training is offered in a format of nine 5-day seminars over two years. This period of time is necessary to allow key skills to develop through regular practice. The seminars are powerful experiences and are a mixture of verbal teachings, discussion, small group explorations and hands-on bodywork. The development of practical skills is based on the student practitioner’s own explorations and experience of the work, supported by supervision from tutors. Biodynamic craniosacral therapy is a process-oriented practice and requires practitioners to be skilled at working with their own somato-emotional patterns as well as with a clients. The deep listening that is offered in the work allows the experiences that are held to arise as body and mind processes. The contact sessions in the seminars will naturally engage with your deeper patterning, which is both personally transforming and a key learning experience for becoming a therapist. Most of the deeper understanding of the work emerges from the experiential work on the course. It’s necessary to continue this process between seminars with personal one to one treatments throughout the duration of the course.

Study and Practice

The training includes homestudy that is a mixture of reading, writing, and hands-on practice. Written work and practice write-ups helps you and the tutor team understand how you are progressing. The written work includes craniosacral oriented anatomy, philosophy and clinical material. The training offers a continuous assessment with regular feedback on your understanding and skills. At the end of the first year there is a self-assessment programme to help clarify any areas of uncertainty. In the second year there is a case study program offered to help develop your understanding of practice and treatment processes. There is also regular hands-on feedback at tables and opportunities to put your hands on tutors. Comprehensive course notes are provided to support the learning process.

Standards

Accreditation
Upon successful completion of the training you will be certified as a biodynamic craniosacral therapy practitioner.

The training is recognized by the Association of National Health Practitioner of Canada (NHCP) which sets competency-based standards for natural health disciplines and modalities in Canada.

Ged Sumner is an approved teacher of the Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy Association of North America (BCTA/NA) which sets standards in practice and education.

The training is accredited by the Pacific Association of Craniosacral Therapists (PACT), a professional body which maintains standards and protects both craniosacral practitioners and their clients.

The training is provisionally accredited by the Craniosacral Therapy Association (CSTA), a professional body which maintains standards and represents therapists in the UK.

The training is a member of the Complementary Therapists Association (CThA) representing complimentary therapists in the UK and Ireland.

The training is accredited by the Craniosacral Therapy Association of France, a professional body which maintains standards and protects both craniosacral practitioners and their clients.

Affiliation
The training is a member of the International Affiliation of Biodynamic Trainings (IABT) which is an affiliation of schools who operate to a commonly agreed set of standards in Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy courses. Member schools offer the designation BCST (Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapist) to graduates of its foundation training and also a post-graduate designation ABD (Advanced Biodynamic Diploma) indicating an additional 300 hours of training. For more on the ABD click here.

Optional tenth seminar
The training offers an optional tenth seminar on ‘treating mothers babies and children’ which is a specialized approach for individuals interesting in working in this area. The training recognises this as a powerful way to utilize the therapy offering great success in this key area. Many practitioners may be interested in working in this way therefore it is included in the main schedule. The seminar will be separately certified and run if there is enough interest.

What the course offers

  • Experienced tutor team who create an open and exploratory learning space
  • Excellent student/tutor ratio that produces healthy and supportive group dynamics
  • Appreciation of the holistic nature of the human experience
  • Clear and sensitive feedback and supervision
  • Safe environment to grow in
  • Emphasis on producing effective successful practitioners

     

What this course offers that other BCST courses might not

  • A more neutral approach to primary respiration. Primary respiration is not looked for but allowed to arise. The practitioner is skilled in recognizing and embodying all primary respiratory states. This leads to a more inherent response from the system. The body is not fixed or subtly held by the practitioners intention towards certain primary respiratory unfoldments.
  • Strong direction towards experiential exercises as a way to know and embody the approach. These exercises are a necessary part of the homestudy and students are encouraged to repeat them until the felt sense anatomy is familiar.
  • The Cranial Rhythmic Impulse (CRI) is fully acknowledged as an expression of health and the course includes a relationship to CRI perceptual skills.
  • The course is defined by a neutral embodied listening that acknowledges the inherent response of the client’s system and its natural ability to reorganize from within. The practitioner’s skill of relating, acknowledging and naming what arises is the key to the body making its own changes. The skill is about perceptual clarity.
  • Stillpoints are not induced but are natural expressions that arise during the treatment process and are attempts of the system to connect to dynamic stillness. The practitioner embodies a relationship to stillness.
  • Developing a skill to relate to all perceptual fields simultaneously as a palette of foreground and background spaces that the body system of the client morphs into. The ability of the practitioner to relate to these allows for smooth shifts into these states.
  • States of balance are natural mechanisms of reorganization set down in the early embryonic phase when cells oriented to 3D. The movements in a state of balance process are derived from these.
  • The establishing of a relational field allows trauma to naturally process. The practitioners skill in setting this up and being a still empathetic observer is a strong force for trauma resolution in itself along with a series of precise verbal skills.

     

Creating “practitioners of excellence”

The intention of the training is to provide a life transforming educational process that helps you become a ‘practitioner of excellence.’

Spending time honing your craniosacral touch skills until you become highly sensitive and insightful

  • Learning how to be in touch with the intelligent health in your client’s body (and your own)
  • Listening with precision, being able to know what your client’s body is showing you (as well as your own).
  • Ability to move between the physical, the emotional and the energetic
  • Developing a language to describe what is happening to the client in an understandable way

     

To help you get there, you will get an abundance of tutor feedback at tables. Tutors will put their hands on the student practitioner’s hands while they are in contact with a fellow student at the treatment couches. The tutor will tune into the session and give feedback. Also included in the course are opportunities for students to put their hands on the tutors and receive feedback about their touch skills. Also students can put their hands on the tutor’s hands while the tutors are treating and the tutor will describe what they are sensing. You will also have a lot of chances to work together with your fellow students and you are encouraged to work with different people so you can experience the way different people respond to the therapy.

You will also receive a great deal of support and perspective in how to deal with traumatic expressions. The body can express trauma in a number of ways: emotional surges are common, so crying, getting angry and being distraught emerge in many of the sessions. The body physiology goes into flight or fight mode so the heart starts beating rapidly, there is fast breathing, and sometimes feelings of panic or anxiety arise, the body can start shaking in all kinds of different ways, or the client can become cold and go into shock states. These affects are signs the body is trying to resolve a pattern of experience. Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy creates a relational space that is very safe and efficient at processing trauma.

The training is in-depth and comprehensive and honours the classical roots of the work along with recent developments in the field.

Classic roots:
• Fluid midline
• reciprocal tension motion
• learning to feel the Tide and craniosacral motion of structures in the body
• states of balance tension
• differentiation of tissues, fluids and potency
• breath of life
• stillpoint as a way to rest deeply

New developments:
• deeper and slower tides
• light and sensitive touch
• concept of a primal midline and energetic paradigm
• whole body patterns
• levels of stillness
• working with an inherent treatment plan
• more finesse in the touch and ideas of perceptual fields
• more internal meditative approach
• practitioner as witness
• more orientation to biodynamic forces of health