A S S E S S M E N T
How do we determine what to work with in Clinical Somatic Education?
How can you see this?
Is a question I get asked frequently by teaching colleagues of various movement modalities. Training on how to ‘read’ a person’s posture and movement, and practice allows me to ask questions related to the clients habitual movement, contractive patterns and comfort that are not part of most movement teaching trainings. We look for familiarity 9what takes the least effort?), how clients move and position themselves when we have a chat and how they word their sensation of being.
With static postural assessment not being the main focus, we might have a different way of looking at a client than a personal trainer, a lot of physios and manual therapists, and a different way of assessing what might be the path of how we will work together with the client on movement and habitual restrictions.
We do look at posture, as it’s often an important factor for clients (it’s a snapshot, it’s not a static unchangeable ‘thing’, it’s not the end of assessment and it’s subjective!), but given that we work with *movement*, stopping at a static assessment to ‘know’ what to do is pointless. We’re not furniture, we are made to move (thanks to Alfons for this!)
We also thoroughly look at movement, gait in particular, as we humans are also made for walking and walking should be the comfortable base from which other movements can be expanded. Only looking at gait though doesn’t give a full picture – how does the person move when taking off their shoes, sit down, get up, fill out a form? The point of view is What is happening right now, what does the client feel, how does the client word their movement… being able to change the movements we do is relying on being able to accurately sense what we do (and often herein lies the issue!)
We look from the outside, the client senses from the inside and then we ‘dance together’ in gentle movements to find skillful effort. It’s a first person (your sensing), second person (our moving together with hands on feedback) and third person (my observation of your movement) approach to give us a 3dimentional experience of what it means to be as an integrated whole person with a past, a present and a future.
At @essentialsomatics Clinical Somatic Education training, we spend a lot of time honing this skill of not jumping to third person conclusions, personal practice of sensing (humbling and honing empathy for the client’s difficulties of sensing themselves!), and hands on skills of purposeful touch.
We don’t have all the answers, but we might be able to give you a different perspective.