How did you become involved with the Guild?
I was certified through the Rolf Institute in 1978. Peter Melchior was one of the instructors in both my practitioner training and the advanced six-week class in 1982. I took a 6-day with Emmett Hutchens.
My teaching at the Rolf Institute started with assisting Emmett in a basic class, then Jim Asher and then Neal Powers in the last basic class he taught at the Rolf Institute before leaving for the Guild. In addition, I taught six continuing education classes so I worked with Susan Melchior in setting up those classes. Susan was in fact a model in one of my 6-day classes. And, of course, Richard Stensvold was woven throughout all of that.
After Jessica had been doing massage therapy for several years, she and her family came to visit. She had some issues and a couple of Rolfing sessions had her feeling much better. A week after that she called to say she had been checking out the Rolf Institute website. Because I was less than enthusiastic about what I had heard and seen regarding the changes in the teaching of the Rolfing techniques through the Rolf Institute, I suggested that Jessica check out the Guild. One week later, Jessica called to tell me she had talked to Susan Melchior, and that was that.
Tell me about the evolution of your practice.
After being certified in Boulder, my wife and I returned to Kansas. I was the only Rolfer in the state for thirteen years. In order to get the word out I put display ads in the local papers and did public demonstrations. It’s humorous to note that one day I got an unannounced visit from a representative of the Kansas Board of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms checking up on me. As soon as he saw my consent and disclaimer form, he left. I was also visited twice by members of the Kansas Healing Arts Board.
The essence of the evolution of my practice has been my early interest in finding different positions that reveal and access short and confused lines throughout my clients’ bodies. These are now sprinkled throughout my 10-session series. Then, Jean Pierre Barral introduced me to visceral work and I became increasingly aware of how viscera out of rhythm can warp structural integration, not only due to adhesions but also due to food sensitivities and pharmaceuticals. I have also used the teachings of craniosacral therapy to enhance my cranial work.
How has learning the Rolf Method changed your own life?
Before Rolfing, I was a school psychologist. I gave tests to determine the basis of a child’s problems in school or family, talked to teachers and social workers, and then made recommendations for other professionals to carry out. I did not see the fruits of my labor. Then I got Rolfed. I knew it fit my natural skill set. Now I can see the positive results with virtually every session I do. I can see where my energy goes. It’s very satisfying.
What was your most profound moment with a client?
After 39 years of doing the work this is a question where I wish I had kept a diary of sorts.
There was the 7-year-old boy who told me I made him smart because he could now sit in class and be attentive.
The female client who had racing heart syndrome and would have to go to the hospital, have it stopped, then restarted. Her heart started racing as she was undressing for a session. I saw the collapse of ribs around her heart, did Barral’s recoil move and her heart returned to normal rhythm.
The woman who came in with a walker and was able to leave without it.
The 4-year-old client with cerebral palsy who with Rolfing started to crawl for the first time. After differentiating her tongue from her jaw she stopped drooling. She was also the only client to bite me. She giggled and held on for a while. She enjoyed the power she had over me.
What is the one word you would use to describe your experience with the 10 series?
Any closing remarks?
I was born to Rolf. The 10 series gives me structure, and allows me the freedom to add my own uniqueness. There is no other profession that, for me, could be as satisfying, and fulfilling. I am deeply indebted to Dr. Ida Rolf and my teachers.