A fuller glimpse into the path I've taken...
I received my initial training at the Brian Utting School of Massage in Seattle in 1993-4. After graduation, I stayed on at the school as a teacher trainee and program manager. The early years of my practice were spent balancing a private practice and growing responsibilities at the massage school. For over 8 years, I was a core faculty member and Dean of Students and, later also served as the Dean of Faculty and Acting Director. Working within that community was an incredibly rich experience for me, and continues to inform my teaching and massage practice.
Practice as Apprenticeship
Early on, my practice was fairly general; I was eager to work with as many people as possible, gaining experience in various settings: chiropractic clinic, gym, massage clinic, out calls, etc. One focus I had early on, was working with people at the end stage of their lives; as a volunteer, I massaged people with AIDS at a local hospice. This work was incredibly gratifying and taught me many key lessons about tending the whole person, not the just their symptoms or their disease, and that sometimes, even the smallest changes can make a big difference in people's quality of life.
In 1995, I began studying craniosacral (biomechanical and later biodynamic), visceral manipulation and pediatric work with my mentor, Bruno Ducoux, DO. The gentleness and depth of this work appealed to me immediately, and soon I was assisting Bruno in his classes. During this time, I was also assisting Catherin Maxwell, ND in her Deep Muscle Therapy classes. These courses explored the balance between our anatomical 'engineering' and the emotional and spiritual dimension of structural bodywork.
A Deeper Dive
Looking back, I can see that I began a deeper cycle of learning in 1999, with the decision to pursue certification in each of my specialties. Although I had been practicing these methods for some time, I wanted a more comprehensive understanding of each method on its own terms, and importantly, how they related to each other.
From 1999-2004, I completed a certification program in craniosacral work (biomechanical and biodynamic) with Ursula Popp, LAc, and assisted in her classes for several years. From 2003-2004, I completed a certification in Structural Integration (KMI) with Thomas Myers, author of Anatomy Trains. From 2005-2009, I have completed the coursework for certification in Visceral Manipulation through the Barral Institute (with Christoph Sommer, NHP and Lisa Polec, DC, in particular). From 2010 forward, my continuing education has focused primarily on neural manipulation, a gentle method that frees the nerves using osteopathic methods and trauma-informed care.
Learning through Teaching
Since that time, my teaching life has also blossomed. In 2005, I became a Certified Teacher of Kinesis and taught Thomas Myers' coursework in the Northwest, East Coast and in Europe from 2005-2013. In 2008, Richard and I began developing our own classes. In 2017, I was approached by my mentor and colleague, Ursula Popp, who was retiring--she generously handed over her Craniosacral Certification program to me, with the understanding that I would make it my own.
For the past five years I have been tooling and retooling the curriculum, while keeping many of the key elements in place. I have added additional material and drawn connections among the courses to reflect my own understanding of osteopathic principles and methods. One of my greatest joys in the classroom is the dance between me and the students as we all come to clarity about the body, its challenges and the inherent capacity for healing. It's so much fun!
Teaching has been a wonderful complement to my practice, consistently refreshing and clarifying my skills and understanding. I love the dance with students - how each person comes to this work in their own way. This creates a spark in me to find as many ways to communicate this work as possible. Each class is unique, each student is unique, and the work itself keeps evolving. It's a blessing to be in such a dynamic environment!
Gratitude for My Teachers
Throughout my training and teaching, I have been blessed with skilled and dedicated mentors. I am profoundly grateful to each of them I can truly say "I don't know where I'd be without bodywork in my life." In my teaching, I'm dedicated to passing along the best of what I have been shown by mentors, students and clients.
Before entering the massage field, I worked as a free-lance writer and program coordinator for educational non-profits. I earned a master's degree in creative writing (MFA, University of Washington, 1990) and a bachelor's degree in Non-Violence and Power Dynamics (BA, self-designed major from Brown University, 1987.) Many thanks to my key professors there, George Morgan, Michael Harper, Giles Milhaven, and Anani Dzidzienyo. The farther away I move from my university experience, the more I understand how those roots still inform my life.