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A Report on the Novato Institute Teaching Team by Susan Koenig

From an interview with Kelli Peacock


       From England to South America, Asia to Australia, people from all walks of life are coming to learn Hanna Somatic Education at The Novato Institute for Somatic Research and Training. A constant, international stream of inquiring minds are coming to learn from our amazing teachers: Eleanor Criswell-Hanna, Susan Keonig, Phil Shenk, and Lyman Spencer. They are the Teaching Team of the Novato Institute.

       Susan and I recently had a nice phone conversation on the updates of what's happening in our Somatic community and in the professional HSE trainings. Both student teachers and teaching assistants are coming and going throughout the teaching modules. They all report loving the work and they get more proficient every time that they participate in another training module, as they learn more from the Teaching Team.

       In August 2017, students of Wave 21 came to the Days Inn where our HSE training sessions are held in Novato California. This was a large group who arrived to start their training in a new Module 1. Susan said that the number of attendees in the current HSE Waves is growing. There also appears to be a growing interest in the Somatic Yoga and for the Equine Somatic Education trainings as well.

>>   The N.I. Teaching Team has been refining the curriculum over time. Perhaps the most notable refinement is using less force while pandicualting - that is, modulating the pandiculation to fit more individually for a positive client response. This new, more subtle feature of the Hanna Somatics clinical work is being translated through the teaching to the HSE students, allowing clients to respond more positively to the work.

       Having arrived at the conclusion that past students may have misinterpreted the information taught in the trainings a bit too rigidly, the Teaching Team has become more flexible with the protocols and thereby helped students become more sensitive to the needs of their clients. Adjusting at an individual level to the client allows for a subtler yet precise, less imposing and more tuned-in awareness by the Hanna Somatic Practition

       Eleanor continues to review relevant neurophysiological research and incorporates these findings into the trainings wherever called for. This allows our training programs to continually evolve as new frontiers in neurophysiology are established. Susan clarified that HSE is first and foremost a "motor modality" as the role of movement to feedback is primary. The motor or movement aspect gives rise to the sensory feedback. Therefore, calling HSE a "motor-sensory" modality (vs. a sensory-motor modality) can offer a clearer description of the work. 

       Students use their Hanna Somatic Education in many ways. They carry their understanding of Hanna Somatics into their jobs, their social or family life, and hobbies, as well as into their Hanna Somatic work with clients and in teaching HSE classes. People enjoy the learning and seem to deeply appreciate their ability to help other people in profound and healing ways.

       Eleanor always emphasizes that we are a "learning community" that loves to share and learn with others.