Roots of the Feldenkrais Trainer Monopoly

“All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”

Animal Farm by George Orwell.

From the SRC 2009 Report:

“Since 1992, we [the International Feldenkrais Federation] have a “bottom-up”, democratically organized professional umbrella association in the IFF. Parallel to it, we have an older TAB [Training and Accreditation Board] structure with roots in the group of trainers who initiated it.

What does the SRC committee mean by “an older TAB structure with roots in the group of trainers how initiated it.” Sounds like a sentence from someone trying to be politically correct, doesn’t it? That won’t do.

David Bersin on The Trainer Monopoly

Let’s read the opinion of David Bersin. Get your barf bag ready.

“Please allow me [David Bersin] to bring to the foreground some facts…The TAB’s are three committees which are mandated to oversee the governance or regulation of Feldenkrais professional training programs, the teachers who teach in these programs, and the process by which Feldenkrais Practitioners become eligible to teach in programs, as Assistant Trainers and Trainers. The TAB’s are also responsible for the creation and evaluation of the policies which concern these domains. Functionally, the TAB’s are already committees of the Australian Guild, the North American Guild, and the European Guild organizations, and all policy must be approved unanimously by these membership organizations. This requirement for uniformity in TAB policies was created in order to insure full international discussion and collaboration, high standards for trainings, and to inhibit the undue influence of personal or small group interests.” From: DZB SRC

Functionally, David Bersin is confused. How does taking policy making out of the hands of the majority increase collaboration? How does giving a select few the right to set policy limit the undue influence of a select few? The TAB was created to “to insure full international discussion and collaboration…and to inhibit the undue influence of personal or small group interests”?! I think not.

What David is writing is the exact opposite of how the process works. There is not now, nor has there EVER been shared decision making on policy. Have any of you had a meaningful hand in certifying a new trainer? Setting training policy? Of course not. The TABs were specifically created to limit participation from the rable such as you and I. Denis Leri states it quite succinctly below.

Denis Leri Discusses the Trainer Monopoly

For a look on how the TAB’s were originally designed to work, let’s go back about 16 years to a letter written by Denis Leri (Denis_Leri_TAB-1992 DOWNLOAD). I do not know the exact context for the letter. It was forwarded to me anonymously. But it is written on a Guild letterhead. Perhaps it is from an FGNA newsletter? The first quote is verbatim. The second has my comments in block parentheses [ ].

“Some people think that anyone having anything to do with trainings should not be on the TAB because of conflict of interest. First, we have had an internal policy about conflict of interest dating to 1986 which we are making explicit in this proposal. It has been followed with extreme diligence. There are checks and balances in place. Minutes of the meeting exist. Secondly, speaking for myself as a training organizer, some previous policy decisions of the TAB were not implementable on a practical level not withstanding their good intentions.

I believe, as an organizer and educational director, we should have representation of and by those people who take the risks and do the very difficult and arduous tasks required to form a training program. I feel it is not desirable to exclude people who can and do understand the realities of training situations. Finally, it is a shared perception that generally speaking, the quality of trainings has improved. To me, that says, on the hand, that the trainings are doing a good job and, on the other hand, that you out there are responsible for drawing a broad range of quality people into our work.”

Filling in the blanks:

“Some people think that anyone having anything to do with trainings should not be on the TAB because of conflict of interest. [Not anyone, just trainers. It’s basic common sense. You want to regulate yourself under the guise of faux oversight of the TABs?] First, we have had an internal policy about conflict of interest dating to 1986 which we are making explicit in this proposal. [An internal policy about conflict of interest IS a conflict interest!!] It has been followed with extreme diligence. [Your secret internal policies, that you alone enforce??!] There are checks and balances in place [Says who?]. Minutes of the meeting exist [Who cares. Minutes are worthless and easily changed. Think Enron.] Secondly, speaking for myself as a training organizer [with a vested financial interest], some previous policy decisions of the TAB were not implementable on a practical level not withstanding their good intentions [Says who?]

I believe, as an organizer and educational director, [again – with vested financial interests] we should have representation of and by those people who take the risks and do the very difficult and arduous tasks required to form a training program [In other words, financial rewards are not enough to satisfy his massive ego needs] I feel it is not desirable to exclude people who can and do understand the realities of training situations [Does Leri understand the reality of the shrinking guild and his own training programs?]. Finally, it is a shared perception [I think he means: “shared delusion”] that generally speaking, the quality of trainings has improved [Bullshit]. To me, that says, on the hand, that the trainings are doing a good job and, on the other hand, that you out there are responsible for drawing a broad range of quality people into our work. [Which contribute directly to the trainers’ bottom line, but not our own]

In case you missed or don’t remember my post on Denis’s proposed Feldenkrais Trainer Guild, let me give you one choice quote:

…it’s a drag to cover up the fact that TAB’s and Guilds have no business involved in the formation of Trainers.

Yea, yea, that’s it baby. It’s a drag. It’s really a f*cking drag. Engaging in a decades long cover up has taken a great deal of emotional and intellectual work. And why bother anymore? It’s already in plain site: From the perspective of many trainers the TABs and Guilds have no business. No business certifying trainers. No business certifying trainings, no business engaging in ANY action that might limit the trainer classes ability to fleece the faithful. Feldenkrais: By the Trainers for the Trainers.

Enough said.

Next Up: The Guild Service Mark Application

Soon I will be posting some historical documents and information related to the Guild’s application for the “service marks” back in the 1980’s. You may not agree with my interpretation. But, as always, I will post links to original documents and sources when I can get them so that you can have access to source material. By the way – Please do not assume that this blog and its various resources will always be here. If something interests you, grab it, keep it, and share it.

Do you know anyone who would be annoyed and offended by what I have wrote here? Good! Don’t leave them out. Please click the “share” button on the bottom of this page and send them the link to this post. And take a moment to sign up for notification of new posts via email? You will only get an email when I publish something on this site. And your email will be used for no other purpose.

Click And Subscribe Here To Keep Offended.

5 thoughts on “Roots of the Feldenkrais Trainer Monopoly

  1. Eva Laser

    There is even a broader context Ryan. Another branch is to understand how the structural review group got nominated, who they represent and how they got their mandate. The IFF is an international organization but review the nomination structure in the countries involved, the guilds in the countries involved, the unpaid voluntary work of the officers & reps etc. etc. From the outside those organizations look like nice democratic organizations with a hierarchical structure. I know a little bit more than the average about some of these guilds and who and how these people get nominated and how the reps anchor their opinions. You can be upset about the trainer organization but if you look at their counterpart there is no room for a spontaneous smile. It is an international trouble. If I understand the outcome of the Callison trial in a broader perspective it would take all the international organizations with it. The “interesting” thing is that the members of guilds passively or actively give mandate to this. An every replacement will create the same difficulty. I see it as an impossible maze.

    1. nagster Post author

      Eva – Thanks for your comments. It does seem like a crazy maze at times. I find it depressing if I think about it too much. I don’t see any democracy here. The various organizations are designed to limit participation, not encourage it.

      I don’t know much about how the structural group got nominated. I do have one small story. A person was asked to be on one of the committees that is supposed to make recommendations for changes. This person asked who else was on the committee and was told that David Bersen and Paul Rubin were members. Hearing those names, the person refused to serve.

  2. Eva Laser

    The democracy here is that the members are voting at their annual meeting in every country. There is a majority procedure. Now if there is a high degree of indoctrination during trainings, passivity,misinformation etc. is something completely else.

    1. nagster Post author

      Very good points. We are trained by the people who often have the least interest in change or giving alternate views of our history. I think that many people do not have a clear sense of what needs changed and how to change it. I find myself stunned at what I did not know and still do not know about the community and it’s development. I am starting to feel hopeful though.

      – Ryan

  3. Eva Laser

    The challenge Ryan is when you pass the stage of being angry and create unique knowledge. For me it has taken many years to let go of the guild politics. I am in that stage now. I need to be reminded all the time. You are part of this reminder. That is why I take time to have an open conversation with you. I have as far as it is possible tried to go to the bottom of things and nothing will surprise me anymore I feel.

    Almost 20 ago Yochanan Rywerant was part of creating IFF in order to integrate his students and Mias students into the teacher professional community. Look in the old IFF protocols! Then he decided that the feldenkrais politics were futile and concentrated in developing efficient ways to teach the meta teaching and refine what he already had written about. It is still a huge enterprise to understand the legacy and make it open & accessible. To look beyond the men involved and into the eccentric approach of how the nervous system and by that man learned to survive by learning. In order to create an alternative one has to let go off the old wrote the old man. It is a great passage in chapter 7 of the theory and practice of improving the ability. That is difficult.
    The new means of contact and sharing of insights we establish with the internet may make that possible to stay freer in that sense.
    My advice is that you simply let people know the facts you know and decide for themselves. Those who understand understand. Strip it of the language that makes man blind and agitated. We are a few who are interested in letting a counter history be heard. It is also painful for many to realize what they have paid for. The challenge is to inform in a clear way and create choices.
    We will share, inform and learn

Comments are closed.