Countess Wielopolska, née Catherine (‘Kitty’) Merrick (1900-1988), US teacher of the Technique.
Wielopolska had a degree as a nurse-midwife and worked in a Maternity Center. She was a friend of Lulie Westfeldt and both joined Alexander’s first training course in 1931. Wielopolska battled with schizophrenia for most of her life. She was due to graduate from Alexander’s training course, but suffered a breakdown and returned to the US. She never obtained a certificate from Alexander. Around 1945 she married Count Alfred Wielopolska, who had fled Poland in 1939. Wielopolska worked as nurse now and again, and when the schizophrenia attacks abated, she retrained as a teacher with Peter Macdonald 1969-72, and from 1977 until her death she ran her own training course in Philadelphia (2314 Green Street).
Never Ask Why is an interview with Kitty Merrick Wielopolska by Joe Armstrong, covering her life story.
‘The discovery and use of the eye order in teaching the Alexander work’ is a transcript of a talk and discussion with an audience. Here Wielopolska is suggesting a new order, ‘eyes apart’.
She also suggests that the directions should be thought about as ‘words without meaning’ and then ‘the body’s intelligence will pick up the direction and interpret it as it wishes, not as you wish it.’ This suggestion was criticised by Walter Carrington in his Explaining the Alexander Technique.
Wielopolska also explains her idea of directing in Never Ask Why:
The key to ordering is: Do not interfere with the order by imposing your idea of what the order is. Give the order and let the body act on it. Do not think of the meaning of the words. We are looking for a psychophysical whole, and we won’t get it if we dominate the body in its interpretation of the order.