COMPANION

Elizabeth Atkinson

Elizabeth (‘Liz’, ‘Lizzie’) Atkinson (†2011), British teacher of the Alexander Technique and Head of Training.

Life

Elizabeth Atkinson trained as an actor and had lessons with Elisabeth and Dick Walker at the New College of Speech and Drama. She went on to train at the Constructive Teaching Centre with the Carringtons, 1972–75. She lived and taught for some time in the Hague, Holland.

She joined the Alexander Technique Associates which at that time ran a teachers training course in Old Street, London. Upon the departure of Don Burton and other teachers, she took over and ran the teachers training course 1982–85.[1]

Elizabeth Atkinson was interested in the psychotherapeutic work of Wilhelm Reich and Alexander Lowen, especially in ‘energy’ work. Together with other teachers she formed a womans-only group dedicated to exploring the psychological impact of the Alexander Technique, in particular the links between psychological and physical pain that can surface as a result of lessons in the Technique. This group ran approximately from 1992 to 1998. She went on to study for an MSc in Psychotherapy. Her thesis, ‘Psychotherapists' experiences of touch - An exploratory study’, is unpublished.

She also served on STAT council, was a member of the ethics committee, and was a STAT moderator for many years. [2] She was also instrumental in forming and running the STAT support group (committee), providing an opportunity for teachers to talk about problems in their teaching practice.[3]

Writings

  • Elizabeth Atkinson gave a presentation at the 2nd International Congress of the F. M. Alexander Technique in 1988, ‘The dynamics of communication’.[4]
  • ‘The teacher’s attitudes to pain’ by Elizabeth Atkinson reports on three group sessions she conducted in a seminar ‘Working with people in pain’.[5]
  • The article, ‘Increasing our professionalism as Alexander teachers’, covers some of the issues she encountered while being Chair of STAT’s Preliminary Investigation Committee.[6]
  • She gave the F. M. Alexander Memorial Lecture in 2007, ‘Some different viewpoints on an Alexander lesson’, with an emphasis on the power of touch and its implications.[7]

She also wrote and contributed to STATNews on a number of issues.

Remembrances

  • ‘Elizabeth Atkinson’ by Refia Sacks, Brigitta Mowat, Jane Saunderson, Robin Möckli.[8]

Elizabeth Atkinson †13 May 2011

References

[1] The Alexander Journal no. 22 edited by Francsca Greenoak (STAT, 2008), p. 86.
[2] ‘Elizabeth Atkinson’ by Refia Sacks, Brigitta Mowat, Jane Saunderson, Robin Mowckli in STATNews vol. 7, no. 6 edited by Jamie McDowell (STAT, September 2011), pp. 26–28.
[3] ‘STAT support group’ by Liz Atkinson in STATNews vol. 2, no. 3 edited by John Hunter (STAT, January 1990), pp. 8. See also STATNews vol. 3, no. 1 edited by Carolyn and John Nicholls (STAT, June 1990), p. 13.
[4] ‘The dynamics of communication’ by Elizabeth Atkinson in The Congress Papers 1988: Towards Unity edited by Jeremy Chance (Direction, 1994), pp. 32–34.
[5] ‘The teacher’s attitudes to pain’ by Elizabeth Atkinson in STATNews vol. 4, no. 18 edited by Malcolm Williamson (STAT, June 1997), p. 15.
[6] ‘Increasing our professionalism as Alexander teachers’ by Elizabeth Atkinson in STATNews vol. 6, no. 20 edited by Ann James (STAT, October 2006), pp. 7–8.
[7] The Alexander Journal no. 22 edited by Francsca Greenoak (STAT, 2008), pp. 13-18.
[8] ‘Elizabeth Atkinson’ by Refia Sacks, Brigitta Mowat, Jane Saunderson, Robin Mowckli in STATNews vol. 7, no. 6 edited by Jamie McDowell (STAT, September 2011), pp. 26–28.