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The Congress Papers: Empowering Humanity, Inspiring Science: Review by Ruth Diamond.

AT Focus: 
Alexander Technique
Article, essay
Article, citation and copright
Article Text: 
The Congress Papers includes reports from the Plenary lectures, the Continuous Learning Sessions, and many of the workshops. While reading through them, I came across a quote from Anthony Kingsley's paper, 'Beyond Posture,' that epitomizes the flavor of this remarkable volume: 'My favorite Alexander book is the one that he did not write but I believe he would write today.' The Congress Papers encompasses a wide variety of traditional and contemporary ideas and views, represents a wealth of experience and knowledge from all over the world, and offers fresh insights into the Alexander Technique as it is taught and understood today.

These 47 papers, written by the presenters, address current theory and practice of the Alexander Technique. Discussions address such diverse topics as teaching techniques, job opportunities, basic concepts, the place of the Technique in the public education system, the nature and existence of the primary control, training course evaluation, including Alexander Technique training as part of vocational or college programs, working with trauma, working with hypermobility, and overcoming addiction.

Many of the papers describe experiential workshops on performance, teaching skills, and working on oneself. Some focus on improving performance; others show how the Technique could be used more globally to engage in the world more creatively and fully. The descriptions of the workshops are often detailed and clear enough to allow the reader to try things out and participate in absentia.

The book is divided loosely into five sections: How We Work; Touch, Direction, Working on Ourselves and Others; Creativity and Performance; Anatomy and Movement; Applications; and New Directions. The organization is by nature somewhat loose and there is often overlap among sections, which reflects the interconnected nature of the Technique itself. At 302 pages, this is a big book, crammed with ideas, science, philosophical issues, and experiential learning. Whether or not you attended the Congress, The Congress Papers will provide a valuable and lasting resource for continued learning for both teachers and students of the Alexander Technique.

Ruth Diamond graduated from ACAT in 2003 and maintains a teaching practice in New York City. A clinical nurse specialist with an MA in psychiatric/mental health nursing, she has worked as a psychotherapist and has a continuing interest in mind-body unity.

Copyright © 2017 Ruth Diamond. Reproduced with permission.

This edition © Mouritz 2017. All rights reserved.