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Working Without Pain: Review by Malcolm Williamson.

AT Focus: 
Alexander Technique
Article, essay
Article, citation and copright
Article Text: 
The authors are Alexander teachers and teacher-trainers in America and their book is a mix of introductory and practical advice on the Alexander Technique supported with success stories about their pupils. We all love hearing about actual case histories and despite the purist’s disparagement of anecdotes the popularity of this style and its effectiveness for persuading readers to take lessons is something for which all teachers can be grateful – note the success of the book by journalist, Liz Hodgkinson.

The authors identify that many socalled “overuse” conditions are in fact the result of “misuse”. They take a direct “application” approach, getting pupils to demonstrate their ways of performing tasks in the office or behind the wheel. The book is very readable, well produced and modelled on the classic “Tell them what you are going to say, say it, then tell them what you’ve just said” approach. Call me an old cynic, but I felt the authors’ enthusiasm was in danger of creating unrealistic expectations of their readers’ abilities to apply the principles without the help of a teacher though there is plenty said about “unreliable sensory perception” (sic). Expressions such as “identifying Risk” and “establishing your Advantage”, used throughout, could be a trifle irritating on this side of the Atlantic. There was often too much focus on remarkable recoveries “after 6 lessons” at the expense of not enough said about learning and the development of means whereby involved with taking lessons. But this book is aimed at those in pain and its alleviation must be the propriety for its readers. It is upbeat, optimistic and encouraging, something that RSI sufferers need lots of.

© Malcolm Williamson ( Reproduced with permission.

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