by Judy Stern
Barbara has taught me many skills on many levels—too many to list in this article. The "hands on" skill that stands out today, was learning to maintain the energetic space between my hands, my arms and my student while maintaining full contact. This allows students to sense the space for them to change (to move up and out). The energetic space makes it easy for students to discover and address habits without feeling imposed upon, or pressured to change. This is one of many skills that Barbara teaches our trainees today, just as I learned it when I trained at ACAT in 1987. Of course, now I also teach our trainees about the energetic space. It's an incredibly valuable and necessary skill that helps maximize teaching and learning.
Barbara has also taught me many psychodynamic skills. In addition to being an Alexander Technique teacher, Barbara is a trained Rubenfeld Synergist. This means she has particular interpersonal skills that enhance a students' ability to learn and the teachers’ ability to impart information. For example, let's say a student has a very slight limp that was due to a recent injury. Barbara wouldn't say, "Do you know you're limping?" Rather than pointing out the limp directly, which might make the student self-conscious (i.e.: startled), she would use an indirect approach. She would encourage lengthening of the torso on the opposite side of the limp, and eventually, the limp may decrease, even disappear, if it is due to habit.
50 Years of ACAT!
Barbara has brought so much to the ACAT community. She is THE Senior teacher/trainer in NYC and perhaps on the East Coast. To be called a senior teacher, one must have 20 years of teaching the Alexander Technique. Barbara has over forty years of experience! She carries the ACAT legacy passed on to her from Judy Leibowitz and Debby Caplan (both took lessons from F. M. Alexander) and Frank Ottiwell, as well as her mentors, Walter and Dilys Carrington and Elisabeth Walker, who were trained to be teachers by F. M. Alexander. It is an amazing experience to work with her, because she embodies all that she learned those teachers.
Barbara's many roles at ACAT since she trained in 1971 speak to what a remarkable asset she is to the ACAT Training Course and to the Alexander community at large. She has headed the ACAT training twice, first when Judy Liebowitz, our first and founding director, stepped down from the position in 1982. Then a second time, in 1996, when called upon by the faculty to lead once again.
I highly recommend the Alexander Technique Lesson at Home, a digital download in which Barbara narrates a compilation of the procedures Judy Leibowitz taught that are very helpful for practicing the Technique on your own. You also get an interview with Barbara, in which she talks about Judy (Leibowitz') influence at ACAT and on her own teaching. You can get the Lesson at Home by making a donation to ACAT.
Barbara is a treasure in our community, having touched so many of us with her gifts.
ACAT’s 50th Anniversary – Matching Challenge Grant
ACAT has received a matching grant of up to $10,000. Donate in honor of Barbara Kent and Jessica Wolf, and have your donation matched dollar-for-dollar. Whatever you give, your donation will be doubled. To thank you for your donation, we will send you a link to download an MP3 of ACAT's Alexander Technique Lesson at Home, based on Judith Leibowitz’s teaching and narrated by Barbara Kent. Go to acat50.org to donate and find out more. All donations to ACAT are tax deductible.
[author] [author_image timthumb='on']http://www.acatnyc.org/main/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/Judy-Stern-headshot.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]JUDY STERN is a senior faculty member at the American Center for the Alexander Technique (ACAT). She has been teaching the Alexander Technique for almost 30 years. She has a post-graduate certificate in Physical Therapy and a Master of Arts in Health Education from the University of Florida/Gainesville. She was a member of the faculty at the University of Pennsylvania School of Physical Therapy early in her career, and worked for 19 years as a traditional physical therapist. Judy has a special interest in the neurophysiology of the Technique. She has a private practice at her studio in Rye, NY, and specializes in working with people in pain. Connect with Judy at her website. www.judithcstern.com [/author_info] [/author]