Alexander Thoughts: Change Your Inner Dialogue

by Brooke Lieb ((originally published 12/20/99))


Today, I was sitting at the computer playing FreeCell (a solitaire game) contemplating berating myself for procrastination.  I decided not to do it. I said to myself "Don't go there."  And my mind began a delightful journey exploring that idea: "Don't go there."  I began to think about all the times and all the ways I create suffering for myself through my thought process. Specifically, through my interpretation of the circumstances.  I have a certain amount of control over my circumstances.  I have a great deal more control over the quality of my thought.  I sat there thinking about this. My mood began to lift as I started imagining a life where I "didn't go

Why do I write about this in an e-mail called "Alexander Technique Thoughts"?  Because this is a way of practicing inhibition*.  I have some habitual "tapes" that I run in my head, talking to myself, telling myself certain things and experiencing a correllating emotional response, attitude or shift of mood.  Since I began studying Alexander Technique in 1984, I have been undergoing a profound shift in my baseline attitude about life.  I spend more time wanting the life I have then thinking about what I need to do to change it.

*F.M. Alexander used the word inhibition to refer to withholding consent. Unlike the connotation of Freud's definition - repressing and denying oneself freedom of expression, Alexander used the word in the context of pausing in order to stop a habitual reaction from occurring.  This allows you to choose in this moment how you wish to respond.

(This post originally appeared on

N. BROOKE LIEB, Director of Teacher Certification since 2008, received her certification from ACAT in 1989, joined the faculty in 1992. Brooke has presented to 100s of people at numerous conferences, has taught at C. W. Post College, St. Rose College, Kutztown University, Pace University, The Actors Institute, The National Theatre Conservatory at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, Dennison University, and Wagner College; and has made presentations for the Hospital for Special Surgery, the Scoliosis Foundation, and the Arthritis Foundation; Mercy College and Touro College, Departments of Physical Therapy; and Northern Westchester Hospital. Brooke maintains a teaching practice in NYC, specializing in working with people dealing with pain, back injuries and scoliosis; and performing artists.