Contemporary Science & the Alexander Technique with Dr. Patrick Johnson & Dr. Tim Cacciatore


Contemporary Science & the Alexander Technique with Dr. Patrick Johnson & Dr. Tim Cacciatore

from 335.00

A 2-day Weekend Workshop
April 28 & 29, 2018

Back by popular demand, Patrick and Tim will present a two-day workshop exploring Current Science and The Alexander Technique.

What is going on when you practice Alexander Technique (AT)?  We have all sorts of experiences, observations, and sensations. Can these phenomena be described and explained objectively?

Topics will include Reflexes and faulty sensory appreciation; Posture, Movement, and Balance; Body schema, Inhibition, Stress, and Emotions; and Describing how it all works: describing AT without Jargon.”

See below for full course outline

Dates: Saturday, April 28 & Sunday, April 29, 2018
Times: 9:30 am to 5:30 pm each day (including lunch and breaks)
ACAT Members: $325 (+$10 processing fee for CC payments)
Non-Members: $435 (+$13 processing fee for CC payments)

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Payment in full in required to reserve your space. Payment in full is due by Friday, February 2, 2018. To avoid processing fees, pay by check, send payment in full ($325 members/$435 non-members) payable to ACAT, 39 West 14th Street, Room #507, NY, NY 10011.

This workshop will be given by Dr. Patrick Johnson and Dr. Tim Cacciatore (Dr. Cacciatore will join via Skype for discussion and questions). Dr. Johnson is a PhD physicist and a practicing STAT/NeVLAT certified teacher of the Alexander technique with over 15 years of research experience and 8 years of AT teaching experience. Dr. Cacciatore is a PhD Neuroscientist and STAT certified teacher, author of many peer reviewed scientific articles on Alexander technique and good use, with 20 years of research experience. Together they have been developing means of communicating the current science of Alexander technique and Dr. Cacciatore’s work in ways that are accessible, fun, and applicable to Alexander technique students and teachers while still being rigorous.

All fees paid, minus $25, will be refunded until January 26, 2018. Between January 26 and March 31, 2018, all fees minus $125 will be refunded. There are no refunds on or after April 1, 2018. All courses subject to cancellation if under-enrolled.

Since F. M. Alexander first referenced the work of Rudolf Magnus in the 1920s, AT has borrowed ideas from science to explain AT experiences.  Scientific concepts permeate the AT culture - books, websites, lectures, conversations - with many references to concepts such as reflexes, gravity, startle, effort, tensegrity and spatial awareness to name a few.

In general, however, most of the science we use is either out of date or very roughly applied.  Furthermore, it is only in the last decade or two that we have seen high quality modern science applied directly to AT and AT mechanisms.

The goal of these workshops is to confront our current relationship with science and to get our scientific explanations and concepts up-to-date.  We combine lectures, group activities, and discussion to identify and debunk misconceptions and to build new, current models that support what we do and how we communicate.  We emphasize rigor, jargon-free communication, and reference to current experiments.

We have been giving these workshops for almost two years now, live and via webinars,  in Ireland, Spain, England, Israel, The Netherlands, Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, and the USA for both AT teachers and teachers in training.  Our initial goal was to communicate rigorous science of Alexander Technique in ways that are accessible and fun.  The workshops have since grown in both content and scope. They are now part of a broader dialogue about how to think objectively, scientifically, and professionally about what we do. We are excited about the enthusiasm and content they have generated.

Part 1: Reflexes and faulty sensory appreciation

  • Outdated ideas in the AT world: Magnus, the stretch reflex, the righting reflex, “natural movement”
  • Postural tone: what is it?  Why should AT teachers know about it?
  • Experiments on postural tone: “Twister” and the Kohnstamm effect
  • Faulty sensory appreciation: what does current science have to say about it?


  • The Rubber hand illusion - the ultimate faulty sensory appreciation
  • Pushing the hand against the wall (the Kohnstamm effect)
  • “Hot hands” game: Consciously tuning your reflexes

Part 2: Posture, Movement, and Balance

  • Posture: is it a good or bad word for AT teachers to use?
  • Understanding how the scientific definitions of postural support, goal directed movement, and balance explains a lot of what AT is about.
  • Why do students lurch? Experiments on the interference of posture on movement in sit-to-stand
  • The physics of getting up from a chair: what you need to know as a teacher


  • Playing with different ways to get out of a chair
  • Experiencing different stabilization strategies

Part 3: Body schema, Inhibition, Stress, and Emotions

  • Body schema: How does our internal representation of ourself define both our own use and how we interact with the world? Can it be altered? Is this the heart of AT?
  • Inhibition: How do different AT teachers talk about inhibition?  How do scientists talk about inhibition?  What is the overlap?
  • AT and stress (and startle): The science of stress and startle. Are we using the right terminology?  How might AT reduce harmful effects of stress?
  • Posture and emotions: Science now has lots to say about how posture affects everything from emotions to decision making. AT teachers should be up to date on this!


  • Thinking, feeling and learning with your body schema.
  • Take some scientific inhibition challenges: the Stroop test and more
  • Simple experiments that give insight into how posture works

Part 4:  Describing how it all works

  • Talking about AT without jargon
  • AT terminology: Direction, Use, and Primary Control
  • Thinking affects use.  Experiments of Dr. Rajal Cohen and more.
  • "Natural" coordination patterns - do they exist?  What do we mean when we talk about “natural” movement?  What does science have to say about this?
  • “Springy” backs and delocalized tone - mechanical and neurological spreading effects and debunking tensegrity
  • Improved sensory appreciation - what kinds of changes happen and what skills are learned?
  • How can a local change affect global patterns?  Experiment of Dr. Ian Loram and more.
  •  How might subtle "hands on" effects work?  What kind of messages can be sent via contact?


  • Describing AT effects without jargon - is it possible?
  • Sensing stability - how good is our touch?