How The Alexander Technique Can Enhance Psycho-Therapy

Juliet Carter is a psycho-therapist and Alexander teacher in London.

Britain has several psycho-therapists who are also Alexander teachers. I don’t know of any such combo in the States. The Alexander Technique is better known in Britain and in Israel than it is in the United States (though it has become better known here over the past 15 years).

Juliet tells Robert Rickover: “Alexander Technique is a skill that can be applied to everyday activities. It’s about using less tension in movement.”

“Another group of problems [helped by Alexander Technique] is a heightened arousal to the stress response and ways people cope with that stress, such as by eating or drinking too much. Compulsive behaviors.”

“Psycho-therapy and Alexander Technique are two disciplines in their own right that are hugely valuable independently.

They can work well beside each other.

“The Technique is good for issues related to addiction, to compulsive behavior, whether that is with food or drinking or smoking or any compulsive behavior used to manage feelings and cope with stress. The Technique is a gentle way of letting go of some of that restlessness, agitation and difficulty behind some of those behaviors.”

Robert: “F.M. Alexander came to the realization that mind and body are not just connected but two aspects of the same thing. If you’re working on an emotional issue with a psycho-therapy, there’s going to be a physical component.”

Juliet: “One of the things that people struggle with in therapy is recognizing and managing their feelings. By slowing down and reconnecting to the body, Alexander Technique is a way that process gently happens.”

Robert: “If someone is tight and tense, it is going to be difficult for them to take in the basic ideas of therapy.”

Juliet: “If someone’s stress response is very active, and they’re in a hyper-aroused state, and many people are in that state without recognizing it, it is difficult to think and process clearly and to feel what the body is telling you, whether those are practical signals that you are hungry, thirsty, tired, or whether they are emotional signals. The Technique quietens down the system so that it is easier to notice what is going on, to pause, and to make different choices.”

Robert: “F.M. Alexander used the word ‘inhibition’ before Freud. He didn’t become as famous as Freud. When people think of ‘inhibition’, they think of Freud’s version.”

Juliet: “‘Inhibition’ in the Alexander Technique is stopping your habitual reaction to a trigger and making a more conscious choice. In the English language generally and in Freud’s sense, being inhibited means that something is being held back.”

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