Typical Craniosacral Biodynamic Syllabus: Fifty-day training given over ten five-day seminars

Please note that schedules may be organized differently in ongoing trainings, that the training may also be offered in different formats and is constantly being reviewed as to content and teaching approaches.

The intention of this first seminar is to create a ground for the rest of the training. The development of awareness, the growing ability to rest in stillness, and relational and perceptual skills are the heart of course work. Interpersonal relational skills are introduced in seminar one, as are concepts of the nature of being and self. Within this context, students learn to enter a neutral “being” state from which to meet and relate to the client’s system, and from which to establish a safe and empathetic listening field. The nature of empathy within relational contact is discussed and explored. Skills of negotiation of contact and of palpation are introduced. The enhancement of both practitioner and client resources is also explored. Practical skills around accessing felt-resources are explored in this context. The importance and skill of maintaining a wide perceptual field is introduced and the perception of primary respiration and its various tidal manifestations is also introduced. Within this context, a perceptual awareness of the fluid tide is initially emphasized. The role of stillness within the work is also introduced as a fundamental concept, perception and skill within Craniosacral Biodynamics.
The seminar begins with the theme of health. Its intention is to begin to appreciate the specific manifestations of the Breath of Life and the Health inherent within the body. Students learn to orient to a change in state within the client’s system called the holistic shift. This is an important shift from the conditions present in the system and from a superficial rhythm called the cranial rhythmic impulse (CRI), to primary respiration and inherent resources. Students explore the stillpoint concept in order to help a client’s system access the holistic shift and inherent resources. The main emphasis of this seminar orients students to the mid-tide and tissue motility and their embryological origins. The action of primary respiration generates a palpable inner motility, or inherent motion, within all tissues and tissue structures. Initially, awareness of motility is explored within the major bony structures of the cranium and pelvis. Specific palpation sessions are undertaken orienting to the reciprocal tension membrane (the dural membrane), the temporal, frontal, parietal, occipital and sphenoid bones and the sacrum. The dynamics of the sphenobasilar junction is also introduced. Within this context, the importance of embryologically derived organizing fulcrums is explored. Perceptual exercises that help students attune to mid-tide and Long Tide phenomena are also undertaken. Verbal skills are introduced via the Focusing process, as developed by Dr. Eugene Gendlin.
The potency (life forces) of the Breath of Life naturally expresses itself within states of wholeness and equilibrium. This seminar introduces some of the most important clinical concepts within craniosacral biodynamics: the neutral, the state of balance and the role of stillness. These are explored within the understanding of the inherent treatment plan. Rather than having to resort to the use of analysis or diagnosis to gain information, students are oriented to perceptual processes that directly allow them to observe the arising of healing intentions from within the client’s system from any level of primary respiration (mid-tide, Long Tide and Dynamic Stillness). The concept and perceptual experience of natural, automatic shifting fulcrums is explored along with reciprocal tension motion within the tissue field. Students are taught initial processes that help them orient to inertial fulcrums (organizing centers for disturbances in the system) from which an awareness of inertia and inertial issues is developed. From this base, students learn to appreciate the state of balance, a systemic neutral oriented to particular inertial issues in the system. It is within this state that the healing forces of primary respiration manifest within particular conditions. An introduction to Dynamic Stillness as a ground of emergence for healing processes is also undertaken. Focusing skills are reviewed and their use within a therapeutic context is explored.
In this seminar students learn additional clinical skills. The work from the previous seminar is continued as students explore further ways of relating to inertia and conditional forces. The concept of the state of balance as a gateway to deeper embryological organizing forces of the Long Tide and to the Dynamic Stillness is explored. Students are also introduced to the “three bodies” (the physical, fluid and tidal bodies) as perceptual gateways to the holistic shift and primary respiration via experiential exercises. Various clinical approaches to fluids and tissues are taught as skills that resonate with and augment naturally occurring processes and organizing forces. As this process deepens, students learn to offer options within the natural pacing of healing processes and to help the system manifest its innate potential for health. These skills include the augmentation of space within the forces and conditions present, and fluid augmentation skills such as amplification of fluid drive and the use of lateral fluctuations in clinical process. Additional attention is also placed on the therapeutic role of deepening states of balance and stillpoints. Students explore the nature of inhalation and exhalation oriented stillpoints. Trauma skills based on the work of Dr. Peter Levine are also introduced.
In this seminar, students are oriented to the shifting of potency within the fluids as a particular focus in clinical work. The main emphasis of the seminar is birth dynamics and the impact of birth process. This is introduced as a theme that continues throughout the second year. Unresolved birthing forces and emotional processes can generate disturbances in the system throughout life. The pre- and perinatal experience is also discussed as a formative ground for personality development. Classical cranial distortion patterns are explored and clinical approaches presented. The influence of birthing forces, trauma impacts and clinical issues relating to cranial base patterns are presented. Trauma skills relating to autonomic activation, emotional flooding, and hyper-arousal states are also discussed and explored.
In this seminar, orientation to the Long Tide as a stating point in session work is further explored. Concepts of midline phenomena and embryology are also discussed as a vehicle for understanding the organization and health of the human system. The midline as an archetypal concept is explored. The primal midline, an embryological ordering principle at the heart of tissue organization, is introduced via direct perception. Within this context, the motility and mobility dynamics of the dural tube, pelvis and vertebral column are explored. The embryology of the vertebral column and its relationship to the notochord is emphasized. Students are introduced to clinical approaches to fixation and inertia within these dynamics. Birth related issues are also further explored. The intraosseous dynamics of the occiput, temporal bone and sphenoid bone are explored. Trauma skills are continued as clinical approaches to states of hypo-arousal, immobilization and freezing states are introduced.
In this seminar Dynamic Stillness is explored as a starting point in session work and the innate ground from which all healing processes emerge. The main emphasis then focuses on the dynamics of the central nervous system. CNS motility is explored from an embryological viewpoint and the palpation of its motility is emphasized. Issues of CNS facilitation and hypersensitivity are explored clinically. Nociceptive and sympathetic nervous system facilitation dynamics are explored within a clinical context. Students learn to orient to CNS shock affect and shock discharge within healing processes. Clinical trauma skills in relationship to dissociative states are also introduced.
Students are introduced to the dynamics of the face, hard palate and TMJ. The relationships of the face and hard palate are presented as a unified dynamic. Students gradually build up a complete picture of these relationships as they explore the specific motility dynamics of the frontal bone, ethmoid bone, sphenoid, vomer, palatines, maxillae and TMJ. These are seen to be a holistic dynamic where all relationships are totally inter-dependent. Clinical skills already learned are applied to these relationships and to the inertial issues found within them.
Students explore the fascial dynamics of the body via its fascial tracts and transverse diaphragms. Clinical approaches to joint dynamics and relationships throughout the body are explored within the context of skills already learned. An introduction to the organ system and visceral relationships is explored via palpation sessions. Dynamic Stillness is further oriented to in the context of “reciprocal balanced interchange”.
Sutherland oriented practitioners to a dynamic ignition of potency within the fluids of the body. Three primal ignition processes emerge during embryological development and birth process. The first primal ignition occurs at conception, with the ignition of the energetic blueprint that supports the generation of the form of the embryo. A second primal ignition occurs at the end of the first month in utero, as the embryonic heart enfolds into the form of the embryo and meets the midline. This is called heart ignition and signals the embodiment of being, or spirit, in form. An amplification of the ignition process naturally occurs at birth, where there is an intensification of potency within the fluids of the infant which empowers the new being to be an independent physical entity. The augmentation of the ignition process at birth is explored as a clinical priority. Issues related to umbilical shock are introduced in this context. Clinical sessions oriented to conception issues are undertaken. Approaches to work with infants and children are also reviewed. Practice management skills and ethical issues are discussed within the context of a professional craniosacral clinical practice.