Alexander Technique Practitioner Profile
Alexander Technique Practitioner Profile
This Section of the site details information that you might find useful if you are looking to secure employment or require further details regarding working as an Alexander Technique Practitioner. This page details the following Information:-
- Finding Suitable Work as an Alexander Technique Practitioner
- Working Duties Expected
- Hours and Environment
- Working Skills Required
- Training Requirements
- Salary Expectations
- Trade Information
- Other useful Alexander Technique Practitioner Work Information
Finding Suitable Work
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Working Duties Expected
In the Alexander Technique, the practitioner teaches people to improve their posture. The idea is to eliminate bad habits like slumping in a chair - improving head, neck and back co-ordination can help someone's physical and mental well-being.
Most practitioners are self-employed, and to succeed can mean working long or flexible hours at first to build up a list of clients and a reputation. Alexander Technique practitioners usually work in a health clinic or therapeutic environment, or in clients' own homes.
Alexander Technique practitioners need:
• empathy with patients
• a genuine desire to help people
• good communication skills.
Training in the Alexander Technique usually takes three years. There are no academic qualifications to get on the course, but it's useful to have some GCSEs/S grades.
It is fairly usual to start in Alexander technique teaching as an adult. Life experience and the ability to relate well to other people count for a great deal. Experience in a caring profession or counselling is particularly useful, and medical knowledge is useful although not essential.
Although still relatively small, the Alexander Technique is a growing profession, and around 900 practitioners are currently registered with the Society of Teachers of the Alexander Technique.
What does the role encounter?
Alexander technique practitioners teach people how to use their bodies in the most efficient way possible. Most people develop bad habits in the way they perform everyday movements, such as standing, walking, sitting and bending. This causes unnecessary strain, tension and wear and tear on the body, and can lead to problems such as back, neck and shoulder pain, headaches and lethargy. Alexander technique practitioners aim to improve physical and emotional wellbeing and to teach pupils to correct their bad habits and incorporate the Alexander technique into their everyday lives. The client is referred to as a pupil because they are studying methods for life-long learning. The Alexander technique is a form of complementary therapy.
Alexander technique practitioners usually work on a one-to-one basis with pupils. They discuss lifestyle factors, like whether the pupil sits at a computer for most of the day, or whether they suffer from frequent back pain. This allows the practitioner to structure the session to meet the pupil’s individual needs. The pupil then lies, fully clothed, on a teaching table, and the practitioner gently moves their limbs, calming the system and encouraging ease of movement.
The next part of the session involves the pupil being more active. The practitioner guides the pupil to notice how they sit, stand, walk or reach and offers focused, supportive coaching on how to do simple actions more easily. For example, the practitioner helps the pupil to sense compression in the neck while sitting or standing, and explains how to release it and envisage the spine lengthening. The practitioner can use tools like a model skeleton or a muscle chart to illustrate points.
In order for the technique to be effective, the pupil must learn to incorporate the new ways of moving they have learned into their everyday lives. The practitioner will give advice on how to notice and change bad movement patterns. Pupils can include:
• people with medical conditions like back problems, high blood pressure, stress, digestive problems or osteoporosis
• people who have had accidents or sports injuries
• actors, singers and sportspeople who want to improve their performance
• people who have no particular problems but who simply want to improve their self-awareness and quality of life.
What type of hours will I have to work?
Alexander technique practitioners are self-employed and work flexible hours, according to when their pupils are available to see them. Some practitioners work part time.
Alexander technique practitioners usually work indoors, in therapy centres, or in their own or pupils’ homes. Basic equipment includes a teaching table, a chair and a mirror, so pupils can observe their own movements. Practitioners may occasionally work outdoors, eg at sporting events.
What level of salary and benefits are there?
These figures are purely for guidance only. Salaries may vary for the area the job is situated in, age, experience along with a host of other factors:
Practitioners charge around £20 for a session which usually lasts 30 to 45 minutes. Costs like rent, heating and transport will affect total earnings.
• A new entrant could earn up to about £12,000 a year.
• With experience this could increase to £20,000.
• Practitioners working in an established practice could earn £35,000 a year.
What type of skills will I need?
An Alexander technique practitioner should:
• have excellent communication skills to explain the technique to pupils
• have good listening skills, as they rely on verbal information from pupils to structure sessions
• have good observational skills
• have good physical manipulation skills and supple hands
• be able to inspire trust and confidence in pupils
• have empathy with pupils and be sensitive to their personal circumstances, while remaining objective
• be self-aware with a high level of emotional stability
• have physical and mental stamina
• know when to refer a patient to a conventional medical practitioner.
What type of training will I receive?
All courses require detailed study of the works of F.M. Alexander, the founder of the technique. The PAAT course requires students to attend on two evenings and one Saturday morning a week, as well as undertaking eight hours a week of private study. Subjects studied in depth include anatomy, physiology and movement studies, and there is considerable practical work. Students are also required to attend an intensive residential week each year. Assessment is by essays, project work, examination and practical demonstrations of communication skills and manual skills. On the STAT course, classes are held on average for four hours per day, but students also undertake additional study in their own time. Class-based work is mainly of a practical nature and instruction is usually given individually or in small groups. There are also lectures, demonstrations and discussion topics like basic anatomy and physiology. In the final year, students work under supervision on fellow students and sometimes members of the public to gain practical experience. Achievement is monitored by continuous assessment. Some written work may be required.
Because Alexander technique practitioners are self-employed there is no formal career structure. They will spend time building their businesses and increasing their pupil lists.
Are there similar types of job or related industries?
Yes, this list is not exhaustive but see the following categories:
Where can I find further information?
The Prince of Wales's Foundation for Integrated Health, 12 Chillingworth Road, London N7 8QJ. 020 7619 6140. Website: www.fihealth.org.uk
Professional Association of Alexander Teachers (PAAT), 18 Hilton Avenue, Birmingham B28 0PE. 0121 745 7707. Website: www.paat.org.uk
The Society of Teachers of the Alexander Technique (STAT), 1st Floor, Linton House, 39-51 Highgate Road, London NW5 1RS. 0845 230 7828. Website: www.stat.org.uk
What trade magazines are available for this industry?
All of the following magazines and journals can be purchased from any good bookstore:
Direction - The International Journal of the Alexander Technique
The Alexander Journal - STAT.
Other Useful Alexander Technique Practitioner Work Information
We have a section available at this site on Alexander Technique Practitioner job interview tips that you may find of interest should you wish to brush up your skills in this area and we also have number of career articles that may also be of use to you from within our guides and documents section.
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