+ What I feel with my hands, am I making it up? – September 05
I feel I am at a crossroads in my craniosacral
training. I have been studying CST for six months.
I have listened carefully to my trainers.
I have read books on CST. I understand the fluid
mechanics of what is happening, in theory.
When I tune into the system I begin to feel things.
Then I begin to wonder am I feeling the rhythm
because I expect to feel it. I wonder if I am
not imagining the whole thing. What I feel with
my hands is so tenuous that I could very well
be making it up.
My trainers say that the feeling will become
clearer with time and practice.
It has been six months now. While I can feel more
than I could at the beginning it is nowhere
as clear as I expected.
I understand that with your experience and in
your position you have a strong vested interest
in ‘believing’ in what you do.
I would appreciate it if you could answer me as
honestly as possible.
Do we make it up?
Let me tell you right now, it’s not going
to get any easier.. . .
What you are looking for is a kind of certainty.
Where you put your hands on someone’s body and
it lights up like a Christmas tree and you can
see EVERYTHING, every restriction pattern,
And the road to health for that person looking
like a well lit highway.
And all this without that awful squirmy feeling
like you are groping around in the dark not really
sure of anything.
I feel for you, but it’s never going to
happen. There is something about this work that
always keeps you at the limit of yourself.
When you started to learn six months ago and you
heard about flexion and extension, it probably
all made sense.
Then you put your hands on someone and you tried
to feel it and all you could feel was NOTHING!
And it felt awful.
You trusted your trainers and you persevered.
As time passed you learned new things like feeling
lesion patterns in the sphenoid or some such
and when you tried to feel them, all you could
feel was NOTHING!
And it felt awful.
You looked forward to the day when you wouldn’t
feel that awful feeling.
You didn’t notice two important things.
1) Your palpatory skill was improving and
changing. You were actually feeling more. When
you were struggling to feel whether the sphenoid
had a flexion or extension lesion, you failed to
notice that you were feeling flexion and extension
with relative ease.
2) The awful feeling wasn’t changing. It was the
same awful feeling six month ago that you are
As good as your palpatory skills get,
as good as your diagnostic skills get,
as good as you perceptive skills get,
you will still have that voice in the back of
your head wondering, ‘Am I making this up?’
Outstanding cranio sacral therapists haven’t
eradicated uncertainty, they have mastered it.
It’s not like you get it sorted and never have
to deal with it again. It’s something that goes
on every time you treat someone. It’s one of the
most difficult aspects of cranio sacral work.
I know all this because I went/go through it myself
and I have seen ALL the people I have trained go
through it in one way or another.
Here’s what I suggest: put the question on hold for
another six months. Make a deal with yourself that
for the next six months you are not going to ask
yourself that question. For the next six months
you are just going to take it that what you are
feeling is true. It’s not forever, its just for six
I’m not talking about kidding yourself.
You need to understand what you are trying to do.
You haven’t been conditioned to think in the way
that you’re trying to think when you do cranial work.
Your neuronal pathways are formed in a different way.
Continually asking yourself if you are making it
up won’t allow new neuronal pathways to form.
We are not MRI machines. This is science, but not as we
know it, Jim.
Asking if we are making it up is a question from
Because we are not machines we have the capacity
to go far beyond our own expectations and pull miracles
out of the bag. It also means we have the capacity to
have an off day and get it wrong.
To answer your very specific question.
Do we make it up?
Mostly in the beginning of training.
With experience, 1-2 years minimum, you can begin to
discern when you are making it up? You can spot it
and in time it too becomes another thing to note,
along with the multitude of other things you are
registering as you work.
‘The rhythm is changing, I wonder what that means?
The patient is feeling sadness, I wonder what that
means? Now they are angry, I wonder what that means?
I just made that bit up, I wonder what that means?
Now they are about to release this bit, I wonder what
that means? The sadness is still there. .’ and so on.
Have a good look at what I’ve written. Talk it out with
people who know you and care about you. Cranio sacral
therapy may not be the thing for you. It doesn’t suit
everyone. There are lots of modalities that offer
much more of the certainty you are looking for.
Having said that, I encourage you to persevere.
The rewards far outweigh the difficulties.
And the weird thing is as you become familiar with
and master uncertainty, it permeates your whole life
and it becomes more . . well . . fluid.