FAQ’s

Over the years I have been asked many questions by people by considering learning cranio sacral therapy.

John and Nuala
Here I am in 1997 demonstrating a modified vault hold.

I include the most common below. If you don’t see your particular question below drop me an email and I will do my best to answer it for you.

Can anyone learn to become a cranio sacral therapist?

Is that 2 years full time?

What do I need to become a competent cranio sacral therapist?

What kind of information do I need?

What kind of Mentor do I need?

What kind of support will I need?

What kind of assessment will I need?

What should I look for in a school?

How do I start?

Can anyone learn to become a cranio sacral therapist?

Yes, cranio sacral therapy is a skill like any other.
With practice and dedication it can be learned. Some people are more disposed towards it than others but it is possible for anyone to learn who wants to.

How long does it take?

It takes 2 years to become a competent cranio sacral therapist.
Let me qualify that, it’s like saying it takes 2 years to become a competent violin player. To become a virtuoso will require much more time and practice and dedication.

Is that 2 years full time?

That is 2 years of between 10-15 hours of cranio sacral study and practice.

What do I need to become a competent cranio sacral therapist?

The key components are

  • Information.
  • A Mentor.
  • Support.
  • Assessment.

What kind of information do I need?

The anatomy and physiology that relates to the cranio sacral system and how it all fits together. The principles of how cranio sacral therapy works. The techniques that go to form the building blocks of practice. The skills involved in practitionership.

What kind of Mentor do I need?

A cranio sacral therapist who is achieving the sort of results that you aspire to achieve. Having a mentor is crucial to ensuring that you get where you want to go. You can read more about mentors here.

What kind of support will I need?

When you are learning, apart from the support you get from your mentor or school, it is vital to have contact with other students so you can share your experiences. You can hear the other students
are having difficulty with, certain techniques or physiology. It is valuable to see that other people are having the same difficulties with same things you may be struggling with.

What kind of assessment will I need?

You will need to be assessed on everything you have learned. You need to know that you have integrated the knowledge and that you have mastered each technique before you move on to the next. You also need to know that you have developed your palpatory skills sufficiently.

What should I look for in a school?

Approach.

Cranio sacral therapy is a developing modality. There are lots of different schools around the world and they each have a different focus, the main ones being,

  • Mechanical
  • Bio-mechanical
  • Emotional
  • Spiritual
  • Quantum
  • Energetic

Most trainings include a little of all the above.

The particular approach you are drawn to is an individual thing and all approaches are valid as far as I’m concerned.

The basic content of most trainings is similar. If you want an idea of content you can have a look here at the syllabus for the Australian government accredited diploma of cranio sacral therapy I developed and taught.

Graduation.

Does the school take the approach that cranio sacral therapy is primarily an adjunct to other modalities and not a therapy in its own right? Does the school train cranio sacral therapists or people who, ‘also do a bit of cranio’?

If the school trains cranio sacral therapists, at what point can the trainees call themselves cranio sacral therapists?
After 4 days, 4 weeks, six months, a year?

Does the school monitor this?

Where I am going with this question has to do with your future career.

For example, you undertake a training and at the end of two years hard work you call yourself a cranio sacral therapist. If heavy handed Mary, who only did the 1st, 4 day weekend training with you, can call herself a cranio sacral therapist too, then the public has no way of knowing the difference between her and you.

If another classmate from that first weekend, heavy handed,  “I know what’s wrong with ya and I’m gonna fix ya,” Bruce, sets himself up as a cranio sacral therapist in your town, he is going to give people such a bad impression of cranio sacral therapy that grown men will consider having their back-hair waxed a pleasant alternative to visiting a ‘cranio therapist’.

Bruce will have dropped the ‘sacral’ part because people were having trouble remembering it.

But he will be telling people,

‘Yeah it’s the same as what that guy does.’

YOU.

‘Trained with him in fact!’

Assessment

It may seem back to front but this is one of the first things you need to look at when evaluating a cranio sacral school.

It’s true some teachers are better than others and an inspiring teacher can make the whole process a joyful experience. But in the end what really counts is if, and how, you are assessed on the information you have received.

For example, you could go to very inspiring lectures on, ‘How to fly a plane.’

You could have wonderful demonstrations in the cockpit from your charismatic and polished teacher.

You could have very impressive powerpoint presentations on aspects of theory.

You could have exercises in class where you brake up into groups of two and go through the motions of flying a plane, with the occasional pointers from older students.

Man, this would all be great fun.

Can you fly a plane?

No one knows, not you, not your trainer.

You need to be assessed.

Also, it is important to find a school that assesses you on EVERYTHING you are taught.

Random assessment doesn’t work for cranio sacral training, it is what most of us had in school. You are randomly assessed on a small percentage of all the information you have been taught. The idea being that if you know this small percentage you probably know the rest.

Random assessment doesn’t work for cranio sacral therapy because cranio sacral therapy requires competency.

Going back to our flying analogy, if you can take off, fly from A to B, make your landing approach but don’t know how to put the wheels down, would you consider yourself competent to fly planes?

Thanks, but I think I’ll drive.

Choosing a school that assesses you on everything you are taught means that you know that everyone who graduates from that school is competent.

That makes a big difference if you need to refer someone to another graduate who is interstate or in another country.  You know that they will be competent.

How will you be assessed?

There are different ways to assess competency. The theory behind any particular technique can be assessed on paper.  Whether you have your hands/fingers in the right place can be assessed by observation.

A large part of the practical side of cranio sacral therapy is developing your palpatory skills.  Whether you are executing the technique with the correct amount of intention and attunement must be felt by your assessor.

Will your assessor tune-in with you as you perform the technique you are being assessed in?  Will they do this with every technique your are taught?

Will you know what is expected of you in an assessment?

Learning something new, while challenging and fun, can also be stressful.  The school needs to provide you with details of the following . .

  • What you are expected to know.
  • When you are expected to know it by.
  • How you will be assessed.
  • By what criteria you will be deemed competent or not.

With this information you will have a road map that removes unnecessary stress from the journey.

Will you be supported to succeed?

Will you be given ‘directional’ assessment along the way, before the final assessment? Without authoritative support you could practice something incorrectly for months, develop the habit of doing a particular technique in an incorrect way and have an unpleasant shock when you are finally assessed and discover
you have to un-learn what you have been practicing.

By authoritative support, I mean a teacher or trainer.  Study groups are fine once there is someone present who can steer  you in the right direction. Without that kind of support you run  the risk of the whole group practicing in the wrong way.

Advanced students can do this to a point but you need direct feed back from a trainer as you are learning. Will they be at the ‘study groups’? If you keep practicing something incorrectly will there be someone to point you in the right direction, long before your assessment so you can be practicing the right thing and be
ready for your assessment.

Accreditation

If accreditation important to you, then you need to be clear about who you want the training to be accredited with.

If you send me a stamped addressed envelope with $300 in it, I can accredit you as a ‘John Dalton accredited cranio sacral therapist.’

Doesn’t sound official enough?

Okay how about ‘International Association of Cranio Sacral Therapists Accredited.’

Sound better?

Does it mean anything?

Nope.

So check what the accrediting body represents, if it actually means anything.

Generally ‘in house’ accreditation doesn’t mean much compared to accreditation from and external body. ‘In house’ includes associations comprised solely of graduates from one school.

If the training is accredited with an external body like the government, it’s important to check the small print.

For example, is the training accredited in its own right or is it piggy backing on another qualification? The school may have gone to the trouble of fulfilling the criteria for a diploma of massage, let’s say and are now advertising a diploma of cranio sacral therapy under the same banner.

Unless you ask, you won’t find this out until you receive your diploma and by then it will be too late. You can usually overcome this at the beginning by asking for the training registration number so you can check with the accreditation body.

For a list of cranio sacral schools around the world look here.


2 comments

  1. Dear John, if I follow your materials and find myself a mentor whom I see regularly, could I get the same training as with a school on the Sunshine Coast which is adversising five day workshops nine times over two years? Kate Pascoe

    1. Hello Kate,
      Probably the best person to answer this question is your mentor.
      They would need to look over the training materials provided here,
      which are as yet very limited, and the school you mention and then
      advise you as to what they think is the best option for you
      considering the kind of cranio sacral therapist you want to become.

      If you particularly want to get a qualification from the school you
      mention, you could approach them and find out what their
      recognition of prior learning criteria and costs are.

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