• What is Craniosacral Therapy?

    Daska Hatton | Alexander Technique Teacher | Craniosacral Therapist




    I have been doing a Foundation course in Psychotherapy this year and have therefore been reading a lot of psychotherapy texts and I came across the following description:


    “Psychotherapy, as I define it, is the art of alleviating personal difficulties through the agency of words and a personal professional relationship”


    This really struck a chord as I have struggled for many years to try to find an adequate description of just what it is that I do, and I thought that if I could simply swap a few words around I could come up with something that makes sense for me. So:


    “Craniosacral Therapy, as I define it, is the art of alleviating personal difficulties through the agency of touch and a personal professional relationship”


    I think that this sounds about right and to borrow further from Anthony Storr,


    I am “consulted today by people whose symptoms are ill defined and who are not “sick” or “ill” in any conventional or medical sense. They present what.. [have been] called ‘problems in living’ and what they are seeking is self-knowledge, self-acceptance, and better ways of managing their lives. [Craniosacral Therapy] … is therefore more concerned with understanding persons as wholes and with changing attitudes than with abolishing symptoms”.


    Of course I often see people with bad backs, painful shoulders or stiff necks as well as those who come for no particular reason other than a sense of malaise, a sense that things are not quite right for whatever reason.


    As I am trained in both Alexander Technique and Craniosacral Therapy I find myself working with either or both of these modalities. Needless to say this is simply my approach and it will by necessity vary according to who I am working with and what it is that they may need as each session and each person is individual. Some people appreciate the mysterious quietness of Craniosacral Therapy while others prefer the structure of an Alexander lesson. In either case it is a joint investigation, a joint exploration into seeing whether together we can alleviate some of those “personal difficulties” regardless of where and how they might have originated.


    I like the description of “changing attitudes” and not abolishing symptoms, I think that is exactly right. Symptoms may change as the work progresses and that is why it is generally beneficial to have a number of sessions. In most cases the problems have been around and developing for some time and it can equally take time to establish a personal rapport that is trusting enough to begin to examine some of the issues that are presented. Of course in some cases I would suggest a visit to a doctor but as we all know there are many instances when there is no definable cause other than the pressures of life and how we are approaching it. Both Alexander Technique and Craniosacral Therapy offer an alternative insight into our ways of dealing with life’s problems that can be illuminating simply because they’re not concerned with reason or logic; nor is the body. The body doesn’t deal in words or logic or reason.


    In a session or a lesson together we observe how particular attitudes and difficulties physically manifest and listen to just what it is that the body is trying to say. Most people are far more observant of their pets than they are of their own bodies and it can be really enlightening to just stop and listen. It might be the first time that someone has really paid attention to themselves in this way.


    So, this is how I understand Craniosacral Therapy and this is what I hope to do – alleviate personal difficulties through the agency of touch.

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  • Posted by geraldine holland on 11 June 2014, 10:31

    Wow that is so brilliant. Well said. Perfectly put.

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  • Posted by Vivienne on 12 June 2014, 21:55

    Love it Daska. You are reminding me of how much I used to write, and are inspiring me to return to that writing. Thank you and much love,


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  • Posted by Sara on 30 July 2014, 18:30

    Really misleading and inaccurate to use Anthony Storr a professional psychiatrist, who underwent years of clinical training. Psychotherapy is about reducing the ego, believing you have special "healing" powers/ gift is the opposite … It’s called narcissism.

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    • Posted by Daška Hatton on 30 July 2014, 19:17
      in reply to Sara

      Thanks for your comment.

      Actually, I really don’t believe that I have “special healing powers or gifts” and I do have 20 years of experience as a bodywork therapist or teacher in both the Alexander Technique and as a Craniosacral Therapist. In addition I help train future teachers of the Alexander Technique and have done for many years.

      I very firmly believe that different approaches suit different people at different times; I frequently suggest that clients or pupils consult professionally trained GPs, Psychotherapists or Osteopaths as appropriate. I also believe that this work can be an adjunct to other forms of treatments, particularly psychotherapy. It is obviously not by any means the only way, but it can help in certain situations.

      To use a tiresome buzzword, I was not intending to be “disrespectful” to Anthony Storr nor to presume to put myself in the same category. I was simply trying to write about a bodywork modality that is notoriously difficult to define and came across Dr Storr’s book “The Art of Psychotherapy”.

      Lastly, I’m not entirely sure that psychotherapy is about reducing the ego.

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      • Posted by Julietta Dresser on 22 November 2014, 18:23
        in reply to Daška Hatton

        I liked you using an Anthony Storr quote – I’m a bowen therapist and also very familiar with psychotherapy and the tavistock clinic and Anthony Storr. I see exactly what you meant and commend your use of that quote!

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  • Posted by Fiona on 11 February 2015, 12:46

    It is a new kind of information for me. I think that there are many people have problems in their life. And I believe that psychotherapy helps them. I am completely agree with your point of view. Cheers!

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