The Vault

The Meaning of Change as a Congress Theme

Doris Dietschy


My obsession with the word 'change' is really a question: What is the meaning of change? I can hardly think of another word used as often in the Alexander Technique, yet never much questioned. We claim: "I have to change"; "what a change" we say, in admiration; or we require that someone or something "ought to change".

But, do I really know what has to change? Am I entitled "to change someone" or someone's habits? Do I know what I am saying when I talk of "to bring about changes"?

Do I want to be changed, do I know that my pupils want it?

I dream of a congress (it may or may not be an Alexander Technique one) which brings together history and actual research of the human drive for change through all disciplines!

The change this 4th International Congress of the Alexander Technique invited us to investigate, however, is the change of positions. Is it not such, that we all have the tendency to identify the Alexander Technique with the way we were trained, with the tradition in which we teach?

Assuming this is my background, is it not likely that I say: "Of course you have to know FM's books; yes it is good to know how to apply the Technique in activities, but unless you are skilled in using your hands, you are not really an Alexander teacher". Yet, coming from a different background, I might say: 'Great if you have good hands and know a lot about modern science etc., but unless you have understood thoroughly what Alexander wrote in his books, your work is not the Alexander Technique." And so forth.

In other words, we tend to look at and judge other ways of teaching and training fixed in our own positional 'boxes'. It was not this congress's meaning of change to look for better boxes, more correct ones. It was to invite everybody to leave one's own box behind for a while and to explore, to experiment how the Technique looks like from other 'corners'.

It is through such 'ex-change' that we attain changes which allow us to investigate continuously (into) the F.M. Alexander Technique, without fear!


Doris Dietschy got to know the F.M. Alexander Technique in 1979 as a great help in her daily tasks as an interior designer. In 1985 she qualified from Yehuda Kuperman's training in Basel. Practising the technique since then fulltime, she finds herself as an 'interior designer' again, this time in the most exciting space of human behaviour. She also teachers on Kathrin von Schroeder's training course in Basel.

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