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Hanna Somatic Education®

Hanna Somatics GoldTM
The Gold Standard of Somatic EducationTM

Somatics Practitioner Training Program
conducted by Lawrence Gold

Credentials | Publications
Hanna somatic education® ("Hanna Somatics") is a way of rapidly and reliably getting lasting relief from lingering imjuries (chronic, non-malignant musculo-skeletal pain) and stress-related disorders (such as headaches).

"Rapidly" means, generally, in a period of hours or weeks, rather than months or years.

"Reliably" means consistently, with a success rate in the range of 90 - 99%. Thomas Hanna used the term, "sure fire." I have found his words to be so.

"Lasting" means that you can do any activity (barring violent ones) without likelihood of re-injury.

Hanna somatic education corrects the muscle-movement memory patterns of injury and stress. Functional improvements rapidly ensue. Pain fades out and freedom of movement improves (generally to better than pre-injury levels), during clinical sessions or practice of somatic education exercises.

The Professional Practitioner Training

Basic training consists of five elements that enable you to operate intelligently from the perspective of somatic education.

"Intelligently" means you understand what's going on that generates symptoms of dysfunction, you know what you need to do, you know how to do it, you do it, and you get the intended results.

"The perspective of somatic education" means understanding both the internal experiences and the external conditions that shape a life. The somatic perspective vastly simplifies and makes comprehensible both healthy development and unhealthy developments (pathology).

More than once, Thomas Hanna said to us, his students-in-training, "Never tolerate a mystery," -- meaning, not to guess, but to arrive at an understanding of what was before us before taking action. He also told us never to accept a diagnosis made by a health practitioner, but to evaluate and understand a client's condition for and by ourselves.

The Five Elements

  • Functional Assessment
    knowing what's going on with a client, from the adaptive somatic (vs. pathological medical) perspective
  • Theory of Somatic Education
    principles: why and how it works
  • Somatology
    study of self that integrates right and left brain functioning
  • Hands-on Techniques of Clinical Somatic Education
    clinical session protocols
  • Somatic Kinesiology
    somatic education exercises/sensory-motor learning/proprioceptive literacy

Every training day incorporates all five elements.

Functional Assessment

This is the all-important first step that tells us what a client needs, what we need to do, and how many sessions it will take to do it (to a high degree of accuracy).

In functional assessment, three forms of information converge to a single understanding of what's going on.

  1. client's history of injury
  2. client's symptoms
  3. observation of posture, movement, and manual examination of the clients muscular system (palpation)

What makes Functional Assessment possible -- and makes it possible to bring coherence out of the confusion practitioners of other disciplines may feel when confronted with a pile of seemingly unrelated symptoms -- is Somatic Theory. Somatic Theory integrates multiple forms of information into simplified, coherent whole.

Somatic Theory

Somatic Theory brings both conventional and "alternative" therapeutics down to earth, linking "the world of ideas" with "the world of experience". Somatic Theory makes sense of both symptoms and their origins. It also explains people's typical experience of therapy and the different quality of experience they have with clinical somatic education.

You'll find that Somatic Theory simplifies and clarifies both understanding and course of action. Unlike academic study, which often involves laborious memorization of concepts, Somatic Theory describes and explains your familiar experience of yourself-in-life. Instead of being left with a mass of ideas, you're brought to a new, sensible, both-verbal-and-non-verbal understanding. That understanding gives you clarity about what's in front of you, in your practice. The most common comment about the kind of understanding that Somatic Theory brings (embodied in articles I have written on various clinical conditions) is, "It makes sense."

Thomas Hanna presents that theory concisely in the "Clinical Somatic Education . . ." article and in more detail in his book,Somatics | ReAwakening the Mind's Control of Movement, Flexibility and Health, a well-written, enjoyable, informative and practical book written for the general public (pre-requisite reading for candidates for training). Thomas Hanna wrote beautifully and engagingly.

Somatic Theory includes
  • somatic kinesiology and the three universal reflexes of stress
  • learning theory and brain conditioning
  • basic neurophysiology
  • universal features of somatic existence (of all sentient beings)
Somatic Theory enables you to make sense of what's going on with a client.

Somatology | Study of the Nature of Self-and-Other

Somatology is "study of the self" that enables us to understand others.

In Somatology, you learn about universal features of living beings, about the four basic features of being alive at the core of all living beings and how they shape your life experience.

You learn procedures that sharpen your intelligence, improve your creative abilities, and bring about a rise of personal competence in both broad and specific ways that change the flavor of your life.

What distinguishes this training from other professional trainings is operational integration of your faculties of intelligence. This integration is basically simple, and yet, comprehensive. It's a major advance of somatic education beyond clinical somatic education.

Somatology will enliven and empower your professional practice and your personal life. You'll be changed -- and feel more like yourself.

Hands-on Techniques of Clinical Somatic Education

Clinical somatic education consists of three basic techniques discussed in Thomas Hanna's definitive article, "Clinical Somatic Education: A New Discipline in the Field of Health Care".
  • "Means-Whereby" as originated by F. Matthias Alexander (and found in The Alexander Technique)
  • "Kinetic Mirroring" (a.k.a. "strain-counterstrain", "substituted effort") as developed by Moshe Feldenkrais (and found in Feldenkrais Somatic Integration)
  • "Assisted Pandiculation" as developed by Thomas Hanna
This article (required reading for training candidates) discusses the origins of those techniques, the history of somatic education dating back to antiquity, and the modern developments of those techniques in today's clinical somatic education.

Through my demonstration and your practice, you learn the protocols (structured lessons) of Hanna somatic education and experience the benefits of increased comfort and improved function. My own sciatica disappeared one afternoon, during my training in 1990.

The techniques of somatic education relieve the frustration of slow progress often encountered by practitioners of standard therapeutics confronted with a patchwork of slowly changing and seemingly unrelated symptoms. Think, "nearly instant gratification".

Somatic Kinesiology

"Somatic" refers to "the body experienced and controlled from within."
Kinesiology is the study of living movement.

Somatic Kinesiology is different from "applied kinesiology", a diagnostic technique also known as "muscle testing." Somatic Kinesiology develops sensory awareness and motor (movement) control through somatic education exercises. It develops "proprioceptive literacy" -- the ability to feel and control movement and the ability to change habitual patterns. It develops finer balance and coordination. It also opens the way to the ability to feel intuitively (vs. merely understand mentally) what your somatic education clients are experiencing and going through.

The lessons of Somatic Kinesiology prepare you for the practical learning of the clinical techniques and for the deeper learning of Somatology.

Training Format

We conduct training in modules of two weeks, five days a week, full-time: three days on, one day off, two days on, one day off, to allow absorption and to minimize information overload.

Seven training modules, conducted twice yearly, consist of:

  1. The "Green Light" lesson: Landau Reaction
  2. The "Yellow Light" lesson: Trauma Reflex
  3. The "Red Light" lesson: Startle Reflex and Breathing
  4. The Extremities (unit 1): Movements at Hips and Knees
  5. The Extremities (unit 2): Lower Legs and Feet
  6. The Extremities (unit 3): Shoulders, Arms and Hands
  7. The Neck and Jaws
I expect my students to be basically proficient in each module before proceeding to the next, and to have conducted thirty documented sessions (with a copy of each Functional Assessment form turned in) per module.

"Basically proficient" means that you remember how to do a lesson protocol and rarely need to consult notes to conduct it.

To be basically proficient, with few or no outstanding questions from previous modules (should have been brought up and answered in the between-module period), keeps your attention clear and receptive for new instruction. We do frequent question:answer sessions, to that end.

I require all students to have liability insurance for students, available through the Association for Bodywork and Massage Professionals (ABMP) for a nominal fee. This coverage applies both to training periods with me and to the periods between training modules.

Daily Format

By enrolling, you agree to punctual attendance every day, at all designated hours, as every student depends upon other students' presence. Absences due to emergencies or unexpected and unavoidable situations are understandable. Casual absences and/or excessive tardiness are cause for measures that may include dismissal without refund. I want the integrity of this training to provide a good experience for my students.

Each day consists of all five elements with periodic breaks and question-and-answer sessions throughout the day and a lunch period of an hour-and-a-half.

In practice sessions of the clinical protocols, students come together in pods of three with one student being the "client", one being the "student practitioner", and one being the "angel on the shoulder" of the "student practitioner" to offer discreet coaching, as needed. Students take turns in each role and give feedback to each other on touch and instruction technique. I wander, observe, answer questions, and coach as needed.

Pods exchange members periodically, for variety.

Periodic written examinations assure that you have internalized information and instruction. These examinations are "instructional devices" in service to 100% learning, rather than "examinations for a grade".


You earn your Certificate of Completion and graduate upon demonstration of your understanding of and adequate proficiency in all modules and elements, based upon examinations and feedback by co-students who have experienced your somatic education work. We use feedback for continued instruction to-the-degree of adequate proficiency.

As a condition of enrollment, you accept that you may or may not qualify for a Certificate of Completion based upon your knowledge and proficiency at the completion of the last training module and that your only recourse is to qualify for certification. Understand that it is my preference that everyone qualify for certification. I want my students to win.

Students-in-Training may represent themselves as "students-in-training", only.

Graduates may represent themselves as "Clinical Somatic Educators in the Tradition of Thomas Hanna". I do not confer the right to use the terms, "Hanna Somatic Educator®" or "Hanna Somatic Education®", as these terms legally belong to Eleanor Criswell Hanna, inheritor of the intellectual property of The Novato Institute for Somatic Research and Training. (In twenty-five years of practice, the issue of my own certification has never been raised -- and I do hold certification as a Hanna somatic educator.)

The Setting

Students practice on a carpeted surface or, if if you have brought a work-table (minimum 33" width recommended) on a table at about knee height.

For lecture/conversation sessions, students gather chairs in a semi-circle around a work table and stool, where I demonstrate, listen to comments, and answer questions.

Students use a mirror in the room for "Body-Image Training" (as described in the book, Somatics).

As a group with each person taking individual responsibility, we leave the training room clean and free of personal belongings at the end of each day.

Part or all of the training may be recorded for student use or publication; participation implies consent and permission of use without limitation or compensation.



  • The Handbook of Assisted Pandiculation
    300+ pages, generously illustrated, technical instructions in hands-on protocols
    • section 1: "Matters of Technique" essential section -- included in tuition
    • subsequent sections detailing advanced protocols -- free to Early Bird registrants
      -- available during relevant training modules

  • Lesson Demonstration Videos
    included in tuition

    • available via streaming from
    • on DVD

  • Facebook Group for Students-in-Training
    monitored by me -- Q:A, conversation
  • Somatic Education Exercise Programs

Preparation / Pre-requisites


Applications for training require both the application form and either

  • Application Fee ($600.00) -- or --

  • Tuition including Application Fee (see options, below)
All candidates participate in a pre-enrollment interview with me via Skype or Google Hangout. Enrollment subject to approval by the instructor.

Click the button, below, for the printable/mailable application form.


OR --------

Click the button, below, for the on-line, instant application form.


Please notify me if you complete the application form on-line (a convenience for you with that responsibility).

Please continue below or at right.

Click the button, below, to pay the application fee.


or mail payment to Lawrence Gold
32 Herrada Road
Santa Fe, NM 87508


One-Payment Tuition Option

Tuition payment due six weeks before the announced training date, fall, 2018, exact date TBA.

$11,667.00, total*, for seven-module training:
fall, 2018

includes $600.00 conditionally-refundable* Application Fee

  • Application Fee and Tuition refunded to candidates not accepted due to limited class size.
  • * In Case of Candidate Withdrawal Tuition refundable minus $600.00 Application Fee, until four weeks before the scheduled training date (fall, 2018). Re-applicable thereafter to subsequent trainings, one-on-one sessions, or somatic exercise programs.
  • All payments refunded upon request in the event of course postponement.
  • All payments refunded in the event of course cancellation.

Tuition pays for seven modules over three years consisting of the entire training in the three basic protocols of Hanna somatic education®, including supplementary instruction, advanced protocols, and ongoing coaching via Google Hangouts and a Facebook group for students-in-training and graduates.

Enroll promptly to secure your place.

Early-Bird Tuition

$10,667.00 ($1,000.00 discount) payable by 6/1/2018:

fall, 2018

includes $600.00 conditionally-refundable* Application Fee

  • Application Fee and Tuition refunded to candidates not accepted due to limited class size.
  • * In Case of Candidate Withdrawal Tuition refundable minus $600.00 Application Fee, until 4 weeks before the training date. Re-applicable thereafter to subsequent trainings, one-on-one sessions, or somatic exercise programs.
  • All payments refunded upon request in the event of course postponement.
  • All payments refunded in the event of course cancellation.


Two-Payment Tuition Option

First tuition payment due, at latest, six weeks before the announced training date, fall, 2018, exact date TBA.

Two payments of $6,333.00 billed ten months apart; $12,666.00, total*, for seven-module training scheduled to start:
fall, 2018

includes $600.00 conditionally-refundable* Application Fee

  • Application Fee and Tuition refunded to candidates not accepted due to limited class size.
  • * In Case of Candidate Withdrawal Tuition refundable minus $600.00 Application Fee, until four weeks before the announced training date. Re-applicable thereafter to subsequent trainings, one-on-one sessions, or somatic exercise programs.
  • All payments refunded upon request in the event of course postponement.
  • All payments refunded in the event of course cancellation.

To get the flavor of training, view the video segment, below.

Lawrence Gold served for two years as an instructor for The Novato Institute for Somatic Research and Training
(Personal Page (click for bio, credentials, and papers published)).

Next training: fall, 2018 | 1st module, 10 training days | practice before next semester, 6 months
TUITION: See above.

  • Santa Fe, NM
  • other location(s) to be announced

inquire: email link | phone: 505 819-0858 | Skype: lawrencegold


The Institute for Somatic Study and Development

Lawrence Gold, certified Hanna somatic educator | credentials
32 Herrada Road
Santa Fe, NM 87508