Mainstreaming Hanna Somatic Education, part 6 | the five stages of acceptance

Elizabeth Kubler-Ross wrote of the five stages of grieving a loss.  Her words are relevant because most people (especially those with a vested interest in conventional methods) are attached to their ways — and to switch to our way entails a loss — a loss of face, a loss of ego, a loss of status.  People avoid “beginner’s mind” and The Zone of Incomprehensibility

Her five stages of grieving:
1) denial
2) anger
3) bargaining
4) depression
5) acceptance

In practice, people who hear about HSE, who are not otherwise desperate for help, first deny our validity by ignoring us.

Then, they ridicule or invalidate us, and if not to our faces, then in their minds. (anger).  This observation applies to chauvinistic “Feldy” types who prefer to think Tom Hanna was an upstart usurper, as well as to most physicans and physical therapists.

Then, they allow a little of what we have to say to penetrate (“They may have a point — but it’s unproven.”), while seeking to maintain an attitude of superiority or seniority — their usual viewpoint (bargaining/jockeying to maintain position/status).  Tom Hanna’s first act, with us Wave 1 people, was to ask us to put everything we knew about bodies and bodywork “on the shelf”.  He knew.

Then, when they realize that they’re screwed (by their own condition and/or the limitations of their approach), they begin to submit, but in the mood of “I’ve lost.” (depression)

At last, when they actually take action and get the benefits, they accept HSE and advocate it — and encounter the same pathetic five stages in the people with whom they want to share HSE. (acceptance)

That’s what’s in the way of mainstreaming HSE.

Once HSE gets a toehold in the culture (we scarcely have that, now), and the mass media are giving us some play, they’ll still have to go through the stages, but they’ll go through much faster.

In the meantime, as we do our work and make our communications, we’ll polarize people:
1) driving the most hard-headed away from us
2) gradually infiltrating the thinking of those less hard-headed, getting their skeptical and unsympathetic attention
3) intriguing the attention of those with some curiosity, drawing them toward finding out more about our work
4) attracting people toward us for one-on-one conversation
5) attracting people to use our services
6) having people advocate our work to others
7) attracting new trainees in HSE

In summary, we’ll polarize people either into running away from us as fast as they can or coming to join us — and every stage in between.

Our best candidates are those those know that they’re screwed and they’re looking for something — they don’t know what.

I’ve noticed that I’ve had scant success getting clients from conversations in public places (maybe it’s my personality), or from advertising. 

For years, friends and clients have wondered why this work isn’t more popular, why friends they’ve told about somatics don’t come to me.  This piece may reveal the heart of the matter: people are attached to what they already know, haven’t realized that they’re screwed without somatic education; they aren’t desperate enough.

The desperate who are looking find me on-line or hear from friends who were clients.  They come and they reach “stage 5”.


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