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The Edinburgh Alexander and Therapy Centre has been offering Alexander lessons and workshops since 1994.

Saturday, 05 April 2014

Surfing Spontaneity

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March has been a demanding month for me, including the death of my father, with whom I was lucky enough to be able to spend a considerable amount of time with as he was dying. It was a time of being present to him, his breathing, of being emotionally available to him and finding a way to help him die peacefully. I found myself drawing on all my experience and relying on conscious control and the Alexander Technique to help me achieve an occurrence of being where we were both at peace with what was happening. The following is a short reflection on the structure of the process of becoming present through the use of inhibition at its deepest, most profound level both to myself and others.

Standing on the edge, the precipice of the unknown, waiting to see the unknown, to step forward, to speak if required is the gathering place of thought. Being there is a finding in itself, that comes with the ceasing of mental chattering, the monkeys of my mind fall silent, leaving a space, a stillness, time, where I clear the gathering place of my expression. Before I hear myself, before I speak, I experience my spontaneity of expression in my visage. I reveal myself not just to others but to myself. The normal masks of concealment drop for a moment in an occurrence of being, where I truly am myself, empty, moving in response with others and the situation, true to possibilities that glint and shimmer in presentation.

This requires courage, an opening, the achievement of balance on the precipice, the letting go of stability into uncertainty and anxiety, that ends with being and seeing, poise and balance and the courage to step into the unknown, the mysteries and uncertainties of life. It is the beginning of an adventure whose character is determined by the situation and the freedom of expression that I am able to achieve not by doing, but by non-doing, not by striving but by following the spirit of trust in being, my self, my spontaneity, my creativity. 

This spirit of trust, this need to find the edge, to find the way forward, through opening; this surfing of spontaneity becomes possible, through ceasing to follow the path of distraction from distraction, by stopping and being - is for me the mark of an intelligent life, a good life. Conscious control through the application of the Alexander Technique, is the foundation of this not as a philosophy but as tools towards the final destination of a life lived to the full, intelligently and hopefully to the integrity of one’s self and for my father, hopefully his soul.

Richard Casebow

Back in the mid-1980s, I started to suffer from severe sciatica that often made walking and working difficult. At the time, I was training in London to become a Chartered Accountant and I left, as I was spending increasing amounts of time off waiting for the pain to subside. Around this time, I also became depressed, as my prospects seemed to darken with little hope of a normal life. In seeking help I found my way both to a psychotherapist and then to an Alexander Technique teacher, both of which helped enormously. The therapy with forming a life plan and understanding myself, encouraged me to dream of the life I have now. The Alexander Technique gave me the practical tool to help realise it and to allow me to rehabilitate myself to lead a full normal life.


The link between Alexander Technique, Psychotherapy and the art of living intelligently became something that has fascinated me ever since and is something I have continued to explore myself and with pupils and clients since. This blog is my attempt to elucidate the links, as well as to talk about Alexander Technique pure and simple and the benefits of therapy.


I founded the Edinburgh Alexander and Therapy Centre in 1994, Counselling Conversations came later after I became a practising therapist in 2003. Professionally I act as the Treasurer of the Personal Construct Psychology Association and sit on the board of the UKCP’s house magazine The Psychotherapist. When I am not to be found working, there is nothing better I like to be doing than spending time on a Scottish hillside, exploring the arts or just spending time with friends and family, including the family cat.