FAQ’s about cranio sacral therapy training
Over the years I have been asked many questions by people by
considering learning cranio sacral therapy. I include the most
common below. If you don’t see your particular question below
drop me an email and I will do my best to answer it for you.
Yes, cranio sacral therapy is a skill like any other.
With practice and dedication it can be learned. Some people are
more disposed towards it than others but it is possible for anyone
to learn who wants to.
How long does it take?
It takes 2 years to become a competent cranio sacral therapist.
Let me qualify that, it’s like saying it takes 2 years to become a
competent violin player. To become a virtuoso will require much
more time and practice and dedication.
That is 2 years of between 10-15 hours of cranio sacral study
The key components are
The anatomy and physiology that relates to the cranio sacral system
and how it all fits together. The principles of how cranio sacral
therapy works. The techniques that go to form the building blocks
of practice. The skills involved in practitionership.
A cranio sacral therapist who is achieving the sort of results that
you aspire to achieve. Having a mentor is crucial to ensuring
that you get where you want to go. You can read more about mentors here.
When you are learning, apart from the support you get from your
mentor or school, it is vital to have contact with other students
so you can share your experiences. You can hear the other students
are having difficulty with, certain techniques or physiology. It is valuable
to see that other people are having the same difficulties with same things
you may be struggling with.
You will need to be assessed on everything you have
learned. You need to know that you have integrated the knowledge and that
you have mastered each technique before you move on to the next. You also
need to know that you have developed your palpatory skills sufficiently.
Cranio sacral therapy is a developing modality. There are lots of
different schools around the world and they each have a different
focus, the main ones being,
Most trainings include a little of all the above.
The particular approach you are drawn to is an individual thing and
all approaches are valid as far as I’m concerned
The basic content of most trainings is similar. If you want an idea
of content you can have a look here at the syllabus for the Australian
government accredited diploma of cranio sacral therapy I
developed and taught.
Does the school take the approach that cranio sacral therapy is
primarily an adjunct to other modalities and not a therapy in its
own right? Does the school train cranio sacral therapists or people
who, ‘also do a bit of cranio’?
If the school trains cranio sacral therapists, at what point can the
trainees call themselves cranio sacral therapists?
After 4 days, 4 weeks, six months, a year?
Does the school monitor this?
Where I am going with this question has to do with your future career.
For example, you undertake a training and at the end of two years
hard work you call yourself a cranio sacral therapist. If heavy
handed Mary, who only did the 1st, 4 day weekend training
with you, can call herself a cranio sacral therapist too, then the
public has no way of knowing the difference between her and you.
If another classmate from that first weekend, heavy handed,
’I know what’s wrong with ya and I’m gonna fix ya’ Bruce,
sets himself up as a cranio sacral therapist in your town, he is
going to give people such a bad impression of cranio sacral
therapy that grown men will consider having their back-hair
waxed a pleasant alternative to visiting a ‘cranio therapist’.
Bruce will have dropped the ‘sacral’ part because people were
having trouble remembering it.
But he will be telling people,
‘Yeah it’s the same as what that guy does.’
‘Trained with him in fact!’
It may seem back to front but this is one of the first things you
need to look at when evaluating a cranio sacral school.
It’s true some teachers are better than others and an inspiring
teacher can make the whole process a joyful experience.
But in the end what really counts is if, and how, you are assessed on
the information you have received.
For example, you could go to very inspiring lectures
on, ‘How to fly a plane.’
You could have wonderful demonstrations in the cockpit from your
charismatic and polished teacher.
You could have very impressive powerpoint presentations on
aspects of theory.
You could have exercises in class where you brake up into groups
of two and go through the motions of flying a plane, with the
occasional pointers from older students.
Man, this would all be great fun.
Can you fly a plane?
No one knows, not you, not your trainer.
You need to be assessed.
Also, it is important to find a school that assesses you on
EVERYTHING you are taught.
Random assessment doesn’t work for cranio sacral training, it is
what most of us had in school. You are randomly assessed on a
small percentage of all the information you have been taught. The
idea being that if you know this small percentage you probably know the rest.
Random assessment doesn’t work for cranio sacral therapy because
cranio sacral therapy requires competency.
Going back to our flying analogy, if you can take off, fly from
A to B, make your landing approach but don’t know how to put
the wheels down, would you consider yourself competent to fly
Thanks, but I think I’ll drive.
Choosing a school that assesses you on everything you are taught
means that you know that everyone who graduates from that school
That makes a big difference if you need to refer someone to another
graduate who is interstate or in another country. You know that
they will be competent.
How will you be assessed?
There are different ways to assess competency. The theory behind
any particular technique can be assessed on paper. Whether you
have your hands/fingers in the right place can be assessed by observation.
A large part of the practical side of cranio sacral therapy is
developing your palpatory skills. Whether you are executing
the technique with the correct amount of intention and attunement must
be felt by your assessor.
Will your assessor tune-in with you as you perform the technique
you are being assessed in? Will they do this with every technique
your are taught?
Will you know what is expected of you in an assessment?
Learning something new, while challenging and fun, can also be
stressful. The school needs to provide you with details of the following . .
- What you are expected to know.
- When you are expected to know it by.
- How you will be assessed.
- By what criteria you will be deemed competent or not.
With this information you will have a road map that removes
unnecessary stress from the journey.
Will you be supported to succeed?
Will you be given ‘directional’ assessment along the way, before
the final assessment? Without authoritative support you could
practice something incorrectly for months, develop the habit of
doing a particular technique in an incorrect way and have an
unpleasant shock when you are finally assessed and discover
you have to un-learn what you have been practicing.
By authoritative support, I mean a teacher or trainer.
Study groups are fine once there is someone present who can steer
you in the right direction. Without that kind of support you run
the risk of the whole group practicing in the wrong way.
Advanced students can do this to a point but you need direct feed
back from a trainer as you are learning. Will they be at the
‘study groups’? If you keep practicing something incorrectly will
there be someone to point you in the right direction, long before
your assessment so you can be practicing the right thing and be
ready for your assessment.
If accreditation important to you, then you need to be clear about
who you want the training to be accredited with.
If you send me a stamped addressed envelope with $300 in it,
I can accredit you as a ‘John Dalton accredited cranio sacral therapist.’
Doesn’t sound official enough?
Okay how about ‘International Association of Cranio Sacral Therapists
Does it mean anything?
So check what the accrediting body represents, if it actually
Generally ‘in house’ accreditation doesn’t mean much compared
to accreditation from and external body. ‘In house’ includes
associations comprised solely of graduates from one school.
If the training is accredited with an external body like the government,
it’s important to check the small print.
For example, is the training accredited in its own right or is it piggy
backing on another qualification? The school may have gone to the
trouble of fulfilling the criteria for a diploma of massage, let’s say and
are now advertising a diploma of cranio sacral therapy under
the same banner.
Unless you ask, you won’t find this out until you receive your
diploma and by then it will be too late. You can usually
overcome this at the beginning by asking for the training registration
number so you can check with the accreditation body.
For a list of cranio sacral schools around the world look here.