The Power of Demonstrations

‘Everything that happens mirrors a part of you’ – Alberto Villoldo 

Have you ever signed up to a workshop or a training course and taken part in a demonstration for the rest of the class to witness and learn from?

We’ve all been there, the course leader or tutor asks for a volunteer and we wriggle in our seat wondering if we should raise our hand while at the same time hearing different voices in our heads. One voice encouraging us to grasp the opportunity with both hands and the other voice questioning the possibility that we might reveal some or even all of our deepest vulnerabilities and urging us to keep our bottoms firmly glued to the safety of our seat.

Well this blog is really just about appreciating the students that are brave enough to get on the treatment bed in a class environment, after a run of very powerful demonstrations on both our Foundation and Practitioner training courses recently.

Foe example, one demonstration that happened last month involved a woman speaking articulately about the grief she felt at a very deep level around one of her parents. The grief of not really knowing the parent in early childhood, and the grief of not being able to build a relationship with them as a young adult. It was a demonstration that so many people in the group could relate to at some level, myself included.

Another demonstration involved a woman who was suffering with arm and shoulder pain, unable to even put her arm behind her back at the start of her session, she left the couch practicing all the new movements she was now able to perform. To get her to that place though involved diving deep into some thought provoking questions and placing her trust in me and her fellow students that she was in a safe place.

You see, the power of demonstrations really can’t be underestimated … not only for the person experiencing the treatment first hand but for the people watching. When we watch a demonstration yes we can learn the technique but we are also very often prompted to go inside and reflect on our own losses, our own aches and pains and our own stories. This builds understanding and empathy towards ourselves and to others, which many may argue is the most important quality of any healthcare practitioner.


Debriefing with a student after a powerful demonstration

So thank you to everyone past, present and future who volunteers, and thank you also to those students who are brave enough to hold the space while those demonstrations happen. If you are thinking of volunteering in the future it is so important to understand that you will be kept safe and you will never be taken into areas where you feel unnecessarily uncomfortable … And if you are a witness to one of these demonstrations pay close attention because so often they can be viewed as mirrors, reflecting back aspects of your own life experiences that may still need some enquiry.