My first exposure to Aston Patterning was in the early 1990’s. Kathryn Smathers, an excited Physical Therapist, took me out to dinner to tell me about an Aston course she had just taken. She said “Rebecca, this training is YOU. You would love it”. She was right.
My first job was at TIRR (The Institute for Rehabilitation and Research) in Houston, Texas where I specialized working with people with spinal cord injuries and simultaneously treated
dancers from the Houston Ballet and musicians from the Houston Symphony Orchestra. In working with this diverse population it became immediately apparent to me how interrelated the musculoskeletal system was. I also found how much I loved helping people refine movement whether they were an athlete or someone with quadraplegia. I have always love movement myself. I actually turned down the offer to become the physical therapist for the Houston Ballet because I was told I would have to give up rock climbing. After being a gymnast and having to give up the sport I loved, I was not willing to give up climbing when it fulfilled me so deeply and brought me so much joy.
I moved to Austin where I could rock climb and switched to working in an outpatient orthopedic setting. During this time I had the opportunity to spend a summer working for an Outward Bound School in the Boundary Waters in Ely, Minnesota. This was a great change of pace before returning to Austin to pursue a 2-year intensive orthopedic residency program. I learned a ton in this program about clinical problem solving and how to prescribe and design exercises to facilitate healing in specific tissues as well as mobilize every joint in the body. I also began teaching courses regarding my own perspective on how the musculoskeletal system is interrelated through biomechanics and myofascial release. However, I was hungry for a more in-depth understanding. I longed for a teacher who could show me my blind spots, answer many of my lingering questions and help me connect the dots of understanding how issues in one area of the body influenced the function of other areas in the body.
A turning point for me was in 1996, when Kimber Cavendish PT invited me to work at New Dimensions Physical Therapy. She had worked closely with Mark Barber (Aston Patterning Faculty) and had an appreciation for Aston Patterning. It was at this time that I took my first class from Judith. New Dimensions was a cash-based clinic and we spent a minimum of 1 hour with each patient, so it was a perfect setting to begin integrating these principles. I also began seeing Mark Barber in 2000 for Aston Patterning sessions and admired his skill set as an Advanced Aston Practitioner. In seeing how my patients responded so positiveIy to what I had learned from Judith and feeling my body change under Mark’s hands, I knew I wanted to pursue the certification program.
Finally, in 2006, Mark told me that a respected colleague, Sarah Irwin, was doing Judith’s last certification training program. Within a month of hearing this, I was in Tahoe starting training. It was a crazy time in my life. I had two sons (ages 1 and 4) and my youngest was chronically ill. I was also in the middle of closing on a building for my business, New Dimensions Physical Therapy, that I bought and became the owner of in 1996. I was also at the tail end of a training program in Applied Kinesiology with Dr. John Bandy. I knew I must be crazy to learn Aston Patterning and Clinical Kinesiology at the same time, but it felt right in the depth of my being. I thought it also sounded like a great way to justify two weeks of being able to sleep through the night and exercise.
Fast forward: The time between completing my certification program and taking Arthro Kinetics, I spent three years training to become a Somatic Experiencing (SE) Practitioner. This approach dovetails perfectly with Aston Patterning. I have integrated everything I have learned from Judith with my background in Orthopedics, Applied Kinesiology, and SE. Through all of these lenses I look at the body as a whole and treat in the order of priority by listening keenly to what someone’s body and being are saying. My thirst for learning is unquenchable and I absolutely LOVE working with people with this integrated approach. When I see holes in my patient’s care it pushes me to learn more. I am in awe of our body’s wisdom and its profound capacity to heal. I want to become an even better listener and more educated to know the right questions to ask. I am currently interested in learning more about cellular physiology and how to support the body to heal from the inside out.
I am thankful to Judith and Brian for the rich education that I have received from them. I am grateful that through the process of this training I have experienced deep and transformational changes in my body and it is fabulous to feel Aston Kinetics continue to evolve and unfold within and through me. Thank you.