Traditional instructors and psychologists should give students room to express themselves, either emotionally or physically. By allowing students more space, without Interpretation or correction, they are in a better position to experience more self-compassion. Therefore they can recognize more of their positive aptitudes and strengths. This approach allows students psychological opportunities to gradually gain perspective and continue forward on the road of healing, change and positive growth.
Instructors should be aware of their profound influence, however, and exercise restraint when stepping outside the framework of their roles. A single comment or correction can have a lasting effect upon a student’s life, like dropping a stone into the stillness of a High Sierra mountain lake: many ripples of meaning expand within the student’s conscious and unconscious mind, as well as within her body.
Both health psychology professionals and traditional instructors should avoid getting caught up in the internal-unconscious dramas of a student’s life. Because the psychological complications and motivations of students are incredibly complex, it is wise to respect proper ethical standards in the working relationship. There should be a balance of perspective and compassion.
Ultimately, there can be no replacement for showing we care. Not just the patient is precious but every human being, every center of human consciousness, is indispensable. There is nothing conditional about our patient’s importance. We convey continually, You are the central figure. Your journey, which began even before you had power to reflect on it, is a magnificent one. It doesn’t matter where you came from. In the chaos you made millions of decisions, learning, interpreting life as you saw it, furthering as best you could that single conscious being which is you. You were perhaps sidetracked and alone, or defeated yourself. Or you labored pointlessly in the wrong relationship, seemed almost buried alive. But your aspirations, like your heart, kept beating somewhere.
Our work as traditional instructors strives toward assisting students with their strengths and struggles toward improved health. Yet, the work of sustaining and improving well-being can be periodically disillusioning. During the course of instruction, some emotional or physical symptoms begin to resolve, while others take center stage.
Both psychotherapeutic technique and traditional Pilates instruction evolve from fluctuations in the kind and degree of someone’s emotional difficulties and psychological makeup. On a parallel track, Romana would sometimes say, The method is right in front of you, when teaching a particular student-a particular body-meaning that we can discern deeper understanding of Joseph Pilates’ traditional method from the uniqueness of each individual. So, there is a sense that instructors increase their own knowledge of Joseph Pilates’ traditional system by drawing upon an individual’s distinctive physical, emotional and mental characteristics.
Another purpose of both traditional instructors and health psychologists is to help our students develop more inner freedom to open unconscious doors and discover varied aspects of themselves, gaining self-knowledge. In the case of psychotherapy, this process takes place through verbalization of feelings and examination of emotional or behavioral response patterns.
In the case of traditional Pilates, this process happens through physicalizing feeling into form. As a result, both disciplines assist students to gain more patience, tolerance and an appreciation for their life’s journey. It is less important for us to find out exactly what is behind those doors than for students to simply develop their own natural propensity toward self-reflection, growth and fulfillment.