John Thie’s original vision for Touch for Health involved having people on every street helping their families, friends and neighbours achieve health and balance in a gentle and holistic way. This is the legacy we find ourselves entrusted with nearly 50 years later. Great strides have been made – you can now attend a TFH class almost anywhere in the world, but TFH on every street? We are a long ways from that still!
If we want this dream to be a reality, we need to create more instructors who can go forth and share what they know with more people. This is the reason why I began the process to become a Touch for Health Trainer (someone who teaches new teachers) a few years ago. Last week I completed my first Touch for Health Instructor Training Workshop as a solo affair (I had done co-teaches before, but this was a little different). It was a nerve-wracking, joyful-laughing, tear-shedding affair, and I wanted to share a few of the thoughts from that week with you here.
First of all, please understand that if you are considering becoming a TFH Instructor or Practitioner, it is one of the best things you can do for yourself and your family. You won’t ever regret it. The ITW is more than just a TFH class though. Yes, you will review and practice the muscles and techniques over and over until you feel like you could do them in your sleep (and this is literal because you will be dreaming muscle testing through this class!), but more than that, it is a class about becoming a good teacher. Developing effective communication and presentation skills, the ability to wrangle a classroom of challenging personalities, navigating ethical issues and ultimately, to empower those new to muscle testing to help as many people as possible in turn.
This particular class was a little more complicated for me because two of my students were my 15-year-old twins. As you can probably imagine, having your kids in a class as intense as this one was… interesting. In an attempt to ensure that I didn’t show any favouritism in giving feedback or grading assessments I think I may have been unnecessarily harsh more than once. They had the advantage of being able to ask me questions after hours, but the flip side of that is that I also knew when they didn’t really put the preparation needed into an assignment. At the end of the week however, the opportunity to present them each with their certificates was one of the proudest moments of my life thus far. As far as I am aware, they would be the first 4th generation TFH Instructors out there. That’s a cool chain to be a part of!
We had some family challenges over the week, including my youngest son being sick and up at night, my older son being sick but dragging himself to class anyways, me throwing a weird allergic reaction that caused the right side my face to swell up painfully for a few days and the birth of our first baby goats on our little farm. It was distracting to say the least. Here’s the thing though, I don’t know that I have ever taught or attended a class where there was some strange extenuating circumstance. Learning to roll with it is part of the process. I am hoping that my students take away from this the idea that the show must go on, even if you’re up bottle-feeding a runt goat baby every two hours through the night!
One day, one of my students pointed out something in the manual that I swear I have never seen before, even though I have taught the class dozens of times. Another explained a way of exercising and clearing the lymphatic system that I had never seen before, but now can integrate into my work. Now both have taught me something new which will hopefully make me a better instructor in the future.
Which brings me back to the idea of the TFH legacy and vision. When I first embarked in this journey of becoming a Trainer, I think I was a little naïve. I remember having dinner with another Specialized Kinesiology friend who has been doing this work for a long time and who I greatly admire. I told her I was going through this process and her response was: “Why on earth would you do that to yourself?” I laughed so hard I just about spit wine at her from across the table. It’s true, there are some hoops that new Trainers have to go through and (mostly) I understand why they are there and why it is important to make sure there is a certain standard and consistency in training. I hope that the new Instructors who have trusted me with their training understand this too; understand that when I am picking on their exact starting placement for a muscle test, or where they should be spindling to sedate, or some other little thing that doesn’t seem to matter very much, it is not because I want to discourage you or because I am a perfectionist, but because those who learn from you deserve the best and most precise information possible. So they have an opportunity to fall in love with this system the way you did.
Becoming a TFH Instructor means joining an elite, eclectic and amazing group of people who have chosen to spend their time and energy spreading an idea. Before we finished this class, I posted to the UK TFH Instructors group on Facebook (not just for Brits, there are members from all over the world!) asking the community what advice they would offer to brand new instructors. In the spirit of camaraderie and cooperation, instructors chimed in with their thoughts, some of which I am sharing with you here as a parting thought. This is a good tribe to be part of. Thanks for having me.
Susanne Lakin Balance yourself before the session with a focus such as ‘joyfully trusting it will go well’ – the positive advert enables activation of the amygdala so that it is remembered.
Sara McRae See your agenda as a framework and guideline, allowing the class to flow in its natural way. If something presents to do next, go with it.
Claire Cutler-Casey You aren’t expected to know ALL the answers to ALL the questions. If you don’t know throw it out to the group or ‘park’ the question for answering later. (Ensure you do answer later though)
Kate Bishop good one – and we learn so much from our students by teaching them!
Laura Knowles Listen and respond to your students. Go at their pace. I love the sharing circles to really tap into where they are at the beginning of each class and I adapt my teaching style / content to match them.
Sue Keeping Enjoy yourself sharing what you know .. and as you do then so will the learners
Jackie Lysaght Have fun, enjoy it!
Kate Bishop Keep it really simple!
Paulien De Roos For me the most important thing is: have fun! success and enjoy the club! It’s marvellous to teach all this wonderful stuff
Helena Arguelles I love all these answers. It just shows what a great group of instructors we all are. Some of my favourites have already been mentioned so I’ll add be clear on what you are telling the AND why. Learning outcomes are vital to keep on track and in the time frame.
Janice Graham Relax, enjoy and trust yourself. Remember the power of intention and have fun
Robin Brown-Frossard “Great thoughts speak only to the thoughtful mind, but great actions speak to all mankind.” Theodore Roosevelt
Creating opportunities to experience TFH is one of the best ways to share it
Earl Cook Have your class plan with page numbers printed out for your students and for yourself. It helps you stay on track and focused. There’s a lot of information to cover so pacing is important. It’s the Goldilocks’ thing, not too fast and not too slow.
“I’m not sure but, I will find out” (and do so) is a promise to yourself and your students when asked something you don’t have an answer. I tell my students that I learn something new every class from my students, and I really do.
We’re teaching TFH IV this weekend and we have two acupuncturists, a RN, a chi gong master, a yoga instructor, a naturopath and a high-tech expert in our class. We only have three students but their skills cover all these areas!
I’m always amazed at the group that God and the Universe sends us. I just have to smile and do my best. It usually works out. As we know, with Touch for Health, we can help each person in some powerful way. We may not be realizing, at the time, but it is happening. Give it your best, relax and share.
Hazel Miller Plan, plan and plan some more, and then when you get to the class enjoy it all!!!!! Try and enjoy everything even if it is not perfect, a student will appreciate the energy of an instructor who is enjoying what they are doing. Have lots of fun!!!! love hX
Alexis Costello Just got home from teaching today and saw all your responses – thank you so much to all the great teachers who have offered their thoughts here! It is so nice to know I’m in good company 🙂