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San Francisco - Alexander Technique Teacher Training: AT for People Living with Parkinson's and their Care Partner

  • Mindfulness Care Center 42 Gough Street San Francisco, CA 94109 USA (map)
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San Francisco Workshop for Alexander Technique Teachers and Trainees:

Adapting Alexander Technique for People Living with Parkinson's and their Care Partners

The main objective of this course will be to learn about the particular needs of People Living with Parkinson's (PwP) and to suggest the most successful ways to apply Alexander principles when working with this population. 

The training will be led by Monika Gross and Dr. Maya Katz, a movement disorder specialist at UCSF.

The Poise Project is partnering with Dr. Katz to set up referrals for PwP to AT teachers in the Bay Area. We will also be initiating a longitudinal case study project to measure the efficacy and long term retention of AT training for PwP and their care partners, and we will be applying for grants and other funding to deliver classes for PwP and care partners in the Bay Area in 2018.

Teachers who participate in this day of training will be trained to be part of the pool of teachers we will draw from for the referral project as well as future class programming.

You will learn about the motor and non-motor symptoms of PD as well as the wide variety of PD diagnosis.

Our focus will be on how AT can help PwP develop practical skills for self-management of motor symptoms affecting balance, gait and postural tone, including falls, freezing, forward neck posture and slowed movement, as well as non-motor symptoms such as anxiety, apathy, low volume speech, swallowing, and sleep interruption.

AT can offer PwP hope and increase their confidence, independence, and overall quality of life. AT can help them chose optimal postural tone and improve their overall functioning during iADLs (instrumental activities of daily living). It can also give tremendous support and a more positive outlook to the spouses and other family members and care partners of PwP. Training their care partners at the same time helps them learn how to cue PwP when cognitive decline may be present, which is often a later stage aspect of PD.

Participants will have the opportunity to work with patients of Dr. Katz and their care partners who will be invited to attend a workshop with us during the training day.

The second half of the training day will be about the particular needs of care partners of PwP, and can be generalized to how AT can support care partners in many situations, especially when the care receivers have cognitive decline. It will focus on how to deliver AT in a way that gives practical ongoing skills for care partners to manage the physical and emotional demands of caregiving.



9:00am-1:00pm    Basic training for working with PwP

1:00pm-2:00pm  Lunch break

2:00pm-3:30pm    An AT workshop for PwP and their care partners, where you will have an opportunity to work with some of Dr. Katz' patients

3:30pm-4:15pm  Debriefing Discussion re workshop

4:15pm-7:30pm    Basic training for working with Care Partners -- not only specifically of PwP but also in general the physical and emotional demands on caregivers, especially in cases of care receivers with physical and cognitive decline (includes half-hour break)

We recommend that it would be the best for the project if you can attend the full day, including the care partner section, as we encourage the teachers when working with PwP to also work with their care partner whenever possible. Also, we will be introducing classes for care partners in the region in the next year or two. If you cannot do a full day, you can come to either the PwP training including the workshop (9:00am-3:30pm) or just the Care Partner training (4:30pm-7:30pm). In order to participate in our Bay Area AT teacher referral project with Dr. Katz, you do need to do the 9:00am-3:30pm PwP training.

LOCATION: Mindfulness Care Center, 42 Gough Street, San Francisco 94109

$195 for full day     

$150 for Basic Parkinson's training only (This is required for participating in the referral program for PwP, as well as for teaching all future PwPD or Care Partners group classes)

$100 for Basic Care Partner training only (This is required for participating in the future Care Partners group classes & strongly recommended for the PwP referral program)  



Space is very limited, so please book early!

AT workshop led by Monika Gross at the Constructive Teaching Centre in London, October 2016

AT workshop led by Monika Gross at the Constructive Teaching Centre in London, October 2016

Some of the topics we will cover:

  • Definition of Parkinson's and symptoms

  • Current research in AT for PD

  • Report on THE POISE PROJECT AT for PD initiative and our targeted team presence at the 4th World Parkinson Congress in Portland OR in September 2016 as well as our continued broad outreach across the US. There were 4500+ international delegates at the WPC in Portland and we want the AT community to feel well prepared to meet the demand when interest in AT is successfully generated amongst this population and more funding is in place for subsidizing programs

  • How traditional AT educational methodology can be adapted for this population and some best practices as recommended by AT teachers with expertise in the field

  • How to include care partners to support learning and increase retention of AT principles for PwP, as well as to give them self-management skills to address the serious stresses of their own circumstances

  • Working with middle and late stage PwP, particularly when there is cognitive decline.

  • Emotional and psychological considerations when working with individuals with a degenerative disease, both for participants and for teachers

  • The realities of financial concerns when delivering AT for PwP and a discussion of how we can work together to find future solutions to removing barriers to access

  • How best to talk about AT to the medical care providers, allied health professionals, and research scientists that you may come in contact with in the field of Parkinson's disease and when advocating for AT for this population


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MONIKA GROSS is Executive Director of The Poise Project, a nonprofit with the mission of maintaining natural poise and continuous personal growth throughout all stages and challenges of life through the principles of Alexander technique (AT).  The Poise Project is committed to removing barriers and making AT available across socio-economic groups and to those with chronic conditions. It has received a $25,000 Parkinson's Foundation 2017 Moving Day® Community Grant to deliver AT-based classes to care partners of people living with Parkinson's disease at six sites across North Carolina.
Monika had her first AT lesson in 1976 and was certified in 1985 in Lydia Yohay's (ACAT) teacher training program in NYC. She is a teaching member of the American Society for the Alexander Technique (AmSAT) and Alexander Technique International (ATI), as well as a member of the local regional AT teacher consortium Alexander Teachers of the Mountain Region (ATMR). She is also a Registered Somatic Movement Educator with the International Somatic Movement Education and Therapy Association (ISMETA). Monika holds a BFA in Drama from the North Carolina School of the Arts. 
Monika is co-owner of Form Fitness & Functiona, and has a private AT practice in Asheville and in Charlotte NC. She also offers AT training via Skype or Zoom. 

Phone:  (USA) 1-828-254-3102 (EST)              
Skype: thepoiseproject
DR. MAYA KATZ is an Assistant Professor of Neurology at the UCSF Movement Disorders and Neuromodulation Center. She specializes in the treatment of Parkinson's disease, essential tremor, dystonia and other movement disorders. Her research interests include identifying disease modification strategies and improving outcomes for patients treated with deep brain stimulation. She is also interested in developing multidisciplinary clinical approaches that incorporate palliative care principles. 

Dr. Katz obtained her medical degree at Cornell University. She completed her residency in Neurology at Mount Sinai Medical Center, where she served as chief resident. She then completed her Movement Disorders Fellowship at UCSF in 2013. Dr. Katz is board certified in Neurology and is an active member of the American Academy of Neurology and the International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society.