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Boston - Professional Development Training Day for Alexander Technique Teachers and Trainees: Adapting Alexander Technique for People Living with Parkinson's and their Care Partners

  • Northeastern University 360 Huntington Avenue, Room 425 Richards Hall Boston MA 02115 United States (map)
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Professional Development Training Day
for Alexander Technique Teachers & Trainees

The Poise Project's "AT for Parkinson's" Initiative:

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


DATE: Thursday, October 11, 2018

TIME:  9:30am-7:30pm (includes breaks, with an hour and a half for lunch)


Northeastern University
360 Huntington Avenue
Boston MA 02115

In the Action Lab @ 425 Richards Hall, Fourth Floor

$195 AT Teachers    $150 AT Trainees  

The main objective of this training day:

To train participants in the mission and strategic model of The Poise Project so that they can become part of regional teams involved in expanding our ongoing AT4PD initiative, and launching new initiatives. Please consider joining our efforts! Even if your main interest may be with other populations, you will become part of our team effort to connect to regional communities by being trained in our Poise Project strategic model. And our training days are one of the ways that we are trying to be sustainable for the next eight years of this ten year project. Your participation supports financially all of our programs and outreach and research efforts.

The second objective:

To learn about the particular needs of People Living with Parkinson's (PlwPD) and their care partners, and to suggest the most successful ways to apply Alexander principles when working with this population. We will introduce you to some of the best practices that we've been exploring and how they can be presented in group settings. Or if you are interested in working with PlwPD in your private practice, you will have in depth information about PD and about one-to-one AT applications for this population.

The training day will be led by Monika Gross, Executive Director of The Poise Project.

Included will be training sections videotaped of Dr. Maya Katz, a movement disorder specialist at University of California San Francisco, as well as videos from people living with Parkinson's and their care partners who have benefitted from AT and are advocating for it as part of our AT4PD initiative.

We are also reaching out to PlwPD and care partners from the local community who we will be invited to attend an informal 90-minute workshop during the training day. In this way the training day participants will be able to have the opportunity to work with them and receive their feedback.

Participants in the workshop will also be invited to be part of The Poise Project team at the Parkinson’s Foundation Boston Moving Day® event that Saturday, October 13. We will have a resource table, and offer “Poise Tune Ups” at the table, as well as have a “Poise Tune Up Station” the course during the walk. You can see photos from other Moving Day’s where we’ve offered this at this link.

The Poise Project Parkinson's Foundation Moving Day® Boston team members, October 2017  See more photos from our Poise TuneUP! stations at Moving Day's across the country at this  LINK

The Poise Project Parkinson's Foundation Moving Day® Boston team members, October 2017

See more photos from our Poise TuneUP! stations at Moving Day's across the country at this LINK

The Poise Project administered a grant from the Parkinson's Foundation to deliver an AT-based course for care partners of PlwPD at eight sites in North Carolina in 2017-2018. We have received a second grant to expand this program into Washington DC for Fall 2018. We will also be working to initiate patient referral programs in partnership with area neurologists modeled on a program we have in place in the Bay Area in Northern California. And we are currently administering a third grant from the Parkinson's Foundation to design and deliver an new AT-based course for PlwPD at three sites in NC.

In relation to these programs, we are applying for funding for research projects to measure the efficacy and long term retention of AT training for PlwPD as compared to exercise programs and other interventions.

Teachers who participate in this day of training will be considered part of the pool of teachers we will draw from for our future class programming and research projects for PlwPD and care partners as new classes are created and regional expansion occurs, as well as being part of the pool of AT professionals trained in our strategic model to assist in community outreach for all our future initiatives.

Our focus during this training day will be on how AT can help PlwPD develop practical skills for more independent self-management of motor symptoms affecting their 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 PlwPD 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 PlwPD and greatly reduce caregiver burden and burnout. Training their care partners at the same time helps them learn how to cue PlwPD when cognitive decline may be present, which is often a later stage aspect of PD.

The second half of the training day will include a focus on the particular needs of care partners of PlwPD, 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.


Space is limited 

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

  • 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

  • Working with middle and late stage PlwPD, 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 PlwPD 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

  • 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 and internationally, including launching an "International AT for PD Year of Awareness" in February 2018 in London and Dublin. 

  • How to include care partners to support learning and increase retention of AT principles for PlwPD, as well as to give them self-management skills to address the serious stresses of their own circumstances. Report on THE POISE PROJECT "Partnering with Poise" care partner courses that have been delivered at eight sites across North Carolina funded by the Parkinson's Foundation, and it's IRB research study through the University of Idaho managed by AT teacher and research scientist, Dr. Rajal Cohen.

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9:30am-2:00pm    Briefing on The Poise Project mission and strategic model & basic training for working with PlwPD (15 minute break included)

2:00pm-3:30pm  Lunch break

3:30pm-5:15pm    An AT workshop for PlwPD and their care partners invited from the local Parkinson's community

5:15pm-5:30pm Break

5:30pm - 6:15pm  Debriefing & Discussion re workshop

6:15pm-7:00pm    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

7:00pm-7:30pm    Questions, Sharing and Next Steps


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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. As of Fall 2018, it has received three Parkinson's Foundation Moving Day® Community Grants to deliver AT-based classes to people in the Parkinson's community in North Carolina and in Washington DC. She has conducted this AT or Parkinson's teacher training and established a patient referral program in the Bay Area in partnership with Dr. Maya Katz, a movement disorder specialist at UCSF.

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 & Function, and has a private AT practice in Asheville 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.

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THE POISE PROJECT® is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization launched in 2016 to bring Alexander technique principles to new populations, and to increase accessibility across broad socio-economic groups.

Our Mission is maintaining poise and personal growth throughout all stages and challenges of life using the principles of Alexander technique (AT).

Our Mission is realized through promotion of the profession, creation of programs adapted for specific populations and industries, and support of cutting edge research in the field.

We use a coordinated team approach uniting individuals who have benefited from AT, industry expert advocates, and AT professionals.

We have received three grants from the Parkinson's Foundation to deliver AT-based programs for people living with Parkinson's and their care partners in North Carolina and the Washington DC Greater Metro Area.