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  • Doug Nelson

Different Skills, Different Formats

This unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating effect on our scheduled PNMT seminar schedule. Scores of seminars were canceled, a severe disappointment to everyone. My teaching staff loves to share their knowledge and participants look forward to learning and growing in the work. It is a time for personal and professional growth for all concerned. This was especially true for the Colloquium, which was also postponed. That's the bad news.


On the good news side, it has propelled me into shifting some content online. I have done a series of Mystery of Pain and The Science of Stress seminars which were well attended and the online webinar format fits the material really well. In addition, I have done several online trainings for a school in which we were scheduled to teach the PNMT seminars. The students remarked how much more deeply they grasped the material having the background information presented in such depth before the hands-on training began. I see the value of this format more clearly through their eyes and we will explore this format for future seminars.


Context Matters


In the seminar environment, we spend time reviewing the relevant anatomy in ways that enhance the clinical application. Participants consistently remark how important this aspect of the seminar is for them. People also admit that they did not realize previously realize the depth and specificity of the approach, especially with regard to a systems approach to anatomical understanding. However, there are limits to what can be shared in the face to face environment. We cannot take the time to review really fascinating research papers or explore in-depth anatomy each muscle we treat. To maximize that time, we need to focus on hands-on skill-building. Most importantly, knowledge by itself is not skill. You must know and understand the material in your head, but to create positive outcomes for clients, you must know it in your hands as well. Both are different skill sets.



This principle has been dramatically represented in my own learning experience as a relatively new cello student. Previously, my cello teacher had given me video of stylistic influences for me to emulate with various pieces of music. The sad thing is that while I think I am executing what I see on the video, when we are together, it is clear that I am very far from what he intended. Only under his persistent guidance do I realize that what I think I am doing and what I am actually doing are quite different. I cannot self-evaluate, because I do not know enough to do so. This has been my experience in the attempt to teach highly specific manual techniques through video. This format may work quite well for larger and more broad approaches, but does work well for highly precise approaches like PNMT.

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