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Pati Holman

Enthusiasm is Essential

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Enthusiasm arises when intention & action are effortless and in an environment of support and love. Watch my lesson with Ella to see how enthusiasm comes naturally to her when she experiences sensations of ‘success’ and accomplishment.  You can see her precious attention to the process which leads to greater movement integration and complexity.   Ella’s movement with attention gradually transitions into a global “enthusiasm” response.

Anat Baniel “We Learn to Stand Up Not Standing Up”

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A newborn baby has a relatively long apprenticeship in movement before developmental milestones are reached.  It takes approximately 10 months to 1 year for a newborn to learn to stand up.  In that time, the infant is exploring myriad variations; including random movements and intentional action.  After thousands of hours of explorations,  a clear developmental progression occurs from less complexity to more complexity. Standing is the end result of a very long apprenticeship in movement exploration.  And in our method, we use this knowledge of neuro-motor development to help a child map their brain for the progressive complexity required to stand.  Placing a child in standing without any somatic mapping to how one got there is a recipe for frustration, failure and alienation from self.

A child that can’t stand up because of brain injury or other special need, has never experienced these progressive levels of complexity or variation, nor experienced the infinite variations that lead to greater complexity.  Thus, when a parent or therapist requires a child to stand up by putting them in standing, it’s as if we placed the child who lives at sea level on top of mount Everest without any prior exposure.  Imagine the degree of fear and failure that a child experiences from this kind of situation!

Some theories about mapping the brain have to do with placing a child in the position to which they themselves have not initiated.  As if somehow, miraculously, the position itself will map the brain for that function.  This is very harmful and cruel, and is not the way the brain works for learning new skills.  It’s mimicry and imitation type of learning and will produce more failure than success.

I start where your child’s abilities are, and grow the ability from there; rather than have the goal  in mind and forcing the child into a position in which they are unprepared.  Anat says it beautifully in this short video.

What Are the ABM Nine Essentials?

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The Nine Essentials of Neuromotor learning for Lifelong Vitality are a set of qualities and behaviors that your brain needs for optimal function.

They are:

  1. Movement With Attention – Build New Connections
  2. Slow-Luxuriate in the Richness of Feeling to Create a Feedback Loop
  3. Variation-Enjoy Abundant Possibilities
  4. Subtlety – Experience the Power of Gentleness
  5. Enthusiasm – Turn the Small into the Great
  6. Flexible Goals-Seizing the Opportunity in Front of You
  7. Learning Switch -Full of Energy and Cognitive Coherence
  8. Imagination and Dreams -Create Your Life
  9. Awareness -Thrive with Authentic Volitional Action

These qualities and behaviors, which we all have at our fingertips, were first introduced by Anat Baniel in the early 2000’s.  The principles evolved from a lifelong study  under the expert mentorship of her beloved teacher, the somatic philosopher and clinician, Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais.

Neuromovement & Biochemistry

Andrea Leite

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When I met Pati at a workshop I felt that the ABM Method was something totally different, that it was empowering and honest, clear and subtle. Agustina has been in therapy since she was 23 days old and now she’s 18. We’ve always tried to give her the best therapy so, although we know that her limitations are many, we’ve never given hope to find a new perspective on the human being and its body. We’ve always believed that Agustina can understand everything that happens around her and that she has a different kind of language that allows her to communicate with us, albeit more body-emotion based. The ABM Method is the only therapy she’s had which sees her as a whole and takes into account her willpower and boosts it with subtle, loving movements. All through the session Agustina was given time to give her opinion and therefore she was able to participate more actively. She’s done only 10 sessions but the change is impressive. She’s more present in the family meals, she can sit better and she can control her body with more organization. She’s also more relaxed and cooperates in everyday decision making, such us which clothes she wants to wear and so on. For us these things make a huge difference. We’re grateful and full of joy.
Thank you Pati!

Andrea Leite, mom to Augustina, Montevideo, Uruguay

Terry Vallett

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Hi Pati,

I just wanted to let you know that we are seeing the most remarkable changes in Paige since our return from Durban! She is playing with the mobile on her sitter chair for the first time ever. She has started kicking her legs, reaching with her arms and seems to slowly be realizing the law of cause and effect —If I hit it… It moves.  She has made a 4 month leap in 4 days!  Yay!

Terry Vallett

Johannesburg, South Africa


How Do I Decide the Best Therapy For My Child?

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Adults & the parents of children that choose the Feldenkrais Method or the ABM method, choose the principle that connecting with what is rather than correcting what’s wrong, is the first step in novel learning and overcoming limitation .Combined with the other brain-based learning tools,  there’s more potency in any action that  that comes from discovering for oneself how to shift from pain and limitation to possibility; creatively & dynamically problem solving; using the incredible and elegant power of the human brain to learn something new.

The current widely held therapeutic model is basically this: Exercise, or force the child into the milestone that isn’t currently there, practice it a lot,  add in tears, pain, resistance, willpower, & coercion, and it will be hard-wired.  Functional outcomes will be hard-won in the short term and the potential for neurotic, compulsive behavior that develops from force, coercion and ‘not-being-met’ will pattern ineffective and dysfunctional patterns.

I operate from an entirely different working hypothesis.   When the brain can become a better learner, then function will follow.  Improved thinking, coupled with present moment awareness is the first step to more organized function.  I help children overcome limitation using the Nine essentials to prime the nervous system.  When I set the table using the Nine Essentials,  then other developmental steps can emerge.  Not only do these milestones have a better chance of emerging organically, but they emerge with  with less effort, more joy, more natural curiosity, more power & potency to last a lifetime.

The best therapy is the one that honors self-empowerment, & the current abilities of the child rather than the limitation.  It honors self-paced learning rather than standardized milestones.  It honors & recognizes that the best learning comes when your child is being “met”.


Cari Bousfield

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It has been an eye-opening week for me, to say the least. This week I’ve seen Faith move in ways I never thought possible for her, barring a miraculous healing. It was amazing to see Faith push her feet in her footrests to help scoot her behind to the right place in her chair. It was amazing to see Faith “find the middle” of her chair and to sit up in a straightened position all on her own – even without the support of the laterals on her chair. She was excited too and repeated, “I did it! I did it!” I’ve come to realize that keeping Faith strapped and restrained tightly in her chair has not allowed her to explore ways for her to achieve purposeful movement. Her movement has always been so random and so disorganized, but through the Anat Banal Method, both Faith and I learned that there are ways to help her organize and move her body that are beneficial to her. In doing so, her brain can actually form new neural connections.   I’ll share some photos that I took while Faith was working with Pati Holman, who comes to Bismarck from Milwaukee, WI.

Cari Bousfield-Mom