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History of HSE PDF Print E-mail
Hanna Somatic Education (HSE) was developed by Thomas Hanna, PhD (1928-1990). Thomas Hanna was Chairperson of Philosophy at the University of Florida from 1965-1970. He then moved to Northern California where he served as Director of the Humanistic Psychology Institute, later renamed the Saybrook Institute from 1973 to 1976. He later founded the Novato Institute for Somatic Research and Training in Novato, CA, and was editor of "Somatics: Magazine-Journal of the Bodily Arts and Sciences”. He authored seven books and is best known for Bodies in Revolt: A Primer in Somatic Thinking (1970) and Somatics: Reawakening the Mind's Control of Movement, Flexibility, and Health (1989).
Thomas Hanna believed that many chronic conditions associated with old age were caused by stress of living in an industrialized society and is reversible. Hanna found it even more astounding that people believed that as they aged, their bodies would become naturally stiffer and less capable over time. He believed this to be nothing more than a myth in our culture and one that is quick to become a reality for those who accept it. He developed an educational process to disprove "The Myth of Aging" and lead humans into a different way of life with heightened sensory awareness, less pain, greater freedom and increased mobility.
 
Hanna often referred to F.M. Alexander and Moshe Feldenkrais as important teachers who influenced him and Hanna Somatic Education. Hanna organized the first instructor workshop of Feldenkrais in the United States. Many aspects of the Feldenkrais technique can be found within Hanna Somatic Education, but Hanna continued to develop some innovative methods and teachings of sensory- motor education that are unique to HSE.
 
He strongly believed that real change can only occur from within and cannot be imposed on someone from the outside. It is the difference between working on someone and working with someone on the goal of restoring awareness and voluntary control over the sensory-motor system. Hanna changed the way we view ourselves and others by understanding the difference between a “third person perspective” versus a “first person perspective”. When the body is viewed from a “third person perspective”, the body is seen from the outside only. However, when the same body is viewed from a ”first person perspective” with attention on the internal processing, the body becomes a soma. Somas are self- sensing, self-regulating, self-correction organisms.
Each person is soma and has the ability to become aware and control the internal processes. For most people these processes are mostly subcortical and go unnoticed. Control shifts from an unconscious state to a voluntary, conscious one. Through this change in perspective, a new world of change and knowing develops.
 
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