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Manual Magic

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  • Hi Barrett,
    I really like the idea. Simple Contact as magic, but knowledge of the neuroscience that supports it making a magician.

    I can only imagine the variety of ways you could carry out this metaphor in a workshop.

    I'm sure it would be wildly entertaining, and may foster a carry over that doesn't seem to often happen currently.

    it is a fact that even if you know how their tricks are done, you don’t know much at all.
    I really like this quote. I feel as though there is an unteachable quality that I've seen from a few therapists that the above applies to. I mean unteachable in that it is the unconscious interactions that they excel in.
    Cory Blickenstaff, PT, OCS

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    • Not to be confused with Barrett's Magus. A mere coincidence? I hope. I think that would be the risk from this change in tact. Not many are going to truly understand the nature of the magic on offer making it more susceptible to being discarded as just too alternative. Would people attend just to be entertained? Gosh I've become quite the pessimist all of a sudden!!
      Last edited by EricM; 27-02-2007, 06:01 AM.
      Eric Matheson, PT


      • Reluctantly, I'm with Eric.
        I think the idea of magic being equated to the supernatural is a connotation that could only hurt your course and make it easier to lump it into the "alternative" category.
        I think if people understood magic the way I have come to after reading this thread, that wouldn't be the case.

        Also, I think Cory is absolutely right about some teachers having an unteachable quality.
        Jason Silvernail DPT, DSc, FAAOMPT
        Board-Certified in Orthopedic Physical Therapy
        Fellowship-Trained in Orthopedic Manual Therapy

        Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist

        The views expressed in this entry are those of the author alone and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Army, Department of Defense, or the US Government.


        • Eric and Jason,

          I appreciate your concerns - they are my own. But I feel that it will simply be my job to explain what I mean by magic and get the class to understand. I'll holler if I have to, no problem.

          Will people come just to be entertained? Absolutely! If there's one thing I've learned over the years it's that therapists for the most part have no intention of actually learning something at a workshop. They see it as "a day off" and the accumulation of CEUs for licensure. Entertainment is just iceing on the cake.
          Barrett L. Dorko


          • Maybe the first point of magic that needs to happen before ideas are accepted is the presenters willingness to believe that the student can learn and will go on with the work. If one does not believe the listener of one's topic will go on and use it, IMO, one nail has already been put in the coffin. According to new Quantum Physic Matrix theory, that's the thought that begins creation, knowing it is already so. There's some wonderful "magic" in the research and work done by modern day physicists that end up finding truths that Albert Einstein and others put forth years before. Just like in martial arts when a participant smashes a board or brick, they don't think about their hand contacting and going through, they already focus on a point on the other side.

            Just a thought!


            • Hi Cory,

              I too noticed this statement

              it is a fact that even if you know how their tricks are done, you don’t know much at all.
              It's not just "know what's done" magicians who get a gig and thrive in the close-up gallery.
              "I did a small amount of web-based research, and what I found is disturbing"--Bob Morris


              • Anytime I see the phrase "quantum physics" used to justify something seen in the world I live in I remember what Lawrence Krauss said in Beyond Star Trek: "The macroscopic world doesn't behave like the quantum universe; therefore, classical objects - the objects at macroscopic scales - don't involve superpositions of mutually exclusive possibilities." In other words, don't trust any theory about the world we live in if it includes the word "quantum" in it. See this for more)

                I teach professional caregivers, people with enormous responsibilities and therapists with a minimum of a bachelor of science degree. I am often amazed at what they don't know and won't do, but I work continuously to get them to see the possibilities gentle care and modern neuroscience offer us if only we would study a bit and stand up to a therapy culture bent on production above all else. If someone needs the sort of continuously nuturant presence worthy of a kindergarten teacher they might not find me their cup of tea. If they're that needy, I imagine every day in the clinic is a long one because many patients might sense this and take advantage.

                I don't enable it.

                My pending choice to use the word "magic" reflects my appreciation for effective marketing but it doesn't mean that I "believe" anything at all.
                Barrett L. Dorko


                • I'm reading from present day "Physics," it happens to be one of my passions. I would site you the numerous studies that have been done internationally concerning the subject of a field/matrix/ that has actually been proven "scientifically" in the past 2 years, but the "magic" being discussed here is different. Got it.

                  Peace Barrett


                  • Barrett, I agree. Thinking about magic is not the same as, does not equal, is not equivalent to, is in a different league than, "magical thinking".
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                    "Rene Descartes was very very smart, but as it turned out, he was wrong." ~Lorimer Moseley

                    “Comment is free, but the facts are sacred.” ~Charles Prestwich Scott, nephew of founder and editor (1872-1929) of The Guardian , in a 1921 Centenary editorial

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                    • Barrett,

                      I did not see what you did as being tricky. I would equate learning magic with learning tricks. I do not interpret SC as being a trick but as having magical qualities.



                      • Hi Karie,

                        Perhaps you could start a new thread, posting the studies that you think are most relevant to the practice of therapy.
                        "I did a small amount of web-based research, and what I found is disturbing"--Bob Morris


                        • Chance,

                          This is what I'm trying to impart in this thread and, eventually, to my classes i.e. Simple Contact appears magical but that it doesn't require magical thinking to understand and employ.

                          I think the previous post about how the word "legerdemain" has been altered from "lightness of hand" to "devious" is important to remember here. There are other examples of how ignorance makes all of this quite confusing to the less thoughtful practitioner.

                          Once the "secret" is revealed the "trick" disappears - but the magic remains.

                          Pretty good, if I do say so myself. Maybe this belongs on the front of my brochures.
                          Last edited by Barrett Dorko; 27-02-2007, 07:15 PM.
                          Barrett L. Dorko


                          • Reflective Teaching

                            I've been keeping up with this thread with some interest and thought of it as I was reading a book Chapter entitled "Understanding the Need for Artistry in Professional Education", written by D. Schon in Educating the Reflective Practitioner. The Chapter caught my attention right away by starting out:

                            "In the varied topography of professional practice, there is a high, hard ground overlooking a swamp. On the high ground, manageable problems lend themselves to solution through the application of research-based theory and technique. In the swampy lowland, messy, confusing problems defy technical solution. The irony of this situation is that the problems of the high ground tend to be relatively unimportant to individuals or society at large, however great their technical interest may be, while in the swamp lie the problems of greatest human concern. The practitioner must choose. Shall he remain on the high ground where he can solve relatively unimportant problems according to prevailing standards of rigor, or shall he descend to the swamp of important problems and nonrigorous inquiry?"

                            Schon continues on to define the gaps in practice between research and practice, especially what he calls the "indeterminate zones of practice", and the gap between professional education (based on basic and applied sciences and technical skills) and real-life workplace situations in which there are no right answers or standard procedures.

                            He states: "In recent years, there has been a growing perception that researchers, who are supposed to feed the professional schools with useful knowledge, have less and less to say that practitioners find useful."

                            Schon recommends that we should instead focus our education of professionals on the characteristics of artistry shown by outstanding practitioners, who do not necessarily have more professional knowledge, but more "wisdom, talent, intuition or artistry". He defines artistry as "an exercise of intelligence" and states that "it is not inherently mysterious; it is rigorous in its own terms."

                            These ideas of teaching artistry in professional education spill over into clinical education models, in which a craft can be taught through "deviant traditions" modeled after schools such as music and dance conservatories, fine arts and design, where students learn by doing, coaching by professionals with more experience. In such an environment, "there is often a powerful sense of mystery and magic in the atmosphere" initially.

                            "Perhaps, then, learning all forms of professional artistry depends, at least in part, on conditions similar to those created in the studios and conservatories: freedom to learn by doing in a setting relatively low in risk, with access to coaches who initiate students into the 'traditions of the calling' and help them, by 'the right kind of telling', to see on their own behalf and in their own way what they need most to see'."

                            Perhaps teaching this kind of "magic" is done best in a nontraditional format, far from the lecture and pedagogy of traditional institutions, and closer to a creative learning environment such as architectural school. This certainly isn't what is found in most PT schools, yet we continue to insist that PT is both an art and a science.



                            • Sarah,

                              Wonderful post. I couldn't agree more. I'd also like to see some more discussion regarding its implications.

                              At the moment I've prepared this:

                              I mentioned earlier that the magician in the movie The Illusionist was primarily a craftsman. As it happened, his father was a cabinet maker.

                              In The Prestige the magician writes of his boyhood obsession with the magical arts, especially sleight of hand: My father planned a future for me in his business. If I proved as adept as he thought, he would at the end of my apprenticeship set me up with a furniture workshop of my own. Meanwhile, my other skill, the one I saw as my real one, was developing apace. Every possible moment of my spare time was devoted to practicing the conjurer’s art.

                              You guessed it; this magician’s father was also a cabinet maker.

                              My father, Andrew Dorko, the eighth of nine children, was the only one in his family to graduate from high school, and he did so from West Technical High School in Cleveland in 1931.

                              His primary technical training?

                              Cabinet maker.
                              Barrett L. Dorko


                              • I wonder if the difference implied and inferred between magic and mystery is part of the teaching challenge. Those who do not accept SC, for instance, may be uncomfortable with their perception of what they see as mystery.
                                How can people just 'fall' into ideomotion within a second? It is magical practice, but they may see it as mystery, which may be of great concern to the EBPers. Even with neuroscience ed.
                                They will happily say their manips and mobs work like magic, but will tend to avoid saying mystery. In reality, they may see the two words as synonymous with respect to SC.