Testimonials

 
 
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Alexander Technique Workshop for Teachers
Oakland, CA April 14, 2013

I had been yearning to go deeper in my Alexander teaching yet uncertain how to maneuver that terrain. Tommy’s workshop gave me the needed inspiration and permission to make that transition. My students are reaping the benefit. I am a better teacher/person for having taken a mere weekend workshop.

  • Denise Dumeyer Kangas, Alexander Teacher AMSTAT, ATI, San Luis Obispo, CA.

The meaning of a workshop changes over time. It’s now three weeks after meeting and working with Tommy. As I go about my life, and catch myself in habitual thoughts and postures, I take out an imaginary mirror and meet myself.
During, and directly after the workshop, my experiences were:

Compassion

Trust in the simplicity of Alexander’s discoveries “If we look for what’s right, if we assume the primary mechanism is always working, then teaching becomes a much more peaceful process.” — Paraphrasing Tommy Thompson.

For me, the workshop was not about new information, even though I found myself, like everyone else, unable to resist scribbling down poetic phrases, key ideas, and all those great exercises to bring to my actor students at American Conservatory Theater. It would have been better if I had put down my pen and committed to listening.

I didn’t hope that Tommy was going to say something and the entire mystery of the Alexander Technique would crack open. I did hope that by practicing in present time, I would have an experience that might change me. This did happen.

I put on my Tango shoes and walked backwards in high heels. I wobbled without a partner’s support. My low back arched. I was conscious of the crowd of Alexander teachers watching. A colleague began working with me. She did exactly what I would do with my own students, what I do with myself. She talked about releasing the hip joints and finding length in the legs.

Her hands softened my lumber spine as she instructed me on how to distribute weight over my supporting foot…until Tommy stopped all the busy helpfulness. He put his hands on my head. Not much happened. Quietness. And in a few moments a sea change. He asked me to repeat my tango walk.

There were no balance challenges. There was no doubt. There were no stops. It was all smooth and fluid, through my whole body. I heard the room gasp. This sudden grace was achieved by accessing, freeing Alexander’s primary control, freeing the neck and letting the head balance so that the whole body integrates.

So for me, the workshop, Tommy, was a strong reminder of the simplicity and power of the Alexander Technique. And most importantly, Tommy’s own work seems to be about compassion.

After a private lesson with him, I taught one of my own students. We didn’t speak much, but at the end she turned to me and said, “It’s OK to be me.” The essence had transferred through my hands.

  • Elyse Shafarman,  Alexander teacher, MA, AMSAT,  San Francisco, California


Post Graduate Workshop with Tommy Thompson

Learning While You Teach, Teaching While You Learn… The Simple Basics of the Alexander Principles Brought to Depth with a Touch of Heart

The 4-day postgraduate workshop with Tommy Thompson was inspirational. Tommy’s principle of working with a student’s potential, rather than their habits of use, has become a wonderful guide  for my work over the years. Each time this principle is refreshed during a direct experience of being with Tommy’s teaching, I come away a fuller, deeper person, and a better teacher. My quality of attention, my quality of touch, my ability to stay present to my essential self is heightened. Even a short workshop goes a long way to deepening my own work.

Tommy weaves his own stories, group explorations, touch technicalities (of hands-on Alexander technique) through the workshop in a fluid and integrated way. He is a beautiful example of someone who is connected to being while doing. Tommy’s hands-on work opens one up and brings one back to one’s authentic Self. Hearing about Frank Pierce Jones and his way of teaching was also fascinating, and I enjoyed the short film of his work.

I so enjoyed working with the small group of both new and experienced teachers. Having several students as observers/participants was wonderful: working with real life issues of pain and suffering with Tommy’s guidance was especially helpful.

I highly recommend Tommy’s workshops for an experience of deep being while doing what we most love to do.

  • Constance Clare-Newman, Alexander Technique Teacher, San Francisco, CA

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Here are some thoughts about participating as a student observer at your recent teacher workshop.  As a result of the intensive focus on the Alexander technique from a teacher training perspective as well as the significant amount of work I received as a student I felt a shift in how I experience myself especially as I seek to integrate the technique into activities.

Before the workshop – after many years of study… I had viewed the practice of integrating the technique into activities as another discipline I needed to learn .  I felt always at a disadvantage because I could never get a kinesthetic sense of what it means to give the Directions.  I saw it as a “doing” I could not get the hang of.  As a result of the exercises and observations of others’ work during the workshop, I came away with the experience of “doing” an activity differently – that is… in the context of an awareness of the technique.

It had become clear that that “context of awareness” was a space from which I could perform an activity with ease. And it could be accessed through a shift in attention as well as a kinesthetic feeling.

I was able to feel that space as an awareness – a consciousness , a sense of “being” rather than a requirement for “doing”.  The shift was for me an epiphany.  Having tasted of how it is to operate from that space I want more of that…. Not only did I experience more ease but more skill, more grace, more creativity, more than I knew I could ever be or do.  It is like being plugged into the source always there ready to be accessed in whatever way a student is equipped.

Thank you for offering me this amazing opportunity.

  • Anita Freeman, Psychotherapist, Alexander Technique Student, Massachusetts


What I was impressed by in Tommy’s work is finding the deeper level of my heart I have never felt. I could see my bare nature.

  • Yumi Takahashi, Alexander Technique Teacher, Japan 2009

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“I did a workshop here in London last weekend with Tommy Thompson which I found very inspiring and related in part to forming of habits. He talked about our habits being closely linked with our identity. What we feel we need to do to be us. Sounds obvious, but it really got me thinking. He also said that what we do with our hands is disperse the thinking in that pupil that says they need to be a certain way to be them. My whole system has benefited so much from the workshop.” 

  • Susanna Scouller, Alexander Technique Teacher, London 2010


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Thank you Tommy for an extraordinary week of learning and growth. I look forward to watching the integration and seeing where this now leads. I particularly appreciate the thought of seeing the beauty in the person and if we all went through life with this thought what a different world we would live in.

I have just seen this quote from Krishnamurti and am struck by its relevance to your view of Alexander work:

“Man cannot come to truth through any organization, through any creed, through any dogma, priest or ritual, not through any philosophic knowledge or psychological technique. He has to find it through the mirror of relationship, through the understanding of the contents of his own mind, through observation and not through intellectual analysis or introspective dissection.”
- J. Krishnamurti

Thank you,

  • Kit Racette, Alexander Technique Teacher, Montreal



Ease of Being – Reflections on Tommy Thompson’s Approach

What I liked in Lugano was Tommy’s focus on reconnection with the self, and on the ease of being that comes from living in greater harmony with our design as human beings and with our own individuality. Connection and relationship are for him essential aspects of being human and therefore essential to how we practice and teach FM’s technique for reclaiming our ‘supreme inheritance.’ I noticed that when he had his hands on someone they would light up and expand from within, I can only say, as if filled with love! Doing one of his hands on exercises with another teacher, we both felt a deep sense of connection, like we were dancing together, when it was just in and out of the chair as usual!

So I had no doubts about inviting Tommy to Holland to learn more. 9 other countries had the same idea, but he was keen to fit in Holland as he had had good contacts with some of us in Lugano. I arranged for him to come in March. He gave a weekend workshop to 18 teachers, and 11 private lessons, 2 of which were to students who took up the last minute booking possibility. (Tommy arrived a day earlier than originally planned and so had more time available) He also visited ATCA for a morning. I would like to describe the workshop, with help from teachers who gave me feedback afterwards, and then to make some general reflections on Tommy’s approach.

Wonderful stories from his own life are a key part of the way he teaches groups. One teacher said: “I was touched by his stories, the tenderness and the humour and the messages they carried concerning human encounter and quality of attention.” The story about how he learnt to use his hands in teaching is a good example. Studying with Frank Pierce Jones had taught him that the technique was essentially about how we use ourselves in life. So he decided to experiment with how to get below his habitual reactions, especially extreme fear. He chose to paddle far out to sea in a kayak (without being skilled in this) so that he could really experience this sort of fear. At first he could only thrash wildly around with the paddles without getting any nearer to shore. Then he let himself be aware of his fear, and tried to not do anything with it, but to allow new information to keep coming. After some time he was able to feel the deeper current below the surface waves. By keeping this connection he was able to paddle without fear back to shore. This helped him understand inhibition as direct experience – a natural and organic process in humans, as in other animals. Putting hands on for him became the same as paddling on the sea – opening up to connection with the deeper level of the person beneath the surface habits. ‘I put my hands on the person, not the habit” he told us.

We experimented in different ways with withholding definition. For instance we looked at a partner and said Rumi’s lines: “I will never try to know you. I will always long to see you.” while we allowed more information to come to us, so that the other person would really show up. One teacher wrote me after the workshop “with this little exercise I do experience the world differently, softer, more real it seems.”

Tommy connected this into ‘becoming who we are now’ instead of fixing ourselves in the past through habitual self definition. At the start of the workshop we had already played with this. Tommy asked us to explain our reason for attending. He put his hands on someone and asked them to tell their reason again – as the person ‘showed up’ the reason did indeed evolve. During our two hour lunch break he asked us to spend one hour alone and to focus again on this question without fixing an answer.

Most of the feedback picked out ‘withholding definition’ as a valuable insight, for example:

“Life is a flow of experiences and by not defining them all the time you can keep the flow going, whereas by judging yourself or others or situations, usually change becomes very much more difficult because you don’t see the possibilities any more.”

“See the student under his or her use – also works very well for oneself”

“Withhold definition so that other information may show up – this became a new meaning of inhibition for me.”

We also played with differentiating between kinaesthetic awareness, intentional awareness and attentive awareness – applying them as student and teacher in hands on, one after the other and all together. Teachers commented:

“Although you can’t separate different types of awareness from each other, this simple analysis gave clarity to the fields in which we work.”

“Don’t reduce your attention to the intentional or kinesthetic level. Expand your awareness and notice how the intention and more happens – so much more than you expect”

participant’s comment:…attentive awareness […], is what I always knew, the way of being, but to experience it so clearly in my teaching feels like I can finally take my “personal hands” of and let the “hands of god” play to bring things back into its natural balance.”

Withholding definition and consciously using these three levels of awareness clearly led to establishing a deep contact. Tommy added in another aspect, asking us to allow ourselves to be touched when we touch.

“He showed us that contact with the student is really the most important thing. To really see someone and to allow yourself to be touched by the student, creates a two way contact instead of a one sided transfer from teacher to student, and in this way, as a teacher, you are allowed to once more become a student and then you will be amazed at how everything happens by itself”

Things happening by themselves – either in teaching or in one’s life – Tommy calls ‘choiceless awareness’. Like getting up early, totally against a very strong habit to stay in bed till the last possible moment – not by deciding to force it, but just finding oneself doing it to enjoy more time/less pressure.

There was also some attention to ‘monkey’ – how we approach it and when and why we use it in teaching and everyday situations. A few teachers even went into ‘extreme monkey’ where they became a sort of high speed bouncing ball – hard to describe if you haven’t seen it!

Finally, Tommy demonstrated how he applies all these elements when he works with people in activity. Activities teachers chose included playing an instrument, dancing, doing akido and reading a book. As each one came back into closer connection with themselves there were the expected changes in posture/presence/movement/tone etc, but also the surfacing of emotions – like hating the piece of music and also the conductor. After the teacher in question let this out, the piece went much better!

This was a good demonstration of the psycho-physical unity that the technique is all about. Connection with the core self goes together with expansion and release – the natural movement of the healthy organism. Some of us got into discussion at ATCA about how to explain this to people outside the Technique. Can we explain our basic concepts like primary control in language both they and we are happy with?

Tessa gave me Walter’s commentary on some passages where FM writes about primary control. He said: “The only way you can identify primary control is by looking at yourself, looking at the living organism, in an integrated way, from the standpoint of wholeness. {..} Where you want to look for primary control is not in the nerves, muscles and bones, but in the process of thought. {..} When we speak of a thing as mental in that sense, we mean we are looking and we are looking at the aspect labelled mental, but all the other aspects naturally exist as well. {..} Primary control is a concept of wholeness.”

We can say that restoring this wholeness is what brings ease of being. It’s both simple to understand and beyond description. In a way we are working to be magicians, alchemists for ourselves and our students. No wonder so many words are used and so many different approaches taken!

Tommy recommended teaching from one’s own vision of the world and shared his of people living closer to their soul’s purpose and more connected to each other and the environment. He invited us to think about what our vision is. He also said: “My approach is probably not for everyone – that’s ok!” Several teachers commented that they liked his aversion to dogmatism in the technique, and others commented on a sense of freedom. . As one teacher said: “I was really impressed with his authenticity and integrity. He was who he was.”

Greater ease of being and connectedness is my main experience of Tommy’s visit. Other people have told me they experienced something similar from their private lesson and/or the workshop and we are very grateful! The nice thing about putting all the work into bringing over and hosting a visiting teacher is that you get to spend more time with them. Tommy was certainly very easy to be with!

Several teachers said they would have liked more opportunity to work with each other – to practise applying the principles and processes we covered. Many of us are keen to explore his approach further, including some who couldn’t take part this time. So we have invited Tommy to return next year. He said we had only just scratched the surface and that he is looking forward to delving deeper. New participants will be welcome to join us!

  • Rebecca Gwynn-Jones, Amsterdam 2009
    Reprinted from: 
    NeVLAT-news May 22, 2009 article written after the Amsterdam workshop


Tommy’s Teaching

“I will never try to know you, I will always try to see you.”

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Writing now after witnessing the final workshop of Tommy Thompson in Japan, and hugely impressed by the way Tommy has given a voice to Alexander’s discoveries in a way that totally accords with the Buddhist view of Self – the lack of anything inherently existing from it’s own side. In my comments below, I may be misrepresenting Tommy’s viewpoint, so please hold the idea that these are my impressions of Tommy’s ideas.

Tommy’s view is that there is no “number one” as Marj often cajoled us: ” ‘Who is the most important person here?’ The student? No. The Teacher? Yes.” For Tommy, there is no number one person – there is a relationship, an interdependency between you and I which creates us from moment to moment in the “ongoing, forever moving present, which is the only place where change can happen.”

Tommy uses his hands to “disperse your commitment to who you think you need to be” so your Self truthfully emerges moment to moment, depending on the conditions present. His version of inhibition revolves around this idea: we have an “identity” that we are “committed to”. In Buddhist terms I consider this to be the concept of a fixed, inherently existing Self. That inside me there is a ‘Jeremy’ that I am committed to. This idea of a fixed ‘Jeremy’ (and that is all it is, an idea which is given life by tensional habits that interfere with the natural function of primary control) is merely a habituated summary of the person I think I need to be. In Tommy’s terms (as I interpret it) this habituated identity is built on the false notion that I can not be who I am being in any moment, but instead must manufacture a person that I consider you need me to be. And the primary ‘others’ are my parents or primary care-takers, followed by peers, cultural customs, the lure of advertising and all the other influences that are telling me day and night who I need to be to realize happiness.

What a wonderful way of giving voice to Alexander’s notion of Self. It neatly sidesteps the whole conversation of ‘body’ and ‘mind’. It is interesting to note that although Alexander himself did talk about “psycho-physical” unity, so imbedding this duality in the creation of a new hyphenated word, he also insisted that there is only a “critical moment” into which our “use” of our “Self” enters moment by moment. This holistic way of considering the work morphs into a new language that Tommy devised to guide people into a new experience of who they consider themselves to be—by “dispersing their commitment to who they think they need to be” which is their habituated self.

However, a different kind of duality starts to emerge in that the “Self” is created not only by environmental conditions, but by vows, decisions, promises, intentions, goals and the like which abide within our consciousness of ‘self’. These are not such material things, but they are real in the same way that thoughts are real. As Mother Teresa put it: “Love is not a feeling. Love is a decision.” So who I am, emerging as I am moment to moment, is partly shaped by the “other” – which includes other people and environmental conditions – and partly shaped by these “ideas & promises”. Are these in the same nature of “belief” as in “I know myself” or do they differ?

I do think there is something different between, say, a vow not to kill any living thing and a belief that there is no God. Both exist very thinly within my consciousness, but one is actionally directive in nature, the other more a basis for making decisions – a premise upon which to build a vow, rather than a promise to behave in a particular way.

Anyway, fascinating as this is to me, I am off the point. The idea I started out presenting as another kind of duality within this model is the distinction between “doing” and “being”. Tommy says that “intention dominates our action when we move in the direction of the focus of our attention”, and in so doing “leave where I am” or “sacrifice my being”. This is Tommy’s version of Marj’s “I am number one.” I do not need to leave where I am to follow the focus of my intention, I can preserve a quality of being while doing whatever I am doing. Whenever I do depart from this quality of being, I am “endgaining” as Alexander put it, or “letting the focus of my intention dominate my action”, as Tommy puts it.

From this comes the idea of “attention” – Tommy is primarily interested in observing this, asking the question: how is the person’s attention interfering with the efficiency of primary control? Tommy does not observe the “use of the self”—he remarked that that is only “periphery” to his interest—instead he observes the person’s attention: what kind of relationship do they have to their intention/activity? This is of paramount importance, because we are always existing in relationship to someone or something else.

So from this evolved a whole series of exercises involving touch that totally reminded me of the days of my training in London, an approach I ultimately rejected as a training director for I think that it ‘objectifies’ the person I am working with. In this kind of relationship, my partner slowly ceases to be who they truly are, instead slowly becoming “a human being I am touching” – i.e. they are no longer really that human being (i.e. Yumiko, Nao, Ryo etc.) but instead they are the “person/body/thing” I am using to practise how I place my hands on another. Of course the trainees all love this approach – must people do. Only Shigeko (that I know of) got the same uncomfortable feeling that I always got back in the old days of my training.

Anyway, I am definitely in a minority is disliking this way of training teachers, and I am happy to let other teachers pursue it, providing I don’t have to either be involved, or agree with them. After awhile the atmosphere of the workshop got a little spooky, with everyone going into this prolonged silence while they considered how they were using their hands in touching the other person. Innocent enough, and hard to see why I object to it, but basically everyone got out of touch with the real world that was all around them. There was an atmosphere of operating within this cocoon of ideas.

However, to argue against myself, I do think there is a need to understand the “technicalities” of teaching—including that of touch—but I would tend to introduce this exploration of touch as part of an ongoing lesson, rather than separate it out into its own activity. However, we do need to explore and know the component ideas that make the whole experience possible. An example of this is in knowing how a person is using themselves. While it is wonderful to look firstly for the infinite potentiality of our pupil so we are “being present to being in relation to something that is bigger than our desire”, my question is: how do we see such a thing? Perhaps we don’t, perhaps we do – I have no real answer to that. But I do know when it is not there, because I can see how a person’s co-ordination is expressing their idea that has fear, ignorance and attachment within it. This is what I see, what I understand is the possibility available beyond that.

Tommy reminds us that we are working with that person’s potentiality for becoming other than what they are currently committed to being – this is so much preferable than working with a person’s “habit of use” in the negative sense. We don’t work with the habit, we work with the potentiality – and I appreciated the reminder of a lesson once learnt that I was due to hear again!

However, I also know that (for me) what lets me understand a person has some kind of ignorance, irritation or obsession operating within them—and that is causing them a harm they do not want—is the detail of my observation of their “habitual” use. Often a tiny gesture or aberration has been my only clue to uncovering a profoundly deep idea that needs undoing for a person to move into a new idea of the possibility of their Self…

And perhaps my need to do this highlights one of the key differences of my own work: rather than give the experience, I seek to introduce an experiment within a person’s thinking so that they can give themselves a new experience of who they are. Tommy uses his hands to support a person “dispersing their commitment to being who they think they need to be”. Tommy’s idea of inhibition involves this: withholding definition of who I am committed to being to allow in new information that informs the experience I am having of me. It is a truly wonderful approach, and helps me learn another way of communicating to a student in a situation that calls for it.

However, from my side, I am still curious to find the activity that doesn’t let the old habit take place—that is chosen and thought out by the student, not constructed by the intervention of my hands. This experiment is set up before my hands touch. My touch is not there to open up choice, or to allow a person to accept information other than the information that their habit is committed to, although that can certainly happen; rather my hands are there to give confidence to their new choices, to support the possibility that a person is courageously asking of themselves. We are not waiting until the confidence or support is there, we are jumping over the cliff where habit is no longer living.

Anyway, Tommy’s work has been fabulously stimulating, causing me to question and re-decide about fundamental aspects of my own work: to change some of my long held ideas, to confirm others and, most importantly, to continue to allow myself to receive new information of any kind in the exciting adventure I call life!

If he comes to a theatre near you – get some tickets!


Bristol, England 2009 Workshop

BATTSA Workshop for Trainees, October 5, 2009

“The general feeling was that we had thoroughly enjoyed Tommy’s time with us and loved the slightly less orthodox approach to the Technique.”

  • Caroline Chalk, MSTAT UKCP reg, Head of Training Bristol Alexander School

The following comments were made by one or more individual trainees:

Absolutely riveted, there probably wasn’t enough time for more activities;

I wish we’d videoed it;

Tommy is a great narrator;

Liked the way he took his time, especially in answering questions, he seemed comfortable with himself; Very clear.

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Embodied Alexander-confident and happy for us to know that;

Seemed very wise, having experienced so much and there was a sense of him being self taught;

Incredible charisma- vulnerability without weakness;

Extraordinary to (happily) sit and listen to an AT teacher for so long!

Great intellectual pleasure;

More of a spiritual teacher than an AT teacher;

We loved “use” being determined by what we need to be in the moment; Or by our approach to another person;

Amazing touch!

Liked the way he wouldn’t nail anything down;

Liked his idea that our name is often “called”.


Amsterdam 2009 Workshop

“I found some things very helpful for myself and my teaching, e.g. that he told me to ‘just be with the experience’ even if I or the student was uncomfortable. Also, that by just being with the person and withholding definition / judgement, more information can come to you; this has proven to be working for me! And what helped me a lot too, is that he said that life is a flow of experiences and that by not defining them all the time you can keep the flow going, whereas by judging yourself or others or situations, usually change becomes very much more difficult. Because you don’t see the possibilities any more. So : I LOVED IT! Although I would like to see him again and have him work with us (maybe in smaller groups) so we can actually try all this in hands-on.”

  • Doris Hochscheid, Alexander Technique Teacher, The Netherlands

I honestly can say that I am not the person anymore I have been, but the one I have become. There were so many diamonds to find in this workshop, that a lot of my teaching changed but even more important the way i look at my family and my friends and at myself. with this little exercise ” I will never try and know you but I always long to see you” I do experience the world differently, softer, more real it seems. Two other exercises were giving me, and still do so, a lot of insights: the first one is “withhold definition so that other information may show up”. This became a new meaning for inhibition for me and the other one is to feel so clearly the difference between kinesthetic awareness, intentional awareness and the attentive awareness. The last state is, what I always knew, the way of being, but to experience it so clearly in my teaching feels like I can finally take my “personal hands” of and let the “hands of god” play, to bring things back into its natural balance.

I found it an inspiring and educational weekend. He was not telling totally new things but gave his own colours to the principles of the AT. His stories, drawn from his own life gave much clarity. However,hte exercise with kinesthetic, intentional and attentional awareness worked well. Although you can’t separate different types of awareness from each other, this simple analysis gave clarity to the fields in which we work. Some parts I found especially interesting were the story about the kayak, the one about the dogs, the demonstration with the matches…and the opening game about how we are continually changing…and the observation that you usually give people what they expect instead of who you have become……..

On Saturday morning I found Tommy’s stories inspiring – he is a wonderful storyteller. It was a shame for me personally that he carried on in the afternoon in a similar way because I became very tired – listening to English for so long was one reason and the other was so much sitting. But the Sunday made up for everything – it was good because we were busy with practical work and it was all in all a fine AT weekend. Especially, “Let new information come in, withhold definition” was very useful for me.

“You look at the quality of attention”, I remember this statement of Tommy Thompson quite well. It seemed to me that this is essential in his approach to the Alexander work. I was touched by his stories, the tenderness and the humour and the messages they carried concerning human encounter and quality of attention. I liked his aversion against dogmatism within the technique and the examples he gave to underline his opinion.

First of all I really enjoyed the workshop and learned quite a few things. I was really impressed with his authenticity and integrity. He was who he was. What did I learn? Well looking back I think that the central theme of the workshop was expressed by his three levels of awareness. Kinesthetic awareness (being aware of what is going on inside of us e.g. are we pulling down), the intentional awareness (what is it we want from our student or what result are we looking for) and attentional awareness (bringing the other two together in a brighter burning). I also liked his idea of with-holding definition as a way of describing inhibition it allows us to move to attentional awareness, allowing more information to come in. Another way that he expressed this was in the quote from Rumi “I will never try to know you but I will always long to see you.” Another way this was expressed was the idea that we don’t allow ourselves to be touched when we touch. Touching, being touched, communication, relationship, an open intimacy. I see all of these filling in the idea of the attentional awareness. I should also mention hat the level of the workshop connected to the level of myself as a teacher by that I mean it was more of a graduate workshop then a beginners workshop.

Don’t reduce your attention to the intentional or kinesthetic level. Expand your awareness and notice how the intention and more happens – so much more than you expect. He showed us that contact with the student is really the most important thing. To really see someone and to allow yourself to be touched by the student, creates a two way contact instead of a one sided transfer from teacher to student, and in this way, as a teacher, you are allowed to once more become a student and then you will be amazed at how everything happens by itself.


Tommy,

I was a private student of yours in 1981/82 after working with you at the Arena Stage Workshop the previous summer. I have thought of you so often, and continue to draw on what I learned from you to this day. I found this website when preparing my file for tenure (and wanting to list training I have received!) I am currently a professor of voice and speech at Ithaca College.

I just wanted to say hello, and let you know that you had a tremendous impact on me and my work as an actress and teacher. I would love to take a workshop at your center.

Sending you warm regards,

  • Kathleen Mulligan, Professor of Speech and Voice, Ithaca College


I miss Alexander Technique with Tommy Thompson. He performed a surgery on my hip. 
I tore my gluteus medius first semester at ART/Harvard. How convenient. 
I walked in with crutches and left without needing them. Talk about alignment adjustments. 
I need more of that...

  • ART Acting Student