The Mindful Therapist Series with TANYA DESFONTAINES



Tanya Desfontaines; BSc (Hons) MCSP SRP RCST BCST
has been a bodyworker for over 30 years, beginning as an NHS physiotherapist and exploring many avenues of holistic health & well-being before retraining as a biodynamic craniosacral therapist in 2007. She is a supervisor and teacher of BCST in the UK and internationally, most recently holding the prestigious position of senior tutor and course coordinator on the foundation training at Karuna Institute, Devon. She lives with her family in Dartington, South Devon, where she maintains a lively private practice. We feel privileged to be collaborating with her on this brilliant Trauma series.

Looking at the origins of words, can give us great insights; the Ancient Greek word, θεραπεία (therapeia) translates as: curing, healing, service done to the sick; a waiting on, service, it comes from θεραπεύω (therapeúō) literally "attend, do service, take care of”.

Therapeutic Bodywork may be regarded as the combined impact of therapist and therapy. That is to say that a practitioner’s way of being with her client and the qualities she brings to their meeting is at least as important as what she actually does in terms of the techniques she uses or treatment she gives. This often-overlooked part of treatment has fundamental importance, especially when treating complex and chronic pathologies and when working with clients with a trauma past. If you would like to deepen your practice, then this series is for you. 

In these new series of online talks, Tanya will present a clear roadmap for the cultivation of presence, receptive awareness and whole-body listening. The negotiation of energetic relationships, clarity of boundary and qualities of physical touch will also be explored. These seminars are suitable for all bodywork therapists and movement practitioners.

1.     Practitioner presence & energetic fulcrums 

We will explore the importance of Practitioner Presence as a key in creating a safe space for your client, and ways in which we can anchor ourselves energetically so that we can maintain a stable presence.  Tanya will lead some short experiential processes for us to explore what it means to become more present and grounded as a practitioner. This sets the scene for our treatments to have the best possible impact, particularly when working with patterns of trauma and overwhelm.

2. Coming into relationship; The relational field

All healing work is essentially relational in nature.  Relational Fields are the invisible yet palpable fields of energy that connect us when we are present with someone. When we meet our clients with an attuned and receptive awareness, we begin to create the necessary conditions for a depth of healing to occur.  We will explore ways to bring awareness to this connection and to create a heart-centred field in which both therapist and client can rest into a state of basic trust. 

3. Negotiating energetic space and distance: Developing further the theme of creating a safe space

This session explores the ways in which we can meet our clients energetically in a way that feels respectful and spacious, so that the client feels met but not invaded. Most people have experienced a sense of intrusion at times, when closely observed in a way that doesn’t feel comfortable. In this session we will explore ways to meet our clients energetically to enhance the sense of safety through the negotiation of energetic distance.

4. Touch: Relational, diagnostic and therapeutic

Touch is the currency of hands-on healing work and can transmit or elicit all kinds of psychological and emotional qualities, tones and intentions. In this session we will explore different types of touch. When we come into physical contact with our clients using a relational touch, we communicate our meeting as human being to human being. Diagnostic touch, or palpation, yields information about the underlying pathologies and also the qualities of health as they are expressed in the tissues of the body. And therapeutic touch is the ‘treatment techniques’ we employ to remedy or enhance our clients’ state of  health and well-being.

5. Boundary and resonance, energetic hygiene

Working with touch requires a degree of clarity in our boundary as practitioner and an awareness and respect for our client’s boundary in order for both parties to feel safe. We will explore both the physical boundary of the skin and the more subtle, energetic boundaries, and discuss ways in which we can maintain clarity in the ways we interact with clients.

The term Resonance describes the process whereby the state of the practitioner, and      his or her orientation, resonates within the client’s mind-body system and vice versa. We will look at ways to recognise this process, to turn it into a therapeutic tool and to maintain a clear and healthy energetic system for ourselves as practitioners.

6. The role of supervision in bodywork practice

Supervision is very well established as an essential support in the fields of medicine, psychotherapy and certain other professional groups, but sadly little known within the wider field of body work. Supervision in this sense is not about ‘checking up’ or telling the supervisee what to do, but rather describes a place to take work and practice issues to someone who is not in your everyday life. It is a relationship which provides a confidential space to reflect and explore our own feelings about clients and work, reactions to client histories or responses to treatment and how we may have been affected. We will look at ways in which the support of a supervisor can be accessed, either as a one-to-one relationship, or as part of a group and the benefits we stand to gain, whether we are just setting up in practice or have years of experience.

  • Dates:

    Monday 13th Sept 

    Monday 27th Sept

    Monday 11th October

    Monday 25th October

    Monday 8th November

    Monday 22th November

  • Time:


  • Tutor:

    Tanya Desfontaines BSc (Hons) MCSP SRP RCST BCST

  • Fee:

    £20 for an individual session

    Book all 6 for £100 (saving £20)

    These modules can be taken as stand alone, however for a full, effective  understanding, we highly recommend you take all 6 modules.