What is IASI?

IASI is a 501(c)(6) non-profit organization formed for the express purpose of creating an inclusive membership body to serve the entire profession of Structural Integration.

What benefits can IASI provide?

Besides providing the usual benefits of liability insurance, a newsletter and a profession-wide directory and website, IASI will:

  1. provide fellowship and cross-pollination among the various practitioners and approaches dedicated to the work of Dr. Ida Rolf,
  2. advocate in the public and legislative arenas for Structural Integration as a distinct discipline, and
  3. offer a high-quality Continuing Education program, featuring teachers from a variety of different schools, to the entire membership.

IASI is in the process of becoming affiliated with the Association of Bodywork and Massage Professionals (ABMP). Through this affiliation, IASI members will be able to join the ABMP at a reduced rate and be eligible for their benefits which include, at no extra cost, liability insurance, a subscription to the Massage & Bodywork magazine, and many other goodies.

I already belong to the organization associated with my school—why should I join IASI?

Perhaps your school membership provides you with valuable services, but IASI relates you to the profession as a whole. Individual schools are too small and too exclusive to advocate for the whole profession. IASI links you to the larger world of SI, and sets the stage for effective advocacy in the fast-changing world of legislation and health-care. IASI gives you the opportunity to access new information, research opportunities, more referrals, and especially to continuing education by experienced teachers from the various SI schools and the larger world of manipulative healing.

Is IASI setting itself up as another SI school?

No. IASI is not in the business of starting a new SI school or promoting those that already exist. The continuing education program will operate more as a clearing house or meeting ground. SI faculty and practitioners who wish to offer workshops can do so through the IASI network. IASI will approve the courses and instructors so that the membership can be assured they are receiving quality education. Membership in IASI will depend in part on accumulating a reasonable number of workshop credits, and the courses approved through IASI will meet those requirements. IASI will not be benefitting finacially from the CE program —no fees will be charged to instructors or students.

Who’s behind IASI?

IASI is a grass-roots organization. IASI is not associated with any particular SI school, and is currently welcoming all Structural Integration practitioners. Those working on IASI currently include Rolfers, GSI practitioners, Hellerworkers, and many from smaller schools (see list below). The IASI Board and other IASI initiators are dedicated to successfully threading the needle between being an inclusive and democratic organization and creating a Structural Integration qualification that means something in terms of assuring the competency and quality of practitioners providing SI work to the public.

Who may join IASI?

From now until 30 June 2004, we are in a ‘grandfathering’ period, during which the requirements for joining IASI are limited to

  1. an interest in the Structural Integration work developed by Dr. Ida P. Rolf,
  2. those who have trained in a minimum 400-hour SI program, whose lineage can be directly traced to Dr. Ida P. Rolf, which teaches an organized series process, and which retains the importance of gravity and connective tissue.
  3. a current practice that includes Structural Integration work.

Here is a form to apply to join IASI, either as a friend, a student, or as a full-fledged practitioner member.

We are seeking members among the graduates of

Graduates of other programs no longer offering SI, such as Al Drucker’s Esalen Deep Tissue, Michael Shea’s Structural Integration program, are also welcomed, and we are aware that there are other smaller qualified programs or mentored practitioners out there that we have not yet identified. At the moment, we seek to be as inclusive as possible, bringing in ALL the practitioners who associate themselves as ‘heirs of Ida Rolf’.

After the close of this grandfathering period, membership in IASI will be via a test / evaluation process, a process which is being developed in the meantime, employing input from members, teachers of SI, and outside experts who understand evaluation processes. ‘Grandfathered’ members will be encouraged (but not required) to take the test during its development to help evaluate its fairness and efficacy.

Continued membership for all members will probably involve the usual commitment to ethical and professional practices, as well as a continuing education requirement, as decided by the membership.

Well, then, grandfathering makes it way easy for those of us who are already practitioners, but why have a test for those who follow? Why not just accept graduates of approved Structural Integration programs?

We feel strongly that IASI should be a ‘skills-based’ membership organization, not a ‘schools-based’ club. Currently, there are many Structural Integration programs, with a wide variety of entry requirements, differing hours and formats for training, and different emphases and (let’s face it) quality of program. Nevertheless, good practitioners come out of less than stellar programs and (let’s face it again) less than stellar practitioners can make it through good programs.

And many schools (yes—all the schools) certify their own practitioners, without any outside evaluation—not a very reassuring practice. By making membership in IASI skills-based, we avoid having to certify and oversee SI programs, and we can admit members who gain their skills outside the usual programs—e.g., in a mentoring situation. IASI is designed as a membership organization where SI practitioners certify each other as being up to the mark in their skills, not where we simply rubber stamp the graduates of ‘approved’ schools.

(‘Just certify schools instead of individuals’ seems like an easy way out as we start this process. And there may well be a role for some future association of SI schools, roughly equivalent to the COMTAA organization for massage schools, but that body would have a different purpose and different interests. IASI is being created by and for practitioners, to serve its membership, not as a school-oversight body.)

What kind of test would this be? Something like the NCBTMB test for massage?

Developing the test / evaluation procedure is a very important part of this process, which requires care and input from a wide variety of people. At the moment, the feeling of the Board is that:

  1. Going for ‘psychometrically-valid’ test such as the NCBTMB test is too expensive and difficult a process for such a small group at this time. (There are an estimated 4000 possible SI practitioners who could conceivably join IASI). This kind of validity may become practical later.
  2. The test / evaluation should cover hands-on skills —such as technique, contact, palpatory skill; knowledge-based material—like anatomy, the recipe, and the ability to strategize a session, as well as promoting the usual standards of professional appropriateness and competency.
  3. The best format for the test might be a weekend class in which several teachers / evaluators from different schools would evaluate a group of recent graduates, also from a variety of schools. These ‘test classes’ could be held several times a year in different parts of the country.

But these are just preliminary ideas—it would be presumptuous for the Board to decide these details. A committee is being formed that includes folks from all sides of the profession to work out proposals for the ‘hoops’ we agree that new SI practitioners have to jump through to demonstrate their skills. The process needs to be accessible but complete enough to reassure current practitioners that new members are worth their salt.

I value my long training and experience in SI. I don’t want to be lumped in with all these under-trained practitioners / aloof paternalistic snobs / lunkheads from the _____ school (choose your favorite phrase). Isn’t IASI going to seriously lower the standards of the profession?

There are several answers to this question, the first of which is: Yes, it is necessary that we all get over ourselves enough to bridge differences. At the same time: No, it is not necessary to give up your own standards or flush the finer parts of this work down the drain in a general ‘dumbing down’ of SI.

There is no doubt that in casting such a wide net, IASI will come up with some strange fish. The field of SI has attracted some unique and offbeat folk ever since Ida Rolf first started training people in the late 40’s and 50’s. Trying to get this profession of mavericks together is somewhat like herding cats. IASI is trying to get both ends of the spectrum (and the rest of us in the middle) together under one umbrella, secure in the knowledge that:

  1. There are competent, safe, inquisitive, sensitive, engaging, and exploratory people, who are a joy to associate with, from each of these schools, and
  2. It is necessary to begin from an inclusive place to avoid the isolation and separation that have hobbled SI up until now, and
  3. Continuing as we have been is a recipe for long-term oblivion.

So, yes, at the beginning, both ends of the spectrum may be shaking their heads at what they have to deal with, but we are confident that within a few years that the IASI group will find its appropriate professional level. The real flakes will drop away, and the high muckamucks will either see that there is really not much that separates them from the hoibpolloi, or they will clearly articulate what makes them so different and we can all learn thereby.

But most of all, practitioners will be able to see clearly and precisely where their skills may be lacking, and will have access to continuing education programs where they can fill in the blanks, be it in anatomy, emotion-handling skills, direct or indirect technique, movement, biomechanics, advanced training, or the many other areas of relevance to the engaged SI practitioner.

Every nascent profession—PT’s, chiros, doctors, and lawyers—has had to go through this process of defining itself. If we cannot do this, we cannot survive as a distinct entity. We don’t have to define what SI is (a subject of a lot of endless discussion over the last decades), but rather define what an SI practitioner does, render those activities as a defined skill set, and then make sure each member is basically covered in that skill set.

The design of IASI’s strategy is to include as many as possible in the initial grandfathering round-up, and then lift the general level of the profession through disseminating information and offering a good set of CE courses. The IASI Board is not blind to the challenging aspects of lifting the profession as a whole, but we are convinced that it is a better solution than continuing on our current path toward dilution, absorption, and ultimate blending.

Well, I like the idea, and it might even work. How can I participate?

  1. Apply to join IASI using the Apply button below. Fill out the accompanying questionnaire, so we know who we’re working with.
  2. Talk IASI over with other practitioners you know,
  3. Send money. IASI is all volunteer, and needs money for mailings, ads, and all the ‘getting started’ stuff.
  4. Work on a project. Work is ongoing in several areas, and we can use your participation. Just indicate your area of interest and jump on in.

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