Success in osteopathic practice lies in early training for professional autonomy. Liberal education must help students build confidence and cultivate osteopathic reflective abilities. Based on this theory, teaching palpation is entirely sensible. Applying one’s hands to another’s body, "touching the other", "being touched" reveal emotions seldom verbalized and experienced unconsciously in the student/learner’s palpation and proprioception. The exercise we use to introduce our students to palpation techniques consists in asking students to alternate roles as patient and therapist. As practitioners they are invited first to perform "palpatory listening", then to exchange roles and partners to finally work in silence and respect in groups of 2 and 3 therapists and a single patient. The exercise unfolds like a ballet with scenes of hesitation, delayed separations, glances exchanged, laughter, sighs, variable hand positions... Following this exercise, students’ feelings are noted on a chart by an instructor careful to maintain a neutral attitude. Students describe mobility, tissue qualities, pleasant or unpleasant sensations arising from applied pressure, therapist or patient characteristics, palpated areas and discomfort, palpitations, drowsiness... The reactions and emotions elicited are then openly discussed. Possible links with the subject's history and palpations associated with psychic and somatic childhood development are explored. The approach allows the instructor to develop patient practitioner relations, conscious and unconscious projection and transfers and student teacher duality. By introducing the palpation process in this way we demonstrate the values of osteopathic liberal culture, our philosophic heritage and the reality of the socio-economic-cultural environment.
Christiane Leclaire (Osteopath) An osteopath since 1992, Christiane Leclaire teaches applied anatomy, urogynecology, obstetrics, pediatrics and fascial techniques at the College of Osteopathy of Provence (Marseille, France). She conducts training sessions for midwives and attends postgraduate seminars (dissection, Neurology, fascial techniques ...) to further her knowledge. She earned a UD (Academic Degree) in Psychosomatics in 2010. Simon-Henri Girard (Osteopath) An osteopath since 2005, Simon-Henri Girard teaches anatomy and spinal and pelvic musculoskeletal techniques at the College of Osteopathy of Provence. Chairman of the Thesis Committee and a member of the Research Department, he earned a DUHEPS, (Advanced Studies in Social Practice) with a specialty in osteopathic training in 2011.