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the international association of rubenfeld synergists

The Rubenfeld Synergy Method® (RSM) is a powerful and proven healing modality, with a 50-year history of using the wisdom of the body to provide transformational healing. Combining intentional, respectful, listening touch with verbal processing creates a dynamic integration of body, mind, emotions, and spirit.

Founder, Ilana Rubenfeld, often referred to as “the Grande Dame of the body-oriented therapy movement,” is a world-recognized pioneer in integrating psychology, body mind, and intuition. During the 1960s, she combined elements from her personal experience and extensive studies of various modalities to create the Rubenfeld Synergy Method®, (RSM).

Ilana came to experience somatic-emotional processing as a musician. She received bodywork for the pain in her upper back (from her work as a conductor), specifically Feldenkrais and The F.M. Alexander Method, and psychotherapy to address the emotion that emerged during this bodywork. It was this personal path into somatic workthat led her to create a healing modality that promotes emotional processing using somatic dialogue and the trained gentle touch of a Rubenfeld Synergist.

As a trained musician, her method is based on harmonics and vibrations, working through hands-on contact with the client’s body while incorporating emotional processing and verbal interventions. Current scientific research in the fields of physics and neuroscience validates the discovery by Candace Pert, Ph.D. described in her book, Molecules of Emotion, that the body holds emotional memory in its cells. Quantum mechanics explains that we are all vibrational fields. The Rubenfeld Synergy Method, using simultaneous touch and dialogue, allows change to occur both in one’s intellectual understanding as well as the body’s felt experience via a shift in energies.

In 2002, Ilana received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the United States Association for Body Psychotherapy. She authored The Listening Hand (published by Bantam-2000), numerous chapters, interviews and articles.

“Listening touch became my instrument for tuning into all levels of the psyche: touch  and talk became an essential duet. Here were two great healing forces that, when synergized, were greater than either alone.” 

~ Ilana Rubenfeld

For anyone seeking to become a catalyst for healing and change in the world, the RSM certification training program provides the learning, skills and tools needed to step confidently into your own private practice, helping clients resolve a variety of physical and emotional issues that reside in the body.

The program is ideally suited to current bodyworkers and mental health professionals seeking to deepen and add dimension to their existing practices to provide a totality of healing. This training program is equally suited for professionals searching for an autonomous career path that allows them to be a catalyst for healing and change in the world. A private practice allows them to set their own hours and determine how much they WANT to make.

The training program is designed to allow trainees to maintain their current roles as professionals and/or caregivers, while learning new skills that will prepare them to see clients in their own part-time or full-time practice.

The method used by Rubenfeld Synergists is centered in the understanding that bodymind is inseparable. Memories, thoughts, and emotions are stored in the vast network of our body’s sensory and nervous system, vital organs, and sensory apparatus. Our bodymind speaks to us through how we move, hold our bodies, experience pleasure and pain, relate to others. Synergists educate clients to notice the language and metaphors of their body’s system and how, with awareness, they can guide them to greater physical and emotional freedom.

A few of the arts and skills you will receive in the Rubenfeld Synergy Training program are:

Foundation and Theoretical Knowledge: Your success begins with a strong foundation! 

  • Ilana Rubenfeld’s six (6) Aha’s and the 18 RSM Principles (the backbone of RSM)
  • Introduction to research in neuroscience: neuroplasticity, cellular memory
  • Importance of touch in development and therapeutic relationship
  • Body as messenger; body as metaphor                                                                                        

Somatic Skills: heighten somatic awareness, deepen the session, and promote healing and change

  • B.O.M.A. Balance of Mechanical Advantage--physiology of bone/muscle leverage. Right use of the body.
  • Listening, intentional touch, (the foundation of RSM)
  • Breath – following and using in service to the client

Verbal Skills: Verbal interventions to support somatic awareness

  • Use of voice
  • Weaving together talk and touch
  • Verbal skills to deepen the session

Relational Skill Building: Wounding happens in relationship. Healing happens in relationship.

  • Presence
  • Establishing/maintaining safety and trust
  • Transference/counter transference

Emotions: Using the wisdom of emotions in the healing process

  • Use of Humor
  • How to deepen and expand emotions

Energy: Healing the past unleashes energy too long kept prisoner. 

  • The role of energy or energy work in RSM

Spiritual: This is soul work!

  • Integrating Spirit with Body, Mind and Emotions

The current training is a three-year program which includes a combination of twelve to fourteen webinars, two separate onsite weeks, reading assignments and practice clients each year. Personal individual sessions with a Certified Synergist are also required to give you a sense of what your clients will experience and to learn more about your own body’s wisdom. At an appropriate stage in your learning, you will start working with practice clients and continue to do so for the remainder of the training.

The curriculum has been thoughtfully and thoroughly crafted to introduce the skills of listening touch and verbal processing gradually over three years as you master each new learning and develop confidence. Mastery of these skills enable you to create a safe environment with appropriate boundaries and to support your clients’ process as they work to evolve, grow and manifest their whole, authentic selves in the world while helping clients minimize/heal physical and/or emotional pain along the way.

Comments from trainees:

I’m learning to talk, use my body, and be present in new ways!”

“The feedback is awesome! The ability to be witnessed while we are doing a move is amazing.”

“This is like the culmination of so many things I’ve done.  It’s the PHD, bringing it all together for me.”

Tuition includes all training materials, webinars, onsite instruction and supervision and is based on approximately 260 hours each year.

For additional Training Program information:Contact Joan Brooks  By phone:  (304)-261-1443Email:


The Ilana Rubenfeld Foundation (TIRF) is the governing body for preserving the Rubenfeld Synergy Method

The International Association of Rubenfeld Synergists (INARS) collaborates with The Ilana Rubenfeld Foundation to establish guidelines for certification requirements for all levels of Certified Rubenfeld Synergists (CRS), and certifies all levels of CRS based on the guidelines established.

For More Information Contact: Joan Small, President INARS,

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USABP purpose

We believe that integration of the body and mind is essential to effective psychotherapeutic health. To that end, we develop and advance the art, science, and practice of body psychotherapy and somatic psychology in a professional, ethical, and caring manner in order to support our membership as they promote the health and welfare of their clients.”

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