Alexander Technique taught in a hospital drug / alcohol treatment program since 2012 for: recovery, relapse prevention, co-occurring disorders such as PTSD
“Since 2012, Rebecca Ferguson’s Alexander Technique “Mindful Recovery Practices” classes have been taught at Carle Hospital Addiction Recovery Center. Her classes
are fun, and helpful for teaching our clients easy mind / body methods for calming themselves, reducing anxiety, stress management, and building resilience.
We’ve seen these Alexander Technique-based practices are especially useful for
calming, rapid mood elevation, lowering stress reactivity, and improved self-esteem –
which helps with on-going recovery and relapse prevention for substance abuse,
and dealing with co-occurring disorders such as anxiety, PTSD, and eating disorders.
Rebecca’s Alexander Technique classes are a valuable, effective addition to Carle’s outpatient treatment programs because she incorporates helpful material from her
personal recovery from opioid pain pills, tranquilizers, and alcohol addiction
using Alexander Technique practices, along with 12 Step principles.
Rebecca provides relaxing, comforting hands-on work with clients in classes, and teaches
them practical, uncomplicated ways to relax, while developing mindful awareness of
themselves physically and mentally.
Clients are also provided with take-home materials for incorporating stress reduction,
recovery and relapse prevention practices into daily life activities such as standing,
walking, and sitting – and which can also be used to aid in focus and relaxation
when attending 12 Step meetings.
Rebecca is a skilled, caring teacher who has a knack for working with people of all ages
and backgrounds, and making Alexander Technique practices easy and accessible
to our clients, who give us only positive feedback on her classes.”
Jeff Evans, Manager Carle Hospital Addiction Recovery Center Urbana, IL
Reduction of trauma symptoms, anxiety and migraines
“Alexander Technique lessons with Rebecca are very helpful, teaching me simple,
self-directed mind/body methods that I access in my daily life for anxiety, and
which eliminated some trauma reactions I’ve had for years.
These self-care methods are easy to do and empowering, because they enable
me to rapidly calm myself and handle stress and triggers better, and also to
intercept migraine headaches before they become full-blown.
I notice calming and less anxiety as I continue to practice.”
Dr Maureen McMichael,
Professor and Doctor, U of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine,
Reduced Rheumatoid Arthritis pain, and getting free of opioids
“I had chronic pain from Rheumatoid Arthritis, which was diagnosed in 2010.
I started taking opioid pain pills and became dependent on them. My family,
work and ability to handle my life suffered.
I heard about Rebecca’s work through a friend with migraines and PTSD who was
helped by learning to practice Alexander Technique in her daily life.
I started lessons and self-directed practices in June 2012. I’ve changed my stress
and tension reactions, how I breathe, and how I move and use my body.
I’ve learned to recognize where I hold stress, and how to release it – which helps
to reduce pain, while helping me calm down and be less anxious overall. My
mood and depression has improved as I’ve done these practices.
Over the last 6 months, with the help of my doctor, I’ve been able to taper off
opioids. Everyone in my life has noticed a new ease and how much calmer I am.
Anne S. Champaign, IL
Improved stage presence, performance and awareness for Chicago actress
“Studying the Alexander Technique (AT) with Rebecca has been a transformative experience, and very rewarding both personally and professionally…Working on posture, alignment and body awareness have improved my confidence,
strength and ease of movement through my daily life.
As both a performer and teacher, the AT has improved my stage presence and my ability to command attention and communicate clearly and powerfully. Rebecca is
a generous and encouraging teacher. Her patience and investment in my progress
have motivated me to continue working with the AT; she brings a lightness and
sense of humor in her approach that makes the work seem fun and doable…”
Lily Mooney, Actress with The Neo-Futurists, Chicago
Improved well-being and trauma reduction after double mastectomy/reconstruction
“I began Alexander Technique (AT) lessons in 2012 to improve presentation skills,
and posture. I’ve had unexpected benefits beyond these goals.
Most significant is healing from trauma from double mastectomy / reconstruction
surgery in 2005. I thought I’d fully recovered from my cancer surgeries; it wasn’t
until working with Rebecca that I saw how negatively I was affected. I’ve had
deep layers of change with the AT – and increased self-esteem, presence
and ease in movement, with a new sense of being myself in my own skin.
I have more energy, clarity, and control of stress reactions and wellness issues.
I recommend AT for anyone who’s had mastectomy or reconstruction surgery
Virlane Torbit Catlin, IL
Improved presentations and stress management for UIUC Graduate Student
…I carry a heavy backpack, spending most days teaching, or sitting at a computer.
AT practices have become vital to eliminating fatigue, muscle pain and tension;
and have helped me respond differently to stress.
I’m less anxious in general, especially lecturing to large classes and other groups, where I’m more present and effective when speaking. AT in-the-body mindfulness practices are also helpful when sitting and using my laptop, and walking.
Ellen Ritter, Graduate Student
Community Health Sciences Dept, U of IL Urbana-Champaign (UIUC)
Clean and sober after a relapse from almost 20 years of long-term sobriety
After almost 20 years clean and sober, in 2012 I relapsed and got arrested for driving under the influence. I had court-mandated treatment and went to Carle Hospital’s Addiction Recovery Center in Urbana. There, I was exposed to Rebecca’s Alexander Technique Mindful Recovery Practices (MRP) classes.
MRP stress release, breathing and sitting techniques are especially helpful to me in AA/NA meetings and daily situations that I need to be alert for yet remain calm and centered. Overall I’m managing stress better which helps me stay clean and sober. MRP is of great value to my recovery every day.
I was impressed with Rebecca’s classes at Carle, and the simple, effective methods that she taught us for grounding and calming, which I have used ever since first learning them.
Robert S. Urbana, IL
Prairie Center Behavioral Health Systems: Relapse prevention, stress reduction, mood elevation and co-occurring disorders
“Rebecca Ferguson taught Mindful Recovery Practices mind/body practices for recovery, relapse prevention and stress management to Prairie Center outpatient treatment clients
in the Champaign County Drug Court program from February 2012 to January 2014.
Rebecca’s programs helped these Prairie Center clients, who reported that the difference
in how they felt was improved with each class and also helped build self-esteem and poise.
Clients used the practical, self-directed mindfulness and stress reduction tools learned in Rebecca’s class on their own to calm themselves and handle stress better,
which helped them stay clean and sober.
Rebecca’s programs require no physical ability and are not strenuous, which worked well with our clients because in early recovery clients often have issues trying to concentrate.
I noticed a calming effect with clients as the time progressed with Rebecca’s classes.
Even those with co-occurring disorders responded positively and were able to participate.
Regardless of a client’s background Rebecca’s own recovery enables her to relate well
with the client’s struggles in recovery and relapse prevention. Her skill, passion and commitment show in her teaching. Rebecca’s practices are important for our clients
in forming the groundwork for healthy recovery and relapse prevention.”
Kathie Spegal Former Case Manager, Prairie Center Health Systems, Urbana, IL
Drug Court client stays clean & sober
“I took Rebecca Ferguson’s classes in starting in late April – June 2012 at Prairie Center Residential and then Outpatient treatment. The methods I’ve learned make me feel better and are helping me handle stress better and stay clean and sober.”
Walter J. Champaign, IL
Drug Court client stays clean, and gains poise and confidence
“Rebecca’s classes helped me when I was trying to stay clean in my Drug Court program. I was calmer and felt much better after doing her classes, so I did some of the exercises she showed us on my own. I learned to sit up and stand up straighter and have some “poise” which she taught us about. This helped me feel better and less nervous, even
when I had to be in court and when I was looking for work. Because I was calmer
and had that new poise, the judge saw a nice difference in me, which helped me out.”
Georgia S. Urbana, IL
Changing stress responses and binge eating patterns
“At Rebecca’s MIndful Alexander Technique Mindful Eating class I learned simple physical mindfulness and grounding practices for calming myself , and recognizing and stopping anxiety and stress responses that caused me to start eating.
I’ve made changes in other behaviors I did not think about before Rebecca’s class including how I breathe, and how much tension I use in chewing and even holding a fork. This plus improving my posture and relaxing my hands and jaw have made a big difference in
my stress reactions. I’m handling stress differently, which helps me have a sense of a different relationship to eating, and more choice and detachment from my old habits.
Ashley T. Chicago, IL
Ongoing recovery from alcohol and marijuana
“Rebecca taught Mindful Recovery Practices (MRP) for stress reduction and relapse prevention in my Outpatient program. I was a chronic relapser with alcohol and pot, and also have pain and anxiety. Learning MRP and doing the practices on my own has helped me calm down, and handle pain and reactions to stress better. I’m clean and sober now almost a year.”
Charles W. Urbana, IL
Improvement with eating issues and anxiety
“I learned about Rebecca’s Mindful Alexander Technique Mindful Eating class from her website. I was looking for a Mindfulness practice for issues with anxiety and stress-related eating. Rebecca’s class focused on easy practices I do on my own to reduce stress and become more aware of my eating patterns. The self-directed practices have helped me feel less anxious and change some long-time eating habits, especially eating fast and on the run. I can eat more slowly and consciously, and notice when I am actually full and stop eating. I could not do that before.”
Alan W. Chicago, IL
Improved balance and walking after traumatic brain injuries
“I developed balance problems after traumatic brain injuries. Rebecca’s Mindful Balance practices helped me improve my balance and mobility to the point that I’ve resumed daily walks and can also use stairs again. Getting myself moving and increased awareness
has also lifted depression, and prevented a couple of falls.”
Walter C. Chicago, IL
Calming, reduced depression/anxiety and changing eating patterns
“I was having trouble in college because of depression and issues around anxiety, stress and eating. Working with Rebecca’s MIndful Alexander Technique Mindful Eating and stress reduction practices gave me tools to calm myself, and help with stress eating. Rebecca’s methods are relaxing, fun and practical. I’ve seen a difference in my anxiety and awareness, and can pause now before starting into old habits. Anxiety and depression is better and I feel more hopeful and in control of my mood.”
Rachel S. Urbana, IL
Scleroderma symptom reduction, weight gain, anxiety relief and improved well-being
“In 1995 I was diagnosed with the autoimmune disease Scleroderma, and have dealt daily with its effects since then. For about 4 months I’ve had one-on-one lessons
with Rebecca in the mind/body practices of the Alexander Technique.
Through her guidance and the mind/body self-care practices I’ve learned, I have more courage and confidence to handle the physical discomfort, pain, stress and flare-ups
Since starting the lessons, my ability to better manage stress and Scleroderma symptoms has also helped me gain much-needed weight – and my circulation and the color in my extremities has improved.
I’m also experiencing a decrease in anxiety in my work as a teacher. With better management of stress and flare ups I have fewer worries, more self-assurance and patience, which creates a happier me and happier students.
I recommend Rebecca to anyone dealing with a chronic disease – and looking for someone who will teach accessible self-care practices and give honest, gentle feedback and encouragement on how to deal effectively and efficiently with symptoms and stress.”
Tamara Emerson Chicago, IL
Breast cancer survivor with double mastectomy and reconstruction issues
“I learned about Rebecca’s work through a friend who’d worked with her after a double mastectomy and reconstruction surgery. I was about a year out from a double mastectomy and reconstruction surgery. I had pain, restricted movement and tightening in the surgery area, and lymphedema issues.
After six months of MAT lessons and doing the practices on my own, I have more flexibility and mobility in my ribcage, upper torso, neck, shoulders and arms. Breathing and circulation is improved, which helps pain and lymphedema. Pain and swelling is reduced. Activities – especially bending, lifting, and driving – are easier.”
Sarah S. Chicago, IL
Breast Cancer survivor with lymphedema, pain and mobility issues
“I had pain, limited mobility in my arms and chest, and lymphedema in my right arm after my double mastectomy and reconstruction surgeries in 2012.
Rebecca’s gentle “Mindful Moves” practices helped with pain, range of motion, tightness and overall circulation—which also helped with lymphedema. The practices were a good fit for me. I learned how to move more easily and not aggravate the lymphedema. I also feel more comfortable in my body and more confident.”
Chris T. Chicago, IL
Reduced neck and back pain and increased productivity for software engineer
“Rebecca came to our small office and taught a Mindful Moves workshop for two co-workers and myself. She worked with each of us at our desk, chair and computer, showing us new body mechanics and posture practices, along with how to set up our chairs and computers so we’d reduce pain and tension when sitting and working.
She gave us directions to do the practices on our own, plus helpful tips such as getting up from our chairs often to boost metabolism, and wearing looser clothing, and roomier shoes and socks to improve circulation when sitting as much as we do.
Within a week of the Mindful Moves workshop, my neck and back pain improved. Improving posture and releasing tension makes me more productive and feel good. What I like the most is that these practices make sense and are easy to integrate into how I work.”
Kay R. Champaign, IL
Increased productivity and reduced stress and back pain for editor
“Mindful Moves sitting practices are easy and feel good, especially for using my computer. New body mechanics, posture and breathing methods have reduced stress and back pain, and helped me be more productive with less effort.”
John Bradford Champaign, IL
Sitting practices and reduced stress and back pain for U of Illinois Law School student
“I’m a 2nd year Law School student at the University of llinois. I had lower back pain aggravated by stress and long hours of sitting in classes and studying. I was taking pain medication which affected my ability to think or write well. A friend had been helped working with Rebecca’s Mindful Moves practices, so I decided to try lessons.
Pain diminished within the first few weeks of lessons with Rebecca, as I learned to improve my sitting posture and use my breath and body differently. I have more awareness of myself, and can release muscle tension during the day, which helps with pain and not reacting to stress as I used to.”
John S. Champaign, IL
Executive with 30 year marijuana habit and anxiety
“I smoked pot several times a day for about 30 years. I tried to quit often but always relapsed because of anxiety.
In our lessons Rebecca taught me how to breathe, and stop old reactions and habits – and how to practice the methods on my own. I’ve felt good, handled stress and cravings well.”
Lewis B. Chicago, IL