Lies Pressel has been conducting training courses since 1982. This is how she summarizes the experience:
At first I conducted the courses as I had experienced the training myself: After one week of training there was a half year “pause” for practice. I soon noticed that some of the participants started to call themselves Pressel therapists after completing only this one initial week and then showed no interest in continuing their training. Since I feel a great responsibility towards the patients this was a big problem for me. In addition, I always noticed how insecure and overwhelmed the students felt after the initial week of training when they were left on their own to practice. An experienced colleague advised me to make the initial part of the course 3 weeks long. The thought behind this was that the students would gain a solid basis of knowledge and additionally the student who were not serious would be weeded out. This is how it ended up being. But still, after 3 weeks of training, I often heard students lamenting that they wished they had one more week of training coming. I reflected on this. As time went by it became more and more difficult to expect the students to be gone from home for 4 weeks. The participants were often mothers with small children at home or people who could not take the course as part of a professional education. Once again I had to change the format of the training, this time to an initial formal course of 3 weeks followed by 3 months of independent practice, then 2 weeks of formal course activity followed by another 3 months of independent practice. After completing this the students would participate in 8 more days of formal course work ending in a medical seminar and a final exam.
In today’s world even this is too long for most people. Therefore I also offer a training schedule consisting of four times 2 week courses with approximately 3 months of independent practice between the formal courses. I have used this course sequence in several cities and countries. Experience has shown that the first 2 weeks of training, in spite of being short, are enough to learn the basics to practice safely on healthy individuals.
During the second 2 week course numerous additional scenarios are presented and practiced, for instance what I incorporated into the massage from Dr. Hauschka which demands a completely different quality of touch. Special attention is given to this difference – it has to be properly understood and practiced. The contrast between these grip qualities allows an opportunity for a unique completeness which can only be accomplished by a thoroughly and properly trained hand. The foundation for the massage can be found in the qualities of the seven planets, which we are trying to get closer to through daily conversations throughout the training.
During the third and fourth parts of the training a lot of time and attention is dedicated to case studies and the composition of treatment plans, both in theory and in real cases. A treatment plan is like a composition with lots of undertones unique to the individual therapist. Through years of practice the hands become more and more sensitive and they transmit the impulses in a more and more subtle manner until the massage has become a work of art, a “healing art”.
Of course the training reaches far beyond the formal courses.
It is obvious that the individual therapist over time develops his/her own signature. This is good as long as the basic structure and intentions have been absorbed so thoroughly that the individualization does not result in a falsification of the massage. The therapist has to be extremely aware of the “why” and “how” each time a change is made, only then can it lead to an enrichment of the massage.
The ideal configuration for this training would be 3 initial weeks for the basic course followed by the before mentioned 3 months of practice time, then twice 2 weeks courses each followed by the 3 months of practice and then a final 1 week course with the medical seminar and the final exam. The reason why the independent practice time between each formal course should not be much more than 3 months is that any errors or bad habits the student might develop during the practice routine can be corrected right away. After the training sequence of courses has been completed there will be a weekend seminar “Master Class” offered every year.
Many people have a strong wish to act in a helping way. Strict self discipline and a willingness for self sacrifice is a pre-requisite. This will also be addressed during training.
It was Dr. Pressel’s conviction that one would not need much of a medical background to learn this massage form. What was important for him was a basic knowledge of the Anthroposophical understanding of the human being. It was also necessary to be in a healthy state, both physically and mentally. The deciding factor for Dr. Pressel was that he wanted to give every person in possession of a healing impulse the tools to utilize his/her gifts.