CTB Practitioner Level Guidelines & Expectations

Please bookmark this page for frequent reference, as this page will provide full guidelines for developing a practice and progressing efficiently through your program. If anything is unclear here, please email Zoë at [email protected] for clarification.

At Coaching the Body Institute, we use the martial arts model to not only assess student competency, but to also encourage a culture of leadership. In martial arts, students are encouraged to begin assisting others in class very early on, with the understanding that through teaching, we solidify what we've learned and we more clearly observe where we are lacking.

In order to encourage this model and help our students see their progression through the CTBP certification program, we are implementing a belt system as of early 2019. Just like in martial arts, when you progress to a higher level of competency, you will be granted a new belt color. The belts will be "wrist belts" or bracelets, so everyone can identify in class which students are taking more leadership roles.

The belts will also serve as a means to keep your education on track. Should you not receive a belt required for entering your next in-person course, your future classes may be rearranged. For this reason, we want to emphasize the importance of keeping up with class assignments and scheduling your mentoring in a timely manner.

The end goal of becoming certified as a Coaching The Body Practitioner is to become an effective bodyworker who can deliver a fluid, integrated session that in most cases addresses the primary pain complaint exhibited by the client.

We teach our Trigger Point 2.0 principles throughout our program, and all of our work is informed by these principles. However, fluid, confident, facilitated movement is an important aspect of our Coaching The Body approach to retraining the nervous system to let go of compensatory holding. Without concentration on technique and relaxed body weight, the Coaching The Body modality will not function as intended. Treatment will not be successful unless practitioner can provide relaxed movement for the client's body.

It is essential and expected that throughout your training at CTBI you are developing and refining a practice of regular bodywork. Only with consistent practice and use of these techniques can one become proficient and ultimately certify in this work. Through our martial arts-style training progression, mentoring  and post-class assignments, the system encourages the development of a consistent and effective practice.

CTBI reserves the right to postpone any student's curriculum if they show no signs of a developing practice, as some of the more advanced courses require an advanced understanding of the body and teach refinement of an already-established technique.

Students begin the CTBP Certification program in Level 1 and Hands Free 1 by building capacity to put together a smoothly-flowing general session with fluid transitions. 

Working successfully in this paradigm is more than stringing together a set of clinical techniques. Repertoire A and B build the client's library of techniques together with appropriate, smooth transitions for working with related muscles in a modular unit.

With CTB Fundamentals and Functional Anatomy, students will begin to incorporate specific muscle palpation and the CTB treatment cycle into their flow, assessing range of motion, prominent limiters and fiber change.  CTB Fundamentals will also provide the framework for structural and breathing assessments that make the difference between temporary and lasting results.

Once competency in the basic Level 1 session is demonstrated and using contract/relax techniques and working muscles through range becomes second-nature, then it is time to introduce the protocols and treatment design techniques of the Clinical Core classes.

The Upper and Lower Core classes provide essential protocols for resolving the vast majority of upper and lower body complaints that most practitioners will see.

Self-Care, Corrections and Rehab teaches our CTB framework for analyzing and correcting common anatomical variations such as leg length discrepancy and hyperpronation, along with self-care approaches so that clients can maintain their own pain-free state. Corrective exercise is an important component for some clients, and our system revolutionizes the process of using exercise to maintain muscle balance.

And finally, Integrating the Practice will be used to review any techniques and protocols that may need refinement, and will allow students to demonstrate their competency in CTB and their preparedness for the CTB Certification Exam.

Muscle Checkout

CTB Muscle Checkout is broken into two categories: Muscle Knowledge and Muscle Treatment. The muscles required for checkout in the CTBP Certification program are listed below. As you continue to develop your practice, you will begin to see that the majority of pain complaints that come through your doors are directly connected to either a group of muscles related to the shoulder or the key muscles of the lower body. With this basic understanding, we can prepare you for the vast majority of cases by simply getting you comfortable with the analysis and treatment cycle for 11 muscles of the "lower" body and 13 in the upper body.

Mentoring

Mentoring is a key component of your education. Your mentoring sessions will be some of your primary stepping stones to progressing through your CTBP program, providing you necessary feedback on your technique, treatment design and ability to monitor fiber change and address pain complaints.  It is within the mentoring sessions that you will show competency at each level, share your notes and findings from your home practice and be given the thumbs up to move to your next color belt and next class.

While we have established a minimum number of mentoring sessions required for the CTBP program (4), we recognize that each student progresses at their own pace and some may require more mentoring than others. The minimum requirement is not a recommendation, but simply a baseline.

As stated above, it is important to note that we will not progress you through the in-person course curriculum as planned if required levels of competency are not reached throughout the mentoring process. So please read through the Belt Criteria carefully and keep this page within easy access so you can reference it regularly throughout your program.

PLEASE NOTE: If you come to your mentoring session unprepared, your mentor holds the right to end your mentoring session and request you return to repeat. You will be charged for the additional session.

Received Sessions

A minimum of 2 received sessions are required for CTBP Certification.

Received Session 1 - This session should be scheduled any time within your 100 Level coursework. An experienced practitioner is to demonstrate the concept of a general session with specific focal elements. This session will be a full-body session based on an enhanced Level 1 routine and modeling pacing, body mechanics, body weight, fluid transitions, the use of the CTB treatment cycle and a treatment design based 100 and 200 level techniques.

Received Session 2 - This session should be scheduled after your Clinical Core classes and before Integrating the Practice. An experienced practitioner is to demonstrate the flow and feel of an upper or lower body session based on the protocols taught in the Clinical Core for Upper and Lower Body classes.  You should choose the area of the body you are weakest at regarding your own body mechanics, palpation, transitions and technique.

These sessions are training sessions, they are not for the purpose of fixing your issues - although a competent therapist will know how to provide some therapeutic benefit within the context of the session they provide. That should be your educational goal as well. If you desire specific clinical work, you should book a professional session with one of our clinic therapists or clinical apprentices. Received sessions are not to be used for this purpose.

Documented Client Sessions

In order to observe the growth in your session work, we request that you document your bodywork sessions as you go. We will be requesting your documentation throughout your coursework (see Belt Criteria) in order to provide response to any issues you're running into and to observe your progress.

45 documented sessions is the bare minimum required to complete the CTBP program. We request that these sessions be with a wide variety of clients in order for you to experience different body types and muscular complaints. If you complete documentation more than once for the same person, please do so sparingly and for good reason (i.e. different pain complaint, desire to show progress, etc.).

All 45+ sessions should be documented with the following documents (or equivalent):

- Intake Forms: CTB Intake Form.pdf
- Session Notes: CTB1 Session Log.pdf
- Feedback Forms: CTB1 Client Feedback Form.pdf

CTB Membership

The CTB Membership is our most comprehensive online training that will prepare you for treating our most common pain complaints in the upper and lower body, including shoulder pain, sciatica, hip, thigh and knee pain. This program will provide you 1-2 hours of online training every week. You should plan to make this training part of your weekly routine, but remember, you will have access to it forever. 

The first 20 weeks of the CTB Membership focus on the shoulder and this module should be complete - test included - prior to your attendance of Clinical Core for the Upper Body. Weeks 21-32 focus on "sciatica" pain and should be completed - test included - prior to your attendance of Clinical Core for the Lower Body. Please plan to complete the test for each of these at least one month prior to their associated class so you have time to retake if necessary and we do not need to postpone your class enrollment.

Muscle Checkout

CTB Muscle Checkout is broken into two categories: Muscle Knowledge and Muscle Treatment. The muscles required for checkout in the CTBP Certification program are listed below. As you continue to develop your practice, you will begin to see that the majority of pain complaints that come through your doors are directly connected to either a group of muscles related to the shoulder or the key muscles of the lower body. With this basic understanding, we can prepare you for the vast majority of cases by simply getting you comfortable with the analysis and treatment cycle for 11 muscles of the "lower" body and 13 in the upper body.

Muscle Knowledge Checkout is where you verbally share your additional knowledge on a muscle that often cannot be demonstrated physically.

Categories to Know

  • Referral/satellite referral patterns
  • Action/function

Resources for Preparation

  • Clinical Core for the Upper Body online course
  • CTB Membership Shoulder Module (Weeks 1-20)
  • Clinical Core for the Lower Body online course
  • CTB Membership Hip Module (Weeks 21-32)
  • Functional Anatomy Muscle Pages
  • Student Body Area Checkout spreadsheet

In the Student Body Area Checkout spreadsheet, the light green sections on the Shoulder and Hip tabs are the Muscle Treatment areas we will be covering in the Clinical Core classes and these are the only lower and upper body muscles you will be tested on for the CTB Practitioner Level Certification. The Muscle Knowledge columns are white and the columns in gray are Advanced Practitioner columns and will not be tested in Clinical Core classes.

This Clinical Core courses are competency-based - we verify that you actually know and can express the muscle and treatment knowledge in class. If you're going into the class with a goal of checking out, you should already have verified your muscle knowledge via testing and should feel relatively familiar with the individual muscle treatments.

If you do not feel comfortable with your treatment of these muscles, please email Zoë and we will discuss your options for future checkout on an individual basis.

Muscle Treatment Checkout

Muscle Treatment Checkout is an opportunity for instructors to determine how familiar you are with the techniques and treatment cycles for the lower or upper body muscles included in the Clinical Core classes. In these classes we will be covering the core techniques and sequences that allow for treating these muscles into short and stretch and utilizing the "contract/relax" technique. 

We're attempting to include checkout within the classroom as a means of reducing the amount of private mentoring, so we encourage all CTBP students to fully prepare for this class in order to prevent needing additional mentoring or to repeat the class.

In order to prepare for checkout, students should be well-versed on techniques for the following muscles:

Upper Body Muscles
- Serratus Anterior
- Low/Mid-Trapezius
- Subscapularis
- Infraspinatus
- Clavicular pectoralis major
- Pectoralis minor
- Levator scapulae
- Scalenes
- Supraspinatus
- Teres minor
- Latissimus dorsi
- Teres major
- Rhomboids

Resources for Preparation
Clinical Core for the Upper Body online course
CTB Membership Shoulder Module (Weeks 1-20)
Body Area Checkout - Shoulder

Techniques to Know
SLP: 4-Position Shoulder, Cleaning the Wing

Lower Body Muscles
- Quadratus lumborum
- Glutes (maximus, medius, minimus)
- Tensor fascia latae (TFL)
- Quads (rectus femoris, vastus lateralis, vastus medialis, vastus intermedius)
- Hamstrings (semitendinosus, semimembranosus, biceps femoris)
- Adductors (longus, magnus)

Resources for Preparation
Clinical Core for the Lower Body online course
CTB Membership Hip Module (Weeks 21-32)
Hands Free 1 and Repertoire A & B in-person courses
Body Area Checkout - Hip/Knee

Techniques to Know
Supine: Dan Kha, Dak Wukao (including hands-free variations), Raised Knee. SLP: Sitting Under the Leg and Extended Leg 

CTBP Belt System

Below are the stages through which CTBP students should progress through their program. In order to efficiently and effectively reach these stages, it is crucial that you:

  • Develop a working practice that allows you to complete each post-class assignment
  • Work on many different bodies and body types
  • Consistently work to increase your routine repertoire
  • Implement what you've learned in class as soon as you've learned it
    Practice, practice, practice

In general, the easiest way to keep your skills progressing is to do the work and do it often.

Following are the milestones represented by each belt: 

PRACTITIONER LEVEL

White Belt: Just starting out in 100 Level Classes (after first mentoring)
Yellow Belt: Has taken all 100 Level Classes and passed requirements with mentor
Orange Belt: Has taken all 300 Level Classes and passed requirements with mentor
Green Belt: Has taken Integrating the Practice and successfully demonstrated competency and preparedness for CTBP Certification Testing

ADVANCED LEVEL

Blue Belt: Has taken Advanced Practitioner body area courses and demonstrated protocol process to an instructor
Purple Belt: Has completed all Advanced Practitioner classes and practicum and has checked out of all involved muscles

MASTER LEVEL

Brown Belt: Has completed all Master Practitioner classes and checked out of individual muscles.
Black Belt: Has completed final Master Practitioner checkout and completed all Master requirements for Master Practitioner Certification.

 

Belt Criteria

White Belt Mentoring

Requirements for Belt Testing: Student has the potential of earning their white belt at their first mentoring session after having taken Level 1: Thai Bodywork Fundamentals. This should be scheduled as soon as possible after this course.

MentoringThe first mentoring session should be done soon after Level 1 training, and after student has had a chance to practice their flow on family and friends (minimum of 5 sessions). The goals of the first mentoring session are to help the student refine basic movement, transitions, use of body weight and techniques within the context of the Level 1 sequence. Once competent, student will receive WHITE BELT.

DocumentationNo documentation due at this time.

How will I know I'm ready?

TechniqueStudent feels comfortable and relaxed with their Level 1 flow.

Treatment Design - Student feels confident using the Level 1 routine in a 90 minute session.

Tissue Change - Not applicable

Individual Muscle and Quality of Movement Assessments - No focus on individual muscles. Movement should demonstrate smooth transitions and relaxed body weight.

Structural & Breathing Assessments - Not applicable

Yellow Belt Mentoring

Requirements for Belt Testing: Student has the potential of earning their yellow belt in a mentoring session after having taken Functional Anatomy, CTB Fundamentals, Hands Free 1 and completed all associated assignments. This mentoring must be passed PRIOR to taking either Clinical Core for the Upper Body I or Clinical Core for the Lower Body II. Students who do not pass their Yellow Belt mentoring may need to retake the mentoring prior to their attendance to either of these courses or may be asked to repeat the course itself.

Mentoring: The goals of the yellow belt mentoring session are to demonstrate a firm understanding of the material from the prerequisite courses.

Functional Anatomy - For each of the 25 core muscles, student must be able to demonstrate the following:
- Identification of the muscle using isolated contraction,
- Palpation across fiber direction in relevant trigger point areas to find tuat fibers
- Contract/relax with proper cues and stretch techniques
- An understanding of how to position the muscle "short" for treatment
- An ability to recall the significant features of each muscle's referral pattern as well as common satellite referral patterns.

Hands Free 1 - Student must be able to demonstrate the following key techniques with good understanding of appropriate body mechanics, as well as the primary muscles being affected and what phase of the muscle's treatment cycle the technique is appropriate for (working into short, working through range, working into stretch/length, resolving stretch). Target taut fibers when appropriate.

Hands Free 1 Core Techniques

SUPINE
Heel in TFL Hip Over Knee Knee Pressure - anterior thigh
Sitting Under with Forearm - tib anterior Crossover Stretch with Analysis Locked Dan Ka
Scissors Dan Ka Knee Pressure - VL, hamstrings, rectus Dak Wukao 2 and 3 variations
SIDE
Sitting Under from Inside/Oustide - glutes Extended Leg Half Cobra
PRONE
Sitting Under from Inside, Outside Hamstrings Into Short Folded Leg - glutes
Half Cobra
SEATED
Seated Forward Folds

CTB Fundamentals - Student must understand the concepts of the CTB Treatment Cycle and Modules and can identify and describe phenomena such as taut fibers, ratcheting, referral and contraction on the short. Student must also demonstrate treatment cycle and modules working with agonist/antagonist pairs in the following areas:

VMO (treatment cycle) Anterior/Posterior lower leg Scapula Magnus/TFL

Documentation -15 documented sessions are due at this time.

 

How will I know I'm ready?

Technique - Student is observing individual muscles, becoming competent in palpation and treatment cycle while maintaining fluidity of movement and transitions.

Treatment Design - Student feels confident performing a lower and upper body session with use of treatment cycle techniques within a 90 minute session.

Tissue Change - Student has become comfortable with the treatment and is refining their ability to assess for fiber change in their daily sessions.

Individual Muscle and Quality of Movement Assessments - Student is able to monitor movement and range of motion changes

Structural & Breathing Assessments - Student is beginning to bring these into their practice in preparation for testing our in Self-Care, Corrections & Rehab class.

Orange Belt Mentoring

Requirements for Belt Testing: Student has the potential of earning their orange belt in a mentoring session after having taken all 200 & 300 Level courses. Your 2 Orange Belt Mentoring Sessions must be passed PRIOR to attending Integrating the Practice. If you are taking courses a la carte, we recommend you wait until after you have your Orange Belt to register for Integrating the Practice.

Mentoring: With refined technique, relaxed body, proper body weight and smooth transitions, student will demonstrate their ability to palpate individual muscles (know fiber direction) and demonstrate fiber change in the two primary areas of the upper and lower body. LOWER BODY: Student will demonstrate treatment flow for adductors, glutes and QL with the goal of demonstrating fiber change in any or all of these three groups.  UPPER BODY: Student will demonstrate treatment flow for low/mid-trapezius, pect minor, serratus anterior and clavicular pect with the goal of reducing the “contraction on the short” in the low/mid-trapezius. Once competent, student will move from YELLOW to ORANGE BELT.

Documentation - 15 documented sessions are due at this time.

How will I know I'm ready?

TechniqueStudent is comfortable using the CTB treatment cycle, assessing fiber change while flowing through techniques.

Treatment Design - Student feels confident building a treatment design for the upper and lower body, integrating protocol sequences while monitoring pacing throughout a 90 minute session.

Tissue ChangeStudent can demonstrate competency in fiber change in the shoulder and hip regions.

Individual Muscle and Quality of Movement Assessments - Lower: Student is able to demonstrate treatment flow for adductors, glutes, QL. Upper: Student is able to demonstrate reduction of “contraction on the short” in the low/mid-trap.

Structural & Breathing Assessments - Student is refining their ability to correctly assess, making hypotheses and verifying with assessments.

Green Belt Mentoring

Requirements for Belt Testing: - Has taken Integrating the Practice, completed Muscle Checkout for all Clinical Core muscles and successfully demonstrated competency and preparedness for CTBP Final Practical Exam.  On proving competency within Integrating the Practice, student will receive their green belt and can schedule their exam ("Certificate Testing"). Should student show a lack of competency during Integrating the Practice, additional mentoring will be required and student may be asked to repeat the class.

Documentation - 15 documented sessions are due at this time. 

How will I know I'm ready?

Technique - Student is well-versed on Core protocols and implements them regularly in sessions.

Treatment Design - Student is comfortable accomplishing the full Clinical Core Lower and Upper Body protocols within a single 90 minute session.

Tissue change - Student is comfortable in demonstrating advanced change in forward shoulder posture and Ober’s sign test

Individual Muscle and Quality of Movement Assessments - Lower: Student is able to demonstrate their understanding of the relationship between the glutes, QL, adductors and TFL by making change in the Ober’s Sign Test. Upper: Student is able to demonstrate their understanding of the roundhouse relationship of shoulder muscles that affect the balance of the scapula by demonstrating change in forward shoulder posture.

Structural & Breathing Assessments - Student is confident with structural assessments.

 

The CTBP Final Practical Exam

You will perform a 90-minute session on a senior instructor, keeping these goals in mind.  With refined technique, relaxed body, proper body weight and smooth transitions, student will demonstrate their ability to address the pain or tension scenario provided by the instructor. Your skills will be assessed in the following areas:

  • Treatment Design: In 90 minutes, you will demonstrate your ability to treat upper or lower body pain complaints based on what instructor presents and your experience with the Upper and Lower Body Core Protocols.
  • Technique: You need to be comfortable with the foundational techniques that you were taught. The practical test is not a training session, although asking questions for clarification is permitted. Techniques are assessed on body mechanics, accurate palpation of fiber direction, ability to produce tissue change and recognizing when results are at a plateau and it's time to move on.
  • Transitions and Flow: Your session should involve smooth transitions through the poses, considering that you are modeling for the client's nervous system the experience of smooth, pain-free movement.
  • Assessment and Decision Making: CTB doesn't use mindless sequences. You must be constantly assessing quality of motion, state of tissues and how they change in response to your work. You need to be able to detect even small signs of resistance and end-range during motion and provide tactile feedback, slowing down or otherwise modifying your techniques and movements according to the body's signals, including possibly changing your treatment design on the fly.
  • Body Mechanics: You need to work in a manner that is sustainable for your own body and is reassuring for the client. If you work with a lot of tension or attempt to do ballistic stretches because you don't have sufficient strength, this will be a strong negative.
  • Client Interaction and Setting: You need to provide a calming presence for the client, interview them prior to beginning the session for areas of concern, ensure that the room and your props are prepared in advance, be comfortable with temperature, lighting, music and other factors. During the session, you will be expected to provide an appropriate degree of interaction for this type of session. That means for example that you will interact with the client when you need more information, but you aren't constantly asking for numeric pressure feedback, talking in a distracting manner or being completely silent when you might be confused about what is happening.

The teacher will provide you with feedback after the session. This is not a teaching session, and if you require extensive training during the test you will be asked to do more mentoring and come back (requires a retake fee).