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Doing the Diplomate by Caro O’Neill (CST-D!!!!)


I applied for my Diplomate Essay Questions over 3 years ago…sound familiar?!  I took one look at the questions and thought “where do I start” and so put them in a box and didn’t look at them again for several months!  Eventually I got them out of the box again and began on question one “What is SER?”  Well we all know what SER is but you try to put it into writing!  So I chose another question!  And so it went on until I was inevitably left with the most challenging questions.  Everyone takes on their essay questions in different ways, the easy ones first, or the most challenging – to get them out of the way, some may prefer to write them in chronological order.  Whichever way you chose, they all have to be answered. 

It was a very interesting process for me as for each question, I found I ended up getting side tracked into re-reading all of Dr John’s wonderful books to pick out the relevant details.  I learned so much more going over the material again, some of which I hadn’t read in years.  His story, the work he put into research, the evolution of the therapy itself all came back to me with renewed excitement for the work.  It became clear to me in a sort of “Duh!” moment that the more we know the more we need to learn.  I had felt that having completed all of the required levels of training up to Advanced with several courses in between, I was well equipped for the Diplomate.  Of course, the information we learn in these five plus courses is the basic necessity for our therapy but having taken on the Diplomate challenge, I felt it was sitting heavily between me and progress.  

Then Dr John died and although I had only met him on a couple of occasions, I felt a profound sense of loss.  It was a sort of ‘Diana moment’.  CranioSacral Therapy has had such a profound effect on my life I can honestly say that I am a very different person because of it.  It has affected the way I feel about life, the way I bring up my children and the way I work with my clients.  I felt a renewed surge to finish the written part of the exam and get on with the rest. 

Unlike the Certification process there are many more boxes to tick for the Diplomate.  Five case histories need to be submitted detailing the client’s history, personal details and evaluative tools used, objective and subjective results, the length of the therapy session and how many sessions, as well as the cost of the sessions.  My biggest challenge here was to find the ‘best’ case histories to put forward.  I had thought this would be the easiest piece of the exam but it turned out to be harder than I anticipated. Going through the many many case histories, was a very humbling but rewarding process.  It reminded me of the many people that have crossed my path over the years and the wonderful but often challenging personal learnings that have come from them.  Our clients are our best assets when it comes to looking at our own truths.

A total of six hours of presentation or a published article needs to be completed.  This bit was easy for me as I had already presented several Introductory Workshops and many evening presentations to various groups.  

So now to the practical, probably the most nerve wracking of the whole process.  I had already booked onto the Advanced 2 class in March with the wonderful Sanno Visser and as Chas and Kat Perry were taking the Advanced 1 class at the same time, they agreed to stay on for a day or two so that Sheila Hoy and myself could do our practical exams straight after the Advanced class.  Well, for those that have done the Advanced class, I don’t need to tell you that it is hardly a walk in the park!  For those that haven’t, don’t let me put you off – it’s great!!  I figured it could have gone either way for me… the Advanced would have me at the top of my game or a complete wreck!  So I had a night of nail biting, with Nikki Cambell holding my hand (thanks for giving me the big bed Nikki!) and the bells of Axbridge Church chiming every 15 minutes through the night!  How that town sleeps is beyond me.  We turned up for coffee and Chas suggested I do the written piece first to get it out of the way.  This threw me straight off as I had forgotten about this bit altogether.  40 multiple choice questions with a 70% pass required.  I hate multiple choice… there are way too many options!  

Kat had kindly volunteered to be my body although I have to say it was quite daunting treating the wife of the examiner.  No pressure then.  Oh and Nikki Cambell was also in the room prepping to be examined herself.  So it was quite busy in there, what with all those people, my nerves and expectations.  For the diplomate practical you are examined on performing an SER, so, of course, my big concern here was… “what if there is no SER? I can’t MAKE it happen”.  However, having just come from assisting the Advanced class herself Kat was fairly done in and quite happy to have a treatment and an SER – thanks Kat!  Sanno’s lovely calm voice and soft accent helped me through, having listened to him for five days say “ are you wid me?” I could feel him at my back.  Having Nikki in the room too was great as she was a personal reminder to stay:


Fortunately all went well and I passed.  I don’t think I have ever been so proud of an achievement.  This was the culmination of many years of work and the start of many more.  

Bring it on!