Recently, Teri Katz, Rosen Method Senior Teacher & Movement Teacher Trainer, passed away. A tribute to Teri has been shared by members of Marion Rosen’s first training group.
Looking Back at the Beginning:
Reminiscences about Teri Katz by
Members of Marion Rosen’s First Training Group
Sandra Wooten, Bill Samsel, and Mary Kay Wright
Upon learning that Teri Katz had passed away, Maija Frauenknecht, the current Rosen Institute President, reached out to several members of Marion Rosen’s original training group to request that we share some of our memories and impressions of Teri. As participants of the first Rosen Method certification course, launched before Marion’s work even had a name, we shared a unique pioneering experience together that formed bonds and friendships that have continued for nearly forty years.
To respond to Maija’s request we held a Skype conference call to brainstorm and share our stories, thoughts, and feelings about Teri. We all remember those beginning months, meeting in Marion’s living room and doing practicum on very old, very rickety narrow massage tables. Marion’s trainees came from many different directions and most of us did not know each other. However, being in a close environment with each other for four hours every week for two years opened a lot up – our personal histories, our strengths and weaknesses, our personal potential and our deficits.
What emerged as our impressions of Teri at that time was that she was deeply engaged in learning about Marion’s work. She attended every class, she didn’t want to miss any part of the teaching. She asked many questions, she sought to understand what was actually happening during a session, both in the body and in the process of the person on the table. She was curious about human consciousness and personal growth – how did a human being grow, change, transform, and heal? How was this type of touch, combined with words, able to reach so deeply into another person’s being? What was Marion’s process as she was working? What did she observe? What did she feel? and so on…..Teri wanted to know, to capture what Marion was doing that could have such a powerful impact, to learn how to work this way herself.
Other memories include our personal experiences of how kind-hearted Teri was. It was her nature, she cared about people and could be confused and mystified by the cruelties experienced in human dynamics. Although she asked many questions of others and was naturally curious, she was often shy. She could be very private, but once a true bond was formed and she experienced authentic trust, she was a loyal and steady friend.
After our bodywork training, several of the first practitioners continued training with Marion for two more years to become bodywork teachers, and a small group worked together to form the Rosen Institute. During this period Teri moved to New York and went through physical therapy training to become a registered physical therapist. She wanted more technical, scientific, and medical information and skill building, a deeper understanding of the physical body, and broader approaches to rehabilitation. When she returned to the Bay Area she worked both as a Rosen Method practitioner and in hospitals and clinics as a physical therapist. She also became a movement teacher and was engaged in helping to form the full movement teacher training curriculum and certification standards. In time she used her medical background to teach the Rosen Emotional Anatomy curriculum for the Berkeley Center as well.
Many people knew Teri as the Intern Coordinator at the Berkeley Center. In this role she always tried to instill the principals of self-responsibility and professionalism, and could get frustrated when interns did not submit paperwork on time or complete agreements about their internship requirements. She was organized and planning oriented, and wanted Rosen community members to show up and do their best work.
Hearing about Teri’s death brought home our own experiences of mortality. Teri was relatively young – we three are all older than she was. We spoke about missed opportunities to have spent more personal time with her over the years. Bill used to stay at her home when he was commuting to Berkeley to give supervisions and private sessions. Once he stopped commuting there were fewer times spent together with Teri and he missed those more frequent occasions. For several years Mary Kay and Teri had regular Sunday morning telephone chats, catching up on life, supporting each other when things were hard, and having the intimacy of a close personal friendship in which anything and everything could be talked through. Life got busier and eventually the Sunday mornin
g calls stopped happening. One of Sandra’s last encounters with Teri was bumping into her at a physician’s office, and learning then that Teri had been diagnosed with cancer, but was doing well at the time.
One story that came up in our call exemplifies Teri’s character. She was driving on San Pablo Road in Berkeley one day and spotted a small dog standing on the traffic median in the midst of heavy traffic, clearly lost and very anxious. She opened the door to her car and invited the dog to jump in, without worrying about the responsibilities that adopting a companion animal could involve. That was the beginning of a very close relationship with Ginger, her constant companion and dear friend for many years, who is shown in the photograph with Teri. Their connection and enjoyment of each other is completely visible in the picture.
We will miss Teri, she was a part of our lives. She did learn what Marion was doing, and she became a very talented bodyworker and somatic therapist. Her gifts touched many, many people and she gave willingly, with love and a gracious spirit. We respect what she contributed to our profession and appreciate her unique presence. She was our friend.