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Metamorphic Technique - Tool for Inner Change

by Katherine L Knight(more info)

listed in bodywork, originally published in issue 78 - July 2002


Have you ever felt as if there is something missing in your life, but you're not sure what? That you are stuck in a rut and have lost direction? Or perhaps there's a new direction you'd like to take, but feel apprehensive about it. Our lives can be very demanding and we constantly face change in all areas. It is how we approach change that can be our greatest challenge. Do we embrace it wholeheartedly or regard it as a threat to be ignored that will hopefully disappear?

The author treating a client

The author with a client

We're probably aware that to oppose change can result in feeling frustrated, apathetic and anxious. We may notice a loss of direction and focus, an inflexible attitude, a loss of drive, a lack of confidence and, most importantly, stress-related illnesses may occur. So it would appear then that to accept change we need to let go of what is no longer relevant to make way for the new. The Metamorphic Technique is a method of facilitating this.

When I first came across the Metamorphic Technique what really caught my attention in the literature was the word 'transformation'. I was fascinated and had visions of all the wonderful transformations that could take place in my life. Well, I thought, I could dream! I was already working in complementary health, but felt as if I was in a bit of a rut and had lost direction. I felt ready for change, if a little apprehensive about letting go of what was no longer relevant in my life. It was knowing what to let go of and exactly how to do it. I knew I was searching for something, but couldn't exactly say what. The one thing I knew, I was becoming more and more interested in personal development and self-healing, and felt that was the way I wanted my work to develop. The Metamorphic Technique appeared to fall into my lap!

What is the Metamorphic Technique?

The Metamorphic Technique was developed by Robert St John, a British naturopath and reflexologist, in the 1960s. Gaston St Pierre has continued and developed the work further, setting up the Metamorphic Association in 1979. During the 1980s the Association became an educational charity. Practitioners apply a light touch to the spinal reflexes on the feet, hands and head. Our pre-birth period is reflected in the spinal reflexes and this time is brought back into focus during a session. It is becoming more accepted that memories of our life experiences are held within our cellular structure. Many may go back to our time in the womb. If these experiences are unpleasant, behavioural patterns can form that can inhibit and affect the way we live.

A simple example of this might be a situation that causes us discomfort, such as a confrontation; or maybe an enormous disappointment. Over a period of time we may notice a pattern beginning to emerge in the way we react to these various situations, i.e. being defensive, feeling vulnerable, hurt, anxious, frustrated, etc. Very normal for most of us! But not necessarily comfortable and useful. Maybe the way we react is down to a fixed mental, emotional or behavioural pattern, which is hidden in the depths of our subconscious. A person may start wondering how to shift these patterns as they cause so many problems in their lives. They will probably start on the therapy road, which helps them. Along the way, they may come across the Metamorphic Technique, and become interested as I did in this simple approach to personal development and self-healing.

How Can a Light Touch Trigger Off Such Transformations?

Just as the life force within an acorn transforms it into an oak, our inner functions of self-healing and self-development will transform the patterns that no longer serve us. The Metamorphic Technique simply provides the environment for this to occur. The practitioner remains detached, which is fundamental to the Technique's philosophy. This means that they don't interfere or try to produce a specific result. It's important to realize that the Metamorphic Technique isn't a therapy. So the practitioner doesn't need to discuss personal problems or take a case history. This doesn't mean that they are uncaring or indifferent. Clients may use the session as a sounding board to help sort out their problems. However, the practitioner won't give advice or guide the client along a path, because that would be directing their transformation. They realize that the client's own innate intelligence (that 'wise guide within') and life force have the answers, and will transform the patterns that no longer serve them.

To understand detachment may be difficult at first. Clients may wonder what exactly is happening if no case notes are being made or advice given. Also, can they be certain that anything will happen? But the logo for the Metamorphic Association is the butterfly. The blueprint of a butterfly is in a caterpillar's cellular structure. At the right time, the caterpillar will transform permanently into a butterfly. If we try to help the butterfly as it emerges from the chrysalis, our attempted good deed will damage it. This is why the practitioner keeps out of the way of the client's own creative process. They don't know what would be the best route for them. Clients may not know immediately themselves, but their innate intelligence does, and once a pattern is transformed it's gone forever.

How Can the Metamorphic Technique Help Me?

The Technique is very relaxing and helpful for the release of stress. There are no contraindications, so sessions can be received by everyone. I've noticed that people are drawn to the Technique during times of change or when adapting to changes in their lives. During pregnancy, the mother may feel the foetus move from 14 weeks. The baby may not be so traumatized and may even be calm and quiet at birth and after birth. Families can have a closer bond with one another at this time. People may also want to receive sessions when they are changing career, moving house, ending a relationship, dealing with a bereavement or during an illness.

Some people will want to receive sessions on a regular basis, i.e. weekly or monthly. Others will want to receive sessions whenever they feel the need. Practitioners cannot predict how long or in what way any transformation will occur as everyone is different. However, after a session clients may become conscious of focusing on a new direction. They may notice that they have more energy and are feeling more confident about life. They may feel more centred and at peace with themselves and the world. They may notice that more opportunities are appearing in their lives and they may be more open to new ideas and situations. It is as if they are suddenly realizing intuitively what is right for them.

It is important to mention that the Technique doesn't seek to address conditions or symptoms of an illness. However, because the person's life force and innate intelligence are doing the work, there may be a shift in the way they are feeling if they are ill. They may feel calmer, more positive and clear about their illness. They may not have such a severe reaction to a medical treatment. To quote the experience of a cancer patient: "Each Metamorphic Technique session gives me a 'lift' in spirit, and I become much more positive and happy with myself. If I feel any sort of 'downer' coming on, I have another treatment and this has left me much more capable of accepting my illness and learning to live with it. I am convinced that the 'feel-good' factor that I get from the Metamorphic Technique has had a positive effect on my body - and the consequent relief from worry and tension has led to self-healing."[1] However, I do wish to emphasize that everybody's different, so this experience wouldn't automatically happen if someone were ill. It is down to the life force and innate intelligence of the individual to shift the patterns, so how they feel after a session isn't guaranteed to be the same as another person receiving a session. The Metamorphic Technique isn't the panacea for all ailments, but it may nudge a client to see a counsellor, a doctor or do something that helps them deal with a situation better.

As I mentioned at the beginning, I had visions of wonderful transformations taking place in my life. I had read about people having the most amazing things happen to them. Quite dramatic changes. With me the changes have been more subtle. I can honestly say that I am beginning to feel more connected and centred within myself. Since receiving sessions I do seem to have a clearer idea of my life's path. I don't seem to be in the same rut as I felt I was in before. This isn't to say that I don't feel frustrated or disappointed when things aren't going the way I would like them to. I am human and miracles can take time! But I do feel more focused on what I want to do and have a sense of excitement about it. I also welcome opportunities with open arms even if I feel a little nervous about dealing with them. I've even had a desire to take up beginners' art and pottery classes. The Royal Academy doesn't have to worry, but my 'inner guide' must be busy. I know there's a lot more to be done, but at my pace.

It is important to remember that changes can be subtle and we may think our life force and innate intelligence have gone to sleep! Unless someone tells us because they've noticed something different about us, or we recognize a shift within ourselves, we may think that nothing has happened. We may not notice or indeed remember how we were before starting the Metamorphic path. We may not connect the fact that we've decided to move house or start going to the gym with a release from the old patterns that affected us in the past. What is important to realize is that our system will tend to pace the changes, so that we are able to cope with the results. But, whatever happens, our transformation will be uniquely appropriate to us.


1. Quote taken from a client of Denise Burke - Metamorphic Technique Practitioner; Tel: 028 90842512.

Further Information

For more information, please send an SAE to The Metamorphic Association, 67 Ritherdon Road, London SW17 8QE;


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About Katherine L Knight

Katherine Knight became interested in complementary therapies in the late 1980s. She studied full time at the Raworth Centre, Dorking, gaining the Raworth Natural Health Practitioner Diploma in 1991. She has also taken a practitioner course in Neuro-Linguistic Programming. She now practises the Metamorphic Technique, Reiki and Universal Light Touch Reflexology, and uses flower essences where appropriate within her work. She sees her role as a facilitator, providing an environment for the client's own self-healing and self-development and can be reached at Penninghame Educational Health Clinic, 19 Upper Berkeley Street, London W1H 7PF. Tel: 020 7724 4004; Home Tel/Fax: 020 8299 0286;

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