About EGCBT -
Our History & Our Philosophy
In 2001 Sally and Ron Askew trained in the use of the Bowen Technique on humans. During this time they started to see if the procedures they were learning could be adapted to the anatomy and physiology of dogs. The results of a few simple revised procedures were astounding.
In 2003, following persistent prompting, they decided to combine their Canine Bowen knowledge with their experience as dog trainers/behaviourists, and designed a professional program of training, with an holistic approach, for people wishing to become properly skilled Canine Bowen Therapists.
The European Guild of Canine Bowen Therapists (EGCBT) was set up in 2004 at the request of their first group of students to create a network of properly skilled and experienced Canine Bowen Technique therapists who are able to work alongside other professionals in the canine world to help dogs - vets, trainers, behaviourists, rescue centres, hydrotherapists, nutritionists, etc.
The EGCBT Practitioner course has now been established in the UK since 2004 and, since 2006, has also been held in Switzerland and Germany. In November 2013 the first Practitioner course was held in the Netherlands.
In 2012 Sally and Ron decided that they were going to retire from teaching. Over the next 2-3 years they allowed Carole Justice Gray and Eileen Smith (UK) and Nicole Fröhlich (Switzerland) to shadow them as they taught, and to gradually take over teaching for themselves. In 2014/15 they authorised Carole, Eileen and Nicole to continue with the teaching of this wonderful technique in their own right.
Read more about our current EGCBT teachers.
Applying the Bowen Technique to dogs involves more than just doing some Bowen “moves” on the animal. Obviously the anatomy and biomechanics of the dog are different from that of a human and need to be taken into account when determining where the “moves” should be made.
But dogs are different in many other ways as well. Two fairly obvious ones :-
• Dogs cannot use speech to tell us of their problems and how they are feeling in the way humans do. However dogs do use various subtle body language and postural signals to tell you what their problems are and how they are feeling. Working with animals therefore necessitates an increased level of observational skill on the part of the therapist in order to enable them to recognise and react appropriately to such signs, changing preconceived treatment plans as a result.
• Humans usually come voluntarily for treatment; the treatment of dogs is usually instigated by their owners. Most dogs know the difference between casual stroking and being touched with intent, and whilst happily accepting the former many dogs may have developed bad associations with the latter (e.g. grooming or clipping nails or visiting the vets). So, as well as the discomfort and stress from their presenting condition, the dog may well be feeling a bit stressed from the occasion as well. Any heightened stress will be counterproductive to the outcome of the treatment, and EGCBT-trained therapists are taught to recognise the signals dogs give off when stressed and how to respond and adapt their approach and/or treatment accordingly in order to reduce the stress as much as possible.
The relationship which develops between dog and therapist can have a huge effect on the outcome of the treatment. We believe that treatments must be conducted as a “partnership” rather than as a “doctor-patient” relationship, and a treatment must never be forced on a dog against its wishes. Different dogs prefer the treatments to progress at different speeds; depending on the healing resources available in their body, different dogs will accept different amounts of treatment. Dogs themselves are great observers and have a sensitivity and awareness much greater than humans. If the dog realises it is being “listened” to, it will feel able to relax and take on the treatment more easily. When done in the right way, such that the dog feels in control, dogs tend to respond quicker to Bowen than humans and generally require less treatment. And when the dog has become accustomed to and knows it can trust the therapist, many dogs will even help in their treatment by presenting the therapist with the area of its body it would next like some work done on.