Anat Baniel Method Day 2

Yesterday, I almost packed our bags and drove back home after our appointment with Anat Baniel.

The day started badly. Nathan appeared to have caught a cold after he recovered from bronchitis two weeks ago. He had a very snotty nose and didn’t want to eat. I didn’t get much sleep as Belle decided to nurse every hour. I was still hopeful that things would turn around when we saw Anat in the late afternoon.

We had our appointment with Neil in the early afternoon and it went well. He worked on teaching Nathan how to roll from back to belly. With this therapy it’s hard to know exactly what the therapist is doing but Nathan was happy and he seemed to be taking all of the information in.

We took a break and went to the bed and breakfast. During this break I applied a natural vapor rub product that I found at Whole Foods. It seemed to help Nathan tremendously – his breathing improved considerably.

After a short while we returned to the ABM center full of hope and excitement, ready to see Anat. She was supposed to see us at 5pm, but didn’t turn up until 5:35pm. The minute she saw us, she started coughing and looked very haggard.

We went to the treatment room and she kept coughing. A couple of minutes into the appointment she asked us what we put on Nathan and proceeded to tell us she was very allergic to it. So I had to run out with Nathan and try and wash off all the stuff in the bathroom. It was in his face, chest, back – even in his hair. You can imagine the adventure, trying to get rid of it all. We even had to take his shirt off. After about 15 minutes of this, we went back to the treatment room and Anat felt a bit better, at least she wasn’t coughing every 2 seconds.

She started working with Nathan – touching him on his back, chest, arms. She asked me a couple of questions – what was his diagnosis, what other things we’ve tried. Mostly she asked about where we were staying, what I do for a living, etc. Then she put him on his belly and did an exercise where he was on his elbows with his head up. He did a good job lifting and holding his head up. She started making him sway from side to side, trying to get him to keep his head from flopping to both directions. In the beginning he flopped to both extremes. But after a few repetitions he was controlling his head and keeping it more in the middle, and if it flopped, he would bring it back to the middle on his own.

Nathan seemed to like it and started laughing. Then at some point he started sobbing uncontrollably. She must’ve done something to hurt him – I had to take him from her to calm him down. Then after a few minutes I gave him back to her. She did the same exercise a couple more times.

Then to my utter surprise she said, okay, we’re done. In my head I was like, huh? Done? We just started? But I figured maybe time had flown and I hadn’t noticed (this happens to me often), so I grabbed my kid and started getting ready to get out of the room. I asked her quizzically, is that it? She said, well unless you have any questions..but looked utterly uninterested in answering any questions. So I said, well I have a million questions but wouldn’t even know where to start. So she told me that I seemed to understand what was going on very dismissively. I grabbed my kids and left.

When we got to the car I looked at the time – 6:02pm. The entire appointment with Anat took 25 mins. Here’s the thing. During the entire week we only have 2 appointments with Anat. The rest are with 2 other practitioners that Anat trained. That appointment was supposed to be the “big” appointment – where Anat would evaluate Nathan, talk to us about him, his potential, his treatmetn plan, and spend a good hour working with him.

Instead she saw us for a grand total of 25 minutes (including the cleaning Nathan off debacle), didn’t say anything about Nathan, and sent us on our merry way. That was the most expensive 20 minutes of my life – the appointment cost $400. Yes, you heard me right – $400 dollars.

Oh and to top it off, one of the only questions that she did ask me about Nathan was – can he DO anything? I had to do a double take. Is Anat Baniel really asking me if my Nathan can DO anything?

I answered with my usual spiel – he is very smart, he understands everything, cognitively he’s at about a 2 year level, he just has a hard time with movement. But shouldn’t that have been obvious to her? If she’d tried talking to him directly she would’ve figured that out in 2 seconds – Neil, the other practitioner, did.

I sat in the parking lot for a few minutes wondering what to do. Disappointment can’t even describe what I felt. We have been waiting for this appointment and trying to get the funding together for a long time. Now we were finally here but this lady couldn’t even give us the time of day.

It took a humongous effort for me to go back to that Center today – but I’m glad we did.

Today Nathan worked with Sylvie, who was absolutely amazing. She spent 45 minutes working very hard with Nathan. She talked to him, treated him with respect, asking him to do things, and he responded well. Immediately she knew that he was quite smart but needed help mapping movement in his brain. I was so pleased with the appointment.

Our afternoon appointment with Neil also went well and once again I saw Nathan responding well and trying to integrate what he was being taught.

Honestly if we hadn’t had such great appointments with Neil and Sylvie we probably would’ve gone home. But watching the two of them I was convinced that there is great merit to this method and that Nathan has potential.

We also talked to 3 families in the waiting room. One guy was there from France with his 5 year old daughter – this was his 5th trip from France. He was convinced it was helping his daughter and that’s why he kept making the trip. We also met another family with a daughter who is 12 and has CP. She is physically very affected but can speak. I asked her if she liked the therapy and she told me she loved it, she only wished she’d started sooner. This was their 2nd appointment in 6 months. The 3rd family we met was a mom and her 8 year old son. She has been going to the Center for 4 years, and feels that it has helped her soon more than anything else.

After we finished today’s appointment we walked around downtown San Rafael and had dinner and a sorbet and a really lovely time.

I wish our experience with Anat had been different. But I am happy that it has still been a positive and productive experience. I can’t really tell if Nathan is improving functionally or not – but there is time yet! I’ll keep you guys posted!


  1. SO. Interesting. You know, I’ve heard that Anat can be kind of flip about the time factor–heard her quoted as saying “you’re paying me all this money because I know when to stop.” Still, I think it’s a good therapy–maybe Anat is just getting too big for her britches?

  2. HI there.. as you know we took Bella to New York twice for 2 week intensive ABM sessions with Marcy Lindheimer who was fantastic. The big changes only came after the sessions once Bella had a chance to ‘integrate it. Dont let your experience with Anat upset you. I have heard many similar stories about her personally. Just have faith in the method if not her personally. I have also herad Neil is brilliant so your in good hands. Take care
    Cath and Bella

  3. Too often we get attacked by the enemy when we least expect it . God wants us all to be whole, the enemy does not. That’s great that you hung tough and God was able to reward you with the help that Nathan needs. May He continue to rain His healing power onto Nathan.

  4. WOW! at first I was like- what nerve! At least the 2 people she trained were awesome. I may side with Katy on this one, sounds like she is getting too big for her britches;)
    I also really think Joey has an excellent point as well. Just when we least expect it, the enemy appears:(
    btw, the captcha for this comment was “esoteric secret”. that kind of made me go hmmmmm…

  5. I agree with Katy. Maybe she should just train for now. She seems stressed. I would also ask for another FREE appointment with one of her trainers. It is not your fault about the vapor rub! It helped Nathan. I looked into this therapy for Cj but could not find anyone local that worked on children with CP.

  6. I don’t think Anat’s bad attitude is a recent thing she has always been like that if you read this book uncommon voyage by Laura Shapiro Kramer about a mom helping her son Seth with cp with alternative therapy took Seth to see Anat (this is back in the 1980s I think) and she was like that then. But Anat helped Seth walk so it was worth it.
    Keep going the path is always littered with pebbles but you can get over the bumps lots of love sandi

  7. I agree with Lisa – ask for a free apt. with one of her trainers. $400 for 20 min. when she didn’t even respect Nathan…well, hmph! Shame on her.

    I had to laugh in the beginning because you said – “With this therapy it’s hard to know exactly what the therapist is doing” and that is exactly how I would describe the couple of times we took Emma to an ABM therapist. Seems to me like it might be better to stay with one of the trainers if only for Nathan’s self esteem. Our kiddos take in everything people around them are saying and I HATE it when people act dismissive to my child. Brings out the momma bear in me!

    Keep us updated on what happens the rest of the week. Oh, and our iPad arrived today – Yippee! Off to play with it now….

  8. Sally Fraley says

    my experience is that researchers don’t really have people skills- researchers are generally not great clinicians…and I will guess that cultural expectations are different …..ask for an extra session with the good clinicians….

  9. So… how was the rest of the week? Particularly the second lesson with Anat?

  10. I had to laugh and the NO thing, Ryland really never heard that word but his PT told us we have to get him to know what that is. So we started using it more and he give you sad face when you say it, really cute. He loves his hands but bites them to often.
    By the way we are hoping to get a trial on the eye gaze system, for one month and if goes good get one of our own, if Ins. doesn’t fight us. He used one the other week at ST and did really good but he only wanted bubbles and won’t choose truck or drum. I just had to laugh.

  11. Rosalie Lamb, ABMPractitioner says

    I am an ABM Practitioner. I can empathize with your bafflement at the first appointment, given your expectations and the effort to which you had gone to bring your son to her. It is unfortunate for both you and Anat that she was allergic to your child’s medicine. Ultimately, it seems, it was simply an unanticipated problem that was no one’s fault. Anat perceived a tremendous amount about your child. She introduced him to his own ability to learn. She also spoke with Neil and Sylvia, giving them keys to maximize their sessions with Nathan.

    In the professional Training and the Mastery Training one of the many ways Anat teaches is by demonstrating a lesson with a student on the table. She teaches, by talking as well as demonstrating. All the students benefit from this illuminating process. Invariably the lucky student with whom she has demonstrated her work, gets powerful outcomes. She knows how to connect with a person’s brain through touch. She is so good at it she can have a lucid conversation at the same time.

    I have also been fortunate to video her while working with children. She frequently talks to the parents while working. Her awareness never strays from the child. She is always sensitive to the child. It is important for Anat to talk to parents because ABM is so different from other methods. ABM is not a simple concept to grasp. Anat is passionate about sharing her knowledge and we all benefit from her ability to articulate, through her hands as well as verbally, and sometimes both at once.

    Thank you! Perhaps we will meet at the Center,
    Rosalie Lamb, ABMP

  12. Hi,
    We are wrapping up our intensive lessons for our son Liam this week. I’m sorry to hear about your experience with Anat. I took her Move into Life workshop before my sons lesson so I had some time to get to know her as well as feel what Liam is feeling.
    It is scary how much information she takes in within a short period of time. The biggest thing I learned this week with Liam is to allow him to freedom to move and to stop doing so much.
    I do agree with you- Neil and Sylvia are terrific practitioners. After our appointment with Anat, Neil and Sylvia did focus on something Anat had worked on during our appointment.
    I wish you the best of luck.


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