The Spirit of Learning® graduates another class

May 16th, 2016



We offer our congratulations to the graduates of the 2015-16 Spirit of Learning® Teacher Certification Program. This 100-hour training has been offered at BTI since 1998 by Carey Smith and the Center for Embodied Teacher Education. These dedicated learners will take their new skills, knowledge and awareness into many areas of teaching and clinical practice.

Another cycle of The Spirit of Learning® will begin at BTI this September, and applications are being accepted now. Click here to receive your FREE CATALOG and application form.

FRONT ROW: Jill Peden, Angie Dix, Roxanne Cherpeske, Deanne DiGirolamo, Michele Casey, Carol Verner (Faculty). MIDDLE ROW: Jillian Diffenbaugh, Kelly Hankey, Diana Latendresse, Carey Smith (Faculty). BACK ROW: Megan Jones, Michael J. Savino, Margery Nelson Price, Matt Adams, Melinda Hunt, Debbie Blake-Knox, Karen Delahunty (Faculty).

Carey Smith leads somatics training for UNC-Chapel Hill mental health providers

December 18th, 2015



Along with her role as BTI’s Co-director, Carey Smith is a Master Somatic Coach and Director of the Center for Embodied Teacher Education. On December 14-16, she led a three-day training at BTI for the staff of Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), entitled The Embodied Psychotherapist: Using Somatics in Everyday Counseling.

CAPS provides mental health services and support for all students at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Their staff includes psychiatrists, psychologists, counselors, social workers and psychology interns.

Carey designed and delivered this groundbreaking program with Allen O’Barr, MD, Psychiatrist and Director of CAPS, and Maureen Windle, PsyD, Psychologist and Clinical Director of CAPS.

The training drew upon the current interface between neuroscience and somatics that bridge the fields of mental health and body-oriented disciplines.

Over the three days, the participants explored somatic theory and practices that created greater experience of an embodied self. This allowed them to generate and incorporate new strategies to build greater confidence, capacity and satisfaction as a team in their work with students.

Carey reflected, “It was a great honor to be in the presence of professionals with such open minds and hearts. Their capacity to show up fully, work hard and laugh often created a learning environment filled with wholeness and vitality.”

Assisting in this training were Carol Verner, LMBT, Master Somatic Coach and Trainer for the Center for Embodied Teacher Education, and Emily O’Barr, LMBT, graduate of The Spirit of Learning® and former BTI faculty member.

(In the photo, from left to right: Carol Verner, Emily O’Barr, Carey Smith, Allen O’Barr, Maureen Windle.)

Somatic Educational Leadership

September 8th, 2015

Developing Mastery for the Classroom and Beyond


Designed and led by Carey Smith, Somatic Educational Leadership is a six-day course for graduates of The Spirit of Learning® or those at a similar level of professional development. Here is a description from Carey of the three primary components of the course:

carey-teaching-triptychSomatics is the study of the fundamental wholeness and unity of being human; a three-dimensional body with thoughts, feelings, sensations, impulses, intuitions, inspirations, ethics, values, ancestral lineages, longings, imagination, future vision – all held within the context of a dynamic, mysterious and evolutionary process called living. It is present-centered felt experience.

Somatic practice is the act of bringing attention, awareness, and dedication to repeatable actions designed to reveal and generate: 1) meaning; 2) a commitment to what matters; and 3) the capacity to bring what matters into form. Somatic practices build the capacity to make clear decisions, create community, open to divine inspiration, change habits, set a new course, and take meaningful action in the world.

Education, from the Latin educare, means to “lead out from within”. In its origin, education is the expression of an immense inner wisdom that can take in, sort, refine and direct information in order to use it for the enrichment and advancement of the self and others. As educators, therapists, healthcare providers, leaders… what kind of learning opportunities do we want to create so that our students and clients develop the capacity to be self-educating, self-healing and self-generating? In other words, what happens if our students and clients begin to trust themselves, begin to know their value, and live from a place of dignity in community with others on this beautiful planet?

Leadership is how we partner with ourselves and others to produce a particular outcome, fulfill commitments, translate ideas into actions, and manifest mission as an expression of identity and integrity. It is the path of guiding and directing attention, awareness and action toward an agreed upon goal or destination. This sincere pursuit serves as a catalyst to motivate and mobilize both internal and external resources and other people. In order to be an effective somatic educational leader, we must first and foremost learn how to educate ourselves to lead a congruent inner and outer life.

Click here for the course description page  |  Click here to register

Congrats to The Spirit of Learning® Grads!

May 19th, 2015

Spirit-of-Learning-2015-GradPicWe extend our congratulations to the latest graduates of The Spirit of Learning® Teacher Certification Program, offered at BTI by the Center for Embodied Teacher Education.

On May 17, this dedicated group of students completed a rigorous 100-hour training in the theory and methodology of education for the whole person. They now take this learning back to their classrooms and treatment settings! Here they are:

Front Row (left-to-right): Chutikan Thapnoo Hoover, Rebecca Grossfeld, Catherine Whitt, Robin McLawhorn, Carol Verner (faculty). Middle Row: Maryska Bigos, Michelle McLaughlin, Rosemary Hill, Karen Wellish, Brandi Miss, Carey Smith (faculty and director). Back Row: Kerry Mason, Deb Wood, Vinny Marra, Charles Lee, Karen Delahunty (faculty). Not pictured: Allyson Murray (faculty assistant).

The next cycle of The Spirit of Learning® begins September 18, 2015. Visit the page on the BTI website for complete information, program catalog and application form.

Spirit of Learning® 2015-16 Program

July 20th, 2014

The Center for Embodied Teacher Education offers the country’s leading teacher certification program for massage, somatic and healthcare educators. Gain a solid foundation in the knowledge and skills required for effective teaching — while exploring the dynamic relationship between philosophy and methodology in an embodied learning environment.

Carey Smith Inducted into Massage Therapy Hall of Fame

July 27th, 2011

Carey SmithBTI Co-director Carey Smith was recently inducted into the Massage Therapy Hall of Fame at the 2011 World Massage Festival. At the ceremony held in Cullowhee, North Carolina on July 16, Carey was honored and acknowledged for the many contributions she has made to the massage therapy field.

As a pioneer in the area of teacher training and professional development, Carey was the 2009 recipient of the AMTA National Teacher of the Year Award.

BTI’s students, staff and faculty are proud of Carey, and congratulate her on this much-deserved honor!

Carey Smith Receives National Teacher of the Year Award

September 30th, 2009

At the American Massage Therapy Association Convention in Orlando, Florida on September 25th, BTI Co-director Carey Smith received the 2009 Jerome Perlinski Teacher of the Year Award. Given by the AMTA Council of Schools, this honor is bestowed on the instructor who demonstrates exceptional teaching abilities and commitment to high standards of education in massage therapy.

Here are some of the descriptions of the contributions Carey has made, from fellow educators who offered testimony to the award committee:

  • I have watched with great admiration as she has helped to shape the field of massage therapy education for students and teachers alike. Among her most significant contributions is the establishment of The Spirit of Learning, a teacher training program which has set a standard for our entire profession.
    George Kousaleos, LMT, Founder & Director, Core Institute
  • Carey challenges students in a way that encourages exploration. She inspires her students to reach their highest potential. And her work helps hold instructors of this profession to a higher standard.
    Paula Jilanis, LMT, Director, Allegany College Massage Program
  • Carey’s educational expertise is exceptional and her presence is life-changing.
    Margaret Montenyohl, PhD, LMBT

Carey received her award at the Convention’s annual Teacher’s Networking Lunch. In her acceptance speech, entitled The Three Rivers of Teaching, Carey put forth these essential questions: “What is my teaching lineage?” … “Where do I stand at this moment in my own evolution?” … “What are the teaching seeds that I am planting for future generations?”

Carey Smith (left) receives the Teacher of the Year Award from AMTA President Judy Stahl

Carey Smith (left) receives the 2009 National Teacher of the Year Award from AMTA President Judy Stahl

She spoke to these questions when she acknowledged, “We come from a vast, deep and long tradition. There is profound dignity in the teaching profession when it is understood as a living transmission. Teachers literally broadcast their knowledge, experience, passion, commitment and dedication to the next generation of learners so that these students can carry forward their own expression of what is meaningful to them.”

BTI’s staff and faculty are extremely proud of Carey for the achievement of this honor. A copy of Carey’s speech may be downloaded from the Articles section of the BTI Website.