Esther Thelen

A Dynamic Systems Approach to Development

With Esther Thelen, Ph.D.

Although this is a DVD, it is essentially an audio product as the picture is poor. We have decided to include the video nonetheless to give the viewer a flavor of the event.

Professor Thelen was considered by many to be one of the greatest living theorists and researchers in the field of child motor development. Her work has enormous importance for Feldenkrais teachers and is excellent for viewing and discussing in study groups or training programs.


In this now legendary two-day workshop, Thelen presented her theories and extensive research, which have brought about a new paradigm for viewing development based upon principles of self-organization and the unity of cognitive, sensory, and motor processes. The DVD includes recordings of Feldenkrais practitioner Mark Reese teaching ATM to demonstrate some of the principles Thelen is discussing.

Areas covered in the course include:

  1. Traditional theories of development and brain function
  2. Principles of dynamic systems
  3. A dynamic systems approach to the development of cognition and action
  4. The role of variability in development
  5. The dynamics of neural organization and development
  6. Edelman's theory of neuronal group selection
  7. Research on learning to walk
  8. Studies on reaching in babies
  9. Selection in muscle synergies
  10. Posture as integrated set
  11. The intersection of perception, cognition and movement
  12. Exploration and selection in learning
  13. Habit formation
  14. Dynamic systems principles of change