What it means to "Hold to Higher Standards"
Structural Integration will only be recognized as a separate and distinct field when there are distinct professional “schools” that train and graduate students in the field. In the USA there are approximately nineteen training organizations that provide instruction to students in Structural Integration. However, most of these organizations are approved and regulated as “continuing education providers” for licensed professionals in other fields such as massage therapy or physical therapy. The majority are not actually approved, in the legal and regulatory sense, as professional “schools” of Structural Integration. The difference is subtle but extremely important and becoming more so every day.
To be recognized as a professional “school,” an organization must be approved by a state department of education, which typically requires a comprehensive application establishing that the school has met the required state standards for school operation. In the case of DIRI, we are approved by the Colorado Department of Private Occupational Schools (DPOS) and we answer to the state educational board. Once a school is licensed by a state department of education, it may apply for accreditation, nationally recognized approval as a quality educational institute that meets ten to twelve rigorous academic standards. Accreditation involves another comprehensive application with full documentation proving that the standards are met, as well as a site visit review by experts in the field who verify the claims in the application. Accredited schools may then apply to the Federal US Department of Education (USDOE) for Title IV (student loan) funding, Veteran’s Association funding, and state department authorization to issue student visas. Licensed schools may, of course, also apply to NCTMB to provide continuing education. Each of these additional support programs require more applications, approval, and administration.
All of this is to say that recognition as a professional full-fledged school requires meeting many higher standards than only applying to NCTMB to offer continuing education courses. SI training organizations not approved as licensed schools-- while often providing excellent instruction to students-- reinforce the idea to state and federal agencies that structural integration education is NOT a separate and distinct field. It is assumed that SI is supplemental education for licensed professionals in other fields. Ultimately the failure on the part of schools to meet the highest state and federal standards hinders the field and you as practitioners, in being recognized as part of a unique profession.
The Dr. Ida Rolf Institute® is one of only a couple of recognized professional “schools” of Structural Integration that is state licensed, nationally accredited and eligible for funding from the US Department of Education and the Veteran’s Association. Every three years DIRI reapplies for state licensing and accreditation and is required to requalify for USDOE Title IV and GI Bill funding. But it doesn’t end there. As a school, we have an “alumni” organization with membership quality standards. We require members to meet the highest Standards of Practice, Code of Ethics, and Continuing Education requirements. The DIRI school and membership organization together deepen the valuation and legitimacy of the brand of Rolfing® Structural Integration.
It is fair to say and literally true, “DIRI holds to higher standards.” In meeting and exceeding these standards—the standards established for occupational schools-- we take seriously our responsibility as a thought leaders in helping to establish the profession of Structural Integration.