Osteopathy in the Cranial Field [M2]

Location: Columbia Hotel, LONDON
Duration: 5 days
Price: £990 (non-residential)
Entry criteria: Module 1 (or previous training in osteopathy in the cranial field)
Next delivery: 10—14 September 2018 (see below for alternative dates) 
Leader: Pamela Vaill Carter (September 2018)

In this, the SCCO’s flagship course, we study and clinically apply the key hypotheses that comprise 'Osteopathy in the Cranial Field' as developed by W.G. Sutherland. Over the course of 50 years Dr. Sutherland developed key concepts, calling them the five phenomena, as a way of assessing and treating whole body function.

The course introduces each of these five phenomena along with treatment approaches that you can use immediately in practice. In addition, the course will present how contemporary scientific research has enhanced our understanding of the relevance of these five phenomena:

  • The mobility of the cranial bones
  • The reciprocal tension of the membranes
  • The motility of the CNS
  • The fluctuation of the CSF
  • The involuntary motion of the sacrum between the ilia

This course will help you understand how treating the involuntary mechanism (IVM) can be applied to all, from paediatrics to geriatrics, and how to attain better outcomes of treatment. In the first half of the course you will learn to recognise the unique palpatory quality of the structures making up each of the five phenomena, and begin to understand how they relate to each other. The second half of the course moves into the area of diagnosis and treatment, including the fascia, face, ligamentous and intra-osseous problems. This course will teach you treatment approaches such as balanced ligamentous treatment (BLT) and fluid management techniques that you will be able to use immediately in your practice.

The course consists of a well-balanced mixture of short lectures or workshops followed by practical sessions. You will work in small groups of 1 tutor to 4 students, giving you almost individual tuition in the practicals. Time is set aside at the end of each day for individual reflection and discussion with your tutor.

Alternative Dates

Columbia Hotel
10 - 14 September 2018
Pamela Vaill Carter
£990 (non-residential)
Columbia Hotel
6 - 10 March 2019
Taj Deeora
£990 (non-residential)

A limited number of recent graduate bursaries are available worth £150 off the cost of the course.

Scholarships & Bursaries

Scholarships worth up to 50% off non-residential course fees are available (valid from September 2017). Alternatively, a limited number of bursaries are available worth £150 to new graduates. Click for details!


  • Do I need any previous experience in cranial osteopathy to do this course?
    Yes, you need to have had some previous training in cranial palpation. This can be our Module 1 course, previous training with another provider (please call the office to check) or undergraduate training.
  • How will this course benefit my practice?
    Cranial treatment is highly sought after by patients who enjoy its gentle yet effective approach. You will be able to apply the knowledge and palpations skills gained on this course directly in your practice. It will deepen your osteopathic understanding of your current patients and allow you to treat a wider range of patients and conditions.
  • Can I use the cranial approach alongside my current osteopathic work?
    The cranial approach can be integrated into your current practice in many ways: as a diagnostic tool for local or whole-body treatment, or to assess the efficacy of your structural approach.
  • Can any osteopath learn to treat using cranial osteopathy?
    Yes, any osteopath can learn this approach. As with any skill, practice makes perfect and it takes many years of study and practice to become an expert. Some students may find it easier than others but our tutors excel at recognising their students' individual needs and providing the appropriate assistance.
  • Can I repeat this course?
    You may repeat Module 2 as often as you wish – many people do – although you are only required to take it once to complete the Pathway. However, coming to this course with more clinical experience enables you to gain a deeper understanding and insight into the concepts; particularly in practise sessions. Our experienced tutors are able to identify your individual needs and gently guide you to open new doors of understanding and awareness which will directly benefit your clinical practice. 

Osteopathic Practice Standards & CPD

Learning Outcomes & Assessment Criteria
On completion of this course you should be able to:
To achieve the learning outcome you must demonstrate the ability to:
1 Immediately use treatment approaches in  practice relating to the mobility of the cranial bones, the reciprocal tension of the membranes, the motility of the CNS, the fluctuation of the CSF and the involuntary motion of the sacrum between the ilia. Select from a diverse range of osteopathic techniques relating to the five phenomena in a range of settings in order to attain better treatment outcomes. Critically defend decisions, backed by research-based evidence as appropriate
2 Evaluate and map complex and conflicting evidence encountered during the evaluation of one’s patient, working confidently and independently. Provide a reasoned treatment and management plan for a patient that is based on osteopathic evaluation of the individual and responsive to the patient’s needs, values and expectations. Confidently and autonomously provide osteopathic care for a diverse range of patients that is underpinned by a range of cognitive, affective and psychomotor skills; Take full responsibility for managing all aspects of their care, centered on their needs as a person and your duty of care as a professional.
3 Communicate osteopathic evaluation and the proposed treatment and management plans to patients (and other stakeholders if appropriate) so that they are equipped to make informed decisions about their care. Flexibly adapt communication skills to ensure patients and other stakeholders are appropriately informed about all aspects of their care.
4 Apply and reflect on a variety of specialised cranial approaches to osteopathic practice, informed by one’s learning experiences both taught and observed. Competently provide effective osteopathic care using cranial techniques. Reflect on the impact of one’s experiences on development as an osteopath.
Student Learning
Type of LearningLearning ActivityNLH*
Scheduled Learning Hours Lectures 15
Practical classes 15
Workshops 5
Scheduled online activities  
Guided Learning Directed reading & research  
Reflective portfolio development  
Peer assisted learning  
Independent Learning Unguided reading from defined reading list  
Assessment preparation  
Tutor defined project / Dissertation activity  
Autonomous Learning Reading from non-specific sources  
Reflection on clinical experiences 5
Placement Clinical observations  

* Notional Learning Hours

CPD Requirements: Mapping to the OPS
OPS Theme OPS Mapping
  1 2 3 4
Communication & Patient Partnership      
Knowledge, Skill & Performance  
Safety & Quality in Practice
CPD Standards  
CPD activities are relevant to the full range of osteopathic practice See above mapping exercise      
Objective activities have contributed to practice Peer review/Observation      
Case-based discussion activity      
Seek to ensure that CPD activities benefit patients Communication/Consent activity      
Maintain CPD documentation Certificate of attendance/Overview document provided to student