April Murdock McKnight, BS, CMT, BCTMB
Education and Training:
I completed the Holistic Health Practitioner program at International Professional School of Bodywork (IPSB) in San Diego, CA with 1125+ hours, specializing in Relational Somatics in 2010. I graduated Valedictorian and Cum Laude with a B.S. in Psychology from Brigham Young University in Provo, UT. For 15 years I worked with youth in mental health in a variety of settings, one of my favorites being wilderness therapy. Wanting to combine my passion for bodywork with psychology, I entered the M.A. program in Somatic Psychology at JFK University in Pleasant Hill, CA but paused to return to San Diego and start a family. My husband, daughter and I now live in Hemet, CA.
—California-Certified Massage Therapist (CAMTC), since February 2010. Cert. #555
—Member, Associated Bodywork and Massage Practitioners (ABMP) since August 2010. #983017
—Nationally Certified, National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB) since February 2011. #598403-10
—CPR and First-Aid Certified, current
Volunteering and Massage Accomplishments:
Volunteer work, both domestic and international, includes massage for leprosy patients in India, homeless women in Pacific Beach and women in the transformational recovery program Shakti Rising. In Uganda I co-facilitated a massage workshop at Gulu Hospital, peacemaking and creativity workshops for teachers around Uganda, and taught English and Literature to a class of 200 Primary 7 students. For several years in San Diego I mentored and tutored new refugees. I currently serve on the Board of Directors of Invictus Institute, a non-profit that matches volunteers to tutor students online around the world. For a year I facilitated a monthly alumni business meeting at IPSB and, as an employee, I provided chair massage for teens in a behavioral residential treatment program at San Diego Center for Children.
How I got started:
Bodywork for Peace sprang from my passion to do something practical and perhaps unique to promote peace in the world. After graduating with my B.S. in psychology and extended volunteering in some countries, mostly teaching, I felt moved to begin studying massage therapy at International School for Professional Bodywork (IPSB) in San Diego, CA. I was vaguely aware at the time that bodywork could be combined with psychology, and found a school that integrated a body-mind perspective throughout its curriculum. The supportive culture within the school encouraged me in my own bodywork exploration and paved the way for me to specialize in Relational Somatics with Diana Panara.
In 2010 I opened my business, Bodywork for Peace, and began working at my school’s massage therapy clinic (MTC) as a professional therapist and then student supervisor. I slowly built my practice while working at IPSB’s MTC and at San Diego Center for Children (SDCC), the residential treatment center for troubled youth where I worked for 8 years as counselor and then recreation assistant, participating in a monthly trauma-informed care committee. At SDCC, after several years of pitching and revising proposals, I got approval to create and run a chair massage program for some of the teens.
While working in a wilderness therapy program years ago I discovered a passion for peace education, first with the Arbinger Institute and later with the Center for Nonviolent Communication. I have led various workshops in these methods in the U.S. and Uganda and delight to share with others the principles for resolving the heart of conflict.
To further my reach with somatics and psychology, I enrolled in a Somatic Psychology Counseling Master’s program at JFK University in the East Bay Area. My first quarter helped lay the foundation for therapeutic presence, a key aspect to relational somatics and body psychotherapy. We explored “holding the container” of emotion and many other useful skills. A twist in life plans brought me back to San Diego after just one quarter and I returned to my former massage clients and work at SDCC. For now I continue learning through continuing education courses to renew my CA and national (NCBTMB) certifications, with almost daily study of articles to stay current in massage and psychology.