Feldenkrais® and Focusing (Katarina Halm 2013)

I have been integrating Focusing and Feldenkrais® for thirty years and have been teaching this crossing since 2006. Below are notes on the relationship between Focusing and Feldenkrais® and an invitation to join us for this adventure.

Donna Blank writes about her knowledge and skill as a kind of “background” or grounding from which her teaching springs: “Awareness has many dimensions and foci”. . .”My own experience is that the more I have explored different dimensions and principles, the more I perceive where they merge and where they are distinct” . . . “Ultimately, I meet each client with all of that background, and find where the relevant resonance leads us to begin”. . . “at a certain point, I feel, there are no longer ‘methods’, but awareness and meeting.” [1.] 

“Awareness and meeting” are central to the work of Eugene Gendlin and Focusing [2]. Carl Ginsburg sheds  light on Gendlin’s work in his 2011 essay and book review: 

Carl  Ginsburg’s 2011 essay and book review, The lnner and Outer: Phenomenology, Science and the Feldenkrais Method,  illuminates the basic themes of ECM: “Eugene Gendlin notices that our usual formulations are approximations in describing what we are doing, even in everyday life. He looks for the complexities and what is unsaid. But where is the unsaid? In Experiencing and the Creation of Meaning he opens the introduction to the book with a description of what he calls the ‘felt sense’. He describes it as ‘a directly felt, experiential dimension'” … “there is a powerful felt dimension of experience that is pre-logical, and that functions importantly in what we think, what we perceive, and how we behave.”

In his summary to the 2011 article, Ginsburg writes in regards to Feldenkrais® practice, “On one level our work seems simple. We learn through sensing and feeling in a kinesthetic way. We observe patterns and what we are doing in moving, as well as observing others in moving, through the patterns of the lessons. That we cross between the subjective (inner) and objective (outer), moving from observing our selves and then others, is not noticed. Out of this we pass the practice to others and continue with ourselves. It seems that the lesson protocols are enough, but the process is more than that. Phenomenology can open more depth for appreciating our work and practice.

Ginsburg continues, “To be better practitioners we need to be able to think out of the implicit. Explicit understanding is not enough. In giving lessons we need the implicit to connect to our clients and students. The felt sense can be a guide to what to do next when we get confused. Our ability to understand our clients and students depends on being able to contact the other person’s experience. Each person is different and needs a different learning that fits him or her at that moment. Somehow contact and feeling can connect us.” [3.]

In his article “Inner Sense of Space” Adam Cole writes about the leap from arithmetic to algebra: “a student must be able to recognize that an equation is not a problem asking for a solution, but an expression of a relationship like a balanced scale.”. . . “Seeing the relationship between the two sides is more important than using it to solve a problem.” Then from algebra to calculus is again a leap: “Something about calculus was different from algebra. It was harder, not just in the way that algebra is harder than counting, but in the way that comprehending algebraic relationships was harder than adding. It required a new dimension in thinking.” – page 21 “Mathematics and the Feldenkrais Method, Discovering the Relationship,” by Adam Cole, published in the Feldenkrais Journal Number 17 (Adam offers us this pdf: http://www.acole.net/publicfiles/math.pdf). [4.]

Ralph Strauch sees these leaps as patterns of perception in Functional Integration: “the perception of pattern as more than the relationship between isolated parts”. Ralph teaches ways of “enlarging the pattern you work with to encompass yourself as well as your client, and working with the conjoined system that results.” – “Focusing your Touch” by Ralph Strauch, http://www.achievingexcellence.com/p-str3.html [5.]

In the philosophy of the Implicit, the ground of Focusing, Gendlin develops his Process Model [6.]step by step as a series of leaps (each called a “doubling”).  In each moment of living we integrate and weave a variety of “spaces”. The “doubling” can be seen as a leap from one space to the next and has both a sequential and an immediate quality: 1. our plant-body space 2. animal-behaviour space 3. symbol space and language space 4. with another leap to a felt-sensing or Focusing space

  1. Donna Blank – feldyforum 14 Jan, 2012, at 10:25 AM
  2. Eugene Gendlin Experiencing and the Creation of Meaning (ECM) 1962.
  3. Carl Ginsburg –”The lnner and Outer: Phenomenology, Science and the Feldenkrais Method”, The Feldenkrais® Journal, Volume 24, General Issue, 2011.
  4. Adam Cole, published in the Feldenkrais Journal Number 17 (Adam offers us this pdf: http://www.acole.net/publicfiles/math.pdf).
  5. Ralph Strauch – “Focusing your Touch”  http://www.achievingexcellence.com/p-str3.html
  6. Eugene Gendlin A Process Model 1997

* The terms Feldenkrais®, Awareness Through Movement®, and Functional Integration® are registered service marks in Canada of the FELDENKRAIS GUILD of North America (FGNA).