Feldenkrais® & Focusing, complementary practices ~ below are reflections including quotes from colleagues.
Astrid Schillings describes her work with Wholebody Focusing-Oriented Therapy (WBFOT)
In WBFOT we allow ourselves “not to know” while connecting in a straightforward way into the physically felt interacting of our body life. We consciously make embodied room for this bigger interaction to participate in the unique steps, movements, postures or maybe words, which will come from this palpable intimacy with the living interaction. (Shillings, p. 186, 2014)
Donna Blank, Feldenkrais practitioner and Wholebody Focusing teacher, writes that her knowledge and skill serve 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.(Blank, 2012)
During a workshop for the Feldenkrais® (FGNA) Conference in 2013, Russell Delman, teacher of Feldenkrais, Meditation, and Focusing, asks us to ponder:
How does the rose open its petals to the light, how does it grow to show its beauty in the world? … By the encouragement of life … wholeness … embodied. (Delman, 2013).
“Awareness and meeting” (Blank, 2012) are central to the work of Eugene Gendlin and Focusing.
Carl Ginsburg, the Feldenkrais trainer, and scholar, sheds light on Gendlin’s work in his recent essay and book review, “The lnner and Outer: Phenomenology, Science and the Feldenkrais Method” (Ginsburg, 2011):
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” and says “that 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. (Ginsburg, 2011, Page 1)
In his summary to the article, Ginsburg writes,
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. 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. (Ginsburg, 2011 Page 63)
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.” (Cole, 2004)
We can see these new dimensions in thinking as leaps or expansions in awareness that widen our conceptual structures.
Ralph Strauch sees these as changes in patterns of perception in Functional Integration®,
the perception of pattern as more than the relationship between isolated parts” (Strauch, 2005). 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. (Strauch, 2005)
In his “Philosophy of the Implicit” Eugene Gendlin develops a “Process Model”, the ground of Focusing, where step by step a series of such “leaps” are born. Each “leap” is called a “doubling” and is developed elegantly in the three hundred pages of his “Process Model”. See A Process Model Expanded Table of Contents (Gendlin 1998). In each moment of living we integrate and weave a variety of “spaces”. We can see these “doublings” as leaps from one space to the next, and all the spaces weaving together. Each “leap” encompasses two qualities, a sequential and an immediate. We can be aware of the immediate nature of each space and a sequential development as follows:
#1. our ground, breathing, cellular, and plant-body space (Chapters 1-4 in Process Model)
#2. animal-behavior space (Chapter 5 in Process Model)
#3. symbol space (Chapter 5 in Process Model)
#4. language space (Chapter 7 in Process Model)
#5. focusing space – with another leap we come to a felt-sensing: we sense the whole of a situation with its implicit intricacy unfolding in new ways (Chapter 8 in Process Model).
The journey of crossing Focusing with Feldenkrais promises to bring more and more space into our work with each modality. I have been integrating Focusing and Feldenkrais® for thirty years and teaching this crossing 2007 – 2020.
For five years I assisted Rob Parker with his seminar series on Gendlin’s Philosophy and Process Model. Feldenkrais® practitioners, philosophers and those in related disciplines are warmly welcomed to participate in the current seminars.
Blank, Donna, feldyforum 14 Jan, 2012, at 10:25 AM – Feldyforum is a discussion list owned and facilitated by Ralph Strauch
Cole, Adam, “Mathematics and the Feldenkrais Method, Discovering the Relationship,” in The Feldenkrais Journal Number 17, 2004, page 21.
Delman, Russell, workshop at the 2013 FGNA conference
Gendlin, E.T., A Process Model, University of Chicago, 1998,
Ginsburg, Carl, “The lnner and Outer: Phenomenology, Science and the Feldenkrais Method”, The Feldenkrais Journal, Volume 24, General Issue, 2011.
Halm, Katarina, Resonance and Dissonance in the Learning Process (ITP 1994) M.A. thesis.
Halm, Katarina, Bridging the Verbal and Non Verbal (ITP 1994) M.A. thesis.
Halm, Katarina, (2010). Attuning to Natural Process Action Steps
Halm, Katarina, (2015). Rolling with Possibility, The Feldenkrais Method® for those living with autism, SenseAblitiy Journal #66 Publication of the Feldenkrais Educational Foundation FEFNA®
Schillings, Astrid (2014) “Dwelling in the Process of Embodied Awareness-Letting Fresh Life Come Through Whole Body Focusing Therapy”, Chapter 5 in Focusing-Oriented Psychotherapy, Greg Madison (Ed.) Jessica Kingsley Publications.
Emerging Practice in Focusing-Oriented Psychotherapy. Innovative Theory and Applications,
Theory and Practice of Focusing-Oriented Psychotherapy. Beyond the Talking Cure
Strauch, Ralph, “Focusing your Touch”edited version of a live presentation at the 2005 Feldenkrais Annual Conference
* The terms Feldenkrais, Awareness Through Movement, and Functional Integration are registered service marks in Canada of the FELDENKRAIS GUILD of North America (FGNA).