What is The Felt Sense?
“The Felt Sense is a special kind of internal bodily awareness … a body-sense of meaning” (Eugene Gendlin, 1981).
The Felt Sense has been used by various somatic psychologies to the point that I’ve noticed some people use it now without any reference at all to the person whose life work it was to name it.
After spending many years as a Philosopher at the University of Chicago, Eugene Gendlin got curious about the Psychologists down the hall and whether they had any more answers than the philosophy realm about the inner experience that lies beneath our thoughts, concepts and words.
He teamed up with his friend Carl Rogers and for years they researched this and asked what it is about psychotherapy that worked. Gendlin wondered what the people who were successful in psychotherapy did differently to the many who found it unsuccessful and found that no matter what methodology or skills the therapist had, whether psychotherapy was successful depended upon whether the client was able to relax their usual focus so that they could focus on this “something-that-is-more-than-words.”
Gendlin described this the edge into what is known by the body, but not yet conscious, the Felt Sense because it’s not a mental experience, but a physical one. Yet it is not only physical. He said it was “a special kind of internal bodily awareness … a body-sense of meaning” and when clients “ponder upon” this unclear sense below words, “something new comes into focus and we land at an ‘inner sense’ of rightness”.
As Gendlin described: “What that edge needs to produce the steps, is only some kind of unintrusive contact or company. If you will go there with your awareness and stay there or return there, that is all it needs, it will do all the rest for you.”
Remember to be patient with it as it can take time to form, but once you got it you will find new relationship with your inner guidance.
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“Circlework provided for me a space to reflect and feel connected to myself and other women. To be able to take that feeling—that space—with me day to day provided me with a sense of empowerment and reassurance to any challenges I may face.”
-NADIA, VANCOUVER, BC