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The Art of Listening, Empathy and Pause in a Somatic Psychotherapy Session

20 Oct 2020 8:58 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

Insider Look: Watch Focusing-Oriented Therapist’s Approach to Deepening a Somatic Psychotherapy Session

This 5-minute video was created by Jan Winhall and Serge Prengel. It is based on an actual session, but the client is not visible, just the therapist. It is meant to give you an experiential sense of what a Focusing-oriented therapist might do in a session. There are different perspectives, approaches, and styles in Focusing-Oriented Therapy (FOT).

What would you do if your were a Focusing-Oriented Therapist?

  • connecting with the clients experience
  • staying with the clients experience
  • deepening the clients experience
  • staying emotionally present
  • making space for the clients experiences
  • a felt sense emerges from the experiences
  • staying with the feast sense
  • finding a handle to express the felt sense
  • an experience that becomes an embodied resource

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3 Types of Listening and Insights on How To Use Them. 

You have seen the stages of a FOT session above. One key to what went in to the therapist's response above is her listening and empathy. 

In the audio below join Kathy McGuire and Serge Prengel as they explore deeply both listening and empathy. They look at 3 forms of listening. Serge, in connection with his exploration with Kathy, conveys in his blog the following: 

"1) Even simple listening, “passive listening” without interruptions, allow speakers to naturally begin entering into direct reference to felt experience and explication from there.

2) Active empathic listening takes this natural felt sensing a step further, as the speaker checks the listeners words against their felt reference and articulates anew.

3) When the speaker knows Focusing, then empathic listening helps the Focuser stay with, check, resonate and articulate their felt sense in the deepest way."

In watching the audio below or the videos, Serge notes, "please pay attention to the central role of the pause: Notice how taking a pause opens up direct access to felt experience. In this context, felt sensing is the natural outcome of the pause. As is empathy."

Serge goes on to note that in observing these recorded exercises you will get a sense of how deeper creativity and change can come through in relationship to another using these practices. He also goes on to say, "These skills can be also brought directly into interpersonal conflicts: Somebody who has seen our passive and active listening videos might jump in as a “third person listening facilitator.” Similarly, these skills can be used in group decision-making situations, as the Quakers do with “passive listening.”

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