How to Start Wholebody Focusing with a Partner

Photo Credit: Diana Scalera

When I attended the Scambi 2019 in Albano Terme, Italy this past summer, I presented my workshop Focusing Around the Dinner Table using mostly Wholebody Focusing as the vehicle to access this theme in our bodies. Since then, some focusers have been asking for help to learn Wholebody Focusing. I have begun working with some of the Italian focusers and have come up with a way for them to get started on their path to incorporating Wholebody Focusing into their Focusing practice. Below is a description of the steps of a session with Cristina Griggio via Skype. It can be a starting point for focusers who would like to add some Wholebody sensibility to their practice. 

  1. Both partners need to be willing let go of the need to have an agenda for their session and actively hold space to what your body prioritizes. Each partner can take a turn being the person who is focusing, and the other person is mostly silently holding energetic space for their partner while noticeing how what happens to your partner impacts your body.  
  2. Establish your energetic connection with your partner. If you are in person, make sure you have a sense of each other’s energy. If you are working via the internet, find your way to connect in this situation.  
  3. The Focuser asks her body a simple question “Where does my body need attention now?” Let your body choose what it needs. Let go of any narrative and your thoughts about what is necessary in this moment. Your body might have a different point of view.
  4. Wait and hold space for whatever comes. 
    1. Acknowledge the body’s sense of what is there without adding a narrative. Stay with the bodily sensation.
    2. Let what is there know that it can be just the way it is and has all the time it needs to be present to itself.
    3. Give your body permission to move, especially your hands, which may be able to support parts that are struggling.  
  5. Stay with whatever comes. Ask for help from other parts of your body, from the earth below you, the sky above, the air you breathe, or the chair in which you sit. 
  6. Let your body indicate when it has found a resting place (or ask your body to find a resting place).
  7. When the Focuser has come to a resting place, the partner can share how that experience with her partner impacted her body. The Focuser can also share more if they choose with their partner about their experience.  
  8. After the session, both Focuser and Listener should pay attention to whatever comes that relates to what happened in the session. According to Addie van der Kooy, each opportunity we take to spend time with our bodies in grounded presence causes changes (from minor to monumental). Our lived experiences after our sessions let us know what has changed.  

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An Intunement is a Place to Begin a Wholebody Focusing Process (Part 1)

Painting by Kevin McEvenue

What Kevin tells us here—how ‘intunements’ got started in WBF and what their purpose is—seems to me that he’s opening the door to a spiritual aspect of WBF.  That’s there’s something beyond my intent, and there’s something beyond your intent when we come together as ‘focusing partners’. That there is something beyond my personal ability to listen, to understand, to empathize—and beyond yours.

It’s certainly not just about getting better at ‘listening’ in the ordinary sense; it’s not just about getting better at ‘knowing what to say.’  Once we become fully present, it’s about noticing my aliveness in response to your aliveness—in the moment that it happens, when we’ve come together to listen and speak in a meaningful way.

And then Kevin tells us this: “I suggest something has been awakened in us and between us and is more than us.  A resource WE DON’T HAVE unless we do that connecting in that way, and then IT’S there.”

Do you hear what I’m hearing?  A resource—beyond you and me that shows up!?

Elizabeth Morana

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