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Focusing Tip #489


“I get nothing back when I try to query what it needs from me.”


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A Reader writes:
I’m trying to use Focusing with a depressed part of me, and I get nothing back when I try to query what it needs from me.

Dear Reader:
I no longer recommend “what does it need from me.” You may have gotten that from my first book, but I no longer think it is a good idea. As you yourself have discovered.

One trouble with “what does it need from me” is that it is a broad, vague question that doesn’t give us any help to feel the bodily felt sense response. For some people – natural Focusers – it works well. But for others – the rest of us – we are left floundering. “How do I answer that?”

And the other trouble is that “what does it need?” is too often asked with an agenda. The underlying message is, what does it need to get better and quit bothering me. This means we’re identified with a part of us…and that makes the inner world unsafe.

What I would recommend is that you make contact first. You said you are working with a depressed part of you. OK…take time to come into body awareness, and then invite the feel of it in there. This may take some time. It may be shy, or needing to hide.

When it has come into awareness enough to be described, then slowly describe it. Your descriptions ideally will help you feel more in touch with it.

When the time is right, try saying, “I’m sensing what kind of contact it would like from me right now.” That deepens contact and doesn’t invite the confusion of the broad “what does it need.”

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