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Responding to Gestures

Responding to Gestures
March 23, 2016 Ann Weiser Cornell

Focusing Tip #502


“I have had people with images of swimming pools and literally doing the breast stroke in the chair.”


Mary writes:
We reflect back words to our Focusing partners. I wonder about reflecting back body language!

What do you suggest? I have had people with images of swimming pools and literally doing the breast stroke in the chair, or a lot of facial grimacing or leaning their head very far back.

Dear Mary:
Your instincts are right! Gestures and body movements can be a very important part of the Focusing process, and we want to acknowledge and include them.

There are two ways to accompany gestures: physically and verbally.

Accompanying a gesture physically means moving your own body in the same way. Do this if you’re comfortable doing so, to help you attune with what is going on for the Focuser. Even if their eyes are closed, this does seem to help.

Accompanying a gesture verbally means putting into words what you see the person doing. Use neutral language without interpretation.

For example: “It’s like you’re really swimming now in that pool.”

Or: “And your head is going really far back.”

One thing: If I sense the person is unconscious of the gesture, I do not say it. It isn’t my job to bring unconscious process to their attention, but rather to accompany what they are aware of.

Glenn Fleisch has an excellent article on how client gestures may lead the way into the emergence of new process, called “Right in Their Hands.”

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