ExpiredPlaying it Out: the Experiential Process of Soma-Drama Work in WBF & FOT

Event Phone: 707-315-2370

Announcement: New WB Focusing online seminar!
Playing it out: the experiential process of soma-drama work in WBF & FOT

with Glenn Fleisch, Ph.D.

You can discover more about a man in an hour of play than in a year of conversation. Plato
In every real man a child is hidden that wants to play. Friedrich Nietzsche
To play it out is the most natural self-healing process in childhood.” Erik Erikson
The creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect but by the play instinct. Carl Jung
The world is a drama, staged in a dream. In a moment, the play is played out. Sri Guru Granth Sahib

We all experience an internal theater of inner characters that “inhabit” our personal world. The dynamics of Focusing-oriented expressive-work is to allow our internal theater to be “played out” in imaginal space, in physical space, and/or in interactive space with others. Just as Gendlin has described the body’s role in dream work, I have found that the transformative power of Focusing is greatly enhanced when we use our whole body to expressively enact our inner life. The notion of playing it out offers us a new paradigm for Focusing, and Focusing-oriented therapy. Instead of just saying back what the body (or some inner place) is telling us, we can also invite and observe how the whole body is playing out some aspect of its inner life, i.e. what the body is showing us.

To play out means to: 1. to do (perform; explore; enact…) something to its conclusion, to the end; and    2. To unwind, unreel, unfold something- to extend and release gradually what has been coiled or folded. When we let somatic phenomena play out, we are allowing whatever appears or shows itself to have “free play” in order to open, develop and happen from within their own energy (life-force; spirit). Transforming our conditioned patterns and recurrent reactive triggers thus involves a re-living, and a re-doing, a living (carrying; playing…) out more completely and deeply what the body has retained. Our way is directed by the ‘phenomenal’ body- i.e. the synergic body of energy, its natal spirit that comes alive and moves us toward wholeness when given an opportunity for free, creative, expressive enacting.

Our living body retains its history, both personal as well as generational. Thus, a slight movement or habitual posture, a somatic sensation, reaction or mood, are the body’s retention of some aspect of its history. This is the starting point for expressive work- a new model of Focusing with the Wholebody and in therapy. This new paradigm invites, allows and creates opportunities for a “play shift,” i.e. where we engage in the shared field with the energies, and patterns that naturally arise. Through engaged interplay, we will explore and experience how to use this space to invite our body’s experiencing to naturally move into embodied expression and enactment.

Anything that comes into awareness via the body, whether inner ‘parts,’ symptoms, sensations, gestures, postures, movements, feelings, etc. can all be played out as their own living beings. This process of animating the body’s inner life, brings it out into the stage of shared interplay- allows for direct awareness of what we are experiencing, through the whole bodily doing- or performing. The role of Companion, therapist and Co-companions changes- not just listening and reflecting what the Focuser is saying, or what the body is telling, but also a more active, engaged, interactive presence- where we are both in-formed by and respond to- what is playing out in the shared space- how our bodily energies are somatically resonating, and interplaying. We embody the 1st person, present perspective, both being-with what comes, as well as being-in what shows itself, i.e. speaking and acting from the “I” place, becoming a character, part, symptom, letting that aspect play itself out in the shared field.

Thus, our living bodies have a reciprocal and mutual effect on one another- such that your body can attune to and play out something in my body’s living drama. It is this aspect that provides a powerful modality for tapping into the spirit of the larger field of Being- bringing more creative, and profound re-formation of embodied patterns. It is a return to our original roots as children of the natural spirit of the body- as well as a transcendence toward more mutually loving, enlightening and informed ways of being. Expressive interplay creates a synergistic effect, i.e. working together engenders a healing and transformative power greater than any individual component. Thus, we are not only re-living what has happened, but are also awakening possibilities that have not yet happened- an originating of something new that unfolds through the creative process of playing-out.

Whatever we say in words or images, can also be expressed by the body. This enables us to perform and express our bodily felt sensing, not just describe it. For example, if you state, “I am feeling really anxious….,” in addition or instead of just staying with the words, or checking back with the bodily sensation, we can also invite our whole body to show the anxious sense. We can play it out, not just say it back. It is this aspect of playing out, of letting the felt sensing be enacted that we gain a much deeper, fuller and more directly experiential awareness of what is in that feeling. And letting the body perform itself, also awakens and restores the body’s natal spirit, the energy of our life-force, that come alive through embodied actions and expressions.

The result is a more alive body, more open and awake to its own natural spirit, now restored and reclaimed. As we all live in our own world of inner dramas with their cast of characters, bringing them, letting them perform through felt sensing the living body, is a potent healing modality- renewing the spirit of play of the natural child within us, and awaken new possibilities for fuller, freer and more playfully engaged embodiment. When we let the body play itself out, we learn a “know-how” that comes through the doing and performing- like learning to ride a bike, or learning how to be more present.

This 8 week seminar will offer an experiential introduction to soma-drama work in WBF and FOT. We will be invoking the spirit of play, of Eros, to create a “play space,” a “theater of the living body,” that enables us to safely and playfully experience the awakening of our life-force and creative energy. The performative model of soma-drama is one that encourages us to play it out. All felt sensing is a field of energy, of vibrancies, tonalities, sensualities, as well as the body’s potential energy for movement and expressive action. Thus, in order to harness this deeper dimension of felt sensing requires whole body engagement, with the same energy, devotion and spirit as the child at play.

In this seminar, your will learn the Focusing process of playing out what the body is feeling, sensing and experiencing- what I call soma-drama work. This whole body experiential model has emerged from over two decades of observation, research, and practice, both personally and professionally. When allowed to do so, our body’s energy naturally flows outwardly into movement, gesture, expression and interaction. You will learn this enlivening and healing practice. I have presented aspects of soma-drama work in classes, workshops, retreats (both alone and with my dear friend and colleague Doralee Grindler-Katonah) and in my Focusing oriented therapy practice. This is the first time this approach is being presented in its own right- as a modality of Focusing and for personal/spiritual transformation.

  1. In this seminar, some of the things you will learn include:
  • The theory and core principles of WBF embodied expressive work;
  • How to create a play space to externalize inner dramas and embody inner parts;
  • How to shift your Focusing to include letting the body show what it is carrying;
  • Ways to experientially play out what your body is feeling and showing;
  • How to develop scenarios to re-play and re-work old patterns and situations;
  • How to learn new engaged ways to companion and interact as Focusing partner with self and others; to play back and play out what the body is expressing;
  • Embodied expression  in a group context- how to embody, express and enact a part of another.
  1. Aspects of the experiential process that will be presented are:
  • Pause/slow down at the edge- the aporia, the recurrent pattern (reaction, feeling, mood, trigger….); immerse in the body-sense at this point;
  • Enter into the whole energetic, somatic, vibrational feel of the character;
  • Externalize- co-create a scene/scenario/ interaction; use props, imaginal beings, archetypal,
  • More fully embody and inhabit that being/entity- incarnate in whole body
  • Begin to let it play itself out- perform, carry out the energy, life-force, feelings of the entity
  • Invite to stay with and become that entity- let reveal the world, the environment (place, context…) in which it operates.
  • Allow to express and enact its own feeling quality, energy and capacity- the undercurrents
  • Play out together- or switch roles, places, and reverse the dynamics…. Fill in and fill out a missing or needed element;
  • Replay the scene or situation- relive, re-experience as it has been carried; and then allow to carry out further and deeper, to include the adult presences, and other beings to bring to a different, successful completion; sense the meanings being revealed, uncovered, and unfolded.
  1. Specific types of embodied expression we will be exploring include:
  • Filling (standing) in for a needed other;
  • Responding to how it should have happened;
  • Breaking/releasing an old bind or bond; creating a cord to a new environment;
  • Developing a new capacity- psyche-somatic ability
  • Letting a sequence or event more fully complete itself;
  • Play out together in a shared space;
  • Restoring spirit/energy of a split-off aspect- as embedded in a symptom, pattern, posture;
  • Exploring an embodied pattern- letting it play out further;
  • Animating a character- allowing to have the stage;
  • Reversing the energy flow- embodying the “other” side (e.g. critical voice; aggressive figure)

When: Classes start on Thursday, July 12th from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.  Pacific time.

Where: Glenn’s site on Zoom online video conferencing (link will be provided).

Cost: $ 295/ 8 week seminar; early bird discount of $ 265, if you register by July 5th.

How to register: Glenn’s website- glennfleisch.com; or email to: gfleisch60@gmail.com.

Payment: Via PayPal at: glenn@glennfleisch.com or check to: 922 Centro Way, Mill Valley, CA. 94941.

More information: full announcement on the website; or email, or call: 707-315-2370.

Limited number of participants: maximum of 15 people, so please register now.

Recordings: All classes are recorded, with recordings being sent to each participant in three formats.

CEU’s: 16 CE credits are available for psychotherapists, psychologist and social workers.

If interested in this process, for personal healing and growth, and/or for professional use in your therapy, body-work, or Focusing teaching, but cannot make the dates or times for this seminar, please let me know. With sufficient interest, I will be offering a second seminar soon.

And you may also be interested in our in-person retreat, where this process will be explored in more depth, in the intimacy and safety of our caring communal space. See info on website.

  • Playing it Out - Week 1
    July 12, 2018
    11:00 am - 1:00 pm
  • Playing it Out - Week 2
    July 19, 2018
    11:00 am - 1:00 pm
  • Playing it Out - Week 3
    July 26, 2018
    11:00 am - 1:00 pm
  • Playing it Out - Week 4
    August 2, 2018
    11:00 am - 1:00 pm
  • Playing it Out - Week 5
    August 9, 2018
    11:00 am - 1:00 pm
  • Playing it Out - Week 6
    August 16, 2018
    11:00 am - 1:00 pm
  • Playing it Out - Week 7
    August 30, 2018
    11:00 am - 1:00 pm
  • Playing it Out - Week 8
    September 6, 2018
    11:00 am - 1:00 pm
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