Pantomiming: An Expressive Element in Wholebody Focusing-Oriented Therapy

A pantomime is a form of theatre and performance in which the actors play parts or express certain characteristics or feelings through nonverbal means. Thus, something done in pantomime would occur via gestures, facial expression, physical movements, often in a farcical or exaggerated manner. As I have been integrating a more Wholebody perspective (as originated by Kevin McEvenue) into Focusing and Focusing-oriented Therapy, I have observed how frequently important aspects of experiencing are expressed through movements, gestures, posture, musculature, etc. The bodily expressiveness can be different from the verbal content of speech or can amplify and extend the implicit felt meaning of what is being verbalized. Pantomiming is a more explicit invitation for clients to further play out or enact how their body is carrying or expressing some aspect of themselves to which they are referring. It is especially helpful and freeing for clients who tend to suppress or curtail aspects of their experiencing and/or are aware of certain ingrained or repetitive patterns or parts of themselves.

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Focusing-Oriented Therapy with Disconnected Process

Disconnected process refers to a structure-bound state of blockage in which at least one or more aspects of oneself are kept out of awareness. Most often, there is a pronounced difficulty in recognizing and relating with the felt quality of experiencing, at times manifest as a distancing from immediate feelings and bodily sensations.

In one sense, most everyone manifests some level of disconnection, even when we say “Fine,” to the question of “How are you doing today?” when there is clearly more happening inwardly that is either not experienced or not verbalized.

At more severe levels, there can be a chronic lack of awareness of what one is experiencing or feeling, to the point of not recognizing emotional or physical reactions. Sometimes, certain parts of experiencing are kept out of awareness as when there is an unconscious, automatic pattern of blocking out aggressive, sexual or anxious feelings.

When extreme, people may not be aware of any feeling or sensory experiencing, and when their consciousness can detach from bodily reactions so that there is a reporting of being “numb” or “blank” or “feeling nothing”, or, at its most extreme, “deadness.” The basic pattern involves some type of splitting of awareness: between the person and the body, or parts of the body, or some aspects of experiencing, or between “parts‟ of the personality.

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