Even when one is overcome by the impact of a traumatic event, the wholeness of the person continues, and holds the potential to integrate the trauma in a transformative way. The healing of trauma is expressed when life becomes more meaningful, alive, and purposeful.
Clearing a Space was first developed as a preparatory step for Focusing. Since then this process has been expanded to include a direct engagement with the Cleared Space. Research results show its impact upon physical healing, recovery from trauma, greater self-care, and a shift in the nature of the change process.
This study evaluated the usefulness of the Experiential Focusing Method as a psychological tool in the treatment of cancer patients. The researchers measured the impact of focusing on depression, hardiness, body cathexis, body attitudes and physical activity level for twelve cancer patients (eleven women and one man) between the ages of 30 and 55, who had cancer within the last five years.
There is so much we don’t know about physical disease. If we begin with the assumption that we are one whole organism that is an interaction with environment, culture, and spirit then physical disease is also in interaction as well. I want to highlight in this case example what can happen when we treat a physical symptom as a Felt Sense; i.e. the physical symptom carries bodily felt meanings that imply further living.
I have had several striking experiences working with people who have neurological disorders or who have entered a terminal stage in their cancer. In each of these people their disease progression had begun to alter and destroy certain cognitive functions. When this starts to happen it is more difficult for them to communicate what is going on inside and even to stay present to the people who love them and are trying to care for them. The person often appears tired and "out of it." Sometimes I have experienced people looking like they are already in a coma. Usual ways of communicating are often frustrating for the caregiver because there is not much response, or else there may be a response that seems "off the wall" or like an hallucination.
People diagnosed with a serious illness often have to make very difficult decisions quickly. The physicians usually make a recommendation or present options along with the statistics. Often there is no clear-cut sense of what is best, nor guarantees of a cure. At the same time the doctor communicates a sense of urgency to decide. Frequently emotions are intense; patients and families are upset. In this state, it is not easy to think through a decision...
In the last decade we have learned much about the client's side of therapeutic process. We developed a very specific knowledge and practice, called focusing. In the last years there have been many new developments.
Theory and experiential specificity can seem far apart. Not so! The most basic theory and the most specific experiential detail thrive on each other.
I will present some new experiential specifics (Section I) and then I will use them in a brief theoretical statement (Section II).