You may have noticed that, when trying to say things more clearly, we often use small gestures, and when we can’t express ourselves as we want, our body tenses. It is therefore not surprising that there are studies that have shown that, if one prevents the hands to move, the person will be struggling to express himself and to learn.
It is therefore also not surprising that, like a growing number of other therapists, I have discovered that, when someone is helped to feel and develop the gestures that “want to come”, not only his body comes to life but he will also speak more accurately and fluently. And that he even can give form to what, earlier on, seemed to him unspeakable.
Sometimes this work with felt gestures is an example of what the great dancer Isadora Duncan said, “if I could say it in words, I wouldn’t have to dance it.” To this we can add: “If I can dance (or, more prosaically, if I can find the gesture that best fits my feelings and impulses), I will not only find new meaning, but also a new way of making peace with my body and of being more present to others. ”
We can discover, for example, that this approach alleviates the fear of “freaking out” and / or of becoming violent or intrusive if we were to “let go”. A fairly common example might illustrate this: an impulse to hit someone expresses certainly an intense anger, but often also obscures an underlying hurt. If we slow down the movements corresponding to this anger and takes the time to explore in more detail the sensations that accompany these slower gestures, we discover something rather reassuring: a mindful, still spontaneous but richer,expression of not only our disagreement but also of our pain and our desire for change. This helps to find more satisfying and fair solutions and evokes more beneficial responses from our environment.
It might be useful to make more explicit the link with the Focusing approach, described earlier. In the gestural work, the “bodily felt response”, discovered thanks to the Focusing-work can be concretisized in a “felt gesture”. And when we feel the resonance of this gesture throughout our body, we can see how our whole body can sustain us, allowing us to better cope with situations which require a more adequate response.