I recently wrote an article which was published in the Feldenkrais Journal entitled “The Power of Differentiation”. This article shares my story about working together with a client to help her to discover new levels of self-influence. It gave me the opportunity to apply my understanding of differentiation from a Formative Psychology perspective to my Feldenkrais practice. Here are excerpts from my article:

A woman in her early forties came into my office. She was frustrated. Exasperated actually. She experienced fleeting moments of feeling ready to throw up her hands and just give up. In actuality, she was throwing her right arm up into the air again and again. She couldn’t stop — and this was partly the source of her exasperation.

Instead of relying on the support of my contact and connection with her to influence her spasticity, I wanted to empower her to directly influence her spasticity herself.

As Angela turned her involuntary flailing into a self-influenced, defiant “Bang!” she exclaimed, “Chutzpah. This feels like a new kind of chutzpah.”

We are more than the sum, or the synergy, of our interrelated parts. Through differentiation, every cell in our bodies is inherently ‘intra-related’. This perspective informs how I understand the Feldenkrais Method…

Angela…has accomplished many things with the help of her chutzpah. And it is a cherished family quality. It took a lot of chutzpah on my part to suggest she continue differentiating her freshly formed “new kind of chutzpah”, but I did it. I did it for three reasons…

For fifteen seconds that lasted forever, neither of us moved. We were both in this silent, pulsing pause. It felt spacious and timeless, the space she had created. Angela suddenly and exuberantly threw her arms out toward me to give me a big hug, excitedly squirming in her wheelchair. She had never created this degree of quietude in herself before.

Angela was able to continue her learning over time and on her own. Most importantly, Angela began to develop an inner somatic responsiveness and resiliency which deepens her self-contact and informs how she relates to herself and others.


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2 Comments. Leave new

Great article Sonja. You really make the integration of several disciplines work so well.

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Sonja H. Sutherland
January 11, 2016 9:27 am

Thank you Peggy. I am deeply interested in how practices and principles from Formative Psychology® inform me and my work as a Feldenkrais practitioner, deepening my practical understanding of human behavior — of how we relate to others, ourselves and our circumstances.

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