Some days a Feldenkrais® Session will become a talking session depending upon the need in the moment. Recently a student came in experiencing trouble with their shins, calves, knees and ankles. As these physical areas began to free up, this parent began sharing their concerns for one of their adult children’s depression. The adult child had bouts of serious depression and this time was fearful themselves that they would cause damage to themselves.
Generally I simply listen. This time hearing only strategies to make it better, I thought about this adult child’s needs that were not being considered or even identified and spoke up. I suggested to this parent that perhaps this adult child simply needed to be listened to. No strategies, no fixing, no story telling. I suggested that perhaps they needed someone to be willing to be uncomfortable in their discomfort and be able to sit in this quagmire with them. Someone in this much pain has a need for safety and to be fully accepted as they are in the moment. Someone this agitated needs to find an anchor, someone who will just be there.
I coached them on how to listen with empathy and heard back they got the value in this. They too had a time in their life where they didn’t get their needs met for being seen and heard!
We continued with our movement exploration and found that the areas affected became increasingly more flexible with this deeper understanding and acceptance. This parent needed support too for their needs of safety!
Empathy is an elixir. It has not been abundant in our culture. Empathy calms one and reconnects them to their own value. When someone is not able to value themselves, others can provide them with reassurance that they matter by being mirrors reflecting back acceptance, love and appreciation using basic listening skills!