Bodily feelings and psychological defence. A specification of Gendlin’s concept of felt sense

Ceskoslovenska Psychologie 64 (2):129-142 (2020)
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Abstract

The paper aims to define the concept of “felt sense”, introduced in psychology and psychotherapy by E. T. Gendlin, in order to clarify its relation to bodily sensations and its difference from emotions. Gendlin’s own definition, according to which the felt sense is a conceptually vague bodily feeling with implicit meaning, is too general for this task. Gendlin’s definition is specified by pointing out, first, the different layers of awareness of bodily feelings and, second, the difference between bodily readiness for action and motivation for action. According to the more precise definition, the felt sense is the awareness of readiness to act carried by the configuration of bodily sensations. The felt sense differs from emotions because it is not able to motivate the action for which it makes us ready. The article also discusses the intuition that led to the founding of Gendlin’s psychotherapeutic technique and compares it with the psychoanalytic concept of working through resistance during therapy.

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Jan Puc
Palacky University

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