Mood as Movement: A New Way of Understanding Feelings
The New England Center for Existential Therapy is continuing for the fourth year to emphasize core concepts which illuminate the specifically existential way of approaching therapy.Heidegger said that objects can be analyzed in terms of their "essential properties", but human beings can only be understood in terms of their "core existential structures".Too often theories of psychology and psychiatry see human beings as vital objects and try to categorize them in terms of properties.At NECET we want to emphasize some of these core existential structures, and show how life and therapy can reflect those structures.
Three years ago we emphasized the core structures "Being-there" and "Showing Up".Two years ago we discussed the core structure "Relatedness".Last year we explored the notion of what we called "the Deal" - dealing with the nothingness which lurks in the heart of being; or the death that is always there as a positive life enhancing phenomenon.
This year we are concentrating on one major existential structure - one that has struck many people as profound, paradigm shifting, and practically useful.That structure comes from a term that Heidegger made up in Being and Time. He called it Befindlichkeit.We will not translate this term now - but suffice it to say at this point that it leads to a radically new way of understanding human feeling and the relationship between feeling and understanding.
The program will orient itself around an important paper written by Eugene Gendlin in 1978 , entitled simply Befindlichkeit.This paper introduces the fundamentals of Gendlin's philosophical thinking as well as laying an important groundwork for his approach to psychotherapy.It is also a remarkably vivid introduction to Heidegger's thinking; and will be useful to both the neophyte and the experienced Heidegger reader.We are encouraging attendees to read this paper before the first meeting in late September.
The four meetings will introduce the concept of Befindlichkeit and Gendlin's elaboration of it; apply it to working with people with neurotic difficulties; apply it to working with people suffering from severe trauma; and finally compare it to the idea of mindfulness.As always, we will discuss philosophy, clinical theory, and provide case discussions to light up the core concepts.