Getting Unstuck in Feeling-Oriented Self-Therapy

by Keith Borden

With my spouse's help, I have been doing feeling-oriented self-therapy for two and a half years, and for the most part it's been fantastic. All kinds of feelings have come up and I've cleaned out a lot of old stuff. I don't have a lot of the anger or fear that I used to.

But for more than four months I've been stuck. Nothing more seems to be happening, like the well has run dry. No matter what my spouse does to trigger me, and no matter how hard I tty, I just seem to sit there without any feelings. It's very frustrating, because I can sense that there's a lot more there. But I just can't move the process forward.

Does this mean I've "graduated" from this kind of therapy and am ready for something different - a spiritual modality, perhaps?

* * *

Probably not. Spiritual work might benefit you at this time, but there is no sign that you have "graduated" from feeling-oriented therapy.

Instead, you and your spouse have fallen into a common trap of granting certain feelings special status while falling to recognize others. When you began your work, you apparently had a lot of fear and anger near the surface. They were an obvious therapeutic target. It was easy to get into these feelings, especially with your spouse's help in triggering them, and evidently once you were into them you had the knack of giving yourself to the feeling and letting it run its course. Thus you were able to release a lot of tension at its source, resulting in the changes that you noted. Excellent work! And you fell into a pattern. You knew what feelings looked like, and your spouse knew how to trigger them. You were on a roll . . . until the well ran dry and there were no more feelings.

So now you're stuck . . . and it's frustrating. You just can't move it forward.

But what about the feeling of being stuck? What about the frustration? What about the sense that something is there and you can't get to it? What about your impotence in not being able to move? Aren't these feelings too?

Your mistake is to treat these feelings differently from the fear and anger. They should be treated exactly the sarne. You're stuck? Feel being stuck. But nothing happens when you do? Fine, feel nothing happening. It makes you frustrated? Feel the frustration. This is the way to move the process forvard. Instead of expressing particulur feelings, enter into and express whatever feeling is there. Your process will unfold at a rapid pace.

But be aware that your process won't look or feel the same as it did before. Of course it won't! Different feelings feel different. And "a rapid pace" won't look or feel the same either. You may need to spend a frustrating amount of time being stuck with nothing happening ... but something will be happening. You will be working through your reservoir of unprocessed "being stuck" feelings. But the nature of this particular feeling requires that it feel like nothing's happening when you're in it. That's what the feeling is. The progress is evident only when you finally come through.

Right now you are blocking this process, and thus you are truly not moving forward. By rejecting the feelings that are there and trying to arouse others instead, you are shoving artificial feelings into the "opening" (your awareness and bodily expression) through which your real feelings are trying to come out. The real ones don't let the artificial ones in, and the artificial ones don't let the real ones out. Nothing happens, because you are not honoring reality.

Feeling-oriented therapy, like all inner-work modalities, requires a profound acceptance of reality. But before you can accept reality, you must first recognize it . . . and that can be tricky if you have preconceived notions of what reality should look like. Your feelings are whatever they are. Accept that . . . and you'll really move!

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