In The Humanistic Psychologist researchers Andrew J. Felder, Halle M. Atena, Julie A. Neudeck, Jennifer Shiomi-Chenc, and Brent Dean Robbins report:"The mindfulness ‘foundations’ of existential-phenomenology appeared at the turn of the 20th century.
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Eugene Gendlin’s (1982, 1996) focusing approach to addressing the bodily awareness of sensations is informed by Merleau-Ponty’s understanding of intelligent bodily senses. Gendlin’s focusing approach attends to the relationship between logic and the here-and-now unfolding of one’s experienced “felt sense” (1996, p. 19) in a way that overlaps with DBT. For Gendlin, the felt sense corresponds to a precognitive bodily awareness that contains “the wholistic, implicit bodily sense of a complex situation” (1996, p. 58). Not unlike DBT, the felt sense does not rely on the primacy of mental activity because, according to Gendlin, the felt sense can take in and process more lived factors than rationality alone can assimilate. At the same time, Gendlin stresses that, “We always need the felt sense and rationality” (1996, p. 58), particularly when making judgments and choices. Gendlin’s therapist-facilitated attention to sensed experience involves the progressive unfolding of the felt sense through the client’s mindful attention to nonlogical steps and shifts in sensorial states and their bodily location. In doing so, the client mindfully travels through an emerging “maze of meanings” toward a fuller understanding of his or her life situation as a whole (1996, p. 58). Although the unfolding “growth direction” (1996, p. 21) of the felt sense is experientially varied, the full emergence of the client’s meaning laden bodily sense culminates in “relief” for the client, in part because the “global whole” signified by the felt sense has been understood. In other words, the client’s attentiveness to carrying forward his or her changing felt sense by carefully matching and attuning words to it occasions the lived experience of being congruently integrated—a congruent experience that is often impeded by the misunderstanding that the felt sense is “something you have, but not something you are” (1996, p. 20).