Back to Section I

The Client's Client
Theory: What is the Source of Process-Steps?

Eugene T. Gendlin
University of Chicago

The following is a very brief theoretical statement. More is presented in a long work, (Gendlin, E.T., A Process Model) and in my philosophical works.

INDEX:

The Question

Implicit Concepts

Language

Theoretical Proposition 1: The use of words (and also the use of concepts is implicitly ordered. This order is different and greater than the kind of order concepts make. A welter of old concepts is always implicit in any human situation but cannot determine what we say or do next.

Feelings and Interpersonal Situations

Theoretical Proposition 2: Feelings and interpersonal situations are one system. The situational complexity is lived in the feelings; felt and lived complexity constitutes situations and is not something added to them.

The Body

Theoretical Proposition 3: We live our situations with our bodies. Feelings-and-actions, the use of words and also thinking are bodily processes. Actions, words, and thoughts are implicit in the body.

Time, Change, and Datum

Theoretical Proposition 4: Any event IS the implying of next events. An event implies its own change. Next events carry forward, if they change this event into what it "was" the implying of.

The "Was" of Carrying Forward as a Characteristic of Body Life

The Environment is Part of What is Implied Next

What is an "Object"? What is an Inner "Datum" and its Inner Space?

The Body Implies

Theoretical Proposition 5: Body process always involves the environment. By implying the next bits of process the body implies its next environment. Carrying forward happens when all of the next implied environment occurs. The part of the implied environment which might or might not occur is called an "object." An object is what carries a process forward.

The Different Avenues of Therapy are Different Objects that Carry Forward

An "Inner Object" or Datum is Also a Carrying Forward

Theoretical Proposition 6: The seeming "thing" we call an internal datum is a carrying forward process. Its coming changes the body and its implicit further actions.

Feeling vs. Felt Sense

Novel Steps are Also Implicit

Theoretical Proposition 7: An event that has never occurred before can be implicit. This often happens in creative thinking, in art, and in the process-steps of psychotherapy and focusing. The steps are new and nevertheless they "were" implicit in the physically experienced felt sense of the situation or problem.

Theoretical Proposition 8: The datum or object we call a felt sense exceeds in intricacy what we could previously think, say, or act upon. The old forms are implicit, but more organization is already involved which makes them inappropriate in very exact ways. The very coming of a felt sense as a datum is a carrying forward of this greater order. From the felt sense (in further steps) one can form new and more finely tuned explicit words and actions, which could not have been devised before.

"Directions"

Theoretical Proposition 9: A felt sense is not preverbal. Its forming and coming as a datum is a new living forward of the implicit complexity of situation and language. When we live oddly, the implicit acts and speech are silently altered.

Theoretical Proposition 10: Bodily implying of concepts, words, feelings and actions has its own "direction": The next steps are not as yet formed; hence the "direction" is not definable. Nevertheless it is a more demanding organization inclusive of more order than familiar steps can carry forward. The coming of a felt sense is itself this wider carrying forward and the further steps show that.

REFERENCES

Section II

The Question:

Our question is the same as in Section I., but now we ask it as a theoretical question. I will continually refer back to the specifics we have discussed.

We observe that process-steps have an intricacy and a power to change us, far superior to our concepts. What comes in process-steps surprises us. A much more sophisticated "territory" shows itself than we are capable of formulating or inventing. And a step is not only itself but leads to further steps.

What is this superior knowing? Are such steps just unrelated to concepts? How do they differ from the more usual cognition? What is the source of this intricacy and its steps?

We have to rethink our basic concepts about the body, feeling, action, language, and cognition to answer this question.

Implicit Concepts:

We have seen that process-steps move beyond the explicit concepts we deliberately apply. But many more concepts are always already implicit in any human experience.

The many concepts and structures which are implicit in this wider order do not function as explicit concepts would. A welter of old theories, mutually exclusive patterns and systems are always implicit in our experience, far more of them than we can think. Explicitly the many contradictory concepts would cancel out. Implicitly not only do they function together, but they are always only a small part of the implicit order.

Concepts (the kind that seem separable from particular contexts) are a late and immensely important human product, enabling people to build the world further and further. And because humans have already done that a lot, old concepts are always implicit in any situation and experience.

But nature is vastly more organized than just by this late and important development. Even the purest logical thinking involves this greater order to support it. There is always a whole implicit context of intricately ordered understandings without which the explicit concepts do not work. These understandings don't consist only of concepts.

But is there another way to theorize other than by conceptual forms? Even if there were not, it is wrong to equate order with concepts. Of course, if there were no other way to theorize, we would have to stop with this mere denial. We could not think further.

The problems of theorizing in another way have been treated in my philosophical writings.

Any concept can always be used as its conceptual form, or as the wider implicit order which we instance just then in using that concept. The wider order cannot be said or conceptualized. But from a concept we can always move either logically, or in process-steps from this wider order.

Language:

Language is a larger system different in kind from abstractable concepts. Some decades ago the Linguistic Analysts showed that words are not used in accord with the abstractable patterns we call concepts. They tried to explicate rules for how words are used in various contexts to have certain effects in situations. But even this attempt failed. The same word is used in an odd assortment of situations in which it works differently. The meaning of a word is neither a concept, nor can its use-contexts be stated.

If you speak more than one language you know that. There is often no single translation for a word. In the foreign language a word's cluster of contexts is not that which comes with anyone word of ours. From the contexts we get a "feel for" how that one word works.

Language-in-use is very finely "ordered," well beyond the abstractable conceptual type of order. Abstract concepts are certainly always implicit in the use of words, but even the whole mutually contradictory welter of them does not come close to the kind of order that governs the use of words.

Theoretical Proposition 1: The use of words (and also the use of concepts is implicitly ordered. This order is different and greater than the kind of order concepts make. A welter of old concepts is always implicit in any human situation but cannot determine what we say or do next.

The Linguistic Analysts concluded that a native speaker knows the language as one "knows" how to ride a bicycle without being able to say how. The misuse of a word gives one a "sour feeling", as one of them said. They did not ask how knowledge more intricate than one can define, can be in a feeling. But we want to ask this question.

Feelings and Interpersonal Situations:

Feelings are usually thought of as internal things, entities, little objects. Indeed they are a sort of "datum" inwardly "there," but how do such thing-like data and inner space come about?

The traditional notion of "affects" assumes them as already thing-like. Other little things are memories, desires, values, needs, perceptions, information, and so on. To assume these skips how they form.

Of course when we use these words they do work, but that with which they work is far from being such cut entities. If we think from that in the case of the word "feelings" we soon discover that they are not just affect-things but have a wealth of complexity in them. How can we think about why that is?

An emotion is part of events, or as I want to put it: emotions come in stories. They occur in a certain spot structured by the story.

Traditional living was usually a repeatable story, with the recognizable emotions in the right places. There seemed to be a fixed "keyboard" of them.

In modern urban society the stock routines are failing. We can manage few situations just as one is supposed to do. Our stories are more varied and complicated. Therefore the major pure emotions come in us more rarely.

Feelings (if you follow my use of these words) often have no name. We have to tell the situational story-detail to convey the feeling. From this we see that an emotion or a feeling is our living in that story.

Theoretical Proposition 2: Feelings and interpersonal situations are one system. The situational complexity is lived in the feelings; felt and lived complexity constitutes situations and is not something added to them.

We do not separately experience a situation as if it were merely external, and then "react" to it with one of a set of feelings, as the usual theory says. Situations are not external so that feelings would be internal additions to them. On the contrary, so-called external facts are always made with implicit assumptions and livings.

Affects are not additions to facts. Facts are and mean what was and will be lived and felt by someone.

The single mesh of feelings-situations is always already inherent in any "external" fact. That mesh is more highly ordered than abstractable concepts, although it always includes an implicit welter of those. Nor can feelings-and-situations be said, although the system is partly patterned by language. A nexus of words is always implicit in feelings-and-situations. But living is not determined in advance to remain within extant language forms. The reverse: When we live and speak oddly we also change that implicit nexus of language. New uses of words are then implicit.

The Body

Feelings and emotions must come or we don't have them. We can remember them and believe they ought to be there. But to have them they must come. And this is always a bodily coming.

The coming of feelings in the body is also the coming of the situational detail, some of which is always linguistically patterned. Our interpersonal actions are, or include, speech-acts. Therefore words too have this character:

Words, too, must come. If they don't, we are stuck. There is no inner dictionary in which to find them. We are quite dependent on their coming.

Abstract concepts also come and when the body is tense they might not!

Theoretical Proposition 3: We live our situations with our bodies. Feelings-and-actions, the use of words and also thinking are bodily processes. Actions, words, and thoughts are implicit in the body.

We can now understand how the body knows and responds so precisely to words, as I described in Section I. Of course, language is situational structure. Feelings-situations come in the body. It follows that the body knows language. But now we need to change the usual concepts of the body, to think clearly how concepts, language, and situations are implicit in it.

Especially two puzzles need clarification:

A present bodily event implies further steps of action and words.

An internal bodily event implies external objects and situations.

Time, Change, and Datum:

Process-steps give us a new time-and-space model, called "carrying forward" (Gendlin, 1964, elaborated since then.) Our steps of change are not in a linear time continuity. In therapy we change not into something else, but into more truly ourselves. Therapeutic change is into what that person really "was" all along. But this sentence makes sense only if the word "was" does not refer to the usual time positions behind us. Rather, it is a second past, read back retroactively from now. It is a new "was" made from now. Let us use this new time-concept instead of reimposing the old one.

What comes in a small process-step has this new "was. " For example:

"Oh...now I can feel the anger which that bored feeling really was..."

The anger now seems to have been there before. But it is a step of carrying forward. We have two pasts now: the anger that "was;" but we also recall the fuzzy boredom, which was actually on the linear time line behind us.

Only retroactively can we get to this "was". Only from now "was" it there before. Time seems retroactive when we examine the process-step relation in linear time. Actually the new time relation is more complex. Linear time can be defined as a simpler model within it.

It is not just false to say that this now is what "was." We cannot express that relation in the old concepts. That change and time-relation is made in process-steps.

There are many different variants of this "was"-relation in therapy, thinking, poetry, action and other processes. The varieties of this "was" are also the various senses of "implicit" and "carrying forward."

Situations, too, have this carrying forward pattern. We don't speak of a situation unless it is difficult to meet. Otherwise we have already acted and events flow on. But when there is a situation to be met, we don't immediately know "the right" action. That action is in one way indicated by the situation (the action must fit and meet it) and in another way not indicated since we are puzzled. The situation may be new and unusual, yet it implies the action needed to meet it. Later events reveal what the situation "was." Therefore, with hindsight we see what the right action "was."

This "was" characterizes the carrying forward relation.

The situation does not contain the right action as a problem in geometry contains its answer, logically following from the givens (though even in geometry one must often draw an additional line and create further, to find that sort of implicit answer). The way a situation implies an action to meet it is very finely ordered and demanding, yet the action will also change the situation, and not merely follow from how the situation is already formed.

We can say that an action IS a change-in-a-situation. But it is not just any change. The implicit action is that one which will change the situation as the situation demands to be met. And a situation IS the demand for some action. The two are reciprocal: The situation is the implying of a change-in-situation. A situation IS an implying of a change in itself.

Now we can formulate the carrying forward relation forward and not only backward (as a new "was"). A situation is the implying of its own change. Put more generally:

Theoretical Proposition 4: Any event IS the implying of next events. An event implies its own change. Next events carry forward, if they change this event into what it "was" the implying of.

The implied next event is not already formed and determined, only the present event is. Other changes, not only carrying forward often happen. The implied next event might not occur at all. It does not exist as formed if it does not occur.

"Carrying forward" leads us to conceptualize an event (anything) in a radically different way than the usual. An event not only is in some way now, but any event also is the implying of its change.

One need not insist that anything is like that or that this new model is always superior. But the process-steps in therapy and focusing are better thought about in this way. Many other aspects of human behavior become more clearly thinkable with this model (at least as one of several we might use.)

The "Was" of Carrying Forward as a Characteristic of Body Life:

Hunger, for example, is more truly an eating that hasn't come yet, than a state that eventually leads to death, (which of course it also is.) Which way would you define "hunger?" Would you bring eating into the definition, or would you only say how hunger is while it is still hunger?

Physiology studies the body very successfully with a conceptual model of atoms positioned at linear space and time points, but we will never grasp the unity of body and psyche in that model. The psychological cannot be related to such a body. But this is not because what is physical and biological differs from the behavioral and psychological, but because of the conceptual model currently used in biology and physics. But even physics needs the model of process-steps. Our model alters just those assumptions that currently make the major anomalies in physics. (Gendlin and Lemke, 1983.)

In our new model, biological events "are" in two ways: they are now just so, and also they are the implying of further events. Let us not separate some vitalistic entity, drive, need, push, motivation, desire, as an unseen motor by which each cut event is connected to the next. Instead, let us not assume cut events that are only present, only at some one time-"point." Such cut events require an external "observer" to connect them, as physics now assumes. But we are and study such observers! We live our own progression, and the formal continuity of points is only one oversimplified derivative.

Any bit of process is the implying of a next step. From that step, backwards, the implicit seems to have been what now forms. Actually the implicit IS for any further event that would have one of these retroactive relations.

The Environment is Part of What is Implied Next:

If the further body process is implicit, so are the external circumstances which are involved in it.

The hungry body implies not only feeding, but of course also food.

Any living process is always both environment and organism. The body is itself a piece of environment. We think of a living body as separate from everything around it, but the body is also made out of that. It is also itself an "internal environment." For example the bloodstream is the environment of the cells. Each internal tissue has its environment. The body is both environment and living process. Every cell is both, and again every part of a cell. Body and environment are one system, one thing, one event, one process.

Just as feeding and food are implicit in a body-process, so also the next action and the people and things which would be involved in the action.

In this way we understand more clearly how a body event (feelings too) is implicitly an external complexity in the environment.

We bodily feel the actions which our situations implicitly are.

Many of these actions are or involve words, of course, and we feel those also in the body. Especially when the implicit actions can not happen do we sense actually in the body that they are implicit now.

The implied action, for instance eating, might not happen because there is no food. An implied action can not happen if the people and things it involves are missing.

What is an "Object"? What is an Inner "Datum" and its Inner Space?

Earlier I said that we cannot start by assuming already split apart inner entities or objects like feelings, memories, perceptions, and so on. We need to ask how such inward "data" come about. Before we do so, let us ask about ordinary outer entities or objects. Are they just given? I said no, external facts too are made with our feeling and living. We can now understand this more clearly.

In the traditional view the outer "objects" are simply given and we react. For example, when hungry, eating is "the reaction to" food. In that way of thinking food is an object just by itself. Eating is a reaction to it. I want to turn that around. Let us say instead that eating isn't just a reaction to food. Rather, that becomes "an object" only with the organism's digestive process. This runs through stages of hunger, food-search, feeding, satiation, defecating, and after a while, hunger again. At the feeding part of this cycle.

The Body Implies

food and cannot go on without it. At the defecation part of the cycle the body implies the ground in which feces can be buried.

To put it this way allows me to say: food is not first an object and then reacted to with feeding. Food is an object because it carries the digestive process forward.

In this way we theoretically derive the concept of an ordinary "object" from the concept of "carrying forward." Now the two concepts imply each other.

Theoretical Proposition 5: Body process always involves the environment. By implying the next bits of process the body implies its next environment. Carrying forward happens when all of the next implied environment occurs. The part of the implied environment which might or might not occur is called an "object." An object is what carries a process forward.

Food changes hunger into satiation. An object (an environment that carries the implied forward) changes that implying. Hunger implies its own change, which occurs if food does.

Food and all its characteristics are implicit in hunger. But hunger could also be carried forward by something new. The implicit is never only formed. Intravenous feeding can carry digestion forward and so can odd foods. Implying has both the fine detail of the familiar object and is also the implying of anything that would carry forward.

The organism's process with the object takes time. I prefer to say the process makes time. The process makes time by carrying forward. From its time one can derive the simple linear time in which simple things seem just to be.

The Different Avenues of Therapy are Different Objects that Carry Forward:

There are different kinds of "objects" and kinds of carrying forward. As food carries body-process forward, so also do our physical motions, interpersonal actions, words, conceptual steps, dreams and our work with them, as well as other people's words and their actions toward us. These carry the same single system forward, but in different ways. They can not replace each other.

The different avenues of therapy can be recognized in these kinds of carrying forward. Everyone can learn to focus, but everyone also dreams, feels, thinks, speaks, acts, interacts, moves bodily, imagines, and sometimes spontaneously acts out. None of these avenues of therapy should be strange to us. Why make exclusive "methods" of therapy each using only one of these, when every client has them all? It happens because we find it hard to learn how to respond along all of them.

Methods using different avenues of carrying forward can all be used on a client-centered baseline, and to seek process-steps. This changes them. Their conflicting rationales and styles drop away and they fit together, because as avenues of human process they were never separate.

For example, interpersonal responses are one important kind of carrying forward. An empathic response might add nothing to the content, but it is an interpersonal "object" that carries the body forward in an utterly different way than the same content would, if felt or said alone.

We find focusing very powerful when done alone, but easier to do deeply when another person silently keeps one company (and receives anything one does say). Here is a pure instance of interpersonal carrying forward! In silence only the receptive attention of another person is added. That alone is an irreplaceable kind of carrying forward.

An "Inner Object" or Datum is Also a Carrying Forward:

We have seen how the outer objects are derivative from process. The "inner objects" (and their time) are also made by the organismic process which they carry forward.

In ordinary action we see and feel the objects in the situation. When "the feeling" becomes an object, we say it "was" there, all along. Actually this datum-object is a new carrying forward made from the previous.

"Unfelt feeling" is not a good concept. There was feeling-in-action. Then symbolic carrying forward made a feeling-datum. That was not there before.

We can now clarify the fact that we change by feeling a feeling that was there but not felt. "Unfelt feeling" is contradictory, and "feeling ones feeling" is redundant. But these expressions do refer to common events we can now clarify: Why would a person change merely by becoming aware?

Feelings are not things like stones that can be buried, and still exist in the same shape. The coming of a feeling-datum is a carrying forward, a further and different living. People say, "Now that I know I feel this way, what can I do about it?" Usually they don't know. Neither does the therapist. It is very fortunate that the whole system is already changed in the new carrying forward which makes a feeling an object.

Theoretical Proposition 6: The seeming "thing" we call an internal datum is a carrying forward process. Its coming changes the body and its implicit further actions.

Food is not simply a given. It is made into that "object" by the continuous body process it carries forward. So also, the seeming thingness of a feeling is its lasting through the process it carries forward.

After a new feeling, new actions may be implicit. A feeling is a change in what is further implied, which will make more change.

Sometimes what a feeling implies cannot occur. The implying is not carried forward and does not change further. Then the feeling is remade freshly, over and over, whenever the person lives in that situation physically or symbolically.

Then it seems no longer true that "feeling the feeling" is a change. Actually it is, but the feeling is an implying of further change which does not happen. The feeling is therefore formed again and again.

Feeling vs. Felt Sense:

Feelings and emotions are parts in a situation. For example, anger comes in a certain slot in a story and carries it forward in a partial way. We are taught to count to 10 when angry because the anger is not a sense of the whole situation. If we do what the anger implies we may later be sorry. That is because the anger does not carry forward the whole situation. Therefore the further actions the anger implies do not meet it all. Ordinary feelings and the actions they further imply carry forward only part of the situational whole.

We see that easily in new situations. None of the usual feelings and their implied actions quite fit. New actions are needed.

Such novel actions do not come from the recognizable emotions and feelings, since these "objects" are made in carrying the usual story forward in a familiar way.

Is there a way to have a datum of the whole implicit complexity? The felt sense (previously described) is that datum.

We can see the difference when people move from a feeling to the felt sense. The feeling is made from (and understandable from) the known, formed story detail. But in the felt sense the implicit situation is a much larger whole.

The implicit situation as a felt sense is a single mesh from which endless detail can be differentiated: what happened to us, what someone did, why that troubled us or made us glad, what was just then also going on and made this especially good or bad, what we now need to do about it, and with whom, why that is difficult, what usually happened in the past with others, how we feel about that, and how we feel about feeling that way about it, what we sense others thinking, why it's wrong and why it's right, on and on.

Yet the felt sense from which all this can come is single, sensed as that bodily quality, there.

The bodily felt sense is a new type of object or datum. The whole implying itself becomes a datum, a sensed "that." The whole is changed by being carried forward by this new type of "object."

To let the body-sense of the whole implied context become a datum is a new type of carrying forward. Some people in all ages could do this, but it is new to most people.

Novel Steps are Also Implicit:

Because we have often observed certain body processes like digestion we know the implicit next step. When we have often seen certain traditions and cultural routines, we know in advance what action a situation implies. Later we say it "was" implicit.

But something new could also carry forward and be what "was" implicit. With current concepts one cannot think clearly about novelty in body-life and physics, but obviously the universe and evolutionary forms could not have developed if novelty had been impossible. The difficulty in thinking about novelty lies not in nature but in the type of concept which reduces everything to fixed units which can only be rearranged or reorganized to explain anything new. Genuine novelty is a puzzle for that kind of concept. The difficulty belongs to the kind of concept not to physics or bodies.

Especially in modern urban society we often live ourselves into a new and odd situation. Such a situation is implicit actions, which have never as yet been formed by anyone.

We know when routine actions will not suffice. How do we sense and appreciate the subtle oddity of a new situation? We could not, if we could only feel and think the familiar. Not so. When we feel "stuck," this stuckness is a sense of more, which correct our attempts to say or do something usual. The stuckness is our sense of the puzzling situation, the implicit words and actions we have been unable to devise. The stuckness is a finely organized sense of why usual ways won't do, and of what would. The stuckness is an implying of... new next steps never as yet formed.

If the situation is new and odd, the implicit action has never existed. Yet it is implicit!

Theoretical Proposition 7: An event that has never occurred before can be implicit. This often happens in creative thinking, in art, and in the process-steps of psychotherapy and focusing. The steps are new and nevertheless they "were" implicit in the physically experienced felt sense of the situation or problem.

The whole complexity of situation-feeling is implicit in body process. This includes whatever makes the situation difficult, and has made easy routine actions inappropriate. The body's implying (and if a datum forms, how the situation "feels" in a bodily way) includes more organized complexity than we can as yet think, say, or act upon. There is no certainty that a process-step will come. But if one does, it will have a greater intricacy than we could have thought, said or done before that step.

Theoretical Proposition 8: The datum or object we call a felt sense exceeds in intricacy what we could previously think, say, or act upon. The old forms are implicit, but more organization is already involved which makes them inappropriate in very exact ways. The very coming of a felt sense as a datum is a carrying forward of this greater order. From the felt sense (in further steps) one can form new and more finely tuned explicit words and actions, which could not have been devised before.

"Directions"

Let me show how what I said leads "further." Living tissue is some way now, but it also is implicitly its further events. We define and name it from knowing its usual further events, as we define hunger by feeding. But actually the implicit is some event that carries forward. Any bodily process could be carried forward in a different way than happened before. The implicit is never only already formed. Like a situation that must be met, the implied action is not a fixed form.

Countless situational aspects and their linguistic and conceptual differentiations are implicit in the body. The familiar routines are a carrying forward of a vast complexity. They are further developments' from earlier routines, which are even now still implicit in our bodies along with the later ones.

When we live oddly, the routinely formed actions and words are implicit, but now they do not carry the whole implicit bodily complexity forward. Our "stuck" body-sense is usually thought of as a feeling without words, or as "pre-verbal," but that is not correct. The felt sense does contain the language and the situational contexts of words. It is not pre-verbal! And it implies the new next steps of speech and action, which has never as yet formed. The coming of the felt sense has already elaborated and further developed the implicit linguistic and situational system.

Now we understand theoretically how the body-sense can be so finicky about words used in focusing. We understand how new action and speech is more intricately implied by the body, than we can define.

In therapy people without great verbal resources become raw poets, refashioning words to speak from process-steps. What comes freshly is often more intricate than ready phrases.

Theoretical Proposition 9: A felt sense is not preverbal. Its forming and coming as a datum is a new living forward of the implicit complexity of situation and language. When we live oddly, the implicit acts and speech are silently altered.

Language is always part of situational structure. The body "knows" (the felt sense is) the implicit complexity with its language. When we live, act or speak oddly, further poetically novelty is already implicit.

Therefore a missing next step is not indeterminate, or unorganized, as so many people want to say. An implicit, missing next step is more finely organized than the routines, and that is why we cannot easily find or devise words or actions. Please note: In such a case the routines are still implicit, and can be done and said. But whatever was the implicit next step is still the implicit next step, even after we do or imagine the routines. That is how we know that they have not carried this implying forward.

An odd situation's implying is more organized than the usual routines and contains them. The novel implicit is not unrelated to familiar concepts, phrases, and actions. It includes these and exactly why they will not suffice.

We arrive here at a new concept: Traditional thinking has only fixed form or open possibility: if a next step is implied, it is thought of as already formed. Or, if the next step is open, this is thought to be indeterminate, and less ordered. We find instead that novel living is more ordered and includes old forms in a more demanding organization which makes them insufficient.

A new concept arises if we keep these two together, as we find them together: a more orderly, demanding implying and novelty. Indeed it is the greater orderliness of this implying which requires the novelty.

The body's implying of a next step is very familiar to everyone: Inhaling implies exhaling, hunger implies feeding, cramped sitting implies stretching. Notice how the word "implies" is used in these phrases. >From them you can also follow what the word does, if I say: in odd situations the body implies phrases and actions that have never been formed. Then words can work as they never did before.

When this greater organization is carried forward, its further implying is also changed. New further steps are implied and ensue. The process of steps is not determined within old forms. The process directs itself.

I will use the word "direction" in quotations to say this. Any body process has "direction": what will carry forward is very finely organized and just this organization is an implying of new steps. In many situations only new steps can carry the body forward.

Theoretical Proposition 10: Bodily implying of concepts, words, feelings and actions has its own "direction": The next steps are not as yet formed; hence the "direction" is not definable. Nevertheless it is a more demanding organization inclusive of more order than familiar steps can carry forward. The coming of a felt sense is itself this wider carrying forward and the further steps show that.

A person's inner "client" is not a formed content but a process of self-responding. We cannot aid the development of this process by making impacts on the person which circumvent this self-responding and its steps.

A living event is not only what appears, "it" also is an implicit carrying forward.

"It" is like an unfinished poem that very finely and exactly requires its next line, which has never as yet existed. One can feel the next line implied from reading the lines up to this point. What is written already requires its further steps. But the written part will also change somewhat when that next line come. The poem written so far implies its own change. There might be more than one way but finding even one is not easy.

I cannot know what I did or said to this person if I don't see the person's inward reception of it, and the further steps that might come from that. Conversely, when I speak for myself to others I need them to wait and come with me the steps that further emerge. I need them to listen and follow my steps, and not to react to the first thing I said. They cannot know from one static bit what I mean, nor can I know without the process of steps. If I move in self-responding alone, the steps will not be those that can come with this person.

The listening and focusing process is of crucial political significance.

Once people are accustomed to being listened to, and know the inward checking of focusing, they are quite "spoiled" for the usual type of authority. They often express shock at the unhappy fact that most teachers, gurus, and leaders cannot listen. "How could ______ have told me this about me without asking me?!...He didn't even stop to find out what I was speaking from .... "

What authorities say cannot get inside them in the old way, because "inside them" is a self-responding process of the sort I describe. Rather, the attempt at the old kind of authority is experienced as stupid. But also inside the individual, the representatives of external authority and merely imposed cognitive form must wait, listen, and dialogue with what comes in these more intricate steps. The inner authoritarian is no mere analogy but an actual representative of the form-imposing ways of social "reality."

People who are accustomed to listening can be cowed by power, and do not necessarily develop political insights even about what is happening to them. There are many other dimensions to the political problem today. But listening and focusing are one vital dimension. A kind of human organization is coming, which would not again be the imposition of power by some over others.

Thomas Gordon's PET network has taught listening to half a million people and continues. Our network teaches focusing and listening to the general public. When these processes are regularly taught in the schools and are part of the social fabric, much can change which at present cannot. People will be able to be together in ways they now don't know of. Politics is human organization and not mere ideas or forms.

It is hard not to overstate or understate the importance of focusing. It makes process-steps very frequent and lets them be sought at any point. Without it therapy brings change haphazardly and rather rarely. Focusing makes specific what every mode of therapy intends but does not specify. The source of steps, the edge of awareness becomes itself a datum. The very coming of that datum is a crucial carrying forward. From that datum come entirely new and subtler steps of speech, thought, feeling, and action. It is a new development of the human individual.

REFERENCES:

Gendlin, E. T., Experiencing and the Creation of Meaning. New York: The Free Press, Macmillan, 1962, 1970. See also: Experiential phenomenology. In M. Natanson, (Ed.), Phenomenology and the Social Sciences. Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1973

Gendlin, E. T., Focusing. New York: Bantam Books, 1981.

Gendlin, E. T., A theory of personality change. In Worchel and Byrne, (Eds.) Personality change. New York: Wiley, 1964. Reprinted in J. Hart and T. Tomlinson, (Eds.), New directions in client-centered therapy. Boston: Houghton-Mifflin, 170. Reprinted in A. Mahrer Ed.), Creative developments in psychotherapy. Cleveland: Case-Western Reserve, 1971. German -translation: In H. Bommert und H-D Dahlhoff, Das Selbsterleben Ex eriencin in der Psychotherapie. Munchen-Wien: Urban & Schwarzenberg, 1978. Japanese translation: Collected papers of E. T. Gendlin. Tokyo: Natsumesha, 1981.

Gendlin, E.T., Beebe, J., Oberlander, M., Cassens, J. and Ilein, M. H., Focusing ability in psychotherapy, personality and creativity. In J. M. Shlien, (Ed.), Research in psychotherapy Vol. III, Washington, D.C.: American Psychological Association, 1967.

Gendlin, E. T., "Befindlichkeit": Heidegger's philosophy of psychology. Review of Existential Psychology and Psychiatry, Vol. XVI, Nos. 1-3, 1978-79.

Gendlin, E. T., A process model. www.focusing.org

Gendlin, E.T., and Lemke, J. A critique of relativity and localization. Mathematical Modeling, Vol. 4, No.1, 1983, pp 61-72.

Gendlin, E.T., Grindler, D., McGuire, M, Imagery, Body and Space in focusing. In Sheikh, A.A., (Ed.), Imagination and healing, New York, Baywood, 1984.

Kanter. M. Clearing a space with four cancer patients. Focusing Folio Vol 2. No.4. 1982.

Klein, M. H., Mathieu, P. L., Kiesler, D. J. Gendlin, E. T., The experiencing scale: a research and training manual. Madison: Wisconsin Psychiatric Institute, The University of Wisconsin, 1969.

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