Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Tuesday, April 25: Discrimination in a good sense

I had a nice talk with my young client, whom I’ll call Dickon. The talk was about discrimination, a key concept in Feldenkrais work, the ability to tell differences. We got into the talk because I’d asked him to think about two things. One, what did he want? He forgot to think about this. And two, what did he think his “problem” was. We don’t like diagnosis in Feldenkrais, it’s an excuse to think something’s wrong with the client, rather than focus on what improvement could be made, but I knew that a lot of the world’s attention had been focused on “What is wrong with Dickon?” and I knew he must have some ideas or concepts about this, so I wanted to find out what they were. He’s eleven, and a bright young lad.

His guess as his “problem” was that he wants to hurt himself. All the time, I asked, No. Today? No. But sometimes.

That seemed like a good time to good into discrimination. You’ll see why in a bit.

I asked him to ask me if I liked people over to visit at my house,

He asked. I answered: it depends. Interesting people. People who are aware, yes. People who are just yammering, no.

I asked him to ask me if I liked to shake hands with people.

He asked. I answered, it depends. Some people hardly even touch, and that’s creepy to me. Others shake so hard I don’t like the feeling. Some shake an okay pressure, but they aren’t really there with me, and that’s boring. But a few are actually in contact with me when they shake and I like those.

That’s discrimination.

I reminded him of the other day in a lesson when I’d done something he thought was uncomfortable and he told me and I praised him for speaking up when something was uncomfortable. That’s discrimination, knowing how we want to be touched and don’t want to be touched.

I said that this ability to discriminate how he liked to be touched should make it hard to hurt himself, because when he’s hitting himself it must not be the way he wants to be touched.

He agreed with that. We went over this a bit. Paying attention to how he touched himself was important to discriminate here. He agreed.

There was a little more talk, on a related topic, but this enough for one piece. If we can be clear how we want others to treat us, can we begin to treat ourselves that way. A nice idea for me, too. How about you?


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