Step by Step Approach to Sensing Your Shape 2D

Step 1: Use touch to heighten awareness and prepare for kinesthetic sensing.

To prepare for the exercise, center yourself with a simple calming exercise of your choice. Put your nondominant hand on a flat surface. Trace your hand with the index finger of your dominant hand, starting at the wrist on the little finger side of the hand. Concentrate on the skin, your physical boundary, your first line of defense. If you prefer, you can start by using a crayon to outline your hand.

Hold your hand in front of you. Looking at the back of your hand, use your imagination or mind's eye to outline the hand. Be aware of your wrist, fingertips, and the places where your fingers attach to the palm of your hand.

Look straight ahead and away from your hand, and visualize the complete outline of your hand. Be sure to look straight ahead and not to follow the outlining process with your mind's eye. Just sense the outline.

Move your hand in any direction or make figures in the air still looking straight ahead. When finished, note how your nondominant hand feels compared to that of your dominant hand.

Follow the same process with your dominant hand (Steps 1-6).

Step 2: Involve more of your body.

Outline other parts. (The rate at which you do so depends on client needs, group processes, and time.)

Step 3: Sense the whole shape: Make use of the horizontal and vertical planes' links to trust, autonomy, identity development, and boundaries.

The ultimate goal of this technique is to be able to sense your body as a unified whole. When that happens, your attention will be equally distributed around your body. If you focus only on the moving part, your attention will collect in one spot. You will lose the sense of wholeness that comes with the sense of your shape.

Outline the silhouette of your entire body with touch. Using your hand, start at the top of your head and trace the outline down one side and up the other. Were you a stuffed doll, it would be your seam. Note: Clients who are uncomfortable with self-touch can use a feather, paintbrush, or equivalent.

Use your mind's eye to sense your shape, e.g., imagine tracing your shape with a laser beam, crayon, etc.

Move one body part without watching the movement to see if you can stay aware of your seam, holding onto the sense of your whole self. Using your hand as an imaginary needle, touch the spots where you lose your awareness to "sew up the holes" in your seam.

Move more than one body part. Notice once again where you need to sew up your seam. The task is not to seek perfection, but to identify your vulnerable spots, the holes in your seam. Once you know where they are, you can focus on them, or touch them, to claim or retrieve your shape.

Step 4: Play with the sense of your shape (make, merge, and reclaim your shape).

Identify the feelings that emerge as you move in and out of your shape. Notice what happens to you, your role in the group, and the group as a whole when you have the sense of your shape. Share your experiences with others in the group.

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