Living Forward

Gendlin's legacy as inspiration for psychotherapy and life

ARTICLEMia Leijssen - 56–4 (2018)


In human beings, living forward can be understood as the vital energy that arises from a stream of barely noticeable preconceptual experiences. It permeates the human body, much like it permeates every living organism. The article deepens the questions: 1. How can we understand ‘living forward’? 2. How can we come into contact with this living forward? 3. How can we facilitate the helping process of working with life-forward energy? 4. How can bodily felt contact with living forward open new perspectives on human development, healing and wellbeing? Gendlin's experiential approach implies several paradigm shifts in the Western way of thinking, acting and living. Without understanding how Gendlin altered a number of rules of the psychotherapy tradition, the experiential approach may provoke frustration and resistance.
Finally a multicultural existential model will be addressed in which the physical (body and nature), interpersonal (social interactions), psychological (inner relationship) and universal spirituality (the bigger system) of human existence are intrinsically interwoven. To develop wellbeing and healing, living forward is cultivated in the full range of human experience.


Focusing, life energy, body, relationship, inner relationship, spirituality, existential wellbeing