Knowing through the felt-sense: a gesture of openness to the other

Jacqueline Watson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


In the discussion of children’s spirituality and education, David Hay and Brendan Hyde place emphasis on the felt-sense. Originally identified by the psychotherapist Eugene Gendlin, the felt-sense is a way of knowing that involves attentiveness to the body and body wisdom. Although emphasised by Hay and Hyde, the felt-sense does not feature strongly in the academic discussion of children’s spiritual education. This article compares Gendlin’s use of the term ‘felt-sense’ with that of Hay and Hyde, and discusses understandings of the felt-sense and body wisdom gathered through interviews with focusing, shiatsu and yoga practitioners, and through the author’s encounters with these practices. The article considers synergies between the notions of ‘felt-sense’ and ‘bildung’, as described by Gadamer, and concludes that their shared openness to the other points to ‘a way of being’ for the educator which may hold the greatest value for spiritual education, given the complexity of post-secular spiritual identity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)118-130
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Children's Spirituality
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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