Felt Sense

felt-sense-manFelt sense is a concept that describes internal bodily awareness that arises from increased awareness, often as a result of psychotherapy.

What is a Felt Sense?

Philosopher Eugene Gendlin originally developed the concept of a felt sense, which functions as a connection between the mind and body. People experiencing a felt sense feel more in tune with their body and bodily processes, and often even feel as if they can feel themselves within their stomach or chest.

While a felt sense is partially emotional, Gendlin characterized the concept as a combination of emotion, awareness, intuitiveness, and embodiment. The felt sense is often unclear; people cannot specifically verbalize what they are feeling, but often describe it as a vague awareness of things ranging from old psychological traumas to burgeoning ideas.

Felt Sense and Mental Health

Gendlin argued that an increased awareness of a felt sense can emerge from psychotherapy, and several mental health professionals and new age practitioners have drawn upon his work in an attempt to increase bodily awareness and encourage people to trust their intuitions. The process of focusing is a formalized process that encourages people to increase their bodily awareness, leading to a felt sense. Practitioners argue that focusing can increase self-awareness and comfort within the body and may also work to help relax clients.

Focusing-oriented psychotherapists practice a therapeutic modality that draws heavily on the concept of the felt sense, and encourage their clients to engage in focusing both during and between psychotherapy sessions. These practitioners may also use journaling or drawing to encourage focusing and the establishment of a felt sense.


  1. Cornell, A. W. (n.d.). A felt sense. Know Buddhism. Retrieved from http://www.knowbuddhism.info/2009/02/about-felt-senses-ann-weiser-cornell.html
  2. Embodied situated cognition/The felt sense. (n.d.). Embodiment. Retrieved from http://www.embodiment.org.uk/topics/felt_sense.htm
  3. Katonah, D. G. (n.d.). Felt sense and cognitive function. Focusing.org. Retrieved from http://www.focusing.org/cognitive.html

Last Updated: 08-7-2015

  • Leave a Comment
  • Patrick

    February 23rd, 2022 at 4:52 PM

    No idea what they are talking about. Felt Sense?

  • S

    February 27th, 2022 at 11:34 PM

    Me neither.

  • Josh

    March 18th, 2022 at 1:28 PM

    It’s hard to put words to unless you have personally experienced it. It’s essentially getting out of the way of yourself and just experiencing what your emotions and body have to offer.

  • Bruce

    May 2nd, 2022 at 1:43 AM

    When you have a felt sense, you don’t use your brain. When you say you have “no idea” that is good because ideas are in your mind. You don’t use your mind for this. What do you feel in your body when you have no idea? Discomfort? Maybe but you’re not sure. You just get a “felt sense” of what you feel inside.

  • Olaf-Martin

    August 2nd, 2022 at 2:16 PM

    Top Down activity: Processing cognitive information that has a resulting impact on the felt sense in the body, including perception, information, memories, beliefs, and thoughts.

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