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EPALE - Electronic Platform for Adult Learning in Europe


EMBODIMENT LEARNING The story of mystery, techniques and getting in touch with myself

by Katarzyna Kałczyńska
Language: EN



It all started with a recommendation for training. When I heard it would include 10-12 hours of work a day throughout 7 days, I was quite surprised. Especially since I felt the enjoyment and even enthusiasm of the speaker who had actually attended this training. I was astonished and this is when I started to feel really CURIOUS.

How can such intense training possibly be effective? I decided to find out. Slightly suspicious and curios like Sherlock Holmes, I was heading to a lovely Dutch town to solve this mystery.




As soon as I started the training, I found out that it would be distinguished by EXPERIMENTAL LEARNING. This really put me in a good mood as experimental learning is my favourite and the most effective way of learning for me. It involves learning from one’s own experience. I quickly found out that EXPERIENCING during this training would not only include mental techniques but also working with the body. This turned out to satisfy my curiosity.




Embodiment Learning is learning through the actions of your body. It is a belief that the body gives us information that is not always accessible to the conscious mind. It is trust that the body gives us the answers to our questions. All you need to do is find a way to hear what the body wants to say, and then the body will provide the answers coming straight from the heart.


In the training room, this translates to a process which includes two stages:

  1. experimenting with the body and observing it,
  2. reflecting on this process and drawing conclusions from observations.

During this intensive training, I experienced very clearly that my mind pointed me to the ways of thinking which turned out to be different from the conclusions I drew from listening to my body.

Among the many exercises I have experienced, I would like to tell you about the 3 body techniques that enabled me to get in touch with myself. They allowed me to observe myself in contact with other people and provided me with important information related to working with my clients, both individually and in groups.






OBJECTIVE: to observe how I position myself in relation to the client

WORKING METHOD: work in pairs, 3 imposed setting options + 1 preferred setting option

You're a helper. The person you work with is a client. He/She stands and closes his eyes.  Experiment with space and observe how you feel in these positions.

  1. Position yourself in front of him/her, facing the same direction as him/her. Observe how you feel there.
  2. Position yourself next to this person, facing the same direction. Observe how you feel there.
  3. Position yourself behind this person, facing the same direction. Observe how you feel there.
  4. Take a position in which you feel best as a coach/trainer/psychologist.

Questions for reflection:

  • Which of the positions felt best for you?
  • What does it say about you as a trainer/psychologist/coach?

In this activity, I experienced that my mind's hint on which position I would feel best in was a miss. When I was thinking about my position, I assumed that I would be most comfortable in the position in which I usually sit in the office - in the opposite position, but open, at an angle, so that each of us has space looking straight ahead.

However, I felt most comfortable standing on the side of the client, one step behind him/her. So as to see the client and the goal. To be at the fingertips when he/she needs me. To give the client the feeling that it is the client who is making a difference in his/her life, which strengthens the personal sense of efficiency and self-confidence.

Why did this setting turn out to be so different from what was expected by my mind? In this assignment, I discovered a whole new dimension of being with a client. A dimension which actually revealed more of my approach to the client than just of the way in which I sit during a session. That accompanying my client on his/her way to getting closer to the goal is important to me. This tells me a lot about the fact that the responsibility for development and insight lies with the client, not with me.




OBJECTIVE: to observe how you

  • Build up a relationship with a client,
  • Conduct the client,
  • Create new patterns in relation to the client.

WORKING METHOD: work in triplets:

  • Person A=helper (coach/psychologist/trainer)
  • Person B=client
  • Person C=observer.

The helper and the client stand in front of each other, face to face. Their task is to move to the music. The observer sits nearby and notes what happens between the couple in motion.

In the second phase of the task, the helper receives feedback from the observer about what he/she has managed to observe in these areas. All three of them can share personal reflections.

It was amazing for me that the purely physical experiment really reflected my work with the client. It confirmed how important it is for me to build a strong relationship, a sense of security and trust. It showed that following the client is crucial for me. That it enables me to take the lead when the client needs it. It drew my attention to the fact that I want to have more joy from working with the client. 




OBJECTIVE: To observe the energy you use as a coach/psychologist/coach

WORKING METHOD: individual work

TOOLS: 4 tunes (of similar length) reflecting the 4 elements: earth, air, water and fire

Move to the rhythm of the music as you listen to it. The tunes change so that you experience all of them.

Questions for reflection:

  • Which music did you feel most comfortable with?
  • What surprised you?
  • What do your observations say about your work?

I entered this task with the belief that I would feel at ease in the light air rhythm and a powerful fire is not me at all. Yet, I experienced that the air rhythm was pleasant, but only temporarily. After a while, this rapid, gentle motion made me feel really tired. However, I was surprised that the energy of the fire provided me with a lot of power and turned out to be very pleasant for my body. I also noticed that the feeling of safety which rooting in the ground gave me allowed me to utilise various energies.  




When I recall these memories in my mind, I can feel my body shiver and the emotions bring tears to my eyes. Using the techniques described above, I experienced coming in touch with myself even more. In an experience comparable to flow, I have gained clarity about what is important to me in working with people. I have observed what is holding me back and what my new sources of energy are. Thanks to these experiences, I can communicate better with myself and with others. In conflict situations, it's easier for me to explain my own point of view and remain curious about what others think. In addition, these experiences, unlike fleeting thoughts, have stayed with me and I can return to them by contacting my body. Because the body knows and being in touch with it provides a totally new perspective. 





This article was produced as a result of the “Elevate”, implemented by the Innovation Development Foundation and co-financed by the European Union Erasmus + Action 1. Educational Mobility, Mobility of Adult Education Staff (Agreement number 2018-1-PL01-KA104-049658).

This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This publication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

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