What is Heart-Centred | #1
Earnest and sincere? Kumbiah? Cheezy Hippy Love?
As the term heart-centred becomes ubiquitous and overused, its meaning becomes more diluted, with alarmingly vague and simplistic interpretations. So let me express my own understanding of this term and why it’s becoming part of how I describe my services (Heart-Centred Counselling + Hypnotherapy).
The term heart-centred came to me with the practice of Heart-Centred Hypnotherapy, developed at The Wellness Centre, by Diane Zimberoff and David Hartman. My own personal concept of heart-centred has also been influenced by The Way of Council, as compiled and disseminated by The Ojai Foundation; by Marshall Rosenberg’s Compassionate Communication (previously NVC); somatic awareness and intuition, developed in my 25 year career as a professional dance artist, and my own personal experiences and practices, in the resolution of personal, intergenerational, and systemic trauma.
Heart-centred communication is central in The Way of Council, where we practice listening and speaking from the heart. In listening from the heart, we practice listening for the person behind the words, as opposed to simply hearing the meaning of the words themselves, at face value.
Speaking from the heart in The Way of Council is staying present with, and speaking to, our own experience, as opposed to another’s. We develop the ‘muscle’ of noticing what is happening in our own selves, even while listening deeply to another. Marshall Rosenberg’s Compassionate Communication (NVC) essentially offers another framework for the same thing, with the focus on (universal) feelings and needs in our communications with others.
Both practices invite us to focus less on the particular details of why we feel what we do, and more on what is truly ‘alive’ or most activated in us now. Both also promote and foster the skill of witnessing or observing oneself, instead of becoming fully caught up and swept away in whatever thoughts or emotions happen across our internal landscapes.
What I’ve observed through both these lenses on heart-centred communication, is that the language of the heart is universal in itself, just as Rosenberg perhaps alluded to, in his naming of universal feelings and needs. This is not to say, of course, that the language of the heart is in any way limited to feelings and needs.
In addition to these ‘roots’ of heart-centredness in my approach, I will leave you with 5 concepts I have come to associate with heart-centred, each foundational to the therapeutic space I offer. More on each of these to come in future posts:
- 1. Client as the Expert / Healer
- 2. Curiosity + Compassionate Inquiry
- 3. The Wisdom of the Body
- 4. The Genius of What Is
- 5. The Power of Shared Intention
In the simplest of statements, heart-centred practice acknowledges the wisdom beyond our ears. That is, beyond the limitations of the mind alone. It places its fullest trust in the phenomenon of the client as the ‘expert’ or ‘healer’ and in the profound propensity of the moment to reflect the greater picture, or pattern at hand. Heart-Centred therapists, as I have come to understand us, have often developed a keen eye for this connection. Perceiving the whole expression of what is being expressed, through words, physicality, and the authentic circumstance of the present moment.
How would you define the term heart-centred? Please comment below . . .