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How are DFA sessions different from other methods?

Lately a plethora of methods exist that approach working with a person through the body and the mind. The words they all use to describe their work are very similar, no matter how different the way it is carried out. Apart from the methods, also the people who apply them are different, as for their personality, their life history, their professional background, their personal preferences… Also the different DFA practitioners apply the work they learnt in their training in different ways.

However, I believe that all DFA practitioners, as well as their clients, students and patients, agree in considering it unique, due to the way it combines its specific physical intervention with education of sensory perception. This combination makes it possible to recognize the meanings a person has associated with sensations that are taking place in the body in a continuous fluctuation informing about inner processes as well as about the person’s relationship with the environment. In this manner, people can become aware of whatever needs attention in order to feel at ease in their lives, starting from their own felt sense. The structures in the nervous system in charge of sensory perception are the first to develop. Their nature is receptive. They receive sensory information in a global manner, without differentiation.

The structures that generate ego-consciousness develop on the basis of a primitive differentiation of the sensory information into pleasant and unpleasant. Their nature is incisive, cutting into the continuous fluctuation of sensations and develop strategies to obtain pleasant sensations and avoid unpleasant ones.

The tools:

  • contraction and relaxation of muscles to execute from the most basic movements of living to the most sophisticated movements of sublime artistic expression
  • contraction of muscles in order to stop the flow of undesirable feelings, leading to habitual tension that can no longer be relaxed voluntarily.


The result:

  • If things go well, a person who is aware of his or her talents, and skills as well as his or her weak points, who is
  • able to regulate
    • the flow of his or her feelings,
    • the emotional and rational evaluation of the meaning s/he associates with the feelings
    • and the decisions derived from them
  • and, above all,
    • able to question the concepts developed under the initial conditions of his or her life
    • to let these concepts go, if they prove to be erroneous,
    • and to go on developing his or her skills until death.
  • However, most people remain stuck in the patterns of habitual tension and identify with the concepts they developed under the conditions of the first months and years of their lives, with little awareness of their abilities to generate their own well-being and a satisfactory life beyond the limitations of their pattern. They lose touch with the most important source of information that makes it possible to develop their skills and talents, so that as time goes by, it becomes less and less accessible and is lost altogether with old age.

DFA fosters cooperation between both aspects so that

  • instead of cutting off feelings or sensations that are deemed undesirable, in order to try to get rid of them, the person learns to embrace them in order to be able to understand the information they deliver and act coherently to be effective in bringing about a result that leads to satisfaction and to being able to advance towards taking the next step.
  • instead of being incisive in order to hold on to the wellbeing of a given moment and losing it precisely for that reason, the person learns to embrace it in order to enjoy it fully and “kiss it as it flies by” as the poet William Blake states.

Other than the coordinates of the gravitational field as an objective frame of reference – the vertical and the horizontal-, DFA does not apply any typologies or systems of decodification, nor does it establish any diagnosis. Instead it trains the person’s receptive and incisive faculties to enable them to discover from inside what is needed without having to submit to any external system, for well proven and valid it may be.

Although many of the elements of the work with DFA Somatic Pattern Recognition belong to a cognitive-behavioral context, its creators Annie B. Duggan and Janie French as well as many of the DFA practitioners they trained consider it closely related to the process of individuation as described in Jungian psychology. Archetypes are force fields that are comparable to the gravitational field of Earth. The stages of development we are in at a given moment in life and the functions we fulfill in family, at work or in society are constrained by universal qualities that are inherent in each stage, each function. We live under their archetypal mandate, normaly without being aware of it. But it is possible to develop the sensitivity that makes it possible to perceive the archetypal demands of each vital moment through the effect they have our lives in order to be able to find, moment to moment, the way to relate to them that offers the best results for a life lived fully.

DFA establishes and restores connections in the nervous system and improves tissue hydration, fostering the liquid crystalline organization of hydration water which allows for ultrafast transmission of sensory information, from the superficial structures of the body to the inside of cell nuclei in every nook and cranny of the organism, that can be gathered and processed by the nervous system.

Therefore, with its typical hands-on intervention in combination with the education of sensory perception, DFA fosters an optimal flow of information through the entire organism and enables the person to gather and process this information for creating a healthy and happy life.

How are DFA sessions different from other methods?