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Guiding in the answer to pain

19 November 2014 | Reflective practice 2014 |

Wolf M. de, Pollmann C.
Keywords| haptonomic approach| haptonomy| IJHH| Pain| Soul pain| The disrupted corporal sense| therapeutic touch


Pain is felr, felt by the one in pain. The pain itself is not discernible to an outsider neither measurable nor visible on an X-ray. But the expression of pain is another thing. From mimicry, posture and movement, from the voice and sometimes from the smell, one can identify the extent to which someone suffers from pain, to which someone is ruled by it, if not overruled. Aside from that one can feel, by directly touching someone in pain, how the pain expresses itself physically in, amongst other things, the tone of skin, muscles and tissue. Through this the pain can be approximately felt.

Pain always has causes, however diffuse and diverse. But even more important is that pain is always a signal: something is wrong. This signal is the basis of both the question and the answer. On the one hand we may start wondering about the origin of the pain, what the pain tells us and why we suffer pain at this moment in our life. And on the other hand we should go and look for the answer to our pain. Depending on the question the answer can be surgery, a posture correction, medication or else a reconsideration of our lifestyle, which in the case of stress-related pains could lead to looking for another job or allowing ourselves
more leisure time. An answer may be found by learning how to cope, or cope differently, with our pain.

We live in a time where, thanks to developments in medical and pharmaceutical fields, we are no longer totally at the mercy of our pain. We are now able to have a more extended view on pain. The margin to translate pain within one’s own personal historicity is getting ever greater. We are all aware of the fact that a palliative within reach may provide that calmness and security to cope differently with a potentially worrisome situation.

The haptonomic approach offers opportunities for feeling one’s own pain, feeling someone else’s pain, and for acting as a guide in the translation of pain and finding an answer to it. Before specifically going into these aspects a brief explanation will be given of what haptonomy contains and on what it is based.

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  2. Pollmann-Wardenier, W. (ed.)(1987). Verkenningen in de Haptonomie. Utrecht: A.W. Bruna.
  3. Merleau-Ponty, M. (1945). La Phénoménologie de la Perception. Paris: Gallimard.
  4. Veldman, F. (1989). Haptonomie. Wetenschap van de affectiviteit. Utrecht: Van der Veer Media.

Volume 2

No. 2
  • Publication date:
    November 19, 2014
  • Volume:
  • No.:
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How to cite (apa)
de Wolf, M., & Pollmann, C. (2014). Guiding in the answer to pain. In International Journal of Haptonomy and Haptotherapy (Vol. 2, Issue 2, pp. 19-23).
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