Dfacilitating Ideosensory Signaling

Ideosensory responses constitute a unique signaling system that can be utilized in interesting ways. They can appear in any part of the body and can be experienced in a number of different forms—warmth, coolness, pressure, tingling, prickliness, itch, etc. Ideosensory signaling can be used by the patient for self-knowledge, but by its very nature this signaling does not communicate to the therapist. Thus, ideomotor signaling can be of distinct advantage when patients want to explore something privately or when they are not yet ready to communicate to the therapist. When ideosensory responses occur in place of ideomotor signaling, however, the therapist can interpret this to the patients and encourage them to continue their inner exploration in a private manner. Patients will later be able to make their own choices about how to communicate this material to the therapist.

Ideosensory signaling can thus be understood as middle station in the communication process. Ideosensory responses may be the first, primitive somatic signals coming from an unconscious level. Once recognized, they help the individual become aware of something that is in the process of reaching consciousness. These signals help individuals recognize that something important is happening even if they don't know exactly what. Thus, the person should pause for a moment and be receptive to new feeling or cognitive processes that require attention. From this point of view it can be seen how ideosensory signaling merges into the province of emotions, on the one hand, and psychosomatic response, on the other. All the somatic indications of anxiety, for example, can be taken as forms of ideosensory signaling. Blushing is a paradoxical ideosensory response that may signal to others even before the self.

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