Posts tagged: Thinker vs. Feeler


By , February 23, 2009 4:11 pm

In “Why Cry?” Part One, “Are Women Better At Crying Than Men?”, I pointed to a gender difference, but I also found a better descriptor in the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator distinction between Thinkers and Feelers, allowing for a goodly percentage of male Feelers and women Thinkers who do not fit the gender mold on this distinction.

Here, I will compare two videos, one of Eugene Gendlin describing Focusing as a Thinker on the MBTI, a second of Kelly Corrigan describing Women’s Strength and Connection as a Feeler on the MBTI, becoming “touched” and “moved” to tears during her presentation.

Gene Gendlin on YouTube
First, let’s take a look at Gene Gendlin, creator of Focusing,  in person on YouTube, through the wonderful efforts of Simon d’Ortega and Nada Lou. You will see Gendlin, now in his 80s, in his gentleness, his intelligence, his great wisdom, and his wonderful humor. However, you will not see him “being touched” or “being moved” to tears (I have, however, seen Gendlin with tears. So I include these videos just as a contrast in these moments)
Short but sweet, less than two minutes:
“That Place That Knows”
“Theory, TAE, and Democracy 

Thinking At The Edge Part One: Mary Hendricks-Gendlin Introduction
For more, go to and Search Eugene Gendlin.
Being Touched: Kelly Corrigan on Transcending: Words on Women and Strength
I got this message by email from my “Women Relatives” group:
“I wonder if you’ve seen this ~ it’s perfect and so are all of you ~
friends, sisters, moms.” And the following link:
Transcending: Words on Women and Strength 
If you can’t open this, go to  and search for Kelly Corrigan and watch Transcending: Words on Women and Strength. You will see Corrigan “being touched” and “being moved” to tears as she speaks, and you may well find yourself having a corresponding emotional response. My women friends and relatives communicate between each other in this way as a matter of course, sending each other “touching” emails, as well as humorous ones. Corrigan and the women experiencing their tears with her are also being “bonded together” by their shared empathetic response. Feelings are inherently relational and draw people into contact.
Okay, in case you thing this topic of tears is “too heavy,” here are two more humorous YouTubes to check out, totally for fun and having nothing to do with Focusing:
“The Mom Song,” this is hysterical. Sung to William Tell Overture, about 3 minutes.   
“The Mean Kitty Song”
Tears As Harbingers Of Deep Meaning
I have collected countless paragraphs from works of fiction which mention the “coming of tears” as harbingers of deep meaning — profound love, relief, connection, millions of things. We all know that people cry at births and weddings, beautiful, moving music, sunsets, moments of compassion seen between people, etc. Even grieving, if looked at without prejudice, contains many warm, joyful memories and re-connections with the beloved. Etc., etc. 
What matters to me in terms of Focusing is that, noticing even the tiniest sheen of tears in the eyes, or sometimes just the softening of the skin around the eyes, or the quivering of a cheek muscle, or a slight wiping gesture toward the eyes — if the person or the Listener/therapist notices these “openings,” and suggests spending some Focusing time with “Whatever brings the tears,” huge wealth of personal, profound, meaning/carrying forward usually arises, as well as life-giving moments of I-Thou connection between the participants (even a whole group of “witnesses”) that is Sacred/soul-building.

In “Why Cry?” Part Three, I will explore phenomenological research on the kind of crying called “Tears of Wonder/Joy,” a positive experience of awe and transcendence.


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