Level 1 basic feedback
Verbal Stretching is a means to progress in the key competencies of centered expression and listening. The questions also give an opportunity to develop the intentional reflexes explored in many VA movements. It is often done in pairwork but may also be practiced alone or in a group. A successful stretch is one in which we are able to recognize our own movements away from our centered expression (as Participant) or our centered listening (as Facilitator). For this reason, post-stretch feedback is self-evaluation. It enables us to review these objectives.
After each stretch, take a minute or two to share with your partner what you noticed internally about your focus. Remember, it’s perfectly natural to “step out of posture” briefly during a stretch. What’s important is that we’re able to notice this shift in focus. Here are the basic self-evaluation post-stretch questions:
As facilitator, when did I notice the neutrality in my listening disappearing? (anticipation, interruption, distraction, internal dialogue, etc.)
As participant, when did I notice my sense of centeredness in my expression disappearing? (seeking approval, feeling lost, distractions, wondering what the other thinks, etc.)
The content of the stretch belongs to the Participant. Ensure that you do not analyze or give advice about what your partner has just expressed. If you take notes as Facilitator, return the notes to the Participant after your feedback is done. This is an important reflex to develop, it helps us remember an essential aspect of communication: what somebody says, in any exchange, belongs to them. The post-stretch feedback should initially concern each person’s objectives: centered expression and listening.
In more advanced stretching practice, other feedback questions are given, corresponding to the specific training objectives.