Focusing


Focusing - Learn From the Masters
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Focusing is a unique and powerful method of connecting with the deep wisdom that your body carries inside.  It was developed at the University of Chicago, by Eugene Gendlin in the 1960s, based on research on defining the key factors that make change possible. Focusing is a generic change process; a specific method for accessing the deep inner truth that we all carry inside. Focusing has been evolving over the past 40 years and has become a primary tool for therapists: Focusing Oriented Psychotherapy. Now it is taught in living rooms, workshops, personal partnerships, classrooms and graduate training programs all over the world.

Focusing is based on the idea that our personal experiencing is an ongoing bodily felt process from which meaning evolves. In this last sentence the word process means that experiencing is constantly unfolding and always dynamic. Each moment of our experience holds the seed of the next. Change is a body experience. Lasting change can only occur when we have a bodily experience of difference. We cannot change our lives by changing thoughts alone. When we can put a bodily carried sense into words or visualize it in a way that exactly fits the body sense, the body recognizes the change, and we feel a sense of relief inside. We call this recognition the Felt Certainty of personal truth. Once you experience this body sense of your own truth, it feels good, and your perspective on the problem is changed in a lasting way. From now on you naturally make different choices in life. This is true healing.

Focusing was designed to help us reach this critical bodily felt validation of personal truth.  It teaches specific steps that enable us to connect to this truth and recognize it for what it is. Feelings are the language the body uses to convey information. Pain, tightness or anxiety,  often signal something within you that wants attention. With Focusing you learn how to gently receive the information within. You can learn to connect with the place deep inside where you already know what is right for you.

Focusing is multidimensional. It taps into a whole new level of consciousness because it joins left and right brain functions. It makes the intuitive function available to us on an ongoing basis. Focusing can be used to work with emotional issues, personal problems and as a psychotherapeutic tool.  It is also a powerful tool for problem solving, theory building (TAE) and creative process.

What Makes Focusing Work?

The Focusing Matrix

1) Let go of trying to make something happen or fix something.

2) Begin with a blameless, nonjudgmental acceptance of feelings and inner experience. Whatever you feel inside is OK just the way it is.

3) Get the idea that some improvement in your inner experience is actually possible, that change is possible. You can feel better.

4) Treat your feelings as you would treat a guest in your house, sitting with them and attending to them.

5) Realize that you can feel better even without having an answer for an issue you might be working on.

6) Get the idea that words and images can come directly from body experience.

7) Get the idea that action steps can come from bodily felt experience.


Focusing teaches us how to be with feelings, respecting and making friends with them in a non-critical way; holding a gentle nonjudgmental curiosity toward whatever you find inside. This welcoming curiosity is key to the change process. Nothing changes in us when it is rejected. Only by allowing whatever feeling comes up, even if we don’t like it, can we reach a peaceful and clear space.

Focusing means letting go of trying to make anything happen or to fix any problem you have and simply paying attention to whatever you might be carrying now. You can trust your process. Change is the nature of the human organism. When feelings are acknowledged, named and respected they naturally change. Only by pushing our feelings away can we stay stuck. Acknowledging the feeling implies that it is important and deserves our attention. Here I am using the term acknowledging to describe a special quality of attention. It is a benign and accepting attention we give to our inner experience. We see it as valuable information, and as carrying the possibility of a much larger meaning.

Focusing works when you hold whatever you find inside in a caring loving presence. It works when you trust your own inner process and give it time. Simply stay with the sensation/feeling until words or images emerge and it begins to change on its own.

Focusing Training

You can study Focusing on your own, but it is much easier to learn by working personally with another experienced guide. You can also receive Focusing training over the phone. Research shows that Focusing training can be just as effective over the phone or Skype connection as in person. You can find out more about Focusing by going to the focusing website at www.focusing.org .