SO WHAT IS FOCUSING?
FOCUSING is a simple and natural process. It is a way of listening deeply to ourselves, a satisfying method of getting in touch with our own inner wisdom. It relies on our body's "felt sense," the way our body itself processes and stores information. Just by bringing our attention to a felt sense, we sometimes can experience change immediately.
Here's an example:
You're headed out of your house when you become aware of a niggling feeling, perhaps a slightly uneasy stomach. "What am I forgetting?" You run through a series of possibilities....
"My keys? No...." "My purse? No....." "I was going to call Mom...Well, that's true, I forgot that, but that's not THIS feeling I have now......" "OH YES! I wanted to return that book to the library!!!!" Instant easing, sigh of relief, yes, THAT was what this particular "felt sense" was.
And even without actually returning the book, there's a shift, an easing, just at being heard, understood.
We all have these "felt senses" all the time, but because they're slower, subtler and "fuzzier" than either thoughts or feelings, we rarely pay attention to or even notice them. With training you can access this vital bodily knowing and what steps you need to take next to carry your life forward.
As we are able to sense into what our body knows, we are able to come into fuller living. We can make decisions on a deeper more satisfying level, clear blocks that have stood in our way of acting, and understand more about how to be present and joyous in our lives.
Often we start from some problem that is bothering us, but it's also
possible to Focus around creative projects, like writing, music, or visual art.
Many of us do some form of Focusing naturally. It was "discovered" by Eugene Gendlin, Ph.D. at the University of Chicago while doing research with Carl Rogers in the 70's. After listening to tapes of people in their first hours of psychotherapy, he discovered he could predict who would be successful, both by the clients' own measure, and that of the therapist's. The fascinating point was that it was not something the therapist did, but rather something the client did-- a pause, a taking in of what was said, checking with a deep sense of knowing.
Later Gendlin developed a way for people to access this wisdom more easily. Since his first 6-step formulation of Focusing, as written about in his book, Focusing, many people have developed and refined this process.
I've received guidance in my learning of Focusing by Reva Bernstein as my Coordinator, and Ann Weiser Cornell, Ph. D. as my teacher of several levels and ongoing support. I am also in debt to the work of Jim Iberg, Ph. D., Robert Parker, Ph.D., Robert L. Lee, Ph.D. and Doralee Grindler-Katonah, Psy.D., M.Div. My faithful and longtime Focusing partners include my sister, Christina Honde, Ph.D., and Stephan Martin, astronomer and author of Cosmic Conversations.
Here's what the Focusing Institute says:
"WHAT IS FOCUSING?
Focusing is a mode of inward bodily attention that most people don’t know about yet. It is more than being in touch with your feelings and different from body work.
Focusing occurs exactly at the interface of body-mind. It consists of specific steps for getting a body sense of how you are in a particular life situation. The body sense is unclear and vague at first, but if you pay attention it will open up into words or images and you experience a felt shift in your body.
In the process of Focusing, one experiences a physical change in the way that the issue is being lived in the body. We learn to live in a deeper place than just thoughts or feelings.The whole issue looks different and new solutions arise.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF FOCUSING?
Focusing helps to change where our lives are stuck. The felt shift that occurs during Focusing is good for the body, and is correlated with better immune functioning. More than 100 research studies have shown that Focusing is teachable and effective in many settings. Focusing decreases depression and anxiety and improves the relation to the body."
Part of what makes Focusing so effective is finding the right "distance" to be with your problems or concerns. Sometimes we just wait patiently for those difficult parts to show up, and I can help you hold that patient, present space.
It's best to experience Focusing first in a guided session, and it can be developed by continuing this process and also through workshops that teach techniques. I offer both guided sessions and workshops, either in person or by phone. For individual sessions, see my What to Expect or About My Fees pages, then Contact Me. Click here for workshop information.
"Focusing is a specific process through which we learn that each aspect of living, great and small, joyful and sad, expansive or insigni-ficant, is carried in the body in a particular way. Through Focusing we can unlock doors and move into dimensions that cannot be entered through the intellect alone."
Eugene Gendlin, Ph.D.
"As these connections are made between what the body knows and what the mind knows, one is enriched with an inner strength and direction. This freeing process allows life energy to flow forward into positive new ways of being."
Eugene Gendlin, Ph. D.