"What is split off, not felt, remains the same.
When it is felt, it changes.
Most people don't know this."
What is Focusing?
Focusing is method of clarifying and resolving emotional stress and other life issues by pausing and taking time to tap into the wisdom of the body.
When I say "method", I don't mean this in a commercial sense. Focusing is not a form of therapy that was created by someone. Rather it is an innate ability which we all naturally possess. As very young children we were familiar with it, but somehow in the process of growing up and becoming socialized and educated, most of us managed to forget how to do it.
This has not been a trivial loss. It is very difficult to nurture yourself, get comfortable with feelings and emotions, and/or listen within to find your true path in life without having a reliable connection to the intelligence of the body.
Fortunately Focusing as a specific mind/body skill was discovered by philosopher and psychologist Gene Gendlin. In the 1960's he was at the University of Chicago researching why it was that some individuals seemed to derive practical benefit from psychotherapy while others did not.
Initially he thought it would be something that the therapist was doing; either the style of therapy or something about the particular therapist's manner of interaction. What he found instead was that clients who were reliably able to make use of psychotherapy to manifest the kind of change they were looking for were able to do so not because of anything the therapist was doing but because of a specific ability that they already had, a skill they had walked in the door with and made use of during their therapy sessions.
What distinguished these successful clients from the rest could be observed in audio recordings of the first couple of therapy sessions. The researchers observed that at a certain point the clients who would ultimately turn out to be successful in their therapy would slow down their talking and become less articulate, groping for words to describe something they were apparently feeling in themselves at that moment. So the successful clients brought some sort of vague present moment body-feeling-awareness into their sessions. In contrast, the unsuccessful clients stayed articulate and "up in their heads" throughout their sessions.
Recognizing that this was a profoundly valuable new discovery, Gendlin shifted the focus of his research to uncover exactly what those successful individuals were doing and to learn how to teach that skill to others. He called the process he discovered "Focusing" and developed a world-wide organization (The Focusing Institute) to train others, certify instructors, and promote further research.
Learning how to re-connect with our body wisdom in the accepting and non-judgmental Focusing way helps tremendously in making decisions, moving past life blockages, resolving inner conflict, coming to know one's self at a deep level, and becoming one's very own best friend.
The first step in learning is to experience Focusing in an individual session with a trained practitioner or instructor. This one-on-one format allows a person to be guided gently into the Focusing process in a way that honors both their body's own natural pacing and its unique means of inner communication. After this first session there are several options for continuing.
Some individuals are happy just scheduling sessions with a professional Focusing trainer whenever they have a specific life issue they wish to work on.
Others prefer to actually learn to Focus by themselves and/or in peer-to-peer Focusing exchange partnerships. For this a structured four level training program led by certified Focusing Instructors is available. The entire Focusing process is actually taught in the first level. The subsequent three levels are available to refine and develop deeper understanding and greater skill if desired.
Once the first level of training has been completed, a person becomes eligible to find Focusing partners via the Focusing Institute's world-wide network of Focusing students and professionals. This popular program has birthed many wonderful and lasting friendships throughout the years.
Sessions and Classes
Focusing is a very exciting and wonderful skill to have.
I currently offer individual sessions and Levels 1-3 instruction for individuals and small pre-arranged groups both in person and via telephone/Skype. I am particularly enthusiastic about the telephone sessions and classes because they allow for so much flexibility of scheduling.
I have also found it extremely beneficial to spread the individual lessons of each of the Levels trainings out over several weeks. This allows the material to be more thoroughly absorbed and makes available more time for practice than when these same lessons are taught over the course of one short weekend.
Please contact me if you would like to arrange for an individual Focusing session or to schedule a training.
"I discovered that I wanted to learn focusing when I called Linda for something else and she immediately asked, with that empathetic ear of hers, if I was OK. Well, I thought I was, but with her question I burst into tears. All the feelings I had been trying to ignore couldn't be suppressed in that moment. She gave me a Focusing Session on the spot, and I felt so much better. Right then I knew I wanted to learn Focusing , and learn it from her.
Now that I'm in the Level 4 class, I can confidently say, "I am VERY well prepared!" Not only because Linda is so competent in this modality, but because she's an excellent teacher as well. Kind. Allowing. I deeply appreciated Linda's patience with all my questions. When I hit a snag, Linda helped me through in a way that was completely tailored to me. We had so much fun. And it helped that we were able to schedule the lessons around my life.
— T. Manley, Santa Barbara
The Power of Focusing: A Practical Guide to Emotional Self-Healing Ann Weiser Cornell, Ph.D., 1996, New Harbinger Publications