What Is Focusing Orientated Psychotherapy?


Focusing is an innovative technique developed by
Eugene Gendlin from extensive research into what makes therapy work. The earliest origins of Focusing are found in Gendlin’s collaborative relationship in the 1950’s with Carl Rogers, the Founder of Client-Centered Psychotherapy. Gendlin has been recognized by the American Psychological Association as the Distinguished Professional Psychologist of the Year for his work.

Early on Gendlin and his colleagues studied why some clients succeeded in therapy and many others did not. They found that improvement in therapy had to do with “how” clients processed their experiences internally.

With further study, Gendlin identified exactly how these successful clients processed their problems and this processing was highly experiential. As these clients focused on their issues they would go to an unclear bodily sense of their problems, stay with that unclear feeling, and focus on it. As they brought this unclear felt information into focus, they discovered what it meant and allowed it to open and move forward organically. This in turn informed them about what next steps were needed.

Research has show that we have many different neurological systems which process, and store, all the information and experiences that we take in everyday of our lives. Only a fraction of this information makes it into our everyday way of thinking because many of these storage systems speak a different language to our everyday thinking. This is why it can feel that we are just going round and round in circles when we try to solve our problems because we only have access to a limited amount of information. But it science is showing that this unclear bodily felt sense of our issues is actually the meeting point for information contained in all these different neuronal systems. Our felt sense is like our translator, it can speak all the languages of our different processing systems, and allows these different systems to communicate and work together in unison.

Gendlin worked out a way to teach the ability to work with the felt sense to everyone. Focusing allows access to deeper levels of awareness, wisdom, and self guidance that reside inside each of us. Through an easily learned, step-by step process, Focusing teaches how to turn our attention inside our bodies where we carry all our personal experiences, memories, sensations, emotions and feelings. This place of refined mind-body awareness contains an unlimited source of knowledge, that provides us with the capacity to solve problems and achieve personal fulfillment. Simply stated, Focusing allows us conscious access to that which often remains unconscious or subconscious, due to the fact that most people do not know how to access it.


Focusing principles and strategies have been successfully incorporated into the counseling and psychotherapy fields. One of the greatest strengths of Focusing is the ease with which it can be integrated with other therapeutic approaches. Focusing does not supplant any established therapeutic methods but instead serves as a crucial supplemental element for other approaches to improve their effectiveness. The Focusing process can be implemented as a formalized step-by step, stand-alone approach. It can also be implemented more informally as a focusing-oriented, integrative approach whose interventions flow naturally from the emerging client’s experience, therapeutic framework, and relational interaction.
Regular practice of this natural process can have profound benefits for you both personally and professionally. Focusing will help you feel more at home in your body and be able to access its wisdom and perspective.  You can feel more present. It is a powerful and effective way to help you access deep levels of process, bypass intellectualization, avoid being flooded with overwhelming emotion and go directly to the bodily source of change."