Articles Related to Focusing
The following articles are available online for those interested in learning
more about Focusing. To read a particular article, simply click
on the title. The Library section is frequently updated with new
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This page shows articles in English. We also have articles in these languages:
Ten Ways to Use Focusing
in Daily Life by Ann Weiser Cornell
When I first learned
Focusing, I only did it at special times during the week. When
I would sit down with my Focusing partner and it was my turn to
be the Focuser, I would bring my attention inside and sense what
wanted my attention at that moment.
Seven Secrets to Getting Unblocked By Ann Weiser Cornell
Are you blocked? Can’t get yourself to do what you need to do? Can’t
even get yourself to pursue what you love?
Inner Relationship Focusing by Ann Weiser Cornell and Barbara McGavin
Inner Relationship Focusing (IRF) is a process for emotional healing and accessing positive life-forward energy. The practice of IRF has been developed over 18 years of intensive work with clients who were engaging with difficult issues such as action blocks, addiction (primarily eating disorders), depressed and anxious states, and experiences of low self-worth. In addition to these types of issues, IRF has been developed with people who wanted to make decisions that were appropriate for them and to feel more confident in their own inner sense of rightness about their next life-forward steps.
Treasure Maps to the Soul by Barbara McGavin and Ann Weiser Cornell
In those weeks of intensive Focusing, we were experiencing something remarkable: when we managed to do Focusing with those aspects of ourselves not in our awareness and yet generating ‘unwanted’ behavior, thoughts, or emotions, we got huge, life-changing shifts that were about much more than the problem area. Not only was our capacity for acting freely in those previously impossibly difficult situations dramatically increased, so was our ability for interacting in the world in general. We felt like we were releasing whole areas of our selves. We found ourselves saying that the most difficult areas of life were “treasure maps to the soul.”
What is the Difference Between Focusing and Therapy? by Ann Weiser Cornell
“What is the difference between doing therapy as a therapist
using Focusing, and guiding a person through Focusing as a non-therapist?”
In general, what distinguishes Focusing Guide from Focusing Therapist
is the quality and the character of the relationship. The Focusing
Therapist is concerned with the “interpersonal space,”
as Eugene Gendlin calls it, and attends to the quality of that
space as a key part of the therapeutic process.
Inner Relationship Focusing: Strengthening Attachment and Interpersonal Neurobiological Integration by Carol J. Sutherland Nickerson, L.I.C.S.W., C.F.T.
The practice of Inner Relationship Focusing (IRF) heals and strengthens attachment and bonding issues,
mental health issues, and our capacity for developing healthy relationships. IRF enhances and reinforces the primary benefits for the
neurological integration that our brains need for optimal well-being and healing. The process and practice of IRF embodies the original growth-producing ingredients of brain
development: the ingredients that grow within the attachment relationship.
Reasons Why Focusing Is Not Better Known (Yet)
by Ann Weiser Cornell
Whenever people become enthusiastic about Focusing, or contemplate
going home from a workshop to present it to their friends and
colleagues, the question inevitably comes up: “Why isn’t
Focusing better known?” Or, as I heard it at a talk I gave
in New York recently: “Why haven't I heard of this before?”
Key Aspects of Focusing (PDF, 61 KB) by Ann
There are three key qualities or aspects which set Focusing apart
from any other method of inner awareness and personal growth.
The first is something called the “felt sense.” The
second is a special quality of engaged, accepting inner attention.
And the third is a radical philosophy of what facilitates change.
In this article, Ann explores each in turn.
Relationship = Distance
+ Connection by Ann Weiser Cornell
Clearing a Space and other Finding Distance techniques are often
used to help a client find a comfortable relationship with overwhelming
feelings. However, I have found that Finding Distance techniques
are actually not the best way to accomplish this purpose. In this
article we will explore Inner Relationship techniques, which include
all the advantages of Finding Distance techniques and none of
the disadvantages. The reason for this is that “relationship”
includes “distance” and adds “connection.”
When Your Felt
Sense Speaks to You...What to Say Back by Ann Weiser Cornell
If you're lucky and persistent, you'll get to the place in Focusing
where something inside you is communicating with you. Celebrate!
...Yet once you're there, once the felt sense does begin to "speak,"
there's a whole new set of things to watch out for.
Radical Acceptance of Everything by Ann Weiser Cornell
When we do Focusing as traditionally taught, it is as if we are
inhabiting two worlds. In one world, we have absolute trust for
the body and the body’s process. In the other world, we
treat some experiences as acceptable and others as unacceptable,
needing to be set aside or excluded in order for the process to
continue. So the radical acceptance of everything brings a new
possibility of trust, a feeling of greater wholeness to the Focusing
process. As guides we are no longer guardians of the gate, watching
to allow in some experiences and exclude others. Instead we are
holders of the open space that includes whatever wants to come.
Origins and Development of Inner Relationship Focusing by
Ann Weiser Cornell
From The Radical Acceptance of Everything
in Their Hands: How Gestures Imply the Body’s Next Steps
By Glenn Fleisch
Thoughts on the
Radical Acceptance of Everything: A New Perspective on the Nature
of God, Evil, the Soul, and Human Existence by Laurence Letich
“We are almost always experiencing only a tiny, momentary
part of ourselves, but we talk as if we are whole.” Thus
Larry Letich begins his wide-ranging, fascinating exploration
into the metaphysics of the Focusing process. First Larry reviews
the history and purposes of Focusing, and explains the main divergence
of Ann Weiser Cornell’s work from that of Eugene Gendlin.
Building on that, he shares his own startling insights into such
fundamental questions as: “Could it be true that there is
no id, no fundamental Devil Within, no yetzer hara, or evil impulse,
as the Talmud calls it? ...Isn't that the height of New Age softness
and fuzziness...? If there is no fundamental evil impulse, then
what is the nature of evil? And where, of course, is God?”
In the course of answering these questions, Larry shows how and
why to step away from identification with parts of ourselves,
and how this illuminates, among other things, the addictive process,
and how to heal it.
Power of Listening by Ann Weiser Cornell
In this paper, presented at the 13th International Focusing Conference
in Shannon, Ireland, Ann discusses the purposes of listening,
and compares Rogers’ stated purpose for “reflection
of feelings” with Gendlin’s purpose for reflection
within a session that includes Focusing. Three purposes for listening
are given, corresponding to three ways that listening facilitates
Focusing process. Listening, as defined here, is not asking questions
or making suggestions, and the linguistic form of listening responses
changes as the purpose changes. When listening is used with sensitivity
and skill, little or no guiding is needed, especially between
Notes on Language by Ann Weiser Cornell
Ann draws from her extensive background in linguistics to reveal
which words and phrases are helpful, and which words and phrases
are less so in the context of guided Focusing sessions.
by Ann Weiser Cornell
Ann states, “Questions tend to be answered in the head because
the question merely asks for information – it does not facilitate
a process of accessing the information. The person who is asked
the question has to figure out for themselves how to access the
requested information.” The issue of asking questions as
a method of inquiry is thoroughly explored in this fascinating
and informative article.
Attitude of Not-Knowing by Ann Weiser Cornell
In this article, Ann explains how the attitude of not-knowing
is a fundamental to Focusing. “As long as there is still
a felt sense there, wanting your attention, there is something
about it that you don’t know yet...there is something that
your body knows that it is trying to let you know.” Read
this article to learn more about how to stay at the edge, keeping
company with the “not-knowing.”
by Margaret Warner
Many clients have a fragile style of processing experience that
makes it difficult for them to work in standard psychotherapy
formats. Therapists often find the experiences of these clients
hard to understand and feel thwarted in their therapeutic efforts.
Such clients are often diagnosed as having borderline, narcissistic,
or schizoid personality disorders, and seen as using archaic defenses
such as splitting and projective identification. A client-centered
style of working is particularly effective with these clients
once the therapist is able to understand the sorts of experiences
clients are having while in the midst of fragile process.
with Small Physical Ailments by Barbara McGavin
I have been using Focusing with colds, eczema, insect bites and
other small physical ailments...So when I start to feel a cold
coming on – I get a scratchy tickly raw feeling in the back
of my throat – I turn to it as if it is someone wanting
Focusing Session with Pain from Severe Physical Damage by
Bev Stevenson describes a Focusing session with a woman who had
no idea what Focusing was but had heard that stress and pain relief
might be one of the benefits of Focusing. She had been living
in constant pain for eight years, had undergone foot surgery,
had extensive medical bills, and now sought alternatives in dealing
with her pain. This article explores how Focusing can be used
in cases of severe physical pain.
Safe Focusing with
(Almost) Any Partner by Ann Weiser Cornell
Ann discusses her guidelines for Focusing safely with a listening
partner, even someone brand new to Focusing.
How to Use Focusing
to Release Blocks to Action by Ann Weiser Cornell
Ann reveals how Focusing can be used with write’s block,
procrastination and other “blocks to action.”
Gentleness: The Transformation of the Inner Critic
(PDF, 92 KB) by Ann Weiser Cornell
“It’s like I don’t deserve to feel this happy.”
“I hate this weak, sad part of me.” “Why do
I always have to be so stupid?” No matter what kind of inner
work they do, at some point people always encounter an experience
that can be called the Inner Critic. In this article, Ann provdes
an in-depth exploration of the Inner Critic and how the process
of establishing an inner relationship of trust – a radical
gentleness – the Inner Critic transforms. She explains how
to identify the criticizing process, how to bring the Presence
of Focusing to that process, and the relationship of fear to the
Inner Critic. She also details several effective ways of working
with severe inner criticism through practical examples.
An Invitation to Presence by Ann Weiser Cornell (PDF 987KB)
Focusing helps clients embrace their most feared emotions. From Psychotherapy Networker Nov/Dec 2005.
the ‘Critic,’ and the Inner Relationship: Focusing
with the Part that Wants to Die by Barbara McGavin
This article by Barbara McGavin, co-leader of the Treasure Maps
to the Soul retreat series, examines her personal journey with
issues of self-worth, suicide, abuse, and non-helpful therapy
and reveals how Focusing led to fundamental shifts.
An Earlier and (Perhaps)
More Searching Focusing by Rob Foxcroft
Forty years ago, the Focusing movement was in its infancy. Eugene
Gendlin’s work on the philosophy of Dilthey was still fresh
in his mind. He was working closely with Carl Rogers on the theory
of psychotherapy, and in the middle of doing his famous research
into the process of therapy. The process and benefits of his own
therapy with Carl were still vividly alive for him. This was a
time of creative ferment for Gendlin. All these sources flowed
together, and were poured into his astonishing first book, Experiencing
and the Creation of Meaning. In this article, Rob Foxcroft
has tried to do two things: (1) He aims to present in a simple
and transparent way the main outlines of Gendlin’s argument;
and to set out experiential Focusing exercises. These clear and
practical exercises help to make a tough book understandable.
(2) Also, the exercises are working tools. They are a range of
subtle and powerful ways to illuminate any Focusing process. In
making Focusing teachable, some subtlety had unavoidably to be
sacrificed. All good teaching has to simplify, to look for the
bones. Once you have Focusing for yourself, you will of course
want to go back and have for yourself what was pared away. You
will want to retrieve the subtlety and power of Gene Gendlin’s
searching and original vision.
Becoming a Focusing Schoolteacher - The Role of the Implicit at School by Arno Katz (PDF)
A high school teacher who is now a Focusing practitioner as well writes about how he brings a Focusing way of being into his classroom, and the implications of that for dealing with student complaints, evaluating and grading, solving conflicts, etc. He also tells about teaching Focusing to the other teachers at the school. And finally, how Focusing supports his self-care in a stressful environment. Written in a way that is personal, readable, and grounded in the body.
Presence Meets "Ego" by Ann Weiser Cornell
Is "ego" something bad that should be eliminated? Many authors, including Eckhart Tolle, seem to say so. But if you read them carefully, this is actually not so. Why do we seem to get the message that "ego" is bad? The problem is with the labeling process, and how it leads to an exiling of an aspect of self. The part of us called "ego" can be approached with interested curiosity and compassion just like any other part.
Doubtful Mind, Wise Body by Ann Weiser Cornell
I have not been able to discover any experience of “mind” that is separate from what I mean by “body.” Body is not separate from mind, mind is also not separate from body. How Focusing taps body wisdom, what "body wisdom" means, and how "mind" is not a separate phenomenon.
Review: I Know I'm in There
Somewhere: A Woman's Guide to Finding Her Inner Voice and Living
a Life of Authenticity, by Helene Brenner with Laurence Letich
NY: Gotham Books, Division of the Penguin Group, 2003 reviewed
by Ann Weiser Cornell
Book Review: The Radical Acceptance
of Everything, by Ann Weiser Cornell and featuring Barbara McGavin:
Calluna Press, 2005 reviewed by John Keane
articles about Focusing from the British
Focusing Teachers' Association:
Introduction to Focusing by Susan Jordan
the Source by Rob Foxcroft
and Buddhism by Margaret Hannah
Focusing by Kay Hoffmann
is a way of Being-with by Greg Madison
with one 'S' by Jenny Brickett
Strong is your Sense of Presence? by Jenny Brickett
Feeling Presence by Kate Brightwell
as a Doorway for Spiritual Growth by Lesley Wilson and Addie
van der Kooy
in Afghanistan by Jerry Conway
Presence: Focusing, Buddhist Understanding and Core Process
psychotherapy by Susan Jordan
on Being (Some Sort of) a 'Focusing-Oriented' Therapist
by Peter Afford
our Inner Critics: the Power of Presence by Barbara McGavin
To Think Like A Poet - And Make Better Decisions by Steve
Focusing by Fiona Parr
Ladybird Guide to Experiencing and the Creation of Meaning
by Campbell Purton
Ladybird Guide to A Process Model by Campbell Purton
in India by Campbell Purton
Philosophy of the Implicit: An Introduction to the Work of Gene
Gendlin by Rob Parker (2007). This is an
articulate and exciting presentation of the fundamental philosophy
behind how Focusing works.