What if you had a way to reach an expert who knew everything about you, understood exactly where you’re coming from and where you want to go, and could guide you with all of your decisions.
And what if this expert wasn’t just smart — what if merely spending time with this expert made you feel calmer, more in control, and more accepting and loving of yourself and others?
And what if, on top of all of that, you could actually reach this expert any time of the day or night, free of charge?
No, it’s not your mother. (Sorry, mom.)
Wouldn’t you want to have an expert like that in your life? Who wouldn’t? This expert, believe it or not, is you. It’s inside your own mind and body. It’s hard-wired, built into your mammalian brain, millions of years more ancient, evolutionarily speaking, than that brilliant cognitive mind that you’re using right now to read this page. You just never learned how to access it.
Focusing is a gentle yet powerful mind-body self-awareness technique that gives you direct contact with this deep inner wisdom. It does this by teaching you how to tap into the subtle, mostly wordless feelings and sensations that go on below your conscious thoughts all the time. By paying non-judgmental attention to these feelings and sensations and listening to what they are trying to tell you, you discover that you really do have the answers inside you.
How did Focusing come about?
Focusing was first developed in the 1970s by Dr. Eugene Gendlin, a psychologist at the University of Chicago. All the way back in the 1950s and ’60s, he was conducting research into what brought about change in psychotherapy. He discovered that people who progressed the most in therapy seemed to intuitively get in touch with a kind of inner sense or wisdom within them that started out unclear at first and then became clearer. (Hence the name, “Focusing.”) He decided that, while it helped people in therapy, it could also be taught to people separate from therapy.
Since then it has been taught to hundreds of thousands of people in more than 43 countries around the world.
What Can Focusing Do?
Focusing can help you:
- Make better life decisions
- Feel less judgmental and more accepting of yourself and others
- Improve relationships
- Remove actions blocks to pursuing your goals and dreams
- Heal emotional wounds
- Understand yourself better
- Overcome life-draining habits and addictions
- Alleviate anxiety and depression
- Resolve everyday problems
Sounds great. Now, how weird is it?
It’s not weird at all. Focusing is a completely natural and understandable process, involving no therapy hocus-pocus. You don’t have to stand in odd positions or breathe in peculiar ways. No one’s going to tap you in strange places. Focusing involves nothing more than sitting in a chair for 15-30 minutes, typically, and paying a certain kind of attention to what’s going on inside you that’s a little bit different from what you normally would if you were talking about some issue that was bothering you. This different way of paying attention is a lot more effective. While it’s usually done with another person who primarily simply listens and acts as a “mirror,” gently helping the process along, it can be done alone. The strangest part about it may be that most people tend to do it with their eyes closed, but if you preferred to do it with your eye open, you could.
Can Anyone Focus?
Yes, anyone can, although naturally some people take to it more quickly than others. But anyone who’s truly motivated can learn how to do it.
Alright, so how do I learn it?
The basics of Focusing can be learned in one workshop over a period of one or a one-and-a-half days, from which you can begin to gain immediate benefit. To fully learn the process and begin to master it takes 3-4 workshops as well as some practice. Once learned, individuals can Focus alone or with Focusing partners, even by telephone. Another way to learn is through individual instruction and guidance in the process. Learning to Focus also improves the psychotherapy experience, making it more effective. If you’re interested in learning more about Focusing, give me a call.
Focusing was born out of research into what causes lasting positive change in therapy. What makes Focusing-oriented Therapy unique is the deep faith in your body’s wisdom to help you discover what is right and true for you. Focusing-oriented Therapy works very well to alleviate emotional distress and reduce or eliminate its symptoms, but it does more than that. It helps you to trust and believe in yourself by bringing acceptance and compassion, not judgment, to everything inside you, even those aspects you think are “unacceptable.”
The process of Focusing is a bit different from therapy, but it’s part of everything I do as a therapist. If you want to see me in therapy and want to consciously include Focusing into our therapy work, tell me! Learning Focusing can speed up your progress in therapy and give you a toll that you can use for the rest of your life.
For more information about my work with Focusing, including my trainings for other mental health professionals, go to WashingtonFocusing.com