Questions & Answers

What is Focusing?
It's a natural way of sensing inwardly so that we get past familiar thoughts and feelings to our underlying 'felt sense' of a situation. What at first is unclear comes into 'focus' if we listen to our inner experience rather than tell ourselves what we're feeling or go off on a mental tangent. This opens up our intuition and creativity, and helps us to recognise our true feelings and to think with our hearts.

What is a 'felt sense?'
This refers to the subtle feeling of something that may come to us when we turn our attention into the body, whether we notice a physical sensation or not. The felt sense of 'the whole thing' may be difficult to put into words and is easily ignored - but it's a reliable guide when we take the time to let it speak to us.

Where does Focusing come from?
It's based on the observations of Dr Eugene Gendlin when he was involved in research at the University of Chicago into the way those clients who benefit most from counselling and therapy pay attention to their felt experience. He devised a step by step method to teach this natural mode of awareness, which became a self-help method as well as an approach to counselling and therapy. Focusing is a close cousin of the person-centred approach of Carl Rogers with whom Gendlin worked for many years.

How do you practice Focusing?
You can meet with a 'focusing partner' to swap Focusing and listening turns on a peer-exchange basis. Or, you can practise Focusing on your own, though not everyone finds this so easy to do. Also, the steps and principles of Focusing can be incorporated into many human activities: counselling, therapy, bodywork, meditation, coaching, consulting, parenting and so forth. In fact, natural focusing is so intrinsic to how people 'tick' when they are at their best that this approach can, given some flexibility and creativity, be mixed with virtually anything!

What are the benefits of Focusing?
People tend to feel more centred and 'in touch' with their bodies, their feelings and themselves. You can work on your personal psychological 'stuff', clarify your thoughts and feelings about a situation, find a 'clear space' inside yourself to aid meditation, and learn to trust your own intuition, good sense and creative ideas.

What about the listening side of things?
Focusing is a way to 'listen' to yourself, but learning it also involves learning to listen to others with patience and sensitivity. Listening skills complement focusing skills, and listening to someone who is focusing can be as rewarding as your own focusing. Because Focusing looks at the process of inner experiencing that lies underneath the content of that experiencing, it can help you to develop your listening skills in empathic and creative ways.

How do you learn Focusing?
As with any other valuable human skill, the best way is by practising it over a period of time in a way that works for you. To get started, most people learn most quickly in a small group workshop setting. An introductory course will get you started - what you do after that is up to you. The alternative is to learn over a number of one to one sessions. Bear in mind that there is rather more to learning Focusing than meets the eye at the outset - and more to gain than you may imagine.

How do people become Focusing teachers?
Like some others involved with Focusing in Britain, I started teaching it through my own efforts and interest, and later was accredited by the International Focusing Institute. There is now a system run by the British Focusing Association to train and recognise new practitioners and teachers.

What about Focusing in counselling & therapy?
Learning to focus can help clients to make the best use of their time in therapy. And counsellors and therapists of any persuasion may find that studying and practicing Focusing for themselves develops their ability to work with the subtleties of their clients' thinking and feeling processes - supporting them to follow their therapeutic journey in their own way.

What happens in your workshops?
I teach Focusing and listening in small groups of up to 12 people (often only 4 or 5) at a time, as learning it is a very individual thing. I like to demonstrate both Focusing and listening, give people lots of opportunity to practise for themselves, and leave time to discuss what happens and what they observe. The atmosphere is generally relaxed and easily-paced: no one has to do anything they don't feel ready to do.

And for all your other questions...
Please email me or, better still, phone me.