Experiential Focusing Techniques in Counselling

  • Katrina Quaye (kate)

What would like my attention now?

Focusing is a distinctive skill uncovered by Gene Gendlin. Working with Carl Rogers back in the 1960's, research was done as to why some people be successful in therapy yet others do not. An extremely interesting result emerged; those who advanced and benefitted most from therapy were the ones who took a while to indicate, when asked a question they appeared to sense something within themselves and an answer would commence to emerge. As time passes Gendlin uncovered what became know as the 'felt sense'. That is a sense that people all have but often it is working unbeknown to us. This sense, sometimes called a bodily sense, can instruct us much about ourselves and also our relationship with others and the planet around us. It truly is a means of hearing our anatomies with compassion, without judgement, and something that transferred me almost all of all "gentleness'.

Enhancement of knowledge

There are six basic steps to learn in focusing. To begin with we are taught to undergo the process, step-by-step, learning these steps well, by sitting down and quietly going 'inside' our body. Once these steps are learnt thoroughly the process can move with greater efficiency, quickly accessing our felt sense and going with it. This can be done going for a walk, doing the laundry, driving to work, with constant practice the body will always be there guiding us.

  1. Clearing the space, if someone is not quite in as soon as, different thoughts, things you can do list going right through their mind, it is advisable to take the time to clear a space inside. This can be done quite nicely in a brief timeframe by asking your client in their head to summary each concern on the list and putting it within an imaginary container, not forcing each matter but in a specific friendly manner. This can even be done with a background feeling of being tense, anxious, whatever the sensation maybe to create it aside for the moment. Not forcing, but welcoming it to stand apart for quite a while.

Gendlin would often take around 30 minutes for this process with clients. Although it can be done in a much shorter amount of time, five to 10 minutes. This would allow for a longer session with the felt sense. One then checks back again with the personal, that you are feeling clearer to start out.

  1. So now we can choose something to focus on. One may curently have an issue they would like to work on, in which particular case one can talk with the body if this is okay to work with. Alternatively one may see when there is something that requires their attention now. Usually the sense is thought in the neck, chest or stomach area. Among the key words in centering is gently, smoothly say hello to the sense, checking if it is fine to be with it. Gendlin said 'it is best to be next to the sense, just like a friend sitting over a park bench wanting to have a talk'. We don't need to become immersed in the sense, merely to be next to it. Like a sensitive baby animal we need to be light with the sense. Cornell (A. W. Cornell. pg. 18) mentions, 'Focusing is like being truly a good friend to your own internal experience'. You may bring such qualities of companionship as curiosity, admiration, empathy, heat, compassion, allowing it to know that you are there to listen and hearing with these features.
  1. Now we've said hi there and acknowledged it is there, we can begin to spell it out the felt sense, it may start with a sense of tightness in the upper body, we acknowledge this, then we can ask 'how does indeed this tightness feel' we are checking back again with this expression to note that it catches it well.
  1. We are now resonating back and forth with the term or image, we don't need to rush this technique. Like a good friend who would like to share something that is important to them, they don't prefer to feel rushed. We are sitting next to the experienced sense, as Genlin (Gendlin pg 57-58) points out, ' the believed sense is more than an emotion, with an feelings we know very well what it is, furious, unfortunate, joyful, but with the noticed sense we say I could feel it right there, but i don't know very well what it is'. A felt sense is made up of a maze of meanings, we have to allow the sense time to form. That tightness may develop as anger, but within that anger can come a sense of the complete situation, what led up to that anger, how one is involved, it could for example demonstrate scenes from years as a child where you believed angry women father or mother for not understanding or listening to you. The felt sense can give a very complete form of understanding that will be more than simply the anger.
  1. We now have words and or images we can work start through checking would fit with the sense. We have now come to sense from "its" view, what it wants us to learn.
  1. I am letting 'it' know, I notice it, or sense it, welcoming it, it is aware of where it wants to or must go, were listening not forcing or seeking to work through whats occurring, but allowing the procedure to unfold.

Ending. It's important to ask when there is more that needs to come or shall we end here. It's important to give thanks to the experienced sense, to re-assure it that if you need to I will be back again. If we can form a trusting romance that whenever we say we will gain, that we achieve this task, the thought sense will be re-assured. The greater we do that the more it'll work with us.

I will write a short summary of my very own personal experience using Concentrating over a number of weeks. Developing a quiet place I travelled inside of myself and sensed a sense around my heart area. Steadily words like unappreciated, unloved emerged, I was hearing these words seeing if indeed they were people. Yes they were. An image of an heart with a solid wood dagger stabbed through it surfaced, thick profound red blood vessels was slowly but surely oozing out. I was able to sit with this image for sometime, it was very strong, after sometime I needed to complete. Afterward I noticed extremely heavy, it was hard to even continue with my daily responsibilities. The very next day I returned to Focusing, noticing that I hadn't done off the procedure properly, mainly because over time it seemed too much for me personally. I went back inside and the image was still there, I sat with it and came up to understand the activities I had been through that caused this image. I would have to be more caring of myself. I asked it the question of how would it feel like if the difficulty wasn't there. This helped bring forth an abundant response of delight and happiness, something like fireplace works were heading off in special event. I felt very light as though a big switch had occurred.

Over another fourteen days I returned in to see what was there. I had a graphic of myself as a four year old, the thoughts to be unheard arrived up, should do things perfectly, as stated above it requires in a blend of the situation not only an emotional feeling, but a deeper sense of what it was prefer to be that young child. I was being shown what it was like and by my acknowledging this allowing the complete from it to come out. There is a change where those strong thoughts seemed to melt off.

Enhancement of Understanding

Greater understanding of myself has happen through Centering. Other peers and companions have said the same of the experiences when centering; if an example may be to gain carrying on benefits it is important to keep with the practice. There are specific attitudes that can help the process.

Focusing is an extremely gentle process, nearing it with the knowledge of not knowing is very beneficial, as Cornell (pg21) says, 'Why might you pay attention to someone if you think you already know what they have to say. ' The feeling of esteem and wanting to know very well what the sense must say is of the utmost importance. We need to 'let go of what we realize, to bring an frame of mind of wide open, friendly, interested, non judgmental attention to your experience". (Silverston, pg. 2). We need to come to trust the felt sense that it'll led us where we need to go. Sometimes along the way it may seem to be to be taking many detours. Sometimes it is trying to give us a broader understanding, exhibiting various images or certain words. In some ways it is like as an investigator being fired up or curious to learn what lies within. We are not taking sides, departing one part shut out, not looking something to be read or recognized, we are not excluding any part of ourselves. We have been hearing each part and gradually integrating each part of the self. "Whenever we listen to a place inside that hurts, for case, the quality of our occurrence is not the most common one of mending or wanting to make it feel better. Rather, we are prepared to let it be just as it is". (Wilson & Truck der Kooy, pg 1. ) This attitude can be a huge relief for most, its alright to be when you are, allowing whatever is there to appear, to identify and acknowledge it. As Gendlin (year?) said, "Every 'bad' feeling is potential energy toward a more right way of being, if you give it the area to go toward its rightness. "

Enhancement of Self Awareness

All of these leads to higher self awareness. Arriving at know what is going on inside of oneself. As much decisions need to be manufactured in ones life, the building up of this awareness which can result in greater self-confidence, is of huge profit. I find in my own life if there is a lot going on around me I hook up to that interior part which seems steady and able to help me keep focused. For those I had worked with there's been similar feed back, they are connecting to that inner part and making clearer judgements. This is an invaluable skill you can use for myself atlanta divorce attorneys day life, a skill that can be transferred onto my clients, something that the therapist doesn't control, people can learn this and then put it to use for the others of the lives without having to go directly to the therapist all the time.


Cornell, Ann Weiser. "Focusing In Safety And Trust. " THE ENERGY of Centering: A Functional Guide to Emotional Self-healing. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger Publications, 1996. 18. Print. Cornell, Ann Weiser. "WHAT'S Focusing?" THE ENERGY of Focusing: A Sensible Guide to Emotional Self-healing. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger Magazines, 1996. 6. Print. Gendlin, Eugene T. "THE KEY Bodily Attention. " Focusing-oriented Psychotherapy: A Manual of the Experiential Method. New York: Guilford, 1996. 57 - 58. Printing.

Cornell, Ann Weiser. "Focusing in Safety and Trust. " THE ENERGY of Centering: A Sensible Guide to Emotional Self-healing. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger Publications, 1996. 21. Print.

Focusing as a doorway for religious development. Wilson & Truck der Kooy, pg 1.

Steve Silverton Site 2. How exactly to think like a poet and make better decisions

Question or Analysis Task: COP116 3000 Word Essay

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