Today, I’d like to share a time-tested mindfulness tool called Focusing. Focusing was created by philosopher/psychologist Eugene Gendlin, who studied under Carl Rogers, the grandfather of Humanistic Psychology. Gendlin passed away three years ago this month.

Focusing is a tool that can be used on your own, or in therapy sessions. Couples guru John Gottman incorporates Focusing in couples work, particularly where communication has broken down and the partners have lost touch with the gist of conflict. It’s an exercise that looks inward to utilize the body, mind and experience to guide us, gently back into alignment with our dreams, goals, purposes. In my personal and professional practice, I incorporate Focusing into journaling, allowing the mindful exercise to ground me and move me to write. The writing then embodies the wisdom of the moment, capturing it so I can meditate on it more later, or when the issue arises again, if ever. My own therapist told me years ago that Gendlin’s tiny little Focusing book was one of the best gifts anyone could receive, so consider it for any thoughtful gestures you would like to make this month. It’s available on Amazon for under $7.

The attached audiotape leads you through the Focusing exercise, or you can do it on your own. Here are the steps.

Focus as follows:
1) Clearing a space: Take a moment to silently relax, then direct your attention inwardly, in your stomach, or chest. Ask yourself how your life is going, or what the main thing is for you at this moment. Sense it in your body. The answers will come from this sensing. Just observe, do not act on them. Ask once more the question about how you feel, and sense again; usually several things are coming up.
2) Felt sense: Select one problem among the ones that came up. Observe it. The problem is likely composed of many things. Feel all of these things together, and their complexity, as a body sensation.
3) Handle: Let a word or an image tell the quality of this undefined felt sense. Stay with that quality of it until some description, a word, a sentence, or an image fits it.
4) Resonating: Go back and forth between the felt sense and its description, word or image, and let them both change if they want to, until they are a tight fit.
5) Asking: Ask what it is about the problem that makes it this quality that you just defined. Sense the quality again and be curious about what is in the felt sense. Do this until a slight shift or release 6) Receiving: Welcome the shift, even if it is a slight one, and stay with it for a little while. The body works one shift at a time. Other shifts will follow with other rounds of focusing (Gendlin, 2003).

#Focusing #CouplesTherapy #Gendlin #Gottman



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