Experiential Focusing
If I were living on a therapeutic desert island and could only bring one method with me, I would choose Experiential Focusing.

Kyra had been grappling with a serious problem that occupied her thoughts, sapped her energy and withered her social life. She read books about it, discussed it at length with friends and made rules to limit the time she spent suffering from it. But the problem wouldn’t budge. 

Sitting in a psychotherapy session, with the safety of her therapist, Kyra carefully consulted her "insides" – the way she actually "held" the problem inside her. As she became more able to do this- using her intrinsic bodily knowing of the problem – the issue itself began to unfold. It "shifted shape" on its own, as if the problem itself wanted to change. 

On the verge of this growth step, Kyra’s feelings moved beyond their usual stuck place. Her thinking cleared and she knew, in a deeper way what she needed to do. She was filled with a promising kind of energy. With her therapist as guide, Kyra had just taken a first step toward living in a new way. 


Such moments are part of a natural healing capacity available to all of us. Experiential Focusing is the name given to it by Eugene Gendlin Ph.D., a philosopher and psychotherapist who worked closely with Carl Rogers, often considered the most beloved of American psychotherapists.Therapists who have worked closely with this process can help their patients to restore a sense of wholeness, vitality and direction to their lives. 

Consider this: You have within you – "beneath" your everyday practical use of language –another dimension, an inner language – that is an imagistic dialogue between you and your immediate experiencing. It is you speaking to yourself (and listening to yourself) in your own code. Gendlin calls it the "zigzag" between the everyday use of language and the way we may actually hold our experiencing in a "bodily felt" way. 

We start the process when some situation in our lives - something we "find ourselves in" - feels stuck or painful. The problem beckons to us in a bodily way. To touch into this realm, we sit quietly, eyes lowered, with attention inside. We let form how exactly the situation touches us, how it is meaningful to us but in an implicit way, not in words. You might say that It finds a way to let itself develop explicitly. 

As we let them come to us (we cannot in fact go after them!) they prioritize themselves. In a way, they tell us what we need to be attending to. As we hold them in our awareness, we let our words speak directly from our immediate sense of them. And, as this happens, something starts to happen, however subtle. Something starts to dawn on us. Our usual way of holding a situation starts to open – but it’s not only the situation. It is the way we "hold" the situation. 
Experiential Focusing is an evidence-based human process that psychotherapy studies have come to regard as a fine example of the essence of a human change process. It is highly effective within psychotherapy, where patient and therapist use the combined power of their relationship to "shape shift" stuck patterns of being and relating.

Some of its main concepts are: When you tap into this stream, you begin to realize that, problems and all, your life wants to move itself forward. Your ability to work from a felt sensing level is always there, waiting for you to trust it, free of charge, for the rest of your life.

Use Good Therapy - Joan Lavender to read more about how I integrate Experiential Focusing into my psychotherapy,  ‚Äč(If you are a website designer looking for new business, please DO NOT leave a message here.  I do NOT need your services. Thank you.)
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