Why Learn Focusing

Focusing is an experience, more than words can ever say...

Focusing is a way of being in the world, an experiential way of living from this human body we are blessed to inhabit when we are born. We learn the basics of how to do this from our initial environments: home, neighbors, schools, communities we are exposed to as youth. When we feel a sense of safety from these places, we are more likely to become trusting. There are many layers of trusting. In my experience as a teacher, many people drawn to Focusing are being called to heal trust in one of its many layers. They might say "I don't trust myself." or "I don't trust other people." or "There is more bad than good. Why bother?"

Trust in the inherent life forward flow of the universe is one essential aspect of Focusing. Gendlin's philosophy and practicing these skills show us that when get out of the way, the steps that come are always toward our well-being (often we are blocking life forward flow from fear). This might be one way you are drawn to learn Focusing.

I am no longer fighting against myself...

"I stumbled across Gendlin’s book Focusing in December 2021, not imagining the journey it would take me on. All I knew was that it moved something in my body. As a researcher, I was very logical and linear; however, something in my body connected to Gendlin’s advice to slow down and look within. Immediately I searched around for Focusing classes and signed up for a course with Sandy. I’m so glad I did. I didn’t realize that I had been “running over” my body’s felt sense of an issue for my whole life. Through the Focusing courses I have learned to pause and seek my whole being’s sense of an issue. In doing so I have been rewarded with wisdom, stability, and serenity. I’m no longer fighting against myself; all of myself is now brought into the ‘whole.’  

I’m so thankful to Sandy as a teacher. Attending her classes felt comforting, welcoming, settling, and expansive. Sandy patiently and skillfully helped us learn to turn towards all of ourselves. I felt safe to ask questions about the process and to share my experiences. I feel Sandy was the right teacher for me because of her ability to pause and look within. Not only did she teach the didactic content helpfully, in each class she demonstrated a different way of being, a way that included a welcoming space around all of herself and all of the students. ”

Jill McTavish, PhD, MSW, RSW

Focusing is the essence of Change.

“It took me a long time to affirm that the ongoing bodily experiencing has its own inherent lifeforwarding implying. The little steps that arise at the edge are creative, imaginative, and always in some positive direction.” Gendlin (2003)

There are many activities or techniques you may already use to help yourself adapt and make changes. Regardless whether you belong to support groups, meditate, exercise, use gratitude practice, bodywork or somatic methods, therapists, coaches, retreats, etc., underlying anything that changes within us or around us is the experience of Focusing. Over time as we live more of our life from this state of being, we become more at ease with changes in the world around us.

Ultimate self-empowerment is learning these skills yourself. You may still participate in those other activities AND you will also be more skilled at adapting and moving through life on your own or with a Focusing partnership. A Focusing partnership is an even exchange.

Moving from 'managed' to 'life-changing'...

“As a therapist, I strongly believe clinicians must continue to do their own growth work in order to best support clients. I first learned about Focusing when I mentioned to a colleague my intent to address some of my own past traumatic experiences. I am a skeptic by nature, but I was willing to follow her suggestion to try this relatively unknown life skill. Sandy’s welcoming style and gentle guidance created a safe space to explore. During Part 3, everything came together for me. With Focusing, I have made breakthroughs that decades of off-and-on therapy, paired with my own daily mindfulness practices, had merely “managed“. I am not exaggerating when I say that Focusing has been life-changing for me. Focusing is now an everyday part of my life, so I often share Focusing principles with clients and friends. I am so grateful that I found Sandy!” 

Pam Kuras, LCSW

Focusing is a series of natural skills, accessible to All.

We will all be doing some of the Focusing skills some of the time. In the First-Time Guided Focusing Session that I offer, we pause after the session to review the beginner skills. I give you examples of where they were in your session.

Unfortunately, our Western cultures discourage use of these skills and many of us do not access them often in our daily lives. Focusing does require a kind of slowing down that we eventually create as we practice more. It's also been compared to learning a language or learning to ride a bike. We must expect that we'll fall down many times in this type of learning process. And that is ok.

I consider myself a natural Focuser in that I used them already as an infant and maintained them pretty well despite a typical suburban life style in Midwest USA. I supplemented my skills with nature, music, spirituality and retreats avidly for some of the years I made a lot of changes and before I learned Focusing. Since I've learned Focusing, my skills and ability to live a daily Focusing way has exploded. My regular Focusing partnerships are precious relationships that I value highly. I love my life. It's not that challenges do not arise. Plenty do. It's that I feel equipped, empowered and never alone in meeting them.

Mary Hendricks Gendlin

“I want to ground us to begin with in this point that we all know, which is that Focusing doesn’t belong to anybody. It belongs to everybody... It is the level of a human process, it's free to anybody... So if we cannot be ever confused about that. So that the only thing that we actually care about is that this process would be available and findable by people. Period. It's not a province of experts, it doesn’t belong to therapists, so there is only one intent - that this process that we love and know as life enhancing, life saving, for some of us, would be findable for anybody who has that response to it. O.K.?”