Focusing as direct access to bodily knowing is a way of getting better acquainted with yourself.
It is a skill of inner listening, bringing your awareness inside to have a “conversation” with those places inside you that may not often get heard. Focusing is about being with what is present within you with compassion and non-judgement. It is like keeping company with something within you, like listening to something inside you that wants to communicate with you. Focusing is a way of developing a new relationship with yourself.
Focusing was developed by psychotherapist Eugene Gendlin out of his research into why psychotherapy worked for some patients but not for others. Gendlin recognized that those patients who benefited most from therapy were the ones able to connect to “something” inside of them. They had a vague hard to describe inner awareness of their problems which Gendlin famously termed the “felt sense”. It is the quality of experiencing and of observing one’s experience in focusing that allows for a new “felt sense” to emerge.
Focusing can help you to:
- know what you really feel and really want
- get clarity on those vague, hard-to-describe inner emotions
- be more in touch with yourself, be present to your life as it
is felt right now
- trust the wisdom of your own experience
- discover that your feelings have something to communicate to you
- resolve issues and move forward with your life
- build a more nurturing inner relationship with yourself
- stand apart from the drama of your life and find a place of hope
- go with and trust your intuition
- transforms inner critical and judgemental attitudes of self and others
Much of what we know has never been consciously acknowledged or verbalised.
Felt sense then is different from emotion. It may be expressed by words or an image but is come to with a sense of a vague impression which can evolve into detailed awareness and knowing. Our body knows the whole sense and context of any given time, place or situation. Focusing teaches an inner awareness that is more than an awareness of thoughts, memories and feelings but is a sense of the whole. This whole is vastly deeper and wider than any enumeration of it’s separate parts. With certain teachable steps this vague body knowing becomes a vehicle for fresh thinking, possibility and experience: one that is altogether life-giving and enhancing.
The philosophy behind focusing is that there is no need to do anything to what you are experiencing in order to change. By contrast when we understand that feelings are in process, we discover that acknowledgement and presence are the ingredients needed for transformation.