Eugene Gendlin discovered the process of focusing in therapy which is a way to become familiar with one's own emotions, thoughts and sensations. The client must use effort in recognizing aspects of themselves that also identify with who they are and what they want to become. During focusing the client attunes to their own beliefs, feelings and wants. This is not only an awareness technique but a bodily process that promotes trust and understanding where the mind can often deceive us and create insecurities. Focusing is performed during behavior responses such as aggression or anxiety. The participant asks themselves why the moods and symptoms are happening to them and from there they will find the root cause of mental or emotional dysfunction.

Goals of Focusing

The goal of focusing is to grasp life situations and how we are responding to them by being aware of our mental and physical function. After the sessions have been completed the client will have gained acceptance in who they are and what they have to offer as an individual. A sense of serenity takes over the patient and allows them to feel calm or recollected in situations that would have originally caused anxiety. Once they feel calm they can then connect with their being on another level and make choices that contribute toward what they want to achieve.

When is Focusing Used?

It's often times that people have a difficult time with their depression and anxiety. Expressing the feelings associated with them can be extremely difficult. It might even be something that affects them at times and doesn't at others. Focusing is used on those who are trying to figure out what this behavior means and why their happiness is discouraged in varying situations. Focusing is embraced when the individual benefits from paying attention to their spiritual energy and finding the root cause of discomfort which can bring about balance.

How Focusing Works

To understand the focusing technique it's essential to look at the relationship with the therapist as well the client's emotions. The technique has been applied to various medicinal and combination approaches to induce creativity and experimental thinking. The counselor will first recognize the behavior of the patient and speak to them about what sensations the symptoms causes in their body. Many people don't realize that their physical self can live in a situation just as much as their mental perception. Relief of the mind results in progressive changes made toward the body. What is experienced internally will eventually show up as a physical sensation.

The client is going to learn how to pay attention to the physical experience by understanding the mental complexity. The feeling throughout our bodies cannot always be described in words – but in parts. How a body reacts is the result of past history and current meaning within an individual. All of this presents something much greater because it is a felt sense. If flow is blocked within an individual it can result in physical constriction. When the flow is resolved that area of the body will be relieved. Both the therapist and client pay close attention to these felt senses which will resolve an issue that brings about bodily ease. The inward attention causes the individual to become familiar with their feelings and the relationship between the body-mind. During the session counselors will go through specific steps and strategies that create body sensations. If the patient can become familiar with this they will then learn to live in a much deeper state instead of through mind-body dysfunction. By creating a new perception the issue will be viewed from different angles that create relief in a physical sense.

By looking at the lives of others and how they hold themselves we can also determine some of the unresolved internal conflicts that are dwelling. People can usually identify this feeling because they have felt it before when their lives are satisfying and progressive – their posture and grace may seem different. During times of discourse the body will not feel as enjoyable and it can result in unsatisfactory posture or isolated movements. The body may appear tense which has the potential to cause muscle knots and aches. Many people measure their satisfaction by the way that they look or "glow" which acknowledges the mind and body relationship.

Criticism of Focusing

Critics have pointed out that the art of Focusing is not effective in clients who suffer from a severe mental or behavioral condition and that it should only be expressed as a combination treatment.


Focusing on the felt sense. (n.d.). Retrieved from

On focusing and trauma. (n.d.). Retrieved from

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