Focusing is the process of listening to your body in a gentle, accepting way and hearing the messages that your inner self is sending you. It’s a process of honouring the wisdom that you have inside you, becoming aware of the subtle level of knowing that speaks to you through your body. It is based on a natural ability, which you were born with, to get in touch with your deep inner experiencing. By practicing Focusing you can develop this ability into an invaluable resource which helps you to live your life much more fully. It is a refreshing way of being with life’s challenges, and it enables positive change to emerge naturally and spontaneously. The results of listening to your body are insight, physical release, and positive life change. You understand yourself better, you feel better and you act in ways that are more likely to create the life you want.
HOW WAS IT DEVELOPED?
In the early 1960s Professor Eugene Gendlin at the University of Chicago began research into the question: “Why is psychotherapy helpful for some people, but not for others?” He and his colleagues studied tapes of hundreds of therapy sessions. They taped the entire course of therapy, from the first session to the last, with many different therapists and clients. Then they asked both therapists and clients to rate whether the therapy had been successful or not, along with independent tests. If all three agreed the therapy was used in the study.
Gendlin and the other researchers found to their surprise that they could predict success in therapy by listening to the tapes of the first two sessions only. And what they heard wasn’t to do with the therapist behaviour but was to do with something that the client was able to do naturally. What they heard was this: at some point in the session, the successful clients would slow down their talk, become less articulate and begin to grope for words to describe something they were feeling at that moment, i.e. they came out of their heads and into their bodies, down into what Gendlin called the ‘felt sense’ of a situation.
Obviously some people had this skill naturally, but Gendlin was interested in finding a way to help teach this skill to the people who didn’t have it. He managed to break it down into a number of steps which he taught as “Focusing”.
FOCUSING AND MASSAGE
Focusing is a process which goes very well with massage, because any form of bodywork is the perfect opportunity to come down out of your head and fully experience yourself in your body now. This means being able to become present to your feelings and sensations, and from this place connect to the ‘felt sense’. Sometimes it means opening a dialogue with a part of your body that is very tight or in pain, and seeing what new information can emerge. And during this process of bringing attention to an area one can experience a ‘felt shift’ – something miraculously releases: the pain shifts, the body finally lets go.