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What is Focusing Psychotherapy?

Inner Relationship Focusing

Inner Relationship Focusing is a version of Focusing psychotherapy developed by Barbara

McGavin and Ann Cornell in order to make Focusing more effective for emotional issues by listening to and working with the personality parts inside you that might be causing conflicts and emotional upset. Inner Relationship Focusing is derived from psychotherapist Eugene Gendlin's original method of listening to the emerging growth edge as it arises each day to the subconscious from the deeper unconscious.

Focusing Demonstration

Ann Cornell demonstrates how she goes within her body to sense into pre-verbal growth edge in order to find words to describe it.

Inner Parts Work

Parts are temporary aspects of yourself that emerge in adverse life circumstances to handle emotional distress or solve life problems. By their very nature, parts are typically at odds with each other, and so you will experience painful inner conflict. You may find yourself saying, for example, “Part of me wants to give up on this relationship because it’s too painful, but another part of me is hanging on and won’t let go.”

Self-in-Presence (also called Presence) is the ability to turn toward your challenging emotions to see what they really need rather than being caught up in them. One way to offer company to a difficult emotional state is to let a gentle hand move to the place in your body where you feel it. You can say, “I am with you,” or “I am here.”

What Happens in a Focusing Session?

"In ordinary conversation, we tend to report on our problems or our breakthroughs. In the Focusing relationship, you’re granted all the time you need to discover your inner parts freshly, without interference. Also, during regular chatting, there’s usually plenty of supportive side talk, so even when one person is in the midst of telling his or her story, You might say, “Wow, that must have been excruciating!” or “Great job! I can’t believe you were able to pull that off.”

But in a Focusing session, the listener (therapist) is fully devoted to the Focuser’s discovery of self without the intrusion of opinion, interpretation, cheerleading, problem-solving, or commentary of any sort, knowing that the most supportive thing he or she can do is reflect back to the Focuser what she’s just said, thereby allowing the Focuser’s own words to reverberate more deeply in her body and heart."

~ Lynn Preston and Dr. Joan Klagsbrun

Focusing with a Listener

Members of the Focusing Institute demonstrate how it could look and feel to Focus within your body with another person or a therapist as the listener.

If you would like to try Focusing in your therapy sessions, please do let me know! It is a simple process, yet so profound to be reflected right where you are.

With love,



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