Focusing-Oriented Therapy: Using the ‘Felt Sense’ to Optimize Clinical Effectiveness
Joan Klagsbrun, PhD

July 24 – 28, 2017 • Monday – Friday

See Accreditation


Focusing is an introspective mind-body method developed by Eugene Gendlin out of psychotherapy research he did with Carl Rogers. They found that investigating the body’s experience of an emotional issue was particularly effective for achieving personal change. Focusing helps patients access their “felt sense” or implicit body wisdom—which lies right at the edge of conscious awareness. Patients speak from their feelings instead of about them, and are often released from “stuck” places. By turning attention to the ‘felt sense’, something fresh emerges into conscious awareness, bringing clarity, coherence, and new possibilities for change. By accessing the felt sense, issues surface rapidly and become clearer and more amenable to change. Focusing is also a form of psychotherapeutic mindfulness practice that accesses emotional intelligence through the messages of one’s body.


This seminar will teach the Focusing process and how it can augment any form of psychotherapy. It will include didactic lectures, experiential exercises, case presentations, and discussions. You will also learn how to utilize this six-step introspective process for your own well-being as well as in supervision. Participants with no knowledge of Focusing as well as those with some background in this method will benefit from the seminar.


Upon completion of this seminar, participants will be able to:


  • Describe 3 essential aspects of Focusing—the felt sense, the felt shift, and the Focusing Attitude— and understand when to use them in clinical practice;
  • Explain the psychotherapy research that supports the Focusing process;
  • Describe two ways Focusing can be integrated with your current therapeutic approach in order to expand patients’ access to their nonverbal somatic awareness;
  • Apply Focusing and facilitative language to enhance patients’ capacity for insight;
  • Discover gentle ways to work with emotional issues that don’t overwhelm the patient;
  • Implement Focusing with various types of cases, including patients dealing with serious illness, anxiety or depression;
  • Apply Focusing methods when working with couples and groups; • Utilize Focusing to enhance your own self-care and well-being as a therapist;
  • Apply the practice of Focusing for the supervision of other therapists and to peer supervisory groups;
  • Explain the first movement of the Focusing process called ‘Clearing a Space’;
  • Describe the research studies that demonstrate the effectiveness of the ‘Clearing a Space’ process;
  • Describe how Focusing reduces the stress response and increases well-being in individuals and groups;
  • Explain how Focusing can facilitate a better therapist/patient relationship.




Monday, July 24, 2017

  • Benefits of integrating Focusing into your work; neuro-scientific basis of Focusing; experiencing the three core skills of Focusing

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

  • Clearing a Space – the first step of Focusing; case example with individuals and groups;
  • Focusing Practice

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

  • Focusing-based facilitative language; enhancing emotional regulation and working with the inner critic

 Thursday, July 27, 2017

  • Ways to bring Focusing into psychotherapy; working with patients with illness, anxiety and depression.

 Friday, July 28, 2017

  • Focusing for self-care and supervision; the value of Focusing on positive experiences with patients