Q & A: Why isn’t Focusing more well-known?

My three favorite reasons why Focusing is not better known.

  1. Focusing was discovered through research, not invented! It is a natural human process. Gene Gendlin developed steps in order to help people find this innate process in their own experiencing. Gendlin was an anti-guru who had little interest in selling Focusing to the world, instead he gave it away.

Gendlin intentionally avoided trademarking Focusing or standardizing its curriculum so that it could be kept open and used in any domain one could imagine. He thought that such an amazing and transformational process should be available to everyone and this motivated him to publish the book Focusing in 1978 –a notably simple and accessible writing from a brilliant Philosopher, Psychotherapist and Researcher.

Gendlin wanted a better world not a bigger bank account. Others picked up on his research and Focusing steps finding it a valuable contribution to their own processes and methodologies. This blending and borrowing is why it is often said that Focusing has inspired much of the mindfulness and somatic work being done today.

  1. Focusing is uniquely broad in its application. It makes everything better! As an experiencing-process Focusing brings fresh meaning, richness and depth to everything you use it with. It is not just a method of therapy, but rather what makes therapy work. It goes beyond mindfulness to Relational Presence. Combined with spirituality it becomes bio-spirituality and a doorway to transcendent experience opens.

When someone asks what Focusing is good for, the answer is something like holding up a little brown jug of liquid and saying, “this makes everything better.” How can a single process do so much? Focusing is already involved in the way each of us allows new information to come into awareness. We are always on some level Focusing (bringing unclear felt knowing into focus and explicit awareness). It is part of our natural process!

  1. Focusing goes to the very essence of change, which is a fundamentally different approach from the usual popular themes of simply problem solving in our culture. Western philosophy meets Eastern philosophy as we understand the nature of being. Focusing comes from this philosophical ground, which sees change as a process of stepping back from your experience, observing it (mindfulness) and then being with it and relating to it bodily (emerging right hemisphere experience meeting language in the left). All experience is there to be related to, not fixed, manipulated, medicated or labeled. This is a radical perspective that goes against our “just do it” culture.