Focusing- Six Transforming Steps

Focusing- Six Transforming Steps*

1. Clearing a space
2. Finding the felt sense of the problem
3. Finding a handle-word, image, or phrase
4. Resonating
5. Asking
6. Receiving

• See Gendlin, E. (1978). Focusing, New York: Bantam Books.

The Focusing process, as Dr Mayer has adapted it to combine with Body Mind
Healing Psychotherapy, consists of the following six steps:

1. You learn to “clear a space” from painful feelings and the “subpersonality” (Assagioli, 1965) that is associated with those feelings.The Focusing technique the idea of imagining a river traveling down the “macrocosmic orbit” on the exhalation in order to facilitate further clearing a space from these distressing feelings. This is called the River of Life process (Mayer, 2007, 2009). Through this integration of Qigong and Focusing, a temporary, healing dissociation from your issue can be created. In this combined method, on the exhalation you imagine negative feelings releasing down the river of breath and coalescing into an image of that subpersonality at a distance from you. This honors Focusing’s emphasis on finding the right amount of “breathing room” from your issues—not too close and not too far. It is from this “right distance” that you can get a “felt sense” of what this issue is “all about.”

2. You find a “felt sense” of the issue, which can be distinguished from a feeling by the fact that it is unclear, is experienced as more holistic, and it  combines meaning with a body sense. The unclear sense in the body is a place where the meaning feels like it is “on the tip of your tongue.” The difference
between a feeling and a felt sense is like the difference between being immersed or drowning in the water of a feeling and sitting next to the river of your experience and noticing words or images arise that capture the essence of what that feeling state is all about. This involves not thinking about the issue, but directly referring to the body in this state-specific meditative state and allowing meanings to arise. (This is a key component of the transmuting dimension of the River of Life practice.)

3. You find a “handle word or image” that opens the door to the description of that sense.

4. You “resonate” the emerging thoughts or images back with the body sense to see if you are hitting the center of the target and get a “bull’s eye.”

5. You “ask questions” of the felt sense, such as what’s the worst thing about this issue or what’s so ____ about this whole issue or what’s the crux of this issue? You wait until one of the images, words, or sounds gives you the sense that you have discovered the “felt meaning” of the issue and a “felt shift” occurs.

6. You “receive” the information you get from your bodymind with appreciation and explore where the information leads you in terms of life changes.

For further training and private sessions in Dr Mayer’s adaptation of the “Focusing” process contact Dr Mayer by email to schedule a local session or for sessions at a distance by Skype. Or, further explanations of Dr Mayer’s integration of Focusing with Taoist breathing methods, the River of Life Guided Visualization Process, and psychomythological inner work (The Mythic Journey Process) can be found in his books, Energy Psychology: Self Healing Practices for Bodymind Health (North Atlantic/Random House, 2009), or
Bodymind Healing Psychotherapy: Ancient Pathways to Modern Health. All are available on this website.

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