Focusing New England

Promoting focusing, listening, and personal growth in the New England area

Sat. April 29, 2017 Focusing-Oriented Therapy: Using Implicit Experience to Implement Change

Master Series in Clinical Practice

Co-sponsors: The Continuing Education Program at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, a Major Teaching Hospital of Harvard Medical School; Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute; and William James College.

The Master Series affords the chance to spend a complete day with leaders in our field to consider the unique perspective each speaker brings to the challenging dilemmas in both theory and practice. We hope that you will consider joining us for the entire series at a reduced tuition or choose the programs most relevant to your own practice.

Focusing is a method developed by Eugene Gendlin out of research in psychotherapy which demonstrates that referencing the body’s experience of a situation is most effective for achieving personal change.  Focusing teaches clients how to do something other than mere intellectualizing or emoting.   This introspective six-step process that uses a “felt sense” or body wisdom to let personal life issues surface, becoming clearer and more amenable to change.  As a therapeutic technique, focusing bypasses defenses and allows the individual to gain direct access to deeper, more authentic experience.  The process of finding exact words or images that fit emerging feelings can lead to important insights, behavior change and significant stress reduction.  Participants will be introduced to the focusing technique.  Applications for working with psychotherapy and coaching clients will be discussed. In the morning the Focusing process will be taught and experienced. IN the afternoon, applications to therapy will be introduced with video and case examples.

 Specific learning objectives: 

  • Discuss the theory underlying the practice of Focusing 
  • Describe the skills needed to practice and guide others through Focusing
  • Describe 2 ways Focusing can be integrated into psychotherapy.
  • Examine the relevance of Focusing for therapist self-care.


Joan Klagsbrun, PhD, is a licensed psychologist in private practice for the past 40 years, and an Adjunct Professor at Lesley University, (and formerly at Andover Newton Theological School.) Joan is a Certifying Coordinator for the International Focusing Institute and has taught Focusing to therapists and health care professionals internationally for over three decades. She has written many articles on Focusing for professional journals, in addition to chapters in edited collections. She was awarded the Alice Ladas research award from the US Association for Body Psychotherapy for her research on Focusing with women with breast cancer.

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