Focusing Tips by Fiona Parr

I'm often asked questions which I feel are relevant to many people. So I share my responses here which I hope will provide a helpful insight for everyone involved in Focusing and an overview if you are new to Focusing.
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Natalia says ‘I’m not sure it trusts me. Can it trust me to come back to it and really hear it? As a Focuser, I have discovered that I can trust the felt sense, but can it trust me?’

Trust needs to be built over time.
In our conversation, we discovered that trust needs to be built over time. A key to successful Focusing is to develop a positive inner relationship with yourself.
Sometimes it is not easy and it may take some time.

Often, I did not feel friendly.
I remember when I first learned Focusing, I used to get cross about the injunction to be friendly with myself.
I felt angry and antagonistic to parts of me that I felt were ‘getting in my way’, or sabotaging what ‘I’ wanted to do in my life. There were warring or conflicting parts of me and I thought Focusing was about just accepting what was there.
I did not want to be told to be friendly, when I was not feeling at all friendly.

I was actually onto something, but I did not realise it at the time.
If you are a practising Focuser, you know how to turn towards the part of you that does not feel accepting and friendly, and to be friendly towards that.
You discover that it has its own good reasons for being angry or unfriendly.
As you give attention to it and hear it, it can soften and ease, and already you feel easier in yourself.

But what about when you are being friendly with yourself?
Only to find that something in you is turning away; not communicating; clamming up and generally being uncooperative?
You may be getting the message that it doesn’t want to be ‘listened to’, or ‘said hello to’. You may sense that it doesn’t trust you enough to be able to open up to you, even though you have the best intentions and you let it know that you are here for it and are willing to listen to it. .

Maybe this is the first time you have really sat down with this part of you.
With a willingness to listen to it in an accepting way.
Maybe this is so new and unfamiliar to it, that it feels confusion, and doubts your motives.
You may have never given it this kind and loving attention before. And so it may not trust you to give it total acceptance. It does not want to be judged or criticised.
I have witnessed sessions where a Focuser contacts a vulnerable place inside for the very first time. The Focuser may not know this part at all; where it comes from; what it needs or wants; what it doesn’t want. It may be tempting to ask it why it is there. It probably can’t answer that yet. It doesn’t have the words.

The most helpful thing you can do is to simply sit with it, quietly.
Try not to push on it, in your enthusiasm to get to know yourself better. The metaphor of ‘keeping it company’ is a good one in this kind of situation. You could imagine you are sitting side-by-side with it, maybe not looking at it directly, and yet you are in contact with it. Gradually, as it feels safer, it can begin to open up to you. You can sense how it is from its point of view, and it may begin to tell you things, or show you in images and metaphors how it feels. Stay in contact with how it feels in the body, and find symbols that express the quality feel of it.

And as you trust the felt sense, by staying with it, or returning to it over several sessions, it will learn to trust you. You can be patient with it, while acknowledging and accepting parts of you that feel impatient.
You can be curious about it, without pre-judging what it might show you when it does feel safe enough to open up to you.