Developing your Focusing skills further.
The Practitioner Programme is a flexible self-directed learning programme. You go at your own pace, and work one-to-one with your mentor, as well as participate in weekend courses and workshops. It is a very enriching experience.

♦ Who is Focusing training for?

If you have completed the BFA Focusing Skills Certificate course, or equivalent.

People join the Practitioner Programme for several reasons. One is to continue to deepen their journey with Focusing, as a means of deepening their own personal development and growth. Some people find at the end of the Certificate course, that it’s just a beginning. They begin to see how much more Focusing has to offer them and they want to continue exploring with the support of a qualified mentor.

Other people take the Practitioner Programme to enable them to teach Focusing to others. The Practitioner Programme encourages and supports trainees to introduce Focusing to new people on an individual basis. People who complete the programme are eligible for The Focusing Institute Trainer certification.

Others take the Practitioner Programme as a prerequisite for going on to the Teacher Training Programme, which enables Focusers to teach Focusing professionally to groups.
Some people join the Practitioner Programme to enable them to work professionally with Focusing, incorporating Focusing into individual therapeutic, counselling or coaching work they are already doing.

There may be other reasons. This list is not exhaustive.

♦ How can you assess if this is the right course for you?

A Focusing Practitioner has the ability to introduce Focusing to someone who has never known it before. They are worthy of being trusted to be a Companion to sensitive growing places in a person. They represent the entire field of Focusing, since they may be the only source of someone’s experience with Focusing. These are some of the reasons why this training is worth a serious commitment of time, money and personal transformation for those who want to be a Focusing Practitioner.

A key component of the course is to support your growth as a person as well as a Practitioner of Focusing. BFA is also committed to allowing only fully qualified people to become Focusing Practitioners. Skills and experience are the key requisites for people to become Focusing Practitioners.

Becoming a Practitioner is a possibility for someone from any walk of life. You do not need to be a therapist or have other formal credentials. This is a natural human process open to any person. Whatever the focus of your life, being a Focusing Practitioner can fit with what you do. For example, it can fit seamlessly into your work if you help others move forward or find more ease; or your work is about finding the right expression for something. You might be someone who works with children or young people, a health care professional, in business, or a designer. You might be working in the creative or expressive arts, a pastor or spiritual guide or counsellor. You might be retired.

The process of becoming a Practitioner will probably take approximately a year to eighteen months. It depends on variables such as your other time commitments and your own development with Focusing. The course is based on individual and small group coaching over a period of time, with an individual learning plan, which is unique to you.

You start by requesting an evaluation of your readiness to begin work as a Trainee. Preferably this evaluation will be made with me as a Certifying Coordinator who has worked with you over time. Discuss your interests, and your needs for the training process, as you think together about your readiness to work towards certification as a trainer. If you both agree that you are ready, and that you would like to work together as Coordinator and student, I can become your mentor.

The difference between a Practitioner and a Teacher:

A Focusing Practitioner is authorised to offer private guided Focusing sessions to the public for a fee.
A Focusing Teacher is authorised in addition to offer workshops teaching Focusing to the public for a fee.

Prerequisite criteria:

  • Completion of the British Focusing Association (BFA) Certificate in Focusing Skills (or equivalent)
  • Initial Self and Primary Mentor Assessment (SPA) session
  • Agreement by your Primary Mentor

It usually takes about a year to eighteen months from the time you begin learning Focusing for you to feel comfortable and accomplished in these skills and ready to move on to beginning training as a Practitioner. Workshops completed elsewhere may be taken into consideration as part of admissions or course requirements through negotiation with the Primary Mentor.

Limitations of Focusing training accreditation/recognition:

  • This training and qualification is only to offer Focusing sessions to people on the understanding that it is not therapy that you are offering, but support in a self-help process. It does not qualify a person to offer Focusing in a therapeutic or counselling setting. The responsibilities of the Focuser and the limitations of your remit must be clearly indicated to the client.
  • Should you wish to offer Focusing in a therapeutic context, you are responsible for your own professional standing as a therapist or counsellor independently of this training or of the BFA.
  • This programme is not currently accredited through a nationally recognised awarding body. It is offered through BFA and recognised by the Focusing Institute in New York.

♦ A brief outline

Beyond what has already been described above, here is a list of learning outcomes:

  • Listening/reflecting skills;
  • Guiding skills;
  • Relationship with clients;
  • Ethics;
  • General knowledge/understanding of Focusing;
  • Exploration of the use of Focusing in an area of personal interest (e.g. counselling, creativity);
  • Self-employment skills.

♦ Contents of The Practitioner Programme


4 weekend workshops are the core of the programme. These include:

  • Practitioner support and training weekend.
  • Working with New People 1 and 2. On the first weekend we will prepare to work with a new person. On the second weekend each trainee will present a session with a person new to Focusing that has been previously taped. We will explore these sessions together.
  • Exploring one of the following options: Focusing &… applied Focusing, Wholebody Focusing, Focusing with movement and dance, Focusing and dreams, Focusing and Creativity, etc (minimum two days required).
  • You are also asked to attend the five BFA Certificate course workshops again as a participant. You will be asked to assist by being part of small groups where you will support the participants in Focusing and listening turns. At the end of each day of the workshop we will take about half an hour to debrief from the workshop. This will also be time for you to briefly bring up any other issues from the training programme that wants attention.
  • You are asked to attend a workshop given by another Focusing teacher in order to see another version of Focusing and how it is presented which may be with BFA accrediting mentors Barbara McGavin, Rob Foxcroft, Peter Afford, Kay Hoffmann or Manju.

These weekends come to about 10, altogether.

Home study

  • An ongoing practice of Focusing with a partner or peer group, and alone.
  • Keeping a personal (private) Focusing journal.
  • Background reading of Gendlin’s and others’ writings, to increase your knowledge of Focusing.
  • Guiding Focusing sessions with friends and other volunteers, and keeping notes of these sessions.
  • Providing at least two 20-minute tapes, with transcript and notes (at least 2 months between) and having the tapes and notes reviewed by me.
  • A practical project you undertake in a specific area of Focusing.
  • Writing two papers of between 2000 and 5000 words:
    1. A report describing the practical project;
    2. A theoretical paper about some aspect of the Focusing process.

Consultation and Focusing sessions

  • Attending at least three Self and Mentor assessment sessions with your primary mentor (SPA).
  • Having guided Focusing sessions approximately every month with your primary mentor.
  • Having guided Focusing sessions with your secondary mentor approximately every four months.

The last two can happen on the phone or in person.

♦ Assessment

A key element of the training process is “self-assessment.”
The first session you might want to use for setting up your personal learning plan.
The format of a self-assessment session is that you Focus on issues of your training, such as “How am I feeling now about Focusing?” “What are my strengths?” “Where do I need to grow?” “What support do I need?” The mentor listens to your Focusing (and guide if you ask). Then the mentors respond from their felt senses in a Focusing way.
A consensus process between you and your two mentors determines the completion of your training. The primary judge of your readiness is you, and your felt sense.

Self-Directed Personal Learning Plan

This is a process of self-directed learning in which you take responsibility for the timing and direction of your work. You can approach me about entering the Practitioner Programme when you feel ready. If, after a 1 hour initial Self and Mentor Assessment session, I agree that you are ready to begin the Training Programme, you create a Personal Learning Plan which includes some or all of the elements listed above.
The Training Programme is skills based. The recommended skills are listed in a document called Focusing Practitioner & Focusing Teacher Criteria. You are welcome to add more skills that you would like to accomplish in your work.

♦ Primary and Secondary Mentors

You will have the support and guidance of two people: a Primary Mentor and a Supporting Mentor. Fiona would be your Primary Mentor. The other person should be either a BFTA recognised Focusing Teacher or an Institute certified Focusing Trainer. The task of the Primary Mentor is to support your process of training with regular consultations. The Primary Mentor will be in touch with you once a month, to see how you are doing. The task of the Supporting Mentor is to support your process of training with consultations as requested, and to support your relationship with the Primary Mentor.
If you and either mentor encounter issues between you that need to be worked out, the other mentor will support the working out of the issues by listening to you both, and with other interactive techniques.

♦ Internship

Part of the training process is a period of internship, during which a trainee will guide a certain number of clients. Although this is a part of the training, it is also real Focusing experiences for these new people that need to be recognised and honoured. This will commence when the trainee and trainer agree. The trainee can charge a reduced fee, probably a third to half the standard session fee. There may be an initial period where the trainee will charge for expenses only.

♦ BFA Recognition

To receive recognition by BFA the trainee needs to have a self and peer assessment session with their mentor at which consensus is reached that the trainee is ready to facilitate Focusing sessions professionally.

♦ Cost of the Programme

It’s hard to predict how much this course will cost it will depend on the length of time it takes you to complete. As a rough guide it should cost between £1600 to £1900.

To find out more, give me a call on 01626 821110, or 07799 027332.

Fiona Parr is a BFA Recognised Focusing Mentor and TIFI Certifying Coordinator.