How to use Focusing as a therapist
I welcome questions about how you can use Focusing in different situations.
Here I am answering how Focusing helps you as a therapist. You might have other questions, so please send them to me.
‘I am interested in how to use Focusing on myself as a therapist – as a way to centre and prepare myself – before, during and/or between offering counselling sessions.’
I have found Focusing has helped me enormously in my work as a therapist.
It is an excellent practice to use before client sessions.
You can use Focusing to ground yourself in the present moment, becoming aware of how you are, and what you are bringing to the therapy space. It helps by increasing self awareness, and allows issues to settle, without you being taken over by strong feelings, or needing to push them away.
You can use the grounding exercise on my CD before you start your client work, and between sessions if you feel unsettled by a particular session. And the second exercise, Finding Presence, enables you to be present, clear and compassionate, ready for your clients.
Focusing increases your depth as a person and as a therapist.
The regular practice of Focusing changes who you are, because it accelerates your progress towards becoming a ‘Fully Functioning Person’, a state described by Carl Rogers. As issues come up in your life, Focusing gives you a process to deal with them. In this way it increases your depth as a person and as a therapist. It also assists you in avoiding burnout because you can deal with issues more easily as they come up. You can use the fourth and fifth exercise on the CD to help you to acknowledge and keep company with unresolved feelings. And the third exercise helps when there is a lot going on.
Intuitively feeling into a client’s world
In addition, the growth of your ability to get a felt-sense dramatically increases your capacity to intuitively feel into a client’s world. Focusing also gives you practice in the skill of finding words to communicate this deepened intuition and empathic perception. Consequently the way you reflect what you sense is going on for a client becomes richer and can take them deeper into the essence of what is needing their attention at that time.
Gently guiding the client.
Many clients talk about their felt sense of what is going on for them, without any training. If the therapist recognises this when it happens, it is possible to gently guide the client to be with this felt sense in a Focusing way. This can lead to dramatic shifts and therapeutic progress.
For those therapists who don’t have a strong natural ability in felt-sensing or who have not been trained in Focusing, such opportunities are either not recognised or the therapist can unwittingly respond in such a way that the client’s felt sense closes down.
Despite the power of the felt sense to unfold and the inherent inner wisdom which guides the process, the Focusing process is fairly fragile and will only move forward with the right nurturing and space.
To help you to develop this subtle practice, I recommend that you have an ongoing Focusing partnership, which not only helps you in your own life; it also helps you develop your client work. You can also use the sixth exercise on my CD to help you to develop your solo Focusing practice; asking, receiving and thanking.