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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Do you have any questions about Focusing? Please send them to me, and I will answer in future Focusing tips.

  • All
  • Anger
  • Anxiety
  • Change
  • Decisions
  • Felt Sense
  • Gendlin
  • Grief
  • Grounding
  • Inner Child
  • Mind
  • Pain
  • Patience
  • Presence
  • Relationships
  • Self Esteem
  • Stress
  • It’s not easy to be with something that feels uncomfortable, and it’s also hard when you don’t know what it’s about, or why it is there.
    It might be a feeling of tightness or constriction in the throat or chest, or any kind of physical sensation that causes discomfort...
    Something in you is feeling discomfort and it is showing you through the symptoms of the painful body sensations.

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  • Like many of us, when I am being with my anger, I find it very hard to get any kind of distance.

    Mostly I am merged with it, and I can feel how I am experiencing it in my body. I might be getting a tight feeling in my shoulders or in my stomach area.
    If you have overwhelming feelings of anger or rage, I suggest that you concentrate on ‘giving it lots of space’. By that I mean that you take time for yourself to really listen to it and acknowledge the intensity of feeling.

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  • There are many factors that can get in the way of a fruitful inner dialogue, and I will address some of them here.

    1. If the dialogue is based solely in your head and in your thoughts, and not taking account of what’s happening as a body-based inner process.
    Your body knows more that you are consciously aware of, so if you take time to pause and listen carefully, in those quiet moments something new can come to you...

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  • I want to say how much I value Focusing in these difficult times.

    It is giving me enormous support on a personal level.
    I am sure that everyone can benefit as much as I do, even though you may already have support systems in place, such as mindfulness, meditation, support of family and friends, and connection with nature.

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  • This is adapted from an interview I did recently with Amy McCormack for Thresholds, the quarterly professional journal of BACP Spirituality division.

    Focusing naturally lends itself to supporting spiritual practice by developing the capacity for grounded aware presence and empathy for yourself and others... When I am being in nature, I have a sense of connection.
    When I am Focusing, I find that the more present I can be and the more grounded awareness I can bring to my Focusing, then the more my Focusing can flow. They are interconnected.

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  • How many times do we say to each other, ‘take care’, or ‘take good care of yourself’, or ‘look after yourself’, usually as a way of saying goodbye?

    Do we really take care of ourselves? Do you?
    What often stops us is lack of time, or perhaps an unwillingness to slow down, pause and listen, and take the action that is needed.
    Sometimes we may not listen because we don’t want to hear what our body tells us.

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  • Gene Gendlin explained it by saying, ‘if you want to smell the soup, you don’t put your head in it!’

    It’s the same principle when you are Focusing.
    You are being curious about what you find inside yourself. You want to know more; to find out where a feeling is coming from, how it relates to your life situation, and what it needs so that you can move forward.
    If you are ‘merged’ with a feeling, it’s like having your head in the soup.
    You can’t see anything else. Your whole experience is the soup.

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  • When you’re Focusing, it is helpful to say ‘I am aware of..’, and then describe what it is you are aware of.

    But what is awareness itself?
    It may feel like an open, spacious attentiveness. When you are Focusing, it is a deliberate act of turning your attention towards something. It it the context within which all content, all life experiences happen. It has no content itself. It has no particular agenda, of looking for a particular outcome. It has no needs or wants for itself. It just is, a state of being, always and already present.

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  • A Focusers asks: 'I’ve been reading about Internal Family Systems Therapy... and wonder if you can answer my question….what is the difference between the Focusing you do and IFS?'

    Focusing emphasises the felt sense, which is something unclear, fuzzy and not yet defined.
    I suggest that you put your attention into the inner area of your body, while holding an awareness of the parts you are being with. Look for what’s unclear about ‘the whole thing’, more than you already know about this.

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