Teaching Focusing Principles as a Way to Encourage “Natural Focusing”




Eugene Gendlin’s first discovery in studying outcomes in therapy patients was that there was something that successful patients ALREADY did. If they were doing that process, which Gendlin named Focusing, then the relationship and environment in the therapy setting was more able to help them make progress with their challenges.


Even without learning how to do or to guide others in Focusing, we can learn some principles and practices that allow our interactions and workplaces to be more Focusing-friendly, more supportive of this natural process. In these environments, more connection, understanding, and creativity occur.



Advantages of this form of teaching

a)      As a non-experiential presentation, this can be easily offered to large groups in a presentation format, with far fewer logistical requirements than experiential teaching of Focusing requires.

b)      This is a way that helpers and caregivers (teachers, administrators, clergy, parents, etc) can learn some easily applicable concepts and practices to help those whom they support, even if they are unable or not yet ready to take an experiential workshop

c)       Those in charge of systems have great leverage to influence the culture and processes of that system. With these principles, administrators, classroom teachers, and others, can influence many people who function within those systems, for the better.

d)      They are rapidly applicable to many situations, so the benefit can be almost immediate

e)      Having these principles can act as “handles” for those who HAVE had more formal training in Focusing to help them hold onto something conceptually as well as only felt.



Disadvantages of this form of teaching

a)      One is not taught a direct experience of the Focusing process in their body. Learning principles, one can THINK the Focusing process, but one may not get to develop a feel of it in their bodies

b)      Focusing is much more than thinking, so simply thinking about Focusing is limited.

c)       Years of experience with Focusing training brought to the surface some problems with attempting to teach Focusing experientially with a too thin ratio of trainers to students.

d)      One may not reap the personal benefits of Focusing if they only apply the principles

e)      This process does not offer much in the way of guiding another. It is more of a holding space and encouraging. When more is needed, then more than simply applying principles is necessary.


What this might look like?

(Note: This has now also become one of the modules. And, several of the modules could even be adopted here, under Focusing Principles. So, they are less distinct, but better integrated now)