Focusing in Clinical Practice
The Essence of Change
A therapy technique for inner awareness and meaningful change.
“Focusing” is a particular process of attention that supports therapeutic change, a process that has been linked in more than 50 research studies with successful outcomes in psychotherapy. First developed by pioneering philosopher and psychotherapist Eugene Gendlin, Focusing quietly inspired much of the somatically oriented, mindfulness-based work being done today. Yet what makes Focusing a truly revolutionary approach to therapeutic change has been little understood—until now.
Focusing is based on a radically different understanding of the body as inherently meaningful and implicitly wise. Mere intellectualizing or talking about problems can keep clients stuck in their old patterns of behavior. Focusing introduces the concept of the “felt sense,” a moment in process when there is a potential to experience more than is already known and to break through old, frozen, stuck patterns. Clients who see real change during the course of their therapy work are often those who can contact and stay with a felt sense—but how to help them do so is not obvious.
Ann Weiser Cornell, who has been teaching Focusing to clinicians for more than 30 years, shows how to help clients get felt senses and nurture them when they appear, how to work with clients who have difficulty feeling in the body, how to facilitate a “felt shift,” how to support clients who experience dysregulating emotional states, and much more. Beginning with a clear explanation of what makes Focusing so potentially transformative, she goes on to show how to effectively incorporate Focusing with other treatment modalities and use it to treat a range of client issues, notably trauma, addiction, and depression.
Designed to be immediately applicable for working clinicians and filled with practical strategies, clinical examples, and vignettes, this book shows step by step how to bring Focusing into any kind of clinical practice. Cornell expertly demonstrates the Focusing process unfolding, moment by moment, in the therapy room, and illuminates its powerful capacity to support a client’s growth and change.
- August 2013
- 6.5 × 9.6 in
/ 288 pages
- Sales Territory: Worldwide
Endorsements & Reviews
“Cornell’s new book offers clinicians guidance to bring Focusing into the consulting room. . . . Felt sensing, as the essence of chance, is the take-home message repeatedly pointed to throughout this volume. Though not a new finding—that accessing the felt sense has great transformative power—Cornell gracefully and eloquently articulates how Focusing works in a fresh, new way. . . . [C]linicians can also benefit from Focusing as a therapist who Focuses may also be more genuinely available and capable of doing self-care.” — International Journal of Psychotherapy
“Focusing in Clinical Practice is enlightening primarily for its rich and detailed client-therapist transcripts. . . . Whether you pick up the book as a professional or simply as an observer, you will come away with insights into sensing and some helpful ways to apply them.” — PsychCentral
“Cornell has been involved with the development of Focusing for many years and is a wonderful exemplar of the method, in which she has trained many professionals. . . . Focusing in Clinical Practice communicates the very subtle, essentially non-verbal process of Focusing for client and therapist very well. It is so hard to express the ineffable, but she does it after years of experience and practice articulating the felt sense.” — Somatics
“Since Eugene Gendlin’s landmark book Focusing, first published in 1978, there has been too little in the way of clinical application of his seminal work. In her thorough, illuminating book, Ann Weiser Cornell fills this need. She clearly outlines the essence of change, explaining how it emerges from the client’s relationship with his or her living–sensing body. She demonstrates, step by step, just how these innate transformative moments occur and how we can guide our clients in that direction. It is ‘magic’ made simple, pure and simple.” — Peter A. Levine, PhD, author of In an Unspoken Voice: How the Body Releases Trauma and Restores Goodness; recipient of the USABP Lifetime Achievement Award
“When caught in emotional suffering, our core question is, ‘What will help?’ In her wise and compelling new book, Ann Weiser Cornell highlights the centrality of attention to the felt sense, showing through clear case studies how this attentiveness encourages the natural unfolding of a client’s wholeness of being. Applicable and enriching for a wide range of therapeutic modalities, this book offers a precious set of insights and tools for healing professionals.” — Tara Brach, PhD, author of Radical Acceptance and True Refuge
“Ann Weiser Cornell and I have been working closely together for thirty years, and she knows as much about Focusing as I do. Ann has a knack for making the complex understandable and the theory of Focusing accessible to all readers. This book will be helpful to anyone who wants to know my philosophical work and better understand how to bring Focusing into clinical practice. I recommend it very strongly.” — Eugene Gendlin, PhD, founder of the Clinical Division Journal Psychotherapy: Theory Research and Practice; author of Focusing and Focusing-Oriented Psychotherapy