What is a Focusing-Oriented Counsellor?

by | Nov 4, 2019

Firstly, I should say something brief about what Focusing is.  It is a way of learning about others and myself.  It combines meditation–the bringing of my attention to bear on a specific content–and creative expression–the use of language, pictures, movement, music, etc. to gain an understanding of that content. The bridge between these two activities is what Focusing calls the felt-sense or felt meaning.  It is a sense, often experienced physically in the middle of the body between the abdomen and the throat, a notion that does not yet have words to describe itself, and yet a person knows there is something there.

Let me try to give a simple illustration of what a Focusing oriented counsellor might help you explore.

Suppose your partner and you are having difficulties serious enough to threaten your relationship.  Over the years, you’ve both tried your best to sort it out but have failed.  Now, you both feel totally stuck and powerless to move through it.  The Focusing-oriented counsellor will help you rather than to move away from these unpleasant feelings, to spend some time with them.  You find a place where you can be with these feelings, not as victims overwhelmed by them, but as interested, concerned observers.  Easily said.  Not so easily done especially when the point of contention between you touches deeply to the core of how you see yourselves.  It takes practice.  The practice, the finding of that safe place of observation is the meditative move in Focusing.  It is also similar to what the scientist does when they take up the attitude of a detached observer though, in this case, accompanied by the added quality of empathy.  If you are patient enough, when you sit with your formerly unwelcome emotions, you will have an inexplicable, unexpected sense, you may feel it in your bodies, that your lives are not quite the misery you thought they were.  It’s as though being with your despair, accepting its presence rather than turning away from it, has brought you a degree of calm, of self-acceptance.  Initially, this new feeling may make absolutely no sense, for it seems you have done nothing but simply be present to what is there.  You try to find words that will say something about this new feeling of calm.  This is the expressive, creative move of Focusing: the step you take to understand, to give some shape to, the experience you are having right now.  If you find some words–perhaps related to a personal memory, a value you hold, a person you know–it gives form to the vague impulse you started with, so that you can now hold it in your thoughts, mull it over and work further to better understand what it’s all about.  And so the work unfolds.

This approach to counselling, that is interested in all that the client brings with them and makes a space to non-judgmentally listen to it, has been described as a kind of midwifery.  It allows what the client brings to be heard, accepted and grow beyond where it was stuck into what it was originally conceived to be.       .

Should you be interested to learn more about Focusing-oriented counselling, I invite you to contact me.  Additionally, there is a wealth of free, downloadable information on this subject at http://previous.focusing.org/

Relationship: Being in It Freely

It seems to me that one of the most fundamental questions many of us face these days is something like: "Is it possible to enter and sustain a relationship without losing my freedom?"  If the answer could possibly be, yes, then, we want to know, "How do we do that?"  It isn't terribly complex. ...

Anger Management–for You and Those Near You

Anger management is important to ourselves and to others.  It is usually unpleasant for the person experiencing the anger, especially afterwards, and invariably for the person at whom it is directed.  The one at the receiving end may feel afraid, resentful, shamed, angry themselves or all of these...

Depression as a Personal and Public Issue.

Depression as a Public Issue One in seven Australians suffer with some form of depression in their lifetime. Based on a measure of its negative effects on communities and individuals, it is currently rated as the world's third most debilitating and costly illness. The World Health Organization has...

The Contradictions of Couples Counselling?

What are the contradictions of couples counselling? What is it I can briefly yet clearly say about the apparent contradictions of couples counselling? How do two separate people come to live as a single unit?  Can two, in some sense, become one, and if so, do they then stop being two? Couples...

What is Holistic Counselling?

Holistic counselling is inclusive in what it considers significant for a client's well-being.  Every area that pertains to human life is on the table for possible consideration.  No area of activity is left out because to leave it out would be to disavow a part of our humanity and to overlook the...

Spiritual Counselling and Not Knowing

What do I mean when I use that term, spiritual counselling? There are times when I have felt that after nine years working as a counsellor, I'm finally getting my head around what counselling is, what it might be and what it is for.  Such moments usually come unexpectedly and surprise me that...

Mutuality in Counselling is Important

What is mutuality in counselling? I woke up in the middle of last night from a dream about work, something that rarely enters my dreams.  In the dream, I am listening to a client, and when he finishes speaking, I ask him what it is about our conversations that is of value to him.  His response is...

The Darkness of Depression

Counselling for the darkness of depression. I was recently in a conversation that brought home to me how much of what is called counselling is about a basic human need. I was speaking with a client, and he was telling me how important to him was the feeling of family, the feeling of belonging. ...

Toward A Therapy of Resurrection

Where does the notion of a therapy of resurrection come from? It's Good Friday, today, and so, it's not surprising that I find myself this morning musing about what is undoubtedly the central story of western culture, and of many other cultures, that of resurrection.  And I find my mind...

Relationship is an Art in Listening

Is relationship really an art in listening? Listening seems to be one of those things that is highly underrated in western countries.  It's talking, having something to say and saying it effectively, that is primarily valued.  Of course, being an effective speaker is a great thing.  However, the...