“The Power of Focusing” by Ann Weiser Cornell, Ph.D.

Subtitle: A practical guide to emotional self-healing

Recommended to me by: Nancy Lebovitz

Eugene Gendlin discovered that the difference between successful and unsuccessful therapy lies in the client’s ability to pause and attend to something wordless inside, and get to know it better. He named this skill Focusing and began teaching it, developing a protocol of six steps.

Ann Weiser Cornell learned from Eugene Gendlin and began teaching workshops. She developed a variation called Inner Relationship Focusing which still has steps, but is less concerned with a strict protocol.

In this book, she introduces Focusing through client stories and teaches the skills involved with analogies and detailed instructions. The body’s felt sense is like a shy animal at the edge of the woods. We say hello, and wait. As trust is built, the felt sense comes closer and reveals more information. As it is heard, without judgment, it can change and release.

Focusing can be done alone, or with a Focusing partner who reflects back discoveries with gentle neutrality.
Focuser: “I don’t know what to call this feeling in my throat.”
Listener: “You’re feeling something in your throat.”

When there is a negative reaction to the felt-sense, attention turns to that reaction with interested curiosity.
Focuser: “I’d like to push this away.”
Listener: “Maybe you could say hello to that feeling of wanting to push this away.”

This book and the articles on Ann Weiser Cornell’s website are both highly recommended. This is the work I try to do, and the work I want others to do with me.

One of many articles on Ann Weiser Cornell’s website: The Radical Acceptance of Everything.

Available at Powell’s Books.

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