The DNA Of Change: The proactive & mindful edge of Focusing-oriented therapy

This course trains you to deepen and integrate your conceptual and experiential understanding of the process of change at several levels.

One level is to integrate what happens clinically with clients and what it brings up for you personally. Our exploration straddles personal process and supervision, based on the idea that what we encounter with our clients is a rich source of personal and professional growth.

Another level is integrating this deeply personal process with conceptual learning about Focusing as the DNA of Change.

In so doing, you develop your ability to embody the Polyvagal Theory, as opposed to just applying it. You help clients discover their way forward through an experiential process that flows naturally.

There is a theme for each session, and students receive a video lecture and/or reading materials to prepare for each session (see course curriculum, below).

This course is suitable for all levels of Focusing experience, including therapists who have no prior knowledge of Focusing.

In addition to our sessions together as a group, you will be assigned to ongoing Focusing partnerships between sessions. 

See below: Why this course? | Why this instructor? | Curriculum | Videos | What this course entails | Dates | Cost | Registration |

Why this course?

We are not detached, objective observers of the process; we are very much in it. I am in it as a person living my life, and I am in it as a therapist co-creating the change process with my client.

Being both an observer and a participant in the process is very different from conducting a scientific experiment in chemistry or physics. So, we have to use tools that are appropriate for this context.

This process group helps you reflect on how change comes about, for you and for your clients. You become more aware of the similarities and the differences, not as abstract notions, but at the level of moment-by-moment felt experience.

The training is highly experiential, as it involves personal integration of the conceptual framework, frequent practice, and mindful attention to the moment-by-moment process.

It helps you hone clinical skills such as deep listening, felt-sensing, moment-by-moment attention to process, self-regulation, and co-regulation.

It all comes into place as you find yourself not just applying Polyvagal Theory but embodying it, thus fostering the mindful engagement that makes lasting change possible.

Why this instructor?

Serge Prengel is a Focusing-oriented therapist. In addition to Focusing, he is also trained in Core Energetics and Somatic Experiencing.

Over the years, he has been exploring the similarities and differences between different approaches to better understand how change happens. He has conducted over 200 interviews with therapists, Focusers, researchers, and mindfulness practitioners.

Serge has led workshops in a variety of venues and conferences, such as Focusing, Somatic Experiencing, USABP, etc. He fosters a safe and stimulating space for groups to creatively explore our embodied process.

See bio for Serge Prengel


The following curriculum refers to the lectures and Q&A related to Focusing. The process group on clinical experiences will be driven by what you and other students bring up in the group. 

1. What are the goals of therapy? 

Conceptual learning: The memory reconsolidation model. Other possible goals.

Clinical skills: Recognizing change when it happens.

2. Creating an ecosystem that allows Focusing (and change) to emerge organically

Conceptual learning: Focusing as the moment-by-moment process of integrating experience.

Clinical skills: Slowing down. Tracking self and client.

3. The pause, in Focusing and in Peter Levine’s somatic approach to trauma. 

Conceptual learning: Revolutionary pause, need for safety & connection (Levine’s short video)

Clinical skills: Prioritizing safety and connection without turning that into avoidance.

4. A mindful take on positive psychology

Conceptual learning: The dynamic power of positive psychology and intentionally building resources.

Clinical skills: Focusing as a way of “owning” what is working in your life and what you want to achieve.

5. Mindful Change: Assisted self-discovery

Conceptual learning: Fostering creativity in the client’s process of self-discovery and change.

Clinical skills: How to facilitate the client’s process, bringing mindful attention to the dance of therapy to find openings for transformation.

6. Life-enhancing anxiety

Conceptual learning: We tend to avoid symptomatic anxiety. In doing so, we miss out on the depth of experience that comes from facing it.

Clinical skills: Developing our ability to stay present with our clients’ anxiety (and our own).

7. Defining moments for you as a therapist

Conceptual learning: Acknowledging past defining moments and making room for new ones in the future.

Clinical skills: How your past and future come into the present to make the session alive with possibilities.

Videos: Q&A about this course

On May 18 2023, there was a live Q&A session about this course. See highlights from the Q&A; video clips for a total of 37 minutes.

What this course entails

You can take this course on its own or as one of the 4 courses of the Integrative Focusing Therapy training program, leading to certification as a Focusing-Oriented Therapist (FOT).

The live part of this course consists of 7 monthly online 2 1/2-hour sessions. The first 45 minutes of each session is a Q&A and experiential discussion of the lecture. The rest of the session is a process group where you explore clients’ situations and what this brings up for you.

Before each session, you have a video and/or reading about the Focusing theme of the session (plan on 30 to 60 minutes of study per session for the required material, and more for optional material).

Between sessions, you have at least 2 study groups per month, where you practice the skills discussed at the previous session. You will be assigned to a small group in the first session of the course.

Of course, in this course as in all others, we pay utmost attention to fostering a sense of safety and connection.

This is a highly experiential course. You are not passively attending classes, you are learning by participating and being seen. It is expected that you will attend every session of the course. We understand that life can be unpredictable, and we allow for one missed session (which you must make up with class recordings).


This course will next be offered in September 2024:
– Second Thursday of the month (9/12/24, 10/10/24, 11/14/24, 12/12/24, 1/9/25, 2/13/25, and 3/13/25)  
– At a time convenient for people in many time zones (12 noon to 2:30 pm New York time).


The cost of this course is US $1,050 if you pay in 2 installments, or US $990 if you pay in full.

Note: “The DNA of Change” and “Sunflower Mind” are offered through Focusing Initiatives International (FII). As for any other FII offerings, no one will be turned away for lack of money.

FII will work with you to find a way to make this affordable. Contact Melinda Darer ( if you need to split your payment into more installments, or if you need scholarship assistance.

Please note that these financial arrangements do not apply to the other courses from the Integrative Focusing Therapy training program that are not offered through FII.


Contact Melinda Darer (