Eugene Gendlin & Focusing

In July 2016, two psychotherapy associations are honoring Eugene Gendlin with their Lifetime Achievement Award at their respective conferences: the US Association for Body Psychotherapy (USABP) and the World Association for Experiential Psychotherapy and Counseling (PCE).

Focusing is not a rigid approach. It encourages therapists to blend in their own personal perspectives and creativity. Throughout his life, Eugene Gendlin has encouraged people to find their own path. So it is a fitting tribute that this page reflects the breadth and depth of the approaches he has inspired. The following are conversations with a number of Focusing-oriented therapists, from the The International Focusing Institute’s website. They are in alphabetical order.

Peter Afford
Peter Afford is Focusing teacher in London. He writes: “Focusing saved me from complete bewilderment about my feelings in the 1980’s and I have been practicing it ever since. As well as teaching Focusing, I work as a counsellor and psychotherapist. I have enjoyed delving into neuroscience for many years, and pondering the fresh view of our inner worlds that it offers.” See conversation.

John Amodeo
John Amodeo is the author of The Authentic Heart: An Eightfold Path to Midlife Love (John Wiley & Sons, 2001) and Love & Betrayal (Ballantine Books) and coauthor of Being Intimate (Arkana/Penguin). He has been a psychotherapist in the San Francisco Bay Area for 30 years, and has immersed myself in Buddhism and spiritual wisdom for 40 years. See conversation.

Mary Armstrong
Mary Armstrong’s book, “Confessions of a Trauma Therapist: A Memoir of Healing and Transformation” tells her story of uncovering her own history of child sexual abuse. The book details how Focusing helped her safely recover her traumatic memories and how it guided her in her healing. See conversation.

Liora Bar-Natan
Liora Bar-Natan, M.A, heads the “Focusing Oriented Therapy Center”, and is a senior faculty member at Ridman College, Israel. She specializes in trauma therapy, Biosynthesis and Family Constellations. See conversation.

Helene Brenner
Helene is co-author of “I Know I’m in There Somewhere: A Woman’s Guide to Finding Her Inner Voice and Living a Life of Authenticity”, and has led Focusing and “Inner Voice” workshops in venues including Omega Institute and Kripalu Center. See conversation.

Jan Bronson
Jan Bronson, MA has developed a method in psychotherapy which integrates Focusing and a Consensus Building process. See conversation.

Cynthia Callsen
Cynthia Callsen, LCSW, DCSW, is a Focusing-Oriented Psychotherapist and Trainer since 2007. With the help of Larry Hurst and others, she developed New York Metro Focusing, a local organization for all focusers, a project that emerged from her training with Robert Lee. She is also a Bach Flower Registered Practitioner. She finds that Bach Flowers and Focusing work together synergistically to help release old stuck places. See conversation.

Anna Christensen
“For me the two streams of Zen and Focusing can fit together like a hand and a glove. Focusing, a brilliant and efficient skillful means is like a multi-faceted jewel that I can integrate into my zen sitting when I am caught in persistent thought loops – right there on the cushion – and not as two separate practices. Both Zen and Focusing embody direct experiencing of being right here, right now. Residing in that unclear felt sense and staying a little bit longer brings clarity and a felt shift. And once again, I am back in the room, just sitting on the cushion.” See conversation.

Barbara Chutroo
Barbara Chutroo’s is a Dance Movement Therapist, Licensed Clinical Social Worker. and Certified Focusing Trainer with twenty years experience in Mental Health. She has extensively explored various forms of movement and dance both as art and as healing practices. These include contact improvisation, yoga, continuum movement, authentic movement, Haitian dance, Tai Chi, Body Mind Centering, and various forms of bodywork. She is also a long time student of Buddhist meditation. See conversation.

Annmarie Early and David Glanzer
Annmarie Early, Ph.D., LMFT is Professor of Counseling in the Master of Arts in Counseling Program at Eastern Mennonite University. Her work involves utilizing experiential treatment approaches including attachment, implicit processes, and felt sensing.
David Glanzer, Ph.D., has interests in teaching and research on implicit process in mental health counseling, including empathy and the use of the technique of focusing to enhance client and therapist awareness.
See conversation.

Leslie Ellis
Leslie Ellis, Ph.D., has developed a method of embodied, experiential dream work which combines focusing with Jungian active imagination techniques. She is currently offering online dreamwork instruction based on her book, A Clinician’s Guide to Dream Therapy. See conversation.

Glenn Fleisch
Glenn Fleisch, PhD, MFT is a Focusing-oriented therapist in practice for over 32 years as well as a Wholebody Focusing Coordinator. “I have developed a specialization in helping clients transform core patterns associated with dispirited process and entrenched life stances, which form as a consequence of childhood trauma. I call this process the ‘body’s recovery of spirit,’ as it involves using our whole body as a sensitive, resonating ‘instrument,’ to sense the movement of energy and aliveness within the body, and between us, in a relational space.” See conversation.

Soti Grafanaki
Soti Grafanaki, Ph.D, C.Psych. is an Associate Professor at the graduate Program of Counselling and Spirituality, Saint Paul University, Canada. In this interview, Soti talks about this new Family project and its potential in building stronger local community and deeper connections with those close to our heart. See conversation.

Ruth Hirsch
Ruth Hirsch MSW, MPH, CMT has been actively involved in the fields of health, healing, and personal growth, with a special interest in yoga, nutrition, and holistic health. The essence of her work is balancing and bringing peace, comfort, and insight to body, mind, heart and spirit. See conversation.

Jim Iberg
Jim Iberg, a psychologist, has been working as a Focusing-oriented psychotherapist with individuals and couples for over 30 years. He is a coordinator for the Focusing Institute, training individuals toward certification. He has conducted Focusing workshops in several countries in Europe as well as in the US. See conversation.

Akira Ikemi
Akira Ikemi, Ph.D. is one of the founders of the Japan Focusing Association and has served as its executive director and president. He has written several books and numerous articles on Focusing in Japanese. In English, he has written several articles in the journal Person-Centered and Experiential Psychotherapies, where he has served as one of the editors. See conversation.

Bala Jaison
Bala Jaison developed SOFT (Solution Oriented Focusing Therapy), an integration of Experiential and Brief therapy with Focusing. She travels extensively teaching the SOFT approach to therapists in both North America and abroad. See conversation.

Robin Kappy
Robin Kappy, LCSW, work with recent and early-childhood trauma, issues of creativity, depression, anxiety, and relationships. Her work as a visual artist has appeared in several galleries. See conversation.

Doralee Grindler Katonah
Doralee Grindler Katonah is Associate Professor at The Institute of Transpersonal Psychology in Palo Alto, CA and has been a Certifying Coordinator, and a practicing Focusing-Oriented psychotherapist for over 30 years. She was the founding Director of The Focusing Institute and began the Focusing Folio as its first editor. She is a practitioner and lay teacher of Soto Zen Buddhism and is interested in what we learn when we cross Buddhism with Focusing. See conversation.

Joan Klagsbrun
Joan Klagsbrun trains psychotherapists in Focusing-Oriented psychotherapy; teaches graduate courses in Focusing at Lesley University’s Counseling Psychology department; presents workshops on Focusing at psychological and behavioral medicine conferences; helps facilitate a monthly Changes group in the Boston area; conducts research on the effectiveness of Clearing a Space for people with cancer; and integrates Focusing into her psychotherapy practice. She has come to see Focusing as a practice of holistic healing, and also one that can open doorways to the spiritual. See conversation.

Kevin Krycka
Kevin Krycka is the director of the Master of Arts in Existential-phenomenological psychology program at Seattle University. He has taught graduate and undergraduate courses while conducting qualitative research utilizing Gendlin’s Experiential Theory, Focusing, and Thinking At the Edge. See conversation.

Robert Lee
Robert Lee has been a psychologist-Coordinator for 2 decades. He has started 10 training program groups in the last 8 years utilizing an innovative design. He has special adaptations in Focusing with patterns like anxiety, depression, trauma, disorientation, Obsessive-Compulsiveness. He has created a Focusing implied method of couple therapy emphasizing empathic opportunity. See conversation.

Greg Madison
Greg Madison, PhD, is an existential psychologist and psychotherapist active in various academic and professional communities across Europe and internationally. He has written the books, The End of Belonging and Existential Migration and co-edited three books on Focusing-Oriented Psychotherapy and Existential Therapy. See conversation.

Kathy McGuire
Dr. Kathy McGuire had a thirty-year career as a psychotherapist and workshop leader and published her manual, “The Experiential Dimension in Therapy” in 1984. Using her manual “Focusing In Community: How To Start A Listening/Focusing Support Group”, he has started Listening/Focusing Communities wherever she has lived. See conversation.

Dr. Salvador Moreno-López
Salvador Moreno-López is a Certified Focusing Instructor and Certifying Coordinador for Mexico of the International Focusing Institute. Has been a professor at the Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City and León, and at the ITESO in Guadalajara, in postgraduate studies in Psychotherapy and Human Development. Has led workshops at Universidad de Fortaleza, Brasil. See conversation.

Jeffrey Morrison
A Focusing-Oriented Psychotherapist and Focusing Coordinator, Jeffrey Morrison practices in Seattle and Vashon Island, Washington, USA. He specializes in working with complex trauma and teaching Focusing to therapists and other healing professionals. He has developed a FOT training program, which blends Focusing, mindfulness and other embodied practices for unwinding trauma and restoring wellbeing. See conversation.

Rob Parker
Rob Parker is a psychologist and Certified Focusing Professional. “For the last few years, I’ve been helping others explore the Process Model, and also moderating Gene’s Philosophy of the Implicit teleconferences. But most of all, I’m a person who is constantly amazed and transformed, day by day, as this new way of thinking/feeling/living gradually sinks in.” See conversation.

Atsmaout Perlstein
Dr. Atsmaout Perlstein’s vision is to teach Focusing as a way of life and as a language used in daily conversations among family members, in schools and at work. She coined the concepts; “Focusing on the Go” and “Mini Focusing around the coffee table” to support her vision. See conversation.

Alexis and Shaun Phillips
Alexis and Shaun Phillips, a brother and sister team, specialize in working with complex trauma.
Alexis Phillips, M.A., R.C.C., S.F.T.T., works with North Kootenay Lake Community Services providing counseling to adults, children, youth and families and has a private practice. Teaching engagements include on-going workshops in FOTCT with Saint-Paul University (Canada) and a seven module program in Nelson, B.C. (Canada).
Shaun Phillips, M.Ed., R.C.C., S.F.T.T., has a private practice with a range of adolescent and adult clients and is an associate therapist with Sand Story Psychology Services. Recently Shaun presented the keynote for the Flemish Association for Client Centered and Experiential Psychotherapy and Counsellng Annual Conference (Belgium).
See conversation.

Serge Prengel
Serge Prengel is in private practice in New York City, and leads experiential workshops on Relational Mindfulness. He was trained in Focusing, Core Energetics and Somatic Experiencing. His work also draws from Systems-Centered theory. See conversation.

Lynn Preston
Lynn Preston has studied and taught the use of Focusing in psychotherapy since the early days of its inception. More recently, she has been interested in how it intersects with relational psychoanalysis. In addition to her private psychotherapy practice, she is the director of the Focusing Oriented Relational Psychotherapy training program in New York City and the co- director of the Focusing Oriented Therapy program in Cape Town, South Africa. She also co-directs the two year psychoanalytic training program of the Training and Research Institute in Self Psychology. See conversation.

Laury Rappaport
Laury Rappaport is the founder and director of the Focusing and Expressive Arts Institute, which trains practitioners in Focusing-Oriented Expressive Arts (FOAT®). She is the author of Focusing-Oriented Art Therapy: Accessing the Body’s Wisdom and Creative Intelligence; author/editor of Mindfulness and the Arts Therapies: Theory and Practice, and numerous published articles. She is a pioneer in the expressive arts field and has taught in various universities for over 30 years. See conversation.

Edgardo Riveros Aedo
Edgardo Riveros Aedo, Experiential Psychotherapist, translated Eugene Gendlin’s Theory of Change of Personality (1973) into Spanish at the University of Chile. Published books: Experiencing: A new paradigm (2000), Focusing experiential and existential (2005), Focusing a new paradigm for the 21st century (2008), Focusing from the Heart and towards the Heart (2015). He has translated the two central philosophical works of Gendlin: Experience and the creation of meaning (ECM) and A Process Model. See conversation.

Ruth Rosenblum
Ruth Rosenblum, LCSW, practices Focusing Oriented Relational Psychotherapy, and is a certified teacher of Jewish Mindfulness Meditation. She develops and facilitates mental health and wellness programs for synagogue communities and Jewish communal organizations. See conversation.

Susan Rudnick
Susan Rudnick LCSW, a Focusing Oriented Therapist, and long time Zen practitioner, has been deeply involved in understanding the interface of her spiritual practice and work as a psychotherapist. See conversation.

Astrid Schillings
Astrid Schillings has been exploring, teaching extensively on the interfaces of Sensitive Body-Awareness, Mindfulness, Meditative enquiry, Inner-Directed-Movement and Focusing. See conversation.

Jim Strohl
Drawing on his traditional education in American Universities and nontraditional training with various gifted, spiritual teachers, Jim Strohl, Ed. D, devoted the last two decades to integrating psychology and spirituality with an emphasis on reducing abstract spiritual and psychological concepts and principles into practical living applications. See conversation.

Shirley Turcotte
As a Metis (Aboriginal) Registered Clinical Counselor, Shirley Turcotte has been working with Complex Trauma, PTSD and with survivors of childhood abuses for more than two decades. She have been a pioneering activist in the areas of therapeutic treatments and program development for survivors of childhood sexual and physical abuse, with special attention to The First Nations Peoples of Canada. See conversation.

René Veugelers
René Veugelers lives in Holland and works daily in a Focusing way with children of any age, specializing in non-verbal communication. As a Focusing Trainer and Coordinator for Children Focusing, he teaches parents, therapists, teachers and others how to be with and work children in a Focusing way and how to get more in contact with our own aliveness, playfulness and flexibility. See conversation.

Karen Whalen
Karen Whalen is a Clinical Therapist and Training Coordinator of Wholebody Focusing and Wholebody Focusing Oriented Therapy in Scotsburn, Nova Scotia. She integrates subtle body awareness practices of QiGong and Polarity Therapy into her Focusing work. She has written a book with Kevin McEvenue entitled: Participatory Spirituality: Wholebody Focusing, Consciousness, and the Living Body. See conversation.

Jan Winhall
Jan Winhall, M.S.W. R.S.W. is a psychotherapist in Private Practice and Director of Focusing On Borden, a centre for teaching Focusing and Focusing Oriented Therapy. Jan is the author of “Understanding and Treating Addiction with the Felt Sense Experience Model”. Jan teaches internationally and is a lecturer in the Faculty of Social Work at the University of Toronto. See conversation.

Beyond therapy

Eugene Gendlin has always envisioned Focusing as an approach that is not limited to psychotherapy. It is also an approach that people can use on their own, or in peer partnerships, for personal growth or to enhance their creative process. You can see some examples of this the Focusing Institute’s website – that page includes Focusing-Oriented Therapists listed above as well as Focusers who are not therapists. See: Focusing conversations.

Originally published July 2016. Updated July 2020.