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Focusing

Synonyms/Common Names/Related Substances:

  • Active listening, asking, attentional focus, attentional focus and symptom management intervention (AFSMI), body awareness, body experience and coordination, body-state focusing, Carl Rogers, clear space, clearing a space, client centered psychotherapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), cognitive coping strategy, conscious space, coping, Eugene Gendlin, experiencing scale, experiential therapy, felt sense, focusing guide, focusing-oriented psychotherapy, focusing-oriented session report, focusing oriented recovery, focusing-oriented therapy, focusing process, focusing therapy, Grindler body attitudes scale, handle the feeling, high experiencing, in touch listening, interactive focusing therapy, interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT), low experiencing, post focusing checklist, post focusing questionnaire, psychotherapy, receiving, relaxation response, resolving unfinished business, resonate, Rubenfeld synergy, therapist ratings of client focusing activity, TRCFA.

Clinical Bottom Line/Effectiveness

Brief Background:

  • Focusing is both a type of experiential psychotherapy and a self-help skill used worldwide to help a patient get in touch with the body's sensations and feelings around a particular situation or issue. The focusing-oriented psychotherapist attributes a central importance to the patient's capacity to be aware of the meaning behind his or her words or images and the patient's ability to become aware of feelings and meanings that are not yet formed. Focusing can be practiced outside of therapy, ideally in focusing partnerships. Proponents of focusing believe that in every situation, humans experience a "felt sense," a feeling or an emotional stirring of something inside the body. It is also believed that the entire human body reacts to that felt sense.
  • Focusing developed in the 1960s, when Professors Eugene Gendlin and Carl Rogers researched why psychotherapy was helpful to some but not others. By studying hundreds of hours of taped therapy sessions, the researchers found that success in psychotherapy depended upon the way in which clients attended to and verbalized their inner experience. The term "focusing" was used to describe the method of emotional healing based on attending to and verbalizing an inner experience and body sensation.
  • Focusing is similar to other mind-body approaches in that it engenders a relaxation response. It differs from other relaxation techniques in that focusing patients hope to access the personal meanings they carry in the body, which are usually inaccessible to conscious awareness. Despite theories of how focusing may work, focusing-oriented or experiential therapy works with a level of human process that is still not well known.
  • Focusing is now practiced by people all over the world and has been integrated into many cognitive therapies, psychotherapies, and counseling styles. Focusing is being integrated into nursing, medicine, and alternative healthcare, along with active listening, as one of two methods of holistic communication. For example, nurses may use focusing for reducing stress, creating better coping strategies (e.g., pain control and decision-making), making behavioral changes, and developing a collaborative approach with patients. Focusing has also been integrated into pastoral care.
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Dosing/Toxicology

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Precautions/Contraindications

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Interactions

Most herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested for interactions with other herbs, supplements, drugs, or foods. The interactions listed below are based on reports in scientific publications, laboratory experiments, or traditional use. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy.

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Mechanism of Action

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History

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Evidence Table

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Evidence Discussion

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Products Studied

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Author Information

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References

Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.

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The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.