Free Resources from Ann Weiser Cornell
Get Clear and Move Forward with Focusing
Remarkably, it’s in the very places where we feel uneasy and unclear that we can find the energy and wisdom to move forward. This introductory seminar includes a guided Focusing exercise that has been described as “transformational.”
Focusing and Action Blocks
“I want to get that done… why don’t I?” Why do we spin our wheels and get nowhere? You know you can do it – so what’s stopping you? Find out how Focusing lets you be gentle to all the aspects of yourself so that the blocked system can release.
Focusing with Decisions
Are you facing some tough decisions? Find out how Focusing can help with decisions by letting you honor all the sides of the decision without getting bogged down or stuck.
Focusing and Pain (and Other Symptoms)
Focusing has gifts for people in pain, whether acute or chronic. If you’re enduring symptoms of any kind of illness or condition, Focusing is not a cure… but it can help you tap into your body’s resources for healing and relief.
Working with Clients Who Are Experiencing Traumatic States Like Overwhelm, Panic Attacks, or Anxiety with Ann Weiser Cornell & Glenn Fleisch
States of overwhelm (traumatic states) can arise at any point in therapy, from the very beginning to experiences that emerge once a therapeutic bond has been established. In this seminar you will learn seven specific ways to use Focusing to allow people to find relief from and healing in states of overwhelm such as anxiety, panic, and trauma.
Working with Clients Who Are Experiencing Depression or Lack of Affect with Ann Weiser Cornell & Glenn Fleisch
One of the most challenging situations for a therapist is when a client is disconnected from or unable to access their inner feeling life, or is experiencing a depressive state of low energy. In this seminar you will learn Focusing-based interventions for facilitating a client’s initial and deeper levels of contact with present experiencing, and ways that Focusing can help activate life-forward energy that seems to be missing or unavailable in depressive states.
Listen to a January 20, 2009 online audio interview of Ann Weiser Cornell hosted by Joanna Harcourt-Smith as part of her Gaialogues series at Future Primitive. Includes how Ann got started with Focusing, and what her work called “Inner Relationship Focusing” has added to Gendlin’s Focusing. (Play MP3)
Free Articles Related to Focusing
The following articles are available online for those interested in learning more about Focusing. To read a particular article, simply click on the title. The Library section is frequently updated with new material, so you may want to bookmark this page so you can easily return.
This page shows articles in English. We also have articles in these languages:
Ten Ways to Use Focusing in Daily Life by Ann Weiser Cornell
When I first learned Focusing, I only did it at special times during the week. When I would sit down with my Focusing partner and it was my turn to be the Focuser, I would bring my attention inside and sense what wanted my attention at that moment.
Inner Relationship Focusing by Ann Weiser Cornell and Barbara McGavin
Inner Relationship Focusing (IRF) is a process for emotional healing and accessing positive life-forward energy. The practice of IRF has been developed over 18 years of intensive work with clients who were engaging with difficult issues such as action blocks, addiction (primarily eating disorders), depressed and anxious states, and experiences of low self-worth. In addition to these types of issues, IRF has been developed with people who wanted to make decisions that were appropriate for them and to feel more confident in their own inner sense of rightness about their next life-forward steps.
Treasure Maps to the Soul by Barbara McGavin and Ann Weiser Cornell
In those weeks of intensive Focusing, we were experiencing something remarkable: when we managed to do Focusing with those aspects of ourselves not in our awareness and yet generating ‘unwanted’ behavior, thoughts, or emotions, we got huge, life-changing shifts that were about much more than the problem area. Not only was our capacity for acting freely in those previously impossibly difficult situations dramatically increased, so was our ability for interacting in the world in general. We felt like we were releasing whole areas of our selves. We found ourselves saying that the most difficult areas of life were “treasure maps to the soul.”
What is the Difference Between Focusing and Therapy? by Ann Weiser Cornell
“What is the difference between doing therapy as a therapist using Focusing, and guiding a person through Focusing as a non-therapist?” In general, what distinguishes Focusing Guide from Focusing Therapist is the quality and the character of the relationship. The Focusing Therapist is concerned with the “interpersonal space,” as Eugene Gendlin calls it, and attends to the quality of that space as a key part of the therapeutic process.
Inner Relationship Focusing: Strengthening Attachment and Interpersonal Neurobiological Integration by Carol J. Sutherland Nickerson, L.I.C.S.W., C.F.T.
The practice of Inner Relationship Focusing (IRF) heals and strengthens attachment and bonding issues, mental health issues, and our capacity for developing healthy relationships. IRF enhances and reinforces the primary benefits for the neurological integration that our brains need for optimal well-being and healing. The process and practice of IRF embodies the original growth-producing ingredients of brain development: the ingredients that grow within the attachment relationship.
Five Reasons Why Focusing Is Not Better Known (Yet) by Ann Weiser Cornell
Whenever people become enthusiastic about Focusing, or contemplate going home from a workshop to present it to their friends and colleagues, the question inevitably comes up: “Why isn’t Focusing better known?” Or, as I heard it at a talk I gave in New York recently: “Why haven’t I heard of this before?”
Three Key Aspects of Focusing (PDF, 61 KB) by Ann Weiser Cornell
There are three key qualities or aspects which set Focusing apart from any other method of inner awareness and personal growth. The first is something called the “felt sense.” The second is a special quality of engaged, accepting inner attention. And the third is a radical philosophy of what facilitates change. In this article, Ann explores each in turn.
Relationship = Distance + Connection by Ann Weiser Cornell
Clearing a Space and other Finding Distance techniques are often used to help a client find a comfortable relationship with overwhelming feelings. However, I have found that Finding Distance techniques are actually not the best way to accomplish this purpose. In this article we will explore Inner Relationship techniques, which include all the advantages of Finding Distance techniques and none of the disadvantages. The reason for this is that “relationship” includes “distance” and adds “connection.”
When Your Felt Sense Speaks to You…What to Say Back by Ann Weiser Cornell
If you’re lucky and persistent, you’ll get to the place in Focusing where something inside you is communicating with you. Celebrate! …Yet once you’re there, once the felt sense does begin to “speak,” there’s a whole new set of things to watch out for.
The Radical Acceptance of Everything by Ann Weiser Cornell
When we do Focusing as traditionally taught, it is as if we are inhabiting two worlds. In one world, we have absolute trust for the body and the body’s process. In the other world, we treat some experiences as acceptable and others as unacceptable, needing to be set aside or excluded in order for the process to continue. So the radical acceptance of everything brings a new possibility of trust, a feeling of greater wholeness to the Focusing process. As guides we are no longer guardians of the gate, watching to allow in some experiences and exclude others. Instead we are holders of the open space that includes whatever wants to come.
The Origins and Development of Inner Relationship Focusing by Ann Weiser Cornell
From The Radical Acceptance of Everything
Thoughts on the Radical Acceptance of Everything: A New Perspective on the Nature of God, Evil, the Soul, and Human Existence by Laurence Letich
“We are almost always experiencing only a tiny, momentary part of ourselves, but we talk as if we are whole.” Thus Larry Letich begins his wide-ranging, fascinating exploration into the metaphysics of the Focusing process. First Larry reviews the history and purposes of Focusing, and explains the main divergence of Ann Weiser Cornell’s work from that of Eugene Gendlin. Building on that, he shares his own startling insights into such fundamental questions as: “Could it be true that there is no id, no fundamental Devil Within, no yetzer hara, or evil impulse, as the Talmud calls it? …Isn’t that the height of New Age softness and fuzziness…? If there is no fundamental evil impulse, then what is the nature of evil? And where, of course, is God?” In the course of answering these questions, Larry shows how and why to step away from identification with parts of ourselves, and how this illuminates, among other things, the addictive process, and how to heal it.
The Power of Listening by Ann Weiser Cornell
In this paper, presented at the 13th International Focusing Conference in Shannon, Ireland, Ann discusses the purposes of listening, and compares Rogers’ stated purpose for “reflection of feelings” with Gendlin’s purpose for reflection within a session that includes Focusing. Three purposes for listening are given, corresponding to three ways that listening facilitates Focusing process. Listening, as defined here, is not asking questions or making suggestions, and the linguistic form of listening responses changes as the purpose changes. When listening is used with sensitivity and skill, little or no guiding is needed, especially between Focusing partners.
Some Notes on Language by Ann Weiser Cornell
Ann draws from her extensive background in linguistics to reveal which words and phrases are helpful, and which words and phrases are less so in the context of guided Focusing sessions.
Questioning Questions by Ann Weiser Cornell
Ann states, “Questions tend to be answered in the head because the question merely asks for information – it does not facilitate a process of accessing the information. The person who is asked the question has to figure out for themselves how to access the requested information.” The issue of asking questions as a method of inquiry is thoroughly explored in this fascinating and informative article.
The Attitude of Not-Knowing by Ann Weiser Cornell
In this article, Ann explains how the attitude of not-knowing is a fundamental to Focusing. “As long as there is still a felt sense there, wanting your attention, there is something about it that you don’t know yet…there is something that your body knows that it is trying to let you know.” Read this article to learn more about how to stay at the edge, keeping company with the “not-knowing.”
Fragile Process by Margaret Warner
Many clients have a fragile style of processing experience that makes it difficult for them to work in standard psychotherapy formats. Therapists often find the experiences of these clients hard to understand and feel thwarted in their therapeutic efforts. Such clients are often diagnosed as having borderline, narcissistic, or schizoid personality disorders, and seen as using archaic defenses such as splitting and projective identification. A client-centered style of working is particularly effective with these clients once the therapist is able to understand the sorts of experiences clients are having while in the midst of fragile process.
Focusing with Small Physical Ailments by Barbara McGavin
I have been using Focusing with colds, eczema, insect bites and other small physical ailments…So when I start to feel a cold coming on – I get a scratchy tickly raw feeling in the back of my throat – I turn to it as if it is someone wanting my attention.
A Remarkable Focusing Session with Pain from Severe Physical Damage by Bev Stevenson
Bev Stevenson describes a Focusing session with a woman who had no idea what Focusing was but had heard that stress and pain relief might be one of the benefits of Focusing. She had been living in constant pain for eight years, had undergone foot surgery, had extensive medical bills, and now sought alternatives in dealing with her pain. This article explores how Focusing can be used in cases of severe physical pain.
Radical Gentleness: The Transformation of the Inner Critic (PDF, 92 KB) by Ann Weiser Cornell
“It’s like I don’t deserve to feel this happy.” “I hate this weak, sad part of me.” “Why do I always have to be so stupid?” No matter what kind of inner work they do, at some point people always encounter an experience that can be called the Inner Critic. In this article, Ann provdes an in-depth exploration of the Inner Critic and how the process of establishing an inner relationship of trust – a radical gentleness – the Inner Critic transforms. She explains how to identify the criticizing process, how to bring the Presence of Focusing to that process, and the relationship of fear to the Inner Critic. She also details several effective ways of working with severe inner criticism through practical examples.
The ‘Victim,’ the ‘Critic,’ and the Inner Relationship: Focusing with the Part that Wants to Die by Barbara McGavin
This article by Barbara McGavin, co-leader of the Treasure Maps to the Soul retreat series, examines her personal journey with issues of self-worth, suicide, abuse, and non-helpful therapy and reveals how Focusing led to fundamental shifts.
An Earlier and (Perhaps) More Searching Focusing by Rob Foxcroft
Forty years ago, the Focusing movement was in its infancy. Eugene Gendlin’s work on the philosophy of Dilthey was still fresh in his mind. He was working closely with Carl Rogers on the theory of psychotherapy, and in the middle of doing his famous research into the process of therapy. The process and benefits of his own therapy with Carl were still vividly alive for him. This was a time of creative ferment for Gendlin. All these sources flowed together, and were poured into his astonishing first book, Experiencing and the Creation of Meaning. In this article, Rob Foxcroft has tried to do two things: (1) He aims to present in a simple and transparent way the main outlines of Gendlin’s argument; and to set out experiential Focusing exercises. These clear and practical exercises help to make a tough book understandable. (2) Also, the exercises are working tools. They are a range of subtle and powerful ways to illuminate any Focusing process. In making Focusing teachable, some subtlety had unavoidably to be sacrificed. All good teaching has to simplify, to look for the bones. Once you have Focusing for yourself, you will of course want to go back and have for yourself what was pared away. You will want to retrieve the subtlety and power of Gene Gendlin’s searching and original vision.
Presence Meets “Ego” by Ann Weiser Cornell
Is “ego” something bad that should be eliminated? Many authors, including Eckhart Tolle, seem to say so. But if you read them carefully, this is actually not so. Why do we seem to get the message that “ego” is bad? The problem is with the labeling process, and how it leads to an exiling of an aspect of self. The part of us called “ego” can be approached with interested curiosity and compassion just like any other part.
Doubtful Mind, Wise Body by Ann Weiser Cornell
I have not been able to discover any experience of “mind” that is separate from what I mean by “body.” Body is not separate from mind, mind is also not separate from body. How Focusing taps body wisdom, what “body wisdom” means, and how “mind” is not a separate phenomenon.
Book Review: I Know I’m in There Somewhere: A Woman’s Guide to Finding Her Inner Voice and Living a Life of Authenticity, by Helene Brenner with Laurence Letich NY: Gotham Books, Division of the Penguin Group, 2003 reviewed by Ann Weiser Cornell
The Philosophy of the Implicit: An Introduction to the Work of Gene Gendlin by Rob Parker (2007). This is an articulate and exciting presentation of the fundamental philosophy behind how Focusing works.