In this video I guide you through a technique called Focusing by Eugene Gendlin.

Focusing is a 6-step self-help tool to help get insight on something that is bothering you. It’s a body-centred approach that orients to your “felt sense” of an issue. I love it because it helps access something beyond the logical left-brain’s thinking and sorting skills, taking us deeper into an issue, and through to a solution or an understanding that feels right with “all” of us.

About the felt sense

Focusing is centred on the practice of sensing inside ourselves to find the “felt sense”. The felt sense is a present-moment experience, also referred to as an unclear edge. It is a different dimension underneath our usual way of knowing and telling the story of something that happened.

In the story-telling dimension we can relay our practiced version of events without really noticing our fresh experience of it. Rather the “implicit” dimension underneath has new and fresh information for us. It can often feel blank, or like a “something” in my chest etc, and our job is to stay present with it and listen in and it will have more information than what we already know. This video gives a helpful explanation of it.

Focusing, by Eugene Gendin

Once you get the hang of the steps you can find your own way with it. I include moments here where you can use a little art/writing moment too.  This is me doing the 6-steps as I do them, not from the book, so I’ve noted a few clarifying points below in the instructions, including adding the first step of Clearing Space as #1, thus makes the numbering of the steps a bit different below than in the video text.

For steps 1 and 2 check out my youtube embodied exercise playlist !

Here is the text from the video, with the steps clarified from the method as taught by Gendlin.

Hi, I’m Stephanie!

So if you followed my clearing space exercise … (what have I got on my shoulder? A feather… how nice) that’s the first step in Focusing often as taught by Eugene Gendlin.

STEP 1: Clearing space

So we left off where you had a shelf full of things and you were taking one off if that was bothering you.

So… next…you tune in … before you take this thing off the shelf you just get a little grounded fill your bum on the seat, feet on the floor.

I might see if it’s all right now to take that thing off the shelf with your system. If this is an okay time to take that thing off the shelf.

Assuming it is… bring It forward so it’s like you’re opening the filing cabinet of that thing and I’m gonna say it’s something to do with a relationship because that’s what bothers most of us, maybe it’s a loss, maybe… whatever it is for you.

STEP 2: Find a felt sense

So closing your eyes and just opening the filing cabinet of it so bringing it to mind. You might imagine the person in front of you, think about what’s happening, just see what starts to happen in the body as you’re bringing that thing forward.

You’re getting what’s called a felt sense of that thing in you. (n.b. Do not go inside the problem, stand back from it)

So it could be that you start to notice a tightness happening or a wobbly, or it could be something good right I don’t wanna negate that possibility and then you feel an openness or peacefulness.

Let’s assume that it’s something troubling though… and you get a felt sense so you get a whole body feeling of this thing in your life.

So take a moment to contact the whole body feeling; the “felt sense” Eugene Gendlin calls it. I’m going to say for now it said a wobbly in the belly that goes up to .. say… here. You can tell that I’m doing it too.

Okay so you’ve got that felt sense and then you … that’s the first step.

Step 3: Find a handle

Second Step: you find a “handle”. A handle means something you can contact it with so an image, a gesture, a word or a phrase, a movement… I guess that’s a gesture.

So, go to your felt sense, and then try on a few of these potential handles. It could be “tight”, it could be “wobbly”, it could be “grr”, it could be “blah”! 

Step 4: Resonating

I don’t know play around go back and forth between the felt sense and this handle, until you have a connection until there’s like aha “that’s it”!

What would mine be? “Unsettled”, and it’s right here.

So I have my “unsettled” and I ask into it this is the asking number three is asking.

Step 5: Asking

Keep it short: “what is so “unsettled” about this?” Add in your word or your gesture:

  • what is so ” … ” about this ?”
  • “What makes this so … “.

You get the picture. You’re not doing it here you’re doing it here.

So I ask in: “what so unsettled about this?” I’m not like a detective trying to poke for the answer I’m just letting it sit inside and see what happens. The body goes slower than the mind.

So take a breath, chill out, let it just be there, asking your question. See what comes.

Step 6: Receiving

For me an image came. It could be an image, could be words, however your language is inside.

So you have your thing and then you say “thank you!” Thank you body for bringing this forward for offering up this word or yeah just take a moment inside. And then you can ask… it could be the if you want to go further into it you ask something like “what’s the Crux of this?”, “what’s so bad about this?

Find your phrase… your question first, and then drop it, here.

It could be a question in more of the going forward department: “what’s one thing that would be a step forward?” “what’s needed?”

Maybe let’s try the what’s needed first and again it’s what’s needed for this or wherever it is.

Drop the question in: “what’s needed?”

And I got another image. In these points I might pause and draw if it’s an image or write if it’s a word.

You can draw the stuck place and you can draw the resourced place.

So take a take a moment to sketch out an image or write down a word or a couple words to track where you’ve been.

Then you could ask that question I think this is the last one that Eugene Gendlin talks about: “what’s one step forward, in the right direction here?”

And that brings it more into the concrete realm the everyday realm, something practical you could do. Even being kind towards it; something as simple as that giving it space – maybe that’s what came when you said what’s needed.

So there’s a little introduction to Focusing.

I love working with clients in a Focusing-Oriented Therapy kind of way, especially with art and bring out the oil pastels and get busy! Bye!

Gendlin says “If during these instructions somewhere you have spent a little while sensing and touching an unclear holistic body sense of this problem then you have focused.” (page 45, Focusing)


Focusing (book) Eugene Gendlin – The International Focusing Institute

My embodied self-help tool playlist on youtube!


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Mindfulness-based therapy – FAQ

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