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Focusing Mass Market Paperback – August 1, 1982

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Editorial Reviews


"An original, innovative, exciting book."—Carl Rogers, Ph.D.

"A superb manual for self-managed therapy. . .a tool beyond price."—Brain-Mind Bulletin

From the Publisher

"An original, innovative, exciting book."--Carl Rogers, Ph.D.

What is focusing? Based on research at the University of Chicago, focusing is a new technique of self therapy that teaches you to identify and change the way your personal problems concretely exist in your body. Focusing consists of steps of felt change. Unlike methods that stress "getting in touch with your feelings," there is a built-in test: each focusing step, when done correctly, is marked by a physical relief, a profound release of tension. Focusing guides you to the deepest level of awareness within your body. It is on this level, unfamiliar to most people, that unresolved problems actually exist, and only on this level can they change.

"A superb manual for self-managed therapy. . .a tool beyond price."--Brain-Mind Bulletin


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Product Details

  • Series: Bantam New Age Books
  • Mass Market Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam Books; 2nd (revised) edition (September 1, 1982)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553278339
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553278330
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.6 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #17,566 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Eugene T. Gendlin received his Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Chicago and taught there from 1963 to 1995. His philosophical work is concerned especially with the relationship between logic and experiential explication. Implicit intricacy cannot be represented, but functions in certain ways in relation to philosophical discourse. The applications of this "Philosophy of the Implicit" have been important in many fields.

His philosophical books and articles are listed and some of them are available from this web site. They include Experiencing and the Creation of Meaning, (in paperback) and Language Beyond Post-Modernism: Saying and Thinking In Gendlin's Philosophy (edited by David Levin) , both from Northwestern University Press, l997 and A Process Model.

Gendlin has been honored three times by the American Psychological Association for his development of Experiential Psychotherapy. He received the first "Distinguished Professional Psychologist of the Year" award from the Clinical Division, an award from the Philosophical Psychology Division, and he and The Focusing Institute received an award from the Humanistic Division in August of 2000.

He was a founder and editor for many years of the Clinical Division Journal, Psychotherapy: Theory Research and Practice. His book, Focusing, has sold over 400,000 copies and is in twelve languages. His other books include, Let Your Body Interpret Your Dreams, and Focusing-Oriented Psychotherapy.

He is internationally recognized as a major American philosopher and psychologist.

Visit http://www.focusing.org/gendlin/gol_primary_bibliography.htm for a complete bibliography of Gendlin's philosophical and psychological publications.

Gendlin Online Library - http://www.focusing.org/gendlin

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

207 of 208 people found the following review helpful By Ruth Henriquez Lyon VINE VOICE on April 24, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
This book was first published in 1978, and I wish I had discovered it back then, as it would have spared me years of spinning my wheels. The author is a psychologist, as well as a philosopher specializing in phenomenology. His thinking definitely serves as a solid underpinning to this book. However, the book is completely practical. It teaches you how to get in touch with your body/mind--the part of you that feels and knows without using logic, morality, guilt, or blame. Once you get in touch with whatever your body/mind is experiencing in the present, you focus on that "felt sense." Keeping your conscious awareness tuned to that feeling causes a movement in the energy, and ultimately a shift occurs,which you can physically feel as a release of a blockage or a point of tension. This technique works very well for those problems and issues that you thought you had worked through, but keep returning over and over again. The best part is, you can do this work without a therapist. After a while, you will find that your body (or rather, body/mind) becomes your best teacher on all matters of the heart and soul.
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200 of 206 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on September 14, 2004
Format: Paperback
Want a small taste of what this book teaches? Try this:

Think about a place you love to be. There's something about that place... something that makes you feel good in just that exact way you do feel when you are there.

Feel how it is for you with this place you love.

We are all used to putting things into words right away. But this time, don't try to say what it is you're experiencing right now. Just be with the feeling of how it is to be there in that place, and what makes it feel like that to you, without making any words for it for a while.

As you slow down to be with this felt sense, you may be noticing that you feel it in a specific part of your body-often your heart, or your throat, or your stomach.

Right now I'm sitting in a place that's like that for me: one of my favorite chairs with my cat curled up next to me. To show you what I mean, I'll go into the felt sense of sitting here with my cat.

Right away I notice that I'm feeling it in my heart and throat, a kind of thick warm golden feeling a little like honey. It's got a poignant quality. Now that it's become more vivid and tangible to me, I'm going to pause for a minute (an actual real honest-to-god minute of clock time!) and just be with the feeling. In a minute I will go further into it, but for right now it's good to just give it my friendly attention.

After the pause, I notice that I'd like to ask this felt sense, `what makes this poignant quality?' So I ask that, and then I pause, so that the answer comes. I don't go looking for it, I let it come. It may take a minute, before it does. So I'm doing that now.

..... It's something about her trust in me. Her whole body is open. She needs me, and she's at ease needing me.
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83 of 88 people found the following review helpful By Robert Vallecillo on May 20, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
As a layperson, I was skeptical as to whether I would be able to understand this book. I was expecting lots of clinical explanations. To my surprise, it was just the opposite. Written so that anyone can understand it, "Focusing" gives the guidance to holistically find the source of fears, anxiety, and negativity. It guides the reader to a place where he/she can sit and listen to the body speak of the source of a problem's manifestation. I recommend this to anyone seeking a deeper understanding of why we sometimes feel the way we do.
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52 of 57 people found the following review helpful By Average Guy on July 26, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I'm giving it five stars for the system; it really works for things I have applied it to. As a book, it is also well written and has a certain fun sense of discovery, especially when reading about how Dr. Gendlin was trying to discover what 'it' was that people who were successful in therapy 'got.'
I am not part of 'the-religion-which-must-not-be-named' but I must agree that too often psychology (granted a broad blast here) simply makes people more self-centered, self-deluded, and generally worse.
If you have some things that feel perhaps too painful frightening to even think about approaching, Focusing gives you a way to defuse the bombs from a distance, so to speak.
My humble summary of what Focusing is: It is a system to repair specific communication errors between the limbic system and the rational part of the brain. AFTER finding how you have been mislabeling a certain pain, you may THEN find that the origin is very clear. Dredging up potential origins first (as most systems do) to find why you have a current discomfort, is like doing an appendectomy through your ear - once and a while it will work and once and a while the patient will even survive. Forget that and try Focusing.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By David C. Young on July 13, 2009
Format: Mass Market Paperback
How was Focusing discovered? Gene says, "Why does therapy so often fail to make a real difference in people's lives? In the rarer cases when it does succeed, what is it that those patients and therapists do? Seeking answers we studied many forms of therapy... We analyzed literally thousands of therapist-patient sessions recorded on tape."

They found that successful clients "can be picked out very easily," in the first session or two. It wasn't what the therapist did - their technique or orientation -- it was what the client did and already knew how to do. Clients who didn't do this, didn't learn during therapy. They stayed stuck.

Stunning & tragic: right from the start, clients were either ready to succeed or doomed to fail.

Gene called what successful clients did "Focusing". More exciting, he found that Focusing was teachable. Even more exciting, he found that this skill, Focusing, helped produce real change not only in therapy, but in other life challenges. Indeed, Focusing can be used not only with psychological & medical problems, but also with enhancing skills & creativity, with developing positive new directions for living. This has been documented in over 80 research studies, conducted over 50 years. (See "Research Review" by Marion Hendricks, Ph.D., on-line for free at focusing.org.)

Focusing is *the* book that introduced teachable Focusing. Over thirty years, it's sold a half-million copies and it's translated into seventeen languages. It's the first of four classic "how to learn Focusing books". (See Ed McMahon & Peter Campbell, BioSpirituality: Focusing As a Way to Grow esp.
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