What is Focusing-Oriented Therapy?

Most traditional methods of working on oneself are mostly pain centered. People get to repeat over and over their painful emotions without knowing how to use the body’s own inherently positive direction and force. Every bad feeling is potential energy toward a more right way of being if you give it space to move toward its rightness   -Eugene Gendlin

Are you feeling disconnected from your self? Confused? Lost?

Would you like to feel more calm? More self-empowerment?

More self-acceptance, self-compassion, internal clarity?

Focusing is both a gentle and powerful mind-body, self-awareness technique. It can help you feel better by cultivating a deeper connection to your inner self, and teaching you how to access your inner wisdom even in the midst of the most turbulent feelings.

Developed in the 1960’s, by Dr. Eugene Gendlin at the University of Chicago, Focusing-Oriented Psychotherapy is a mind-body approach geared toward relief, clarity and freedom from old patterns of feeling, thinking and behaving that do not serve you well.

Gendlin collaborated with influential psychologist Carl Rogers to pioneer the focusing technique, an approach based on the idea that your body speaks. Your body contains wisdom that, when accessed, offers healing and growth.

You simply need to learn how to listen.

So how exactly do we “listen” to our bodies through Focusing-Oriented Therapy (FOT)?

Through Gendlin’s research, it became clear that the benefits of psychotherapy were often hit or miss. Upon further investigation, he and his colleagues uncovered something fundamental for successful therapeutic results:

Clients who are able to routinely do an internal check, for a bodily “felt sense,” gain the most from therapy.

What’s the “felt sense?”

It is a special level of internal awareness; a capacity for knowing that is not simply emotion.

It’s a bodily-sensed understanding of “rightness.”

This ability to holistically grasp our experiences, and listen to ourselves on a deep level, is an essential part of Focusing-Oriented Therapy. The felt sense goes beyond feelings and thoughts to help you access meanings, images, memories, and a sense of direction that move you toward the paths you know are right for you.

The “rightness” of the messages provided by the felt sense inspires a bodily response. Tension leaves the body, letting you know that you are, in fact, connected and moving forward.

By contacting the felt sense, and allowing time for new information, we can resolve problems and experience change. It transcends our familiar ways of understanding ourselves and others. FOT and the felt sense bring something new and satisfying to your sense of self, relationships and world. That heightened awareness is exactly what is necessary to securely, creatively, and deliberately change one step at a time.

So what can you expect when working with your Focusing-Oriented Therapist?

  • Respect. He or she will see and respect you as a whole person, completely competent, and able to take responsibility for your treatment and participation.
  • Collaboration. Your therapist is not there to take over, or pressure you into certain behaviors or responses. You get the freedom to be who you are and progress at your own rate. Your therapist simply assists small changes with you, as you become more adept at gauging your bodily-felt sense.
  • Connection. Your therapist will practice what he or she preaches. FOT is not a textbook methodology. He or she will be connected to his or her own felt sense, and actively guiding you toward yours.
  • Understanding. Your therapist will be an excellent listener, assuring you and your therapy goals are understood.

Focusing-Oriented Therapy teaches you to pay attention to your body. When you learn and practice this technique, you will enjoy a newfound openness. Your mind will be less confined and distorted, by external and internal bias, or distorted thinking. Guided by a qualified therapist, you’ll embark on a gentle journey, fully curious and freely accepting.

If you would like the support of a skilled and experienced psychotherapist, please click here    for a free 30-minute consultation to learn about how I can be of service.

To find out more about the services I offer click here: Kate Kendrick Psychotherapy and Relationship Counseling


Kate Kendrick, MA, is a holistic psychotherapist in private practice with offices in Longmont and Boulder, CO.  She specializes in relationship counseling, couples therapy and anxiety treatment.  Kate has training in Applied Existential Psychotherapy, Nonviolent Communication, Focusing-oriented therapy, somatic therapy and Gestalt.  To find out more about Kate and the services she offers, visit her website at