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3.88  ·  Rating details ·  1,035 ratings  ·  104 reviews
The classic guide to a powerful
technique for personal transformation

Based on groundbreaking research conducted at the University of Chicago, the focusing technique has gained widespread popularity and scholarly acclaim. It consists of six easy-to-master steps that identify and change the way thoughts and emotions are held within the body. Focusing can be done virtually any
Paperback, 224 pages
Published August 1st 1982 by Bantam (first published 1978)
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Average rating 3.88  · 
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 ·  1,035 ratings  ·  104 reviews

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Jan 04, 2021 rated it really liked it
Spiritual awakening takes place in a timeless moment.

In everyday life, though, we are obstinately and hopelessly timebound.

Caught up in fractious arguments, guilt trips, and the eddying of mood swings in response to the gravity of demands and the grace of love... timebound.

But in 1985 I still hoped for quick fixes.

This book promised one and delivered on that promise - or more correctly, it gave me an easy way to access the memory of my earlier years.

Which was a start.

I am naturally intuitive -
Steve Woods
For those of us who have to tend to the effects of complex ptsd the most difficult challenge is to connect with our own deeper felt sense of self because it carries so much pain. Yet without that connection and the experience of what flows from that there we will remain trapped always in the circularities that our minds design to keep that felt sense so distant and intangible. The work of Gendlin represents a breakthrough in the process of therapy whereby we can work our way through these layers ...more
May 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
Easy to read book on Focusing, a mindfulness technique for getting in touch with your internal life and putting feelings to rest. This is a book predates the current interest in mindfulness. The author was a colleague of Carl Rogers in the 50s and 60s. He researched the question: what are the clients who get the most out of therapy doing? It turns out they were indeed doing something differently -- they demonstrated pauses in session to check with their inner process and consider implications fr ...more
Aug 23, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: hyped, self-help
2/5 with an asterisk.* A very useful technique, but with very weak scientific backing (but at least he tried!), and but a fairly bad book.

There are classic self-help red flags:
My philosophy leads to new concepts in physics and biology... Focusing is now a worldwide network... this can seem insane to the rest of our society. How could new realistic ideas and steps arise from the body? This new institution is changing the atomization of society... Unlocking the wisdom of your body... using the
Emma Sea
Mar 25, 2017 marked it as dnf
So, the good news is now I'm trying not to buy books this year I'm finally getting through some of my mountain of unread books. The bad news is I screwed up buying this book. I thought it was about focusing as in single-tasking. It's not. It's about getting in touch with your body for therapy reasons, to identify how you are feeling without hiding behind language.

I screwed up. This is not the book for me.
Mar 23, 2021 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book was recommended by none other than Viktor Frankl in the endnotes of his book Man's Search for Meaning and it’s been popular enough to merit a 25th Anniversary Edition.

Psychotherapist Eugene Gendlin’s argument is that one can largely sweep aside all traditional psycho-analysis and therapy in favour of this technique that he calls ‘focusing’. There are six steps:

1. Clearing a Space. – Relax. Pay attention inwardly, in your body, perhaps in your stomach or chest. Now see what comes there
Jan 07, 2015 rated it it was ok
While it is certainly good that psychology has learned about spirituality over the last decades, this book, however, is from 1978- and it shows. It postulates that it has found a breakthrough for mankind. In reality this book is essentially Vilpassana meditation-lite. The author seems to believe hetruly discovered something new.

I found the book to be trite, simplistic and shallow.

I would not recommend this for people desiring to be more mindful or focused as there are far better alternatives a
Iona  Stewart
Oct 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is an original book; I haven’t read anything like it before.

It is a book I will have to buy since I can’t fully get how to “focus” just be reading the book once. It will need to be practised and worked with.

The book tells us how to contact our body, ask it questions and get answers.

It “works for any kind of ‘stuckness’.”

Traditional therapy often doesn’t succeed. The skill of focusing can help those people.

Focusing “will enable you to find and change where your life is stuck, cramped, hemmed
Mar 07, 2015 rated it liked it
Interesting. Very interesting. No studies or evidence to back up claims, but it all falls into the current thinking about mindfulness. It's a quick read and lays out the 6 steps of focusing and while I often thought, "this is just woo-woo stuff" it would also often be followed by a "huh, that makes sense" thought. It's an older book -- circa 1978 -- but the concepts are definitely in vogue now. ...more
Nov 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: likes, healing
i found that the techniques used in this book actually remedied chronic pain issues i've been experiencing. a grateful read.

let patience be our guide. be gentle with yourself and the world you love.

Sep 03, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This is an important book. Combining the sensibilities of Yalom, the physical work of Gestalt, and the elusiveness of self-hypnosis into a lifestyle change that virtually eliminates the need for the therapist - i.e. me - you would not imagine I would recommend this book. But I do. And if you read it, call me. So we can focus together.
Kevin Orth
I'm certain at the time this was written the information was revolutionary. Unfortunately the concepts are dated by today's understands and capacities to connect on a deep level. ...more
Randi Annie Framnes
Feb 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: selfhelp
I found the techniques I learned from this book helpful as I managed to deal with stress related issues much better.
Aug 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I have read this multiple times. It’s about time I read it again! Seriously life-changing. It came to me in a time when I deeply needed this. Now I share it with others. If you have a difficulty or are stuck somewhere in your life, these principles are magnificent. They can help many people move from a place of inability to change their situation, life, thought processes; To a powerful attention to what really matters. You can change your thoughts.
Chris Coffman
Jun 29, 2018 rated it did not like it
Read 2/3 of this one - all the sections about personal practice. Did not find this practice helpful, perhaps too thrown by the writing style.
Jun 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a most interesting book. Focusing was discovered through fifteen years of research at the University of Chicago. Eugene T. Gendlin studied, together with a group of colleagues, why therapy so often failed to make real difference in people's lives. And in the rare cases when therapy does succeed: What is it that successful patients and therapists do?[1]

Seeking the answers, the researchers analyzed literally thousands of therapist-patient sessions. These studies led to several findings. On
Feb 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
Focusing is a very boring book with some very great information in it. The author has studied people who succeed at achieving their psycho-therapeutic goals, and found that they all do what he calls focusing.

Focusing, as described in the book, is an active process you can use to get at your own non-verbal understanding of a problem. Focusing involved feeling your own feelings, but it gets deeper: to a physical sense of whatever you're thinking about.

Since focusing is by nature about a non-verbal
David J. Bookbinder
Although it was ten years or so between the time I bought Eugene Gendlin's 'Focusing' and when I actually began to use this technique in my personal life and my therapy practice, in many ways it is now at the heart of both. In the late 60s and early 70s, Gendlin teamed up with pioneer psychologist Carl Rogers to try to figure out why some people seemed to get better with therapy while others did not. After screening for all the factors one might suspect made the difference - therapeutic training ...more
Jan 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
When I originally started reading it I had a hard time getting into it because I didn't liked that the book started with stories about people, I just wanted to know how focusing works :D
But I see that the right timing for me to read this book was now, not months ago. So it's all good.

Anyways, every person should be handed this short book and we would live in a better world!

The method is basically Shadow Work. Learn to sense/to feel your feelings, focus on them without interfering (here lies the
Vikrant Varma
Mar 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a book that explains a method of conscious self awareness that helps you understand feelings that are weighing on you. Gendlin says that the technique is based on research that indicates that the patient's approach to therapy is a much stronger predictor of eventual recovery than the therapist or even the therapy method.

The thing about therapy/self-awareness books is that either they work for you or they don't. Personally it's been quite helpful. Try it and see - YMMV, but at least the b
Susan Kerr
Jul 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
Everybody in the world should read this book and practice its easy, insightful discovery. I have been on a reading jag this month for some reason that lead from When Bad Things Happen to Good People to Man's Search for Meaning and which accidentally got me to Gendlin's Focusing. It is a friendly, sensible, easy-to-read explanation and guide about... how can I say it without sounding like a nutcase? About your own innate natural inner wisdom -- if only you'd stop and feel-hear yourself. Nothing w ...more
Jul 26, 2009 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
Some useful techniques for understanding emotions and things that bother us. Neat variation on meditation.

Jul 15, 2019 rated it it was ok
**Focusing** by *Eugene T. Gendlin* was my first book I really wanted to give up on this year. I'm always very hesitant to pick up non-fiction books, especially those that touch on self-help or psychology in any way. There's so much misinformation and only mildly informed, untested theory out there, and I'm just not qualified to judge what is good and what isn't. An unqualified reader such as myself is likely to be taken in by somebody with more writing skill than knowledge, and I really can do ...more
Gendlin's techniques helped me gain more accurate awareness of and influence over my emotional states and how they affect my moment-to-moment resilience and resourcefulness. The technique is not easy to describe or explain concisely. It involves bringing to mind any circumstance or recalled event that is troubling in some way. It could be, for instance, a situation of interpersonal conflict that, when considered, makes you anxious or sad. Focusing involves you learning to subtly modify your perc ...more
Apr 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
A fine read ! The author describes a method "focusing" which is the felt sense we all have. This is the way for one to reconnect to ones body, in order to truly grasp the whole of the problem. He correctly points out that without coming to touch with the felt sense we can not expect change. Analyzing, disputing and introspection are not particularly helpful to bring change, which is why many psychotherapies do not work. The felt sense is the the whole reality, and cannot be reduced to words, it ...more
Rif A. Saurous
May 02, 2021 rated it really liked it
The OG "Focusing" book.

Gendlin was a philosopher by training who developed a deep interest in psychotherapy, working with Carl Rogers for many years. He listened to a bunch of therapy records, and "figured out" that therapy was usually worthless, and when it was going to work, he could predict it early, by noticing a certain way successful clients had of working by looking inside their bodies and feeling for a "felt sense" of situations. He decided to try to systematize and teach this, and Focu
Conor McCammon
May 12, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Focusing is the most original and useful self-development book I have read in a long time. This shouldn't be a surprise; it's written by a therapist and researcher, and spends its length succinctly outlining a very simple experiential process which, if followed, seems very promising at achieving far better results than talk-based therapy.

In short, the process of focusing is a process of moving your awareness to the holistic, bodily 'felt sense' that arises behind your mere emotions and physical
Ishvani H
I actually picked this up because a friend was constantly bitching about how annoying this book was and I wanted to see for myself whether I agreed with him or not. I only managed to read like 65% of this book and now I can totally see where he was coming from.

The beginning seemed promising but gradually, it became unbearable. The book felt super repetitive and became boring after "focusing" was talked about. The author came off as slightly condescending, especially in the way he asserts that t
Feb 26, 2021 rated it really liked it
This book isn't 'amazing', but still gets five stars - I simply can't find any major fault YET. Focusing is not flashy, but satisfyingly adequate.

Learned first about focusing in a uni course (client centered psychotherapy) - where it was touched upon fairly briefly, yet stood out as an unusually effective technique. This book read like a proper introduction, made easy to understand for therapists and laymen alike.

Gendlin does a good job in guiding us along, helping out with practical tips, obvi
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Paths to Wholeness: Focusing 3 10 Jan 21, 2017 11:16AM  

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Eugene T. Gendlin is an American philosopher and psychotherapist who developed ways of thinking about and working with living process, the bodily felt sense and the 'philosophy of the implicit'. Gendlin received his Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Chicago where he also taught for many years. He is best known for Focusing and for Thinking at the Edge, two procedures for thinking with mor ...more

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“What is true is already so. Owning up to it doesn't make it worse. Not being open about it doesn't make it go away. And because it's true, it is what is there to be interacted with. Anything untrue isn't there to be lived. People can stand what is true, for they are already enduring it.” 48 likes
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