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3.88  ·  Rating details ·  950 ratings  ·  93 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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 ·  950 ratings  ·  93 reviews

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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: self-help, hyped
2/5 with an asterisk.*

Confusing. There's a mixture of 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 body's own life-centered and inherently positive direction and force...

'Focusing has been cru
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.
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
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
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.
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.

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
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.
Randi Annie Framnes
Feb 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites, 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
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
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
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
Dec 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
An interesting approach for "self-therapy" that bears significant relation to later techniques that I am familiar with, such as body-centered meditation (insight meditation, particularly as taught by Tara Brach) and somatic experiencing therapy. This approach has it's own unique take on how one accesses and shifts the "felt sense" of something. I like his use of the term "felt sense" and the concept behind it. The book explains the procedure clearly and addresses a number of possible places wher ...more
Aaron Estel
Dec 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
There are two skills that every self help book assumes you already have to some degree. One is the ability to visualize, which is a little annoying to aphants like me. The other is described in detail by this book.

Gendlin claims that only about a third of people in therapy can "look into" a feeling, get a "felt sense" of what's really going on from their body, and feel a responding "shift" when their concious mind is able to understand what the body is telling them. I have been able to do this f
Feb 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Fantastic book. If you've experienced focusing(and you may very well have not known its name) and its power for personal transformation this book will be useful in deepening your work. If you are interested in exploring the depths of yourself this book will also be useful.

The problem: it seems difficult for me to convey this to someone who has not been exposed to it, and that is its in built limitation. It is so deeply experiential that to write about it and to talk about it seems difficult. Eug
Sep 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
This technique is quite a good way of analyzing and addressing the problems. Eugene is wonderfully clear and right on point in describing the steps to encounter the inner conflict. This felt like a kind of meditation, but instead of going into stillness, this technique of focusing deals with deeper introspection of the problem at hand. I have practiced the steps twice and I could understand the experience and the good outcomes of this practice. The only thing I did not like in this book/techniqu ...more
Fleeting Bird
Sep 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
This book is brilliant at explaining mindfulness practice while being respectful to the self and another person. I am very excited to see what more this author has to offer.

Some of the reviewers rate the book down because it looks like some cult philosophy. Yes, it resembles that, but it really isn't. It's purely a psychological thing and the author has a very respectful attitude toward other people. He's not some psycho guru hungry for power over others.

Yes, the introduction may sound exaggera
Apr 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Focusing is a very interesting method, and it is supposed to make psychotherapy more effective. It's also a method that can be used for helping others (peer-to-peer, without the presence of psychologists).

One of the most interesting concepts in this book was 'absolute listening'. And one of the most relevant statements for me was that you shouldn't TELL yourself what is your problem because that won't change it... you should listen to your body and sense it's answers.
Lauren McGinney
Sep 09, 2018 rated it liked it
Focusing is a beneficial concept and practice which can improve lives, mindfulness, happiness and relationships. Considering the vast online resources, I think the book cost, reading time and content is redundant. Recommend those interested in self-improvement and personal development to Google 'focusing' and try it out - only reading the book to connect with historical roots or if considering teaching and facilitating focusing groups.
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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.” 47 likes
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