The evolution of psychotherapeutic methods over the past 200 years from Mesmer through the psychoanalytic schools, behaviorism and current cognitive psychology tells a fascinating tale of our evolving understanding of human nature. In this address we will trace the development of fundamental techniques such as suggestion, free association, active imagination, gestalt dialogue, focusing, Erickson's indirect approaches and what I now call "The Basic Accessing Question." A new conceptual framework for understanding these psychotherapeutic techniques is proposed in terms of the new nonlinear dynamics of complex, self-organizing systems, the dynamics of the Chaos, for facilitating self-reflection and the evolution of human consciousness.
Focusing is bodily attention, not to mere sensations but to an at first unclear, implicitly complex bodily sense-of a situation, problem, or aspect of life. Therapy deepens immediately with many clients if asked what physical sense comes in the middle of the body in relation to what is being worked on. With half a minute of repeated direct attention, clients can assign a "quality-word," e.g., "heavy," "fluttery," or "tight." Then small steps come to say the crux of the problem. Each brings a slight (later large) "shift" and release, a direct sense of validity, although further steps may again change the whole problem. Without disrupting the hour, most clients who cannot do this, can gradually learn it from small questions now and then, such as "What comes in your body?" "Is it heavy, fluttery or how?" and "Stay a little while with that sense. Can you let it come again?" The bodily sense-of an implicit complexity is not widely known.
Panel 08 from the Evolution of Psychotherapy 1995 - Psychotherapy Research
Featuring Eugene Gendlin, Ph.D.; Lynn Hoffman, A.C.S.W.; Donald Meichenbaum, Ph.D.; and Francine Shapiro, Ph.D.
Moderated by W Michael Munion, MA.
Panel 10 from the Evolution of Psychotherapy 1995 - Philosophical Issues and Psychotherapy
Featuring Eugene Gendlin, Ph.D.; Thomas Szasz, M.D.; Paul Watzlawick, Ph.D.; and Irvin Yalom, M.D.
Moderated by Carol Kershaw, EdD.
This experiential workshop will begin with a guided silent meditation. Gendlin will work with volunteers from the audience to show how to find "Focusing." The physically felt body sense of a problem is at first unclear and gradually opens and becomes clear. There will be discussion and demonstrations to show how Focusing is used in the context of psychotherapy.
In this experiential workshop, volunteers will be asked to describe a dream in detail and then work on it with Dr. Gendlin. It is not necessary to tell everything; private space and silent meditation are essential. The use of Focusing will be demonstrated.