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Focusing-Oriented Therapy and Complex Trauma Training Program
An embodied and relational approach to unwinding stress and trauma for therapists and healing professionals
Focusing-Oriented Therapy (FOT)
Focusing-Oriented Therapy (FOT) is a body-centered and relational process that helps therapists keep clients safe and regulated while unwinding chronically stuck and traumatic experiences. In the first year workshop series, you will learn Focusing as a self-experiencing process while also learning to help clients shift from distraction and disconnection to being connected and present.
As the workshops progress, you will deepen your personal experience with Focusing and begin to develop your own style of integrating this experiential process in your professional work. Focusing is not a tool you use on someone; it is a way of being and experiencing that takes time to develop from the inside. As you notice the shifts in your own experiencing process, you will naturally bring that into all the relationships in your life.
“I know that every person has a deeper continuity even if at present it seems to be missing. The client who looks out at me may feel thin and helpless. The deeper continuity may be lost or covered over, silenced, shut away since early childhood. But I know it is still there.”
- We use the Zoom meeting platform for workshops
- First year includes 5 workshops
- 4 sessions per workshop = 20 sessions total
- Sessions are 3.5 hrs long
- Therapists receive 12 CEUs per workshop
- $425 per workshop *or*
- $375 per workshop if you pay for all 5 workshops in advance ($375 x 5 = $1,875). Save $250.
Each workshop includes
- Live presentation introducing new material
- Demonstration of new skills to be practiced
- Practice sessions to implement new skills
- Time for processing sessions together
- Video or live demonstrations of Focusing and FOT
- Time for questions and group interaction
- Small group coached sessions with a certified Focusing-Oriented Therapist
- 4-week break between workshops
- Focusing partnerships form during each workshop and continue until the following workshop begins.
- Certified Focusers are available to work with, if desired.
- A teaching team member will be available for email questions.
This introductory workshop is offered several times in 2021. Students who wish to continue with the first-year program may do so after an interview with a faculty member. We begin with learning the basic steps of Focusing so you can practice with a partner and bring Focusing into your healing practice. Understanding and working with a felt sense (how the body holds living experience about a situation) is the key to moving beyond the typical dead ends of talk therapy. Like mindfulness, Focusing helps us step back and observe our experience and then takes us further into a Relational Presence with inner parts and with one another.
FOT-2: Working With Emerging Experience
Dates: Nov 12 – Dec 10, 2021
- 11/19 (no 11/26)
This workshop takes us deeper into the Focusing process with experiential and conceptual learning about a felt sense. Understanding and working with a felt sense is the key to Focusing.
In FOT-2 we learn how to explore the edge of our experience, the unclear felt quality where something more can be sensed, interacted with, and unfolded for further growth. We introduce and practice additional skills, demonstrate clinical applications, and begin supervised coached session practice. This is the workshop that ends with people saying, “Now I get it.”
FOT-3: Facilitating the Inner Relationship
Dates: Jan 21 – Feb 11, 2022
The attention now shifts to the companion or guide as we build new skills for supporting the inner relationship. Sometimes this is referred to as guiding. We learn about working with the way a part can undermine our bigger self, and what we mean by body and how the word body can confuse clients.
By the end of FOT-3, you will have a clear sense of the flow of a Focusing session and how to help support that flow by offering invitations at the right moments. As you practice guiding, you gain confidence on how to bring Focusing into your therapy sessions. Now more and more you get the feel of Focusing, and how you let your own body take in the other person and sense the edge of their experiencing.
FOT-4: The Radical Acceptance of Everything
Dates: Mar 18 – Apr 8, 2022
FOT-4 lets us take what we have learned and respond to the other with our own felt sense as our guide. We will look at what gets in the way or blocks a Focusing process and what gets it back on track. By the end of this workshop, you will have a clearer understanding of the different kinds of inner process that can show up and block or complicate a session. You will experience how to respond in a way that helps Focusers and clients to shift into a radical acceptance of their inner process with compassion and empathy.
FOT-4 is powerful in that we go deeply into the process of working with parts that block action and those that criticize and hold shame. We learn how to identify a critical part from the one being criticized and how to work with both. We also begin to understand the power of deeply listening to what each part wants and does not want to happen (from its point of view). It is a radical notion that change occurs not through force but through acceptance, empathy, and listening to each aspect or part of an issue. Through Presence we are able to accept our wounds and gifts and the body’s wisdom of knowing its own direction of living further.
FOT-5: Understanding Gendlin’s Theory and Practice
Dates: May 13 – Jun 10, 2022
The reading in Gendlin’s book, Focusing-Oriented Therapy, points to how he uses and views the experiential process of Focusing. How do we understand these chapters 20 to 24? They are dense and rich with theory and vignettes and offer a wonderful introduction to Gendlin’s theory of personality change. Here we learn and practice the therapist attitudes that make therapy an experiential, relational, and body-centered process of change. We learn how to identify a stopped process, how it can fill in and carry forward steps for change.
You have learned Focusing! Of course there is always more to learn, but it is time to practice with others. We will practice how to set up a first guided Focusing session. You may want to offer no cost sessions for a while until you get the hang of it but you’re ready to begin.
It is natural at this point to begin to talk about trauma. We will begin to build a bridge to the second year program, which dives deeply into working with and unwinding complex trauma. Trauma is an off road travel in which a body-centered, experiential, process oriented, and relational way of working comes in handy.