Focusing Oriented Therapy

Focusing Oriented Therapy is unique. Process-driven by the therapist and client-centred in essence. Therefore, the therapist and client participate in a collaborative process. This process values the client’s thoughts, feelings and experience.  From start to finish, the client feels secure and empowered.

Each Focusing Oriented Therapy session is a ceremony of sorts.

What the client feels in their body (we call this the Felt-Sense) is the most important guide in this process. The client’s “inner compass” is the guide to healing. We believe the felt-sense a client experiences around an issue holds wisdom. And when the client accurately describes the sensations they experience, the body releases just a little. With each bodily release comes real change and growth in Focusing Oriented Therapy.

Each session is a ceremony of sorts. It follows a specific pattern. Clearing space is step one. Step two: curiosity about what is happening in the body. We gain understanding when we ask into the felt-sense. Then finding what resonates allows us to release old patterns that keep us stuck.

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Kind and Curious Attitude

The ‘kind and curious attitude” is key in Focusing Oriented Therapy. Sitting compassionately with the sensations of the body, even when they are uncomfortable or painful, embodies this kind and curious attitude. Client and therapist explore difficult issues openly because of this brave and supportive environment. Often, clients experience increased awareness and empathy toward themselves and others. Also, clients learn the value of gently setting aside pre-existing assumptions, opinions, and beliefs. Lastly, clients recognize their own authentic voice, because focusing can help us differentiate our voice from voices that cause self destructive or growth-blocking behaviours.

Indigenous Focusing Oriented Therapy

Indigenous Focusing Oriented Therapy (IFOT) is a sub-type that specifically deals with complex trauma. It honours core values of each community. It respects local traditions while focusing on resiliency. IFOT is an effective approach for everything from occupational injuries experienced by first responders, to residential school survivors. Even communities affected by genocide. Focusing works on multiple levels bringing healing to individuals, families, schools and communities.

Kristen Johnston holds a Certificate in Indigenous Focusing Oriented Therapy from the Justice Institute of BC.

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