| The Uniting Image and its Contribution to the Therapeutic Process according to the Focusing Approach
||"When the uniting image emerges, there is no need to go back and recall the process that led to it in order to “hold on to” the felt sense and the insights that emerged in the process."
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In the course of our work we noticed that an image, which emerges spontaneously and derives from the inner reality of the focuser, especially towards the end of the process, assists in marking the new place.
This image contains the felt sense as well as the insight that emerges through the process, and it is like a picture that embodies within it the change that has taken place.
In order to define this image, we coined the phrase uniting image, because it unites the felt sense and the insight. The uniting image embodies and unites within it the change that has transpired and the change applied from the current process to everyday reality.
We also suggest differentiating between a local image, which arises from time to time in the process and serves as a handle that assists in advancing the process and completing it, and the uniting image.
The handle is a word, a sentence or an image that emerges from the felt sense. In the focusing process there is a movement between the felt sense and the handle, that is, the word or the image, which precisely resonates the quality of the felt sense that has emerged. We coined the term local image in order to describe an image that serves as a handle which resonates the felt sense that emerged at a certain moment during the process. The image is local because it relates directly to the felt sense that emerged at a particular moment, and does not relate to the complete situation or to a broader insight of the complete process or issue that emerged.
On the other hand, the term uniting image describes a complete situation that stands independently and contains a felt sense and an insight that are comprehensive. The insight becomes possible when the focuser sees the big picture, pays attention to the felt senses without identifying with them, and understands the connections that have emerged and their meaning. When the uniting image emerges, there is no need to go back and recall the process that led to it in order to “hold on to” the felt sense and the insights that emerged in the process. At the same time, it also exists independently as a new place that represents moving forward. The uniting image retains in the present the felt sense that was experienced in the past and in the already concluded process.
Any image that emerges during the process may emerge as a local image or as a uniting image, and it is the task of the therapist to differentiate between them and to be precise, in order for the client to receive a tool that will facilitate a change in actual situations in everyday life.
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September 2013 Focusing conversation: Glenn Fleisch and Serge Prengel talk about resonance
The conversation this month is different from the other conversations in the series. It is part of a longstanding, ongoing conversation about Focusing and therapy that Glenn Fleisch and I have had over time. What makes our discussions interesting is that, while there are very real differences between our points of view, there is also a lot of common ground.
It’s not that we usually record our conversations. In fact, we don’t. We recorded this one as a way to share with others in the community something we both feel strongly about: a sense of the importance of resonance in Focusing.
You don’t need to read the rest of the article to enjoy listening to the recorded conversation. But, if you’d like to read the article, it will give you a sense of my perspective on Focusing and FOT, separate from what tidbits may come through in the course of the conversations with other Focusers in this series.
A perspective on FOT: The theory and practice of how we integrate experience
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There are many definitions of what constitutes Focusing-Oriented Therapies, many approaches and practices. In fact, many of us like to refer to the field as “Focusing-Oriented Therapies”, as opposed to “Focusing-Oriented Therapy”. I value this richness and diversity, as I love the diversity of approaches in the focusing world in general. So, while I am going to outline a very specific point of view about Focusing and FOT, my intention is not to advocate that this is “the way” to see things. It is to share a perspective that I find stimulating.
I want to make two points:
- One is to describe what I see as the underlying theory of how we integrate experience.
- The other is about the importance of resonance, and its relational aspect.
1. A theory of how we integrate experience
The starting point for Focusing was Gene Gendlin’s curiosity about what made some people get more out of therapy. But the value of his work was not just to help us identify “good clients”, i.e. people who have a high potential to benefit from therapy. It was to draw our attention to the fact that receiving therapy is an active process: Clients who chew their food, so to speak, are going to be able to ingest it better than clients who don’t.
As Focusers, we have come to understand and practice this process as a way of assimilating experience. We don’t just swallow experience, we take a pause to feel it, we chew on it, and in this way we can digest it and integrate it.
I would say that the cornerstone of FOT is our theoretical and experiential focus on the process of assimilating experience.
Continue reading this article on TFI website
Serge Prengel, LMHC, is in private practice in New York City. He sees change as a creative process, driven by the depth and immediacy of felt-sense experience. He is certified in Focusing, Core Energetics and Somatic Experiencing, and was deeply influenced by Yvonne Agazarian's systems-oriented approach. Serge is a graduate of France's Sorbonne University and HEC business school. He started and operated an ad agency in New York City for many years. In the early 1990's, his focus shifted to exploring creativity as a tool for personal growth. He wrote Scissors: A Whimsical Fable About Empowerment and other books, and is the editor of Somatic Perspectives on Psychotherapy. He has also been leading experiential workshops in a variety of venues.
Upcoming Conferences, Retreats and Workshops
Zen and Focusing Retreat
Meditation, Focusing, Yoga led by Eleanor Buscher, MS, LPC, NCC and Roshi Paul Genki Kahn, LCSW, DCSW on September 27-29, 2013 at the ZEN GARLAND SANCTUARY, Airmont, NY.
Celebrate Gene Month in Manhattan, NY Sponsored by Lynn Preston and the Experiential Psychotherapy Project on Sunday, October 6th at the National Institute of Psychotherapies, New York, NY.
Advanced Four Module Certification Training Program on Wholebody FocusingThe Wisdom Body of the Conscious Elder: Carrying the Wholeness of Life Forward Inside our Relationships and Communities at Stony Point Center, New York with Kevin McEvenue and Karen Whalen, Ph.D. Starting October 9-12, 2013.
Introduction to Focusing: Level 1
with Janet Pfunder on October 20, 2013 in Park Slope, Brooklyn, New York City, NY.
Focusing Level 2
with Janet Pfunder on October 27, 2013 in Park Slope, Brooklyn, New York City, NY.
Connections and Crossings Across Cultures
Advanced and Certification Workshop at the Garrison Institute in Garrison, New York. November 1-7, 2013.
Celebrate Gene Month Teleconference
hosted by Serge Prengel (in English) on Tuesday, November 5, 2013 at 8 PM EST. This teleconference is for people who are unable to attend a "live" event or if there is no event scheduled in your area.
Pacific Winter Retreat: Stepping Forward Into MY LIFE
February 15-22, 2014 in Chacala, Mexico with Charlotte Howorth, Karen Whalen, and Mónica Gómez Galaz. Space limited to 30 participants - register now!
International Focusing-Oriented Therapy Conference
The Third International Focusing-Oriented Therapy Conference. will take place on May 14-18, 2014 at Stony Point New York, an hour outside of NYC.