Interview with Gene Gendlin about his “Jewishness” - Conducted by Ruth Rosenblum, LCSW and assisted by Lynn Preston, MA, MS, LP

In 2015, I was asked by an Israeli Focusing colleague, Ifat Eckstein, “Is Gene Jewish?” “Yes, he is,” I was able to confirm, but that was all I could offer. “Is his mother Jewish?” The questions continued since, according to Orthodox Judaism, one’s Jewish status is passed through the mother’s lineage (if the mother is Jewish, the child is Jewish). “Well, yes, I’m almost certain,” I continued, “that Gene and his parents had to leave Vienna when the Nazis came; they were Jewish.” 

For years, I’ve been exploring Focusing, meditation and spirituality, and had been interested in the relationship, if any, between Gene’s Jewish identity, heritage and experience, and the development of his philosophy and Focusing. My questions included: Was Gene’s mother, indeed, Jewish? Did his upbringing include participating in religious practices, attending synagogue, engagement in the Viennese Jewish community and so forth.  

Knowing that Lynn Preston, my teacher and mentor and Gene’s long-time friend and colleague, also had a deep interest in these questions, I asked if perhaps she and I could meet with Gene to discuss these questions. The following is a transcript of two conversations between the three of us (the first held at Gene’s home, the second—at Gene’s request—on the phone) earlier this year. 

Read entire interview...
Conducted by Ruth Rosenblum, LCSW (psychotherapist, Jewish Mindfulness Meditation teacher and Focusing Coordinator) and assisted by Lynn Preston, MA, MS, LP (Focusing-Oriented Relational Psychotherapist, teacher and supervisor)

Posted on October 15, 2016 .

The Importance of Awe

Awe celebrates the mystery and wonder of life. But unlike wonder, it also includes an element of fear or dread; it is reserved for that which is more powerful than we are or aspects of life that are beyond our ability to know or to fully understand. And because the feeling of awe must strike or grab us, we are not really in control of our experience. We cannot will ourselves to feel awe, although we can establish certain conditions or take on certain attitudes which are more conducive to strengthening the power of awe in our lives.

Posted on October 4, 2016 .

How Gene Gendlin Has Carried Carl Rogers' Work Forward.

Carl Rogers is in some way my grandfather. He was the father of Gene Gendlin's clinical work and Gene has been a father for mine. Gene loved Carl's way of being with people and modeled his responsiveness after him, and I have loved Gene's way of being and modeled my responsiveness to a great extent after him.

Posted on August 14, 2016 .

Carrying Relationships Forward: Personally, Therapeutically, and in Community

Please join us for a special evening of exploring how Focusing can help us to carry our relationships forward personally, therapeutically and in community. Charlotte Howorth and I are doing this introductory workshop as a fundraiser for Focusing Initiatives International. The skills and ideas that we explore will be of interest and help to psychotherapists as well as others who work with people and communities. It will be of help to all of us who live our lives in relationships. We would appreciate it if you would forward our flyer to friends and interested colleagues.

Posted on May 23, 2016 .


The essence of human being is human relating. Not only are we always and ever embedded in relational contexts –we are our relationships. We are not separate entities, but a flow of interaction with our environment; the others that we need for life as much as we need oxygen.

Posted on September 15, 2015 .