Focusing-Oriented Relational Psychotherapy (FORP)
An integrative experiential approach
What is Focusing?
Focusing is an active receptivity to the vague inklings of what is just beyond the horizon of awareness. It is Gene Gendlin's name for the process of sensing into implicit experience - a felt sense of the complex intricacy under the surface of words and thoughts. Like going fishing, focusing is a way of relaxing into the boat of oneself and waiting attentively for a nibble from below. Even though the fish might be out of sight we attune ourselves to its movements and hold gently but firmly to the line of connection with it. I was fortunate to find Gendlin's work early in my career. I was then, and am still now amazed at how listening for, welcoming and articulating the deeper point, opens out into surprising new directions. This kind of experiential responding joins the inner world and the relational world.
What is relational psychotherapy?
We are relational beings whose troubles, aspirations, and potentialities are embedded in our connectedness to others. A psychotherapy relationship is a new living experience that provides new beginnings.
By relational psychotherapy I mean that:
- We are interaction. Gendlin comments that when we look at a person as a process rather than as a fixed entity, it changes everything we think about and do in our work.
- The power of psychotherapy lies in the therapy relationship. It is a collaborative crafting of new relatedness that speaks to the primary hopes and fears, needs and longings, traumas and disappointments that make up the unique felt meanings of a person's life.
- A healing relationship is made of bonds of empathic connectedness. It entails moment-to-moment emotional coordination, as in a partner dance or an improvisation. It takes a great deal of resonant listening, emotional responsiveness and relational negotiation to achieve the fittedness of such an intimate partnership.
- Psychotherapy is a new lived experience. What matters is not so much the content of what we are talking about, but the way in which we are relating. Therapy is not primarily about solving problems, developing coping mechanisms, or even gaining insights but is instead about the co-creation of the kind of interaction that brings us alive, heals our wounds, sets us free and develops new possibilities.
Focusing-Oriented relational Psychotherapy
Emphasizes the creative power of developing a therapeutic partnership that is grounded in active receptivity and improvisational exploration.we want both space for quiet reflection and embodied introspection and also space for active engagement and lively interaction Each therapy partnership has its own unique evolution and the partners have to find there way together to form a new relatedness from which the patient (and therapist) can stretch and grow. I call this ever developing dyad a "New Us." It is out of this new Us that a new self can slowly form.
An Experiential Emphasis
By this I mean to convey the central importance of the actual lived experience in the therapeutic or supervisory moment, on both the implicit and explicit levels. We can sense in the moment when our interaction leads to an opening out and a forward movement - the transformative experience of touching and being touched.