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“Do I have to complete a Focusing process in one session?”

“Do I have to complete a Focusing process in one session?”
July 22, 2015 Ann Weiser Cornell

Focusing Tip #473


“Is it necessary, or at least important, to complete in one session conversations that one has with a part?”


Linda writes:
I just read last week’s Focusing Tip. I found it very helpful, and it immediately raised a question for me. Are you suggesting that it is necessary, or at least important, to “complete” in one session conversations that one has with a part?

I generally assume that interactions that I’m having with parts of myself will need to unfold over a long period of time. I often feel a need to pause to allow whatever deep inner processes need to happen and then come back to it when I’m ready and it’s ready. Sometimes I make a choice to not complete a conversation for purely practical reasons — that is, I don’t have time. Not to say that I leave brusquely but that it feels like a fine place to pause…

Dear Linda:
I totally agree! A Focusing process does not have to complete in one session. Change in Focusing occurs in “steps,” small shifts that add up to something larger. Each release and unfolding opens possibilities for the next.

So it’s quite possible to end a Focusing session and have a sense of a pause, like “That’s enough for now, and I’ll come back later.”

And yes, that could be because time is short, or because something in the process is asking for a break. But it does matter HOW we end. As you say, we don’t end brusquely. We check with “it,” the one we are being with, if it is OK to stop. (There are other supportive processes for stopping a session that I talk about in my book The Power of Focusing.)

The questioner last week was asking about a feeling that released and then returned ten minutes later. To me that indicated that the process wasn’t ready to end. I suggested she stay a bit longer, after the shift and release, to ask if there was more that it wanted to show her at that time.

It could also have been that before ending, she needed to take a bit longer to sense if “it” was OK to end. But ending doesn’t mean being completely done, conversation over. When we come back later, we can pick up the thread. There is always more…and that’s good news.

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