Focusing Tip #794 – Getting sleepy while going deep with Focusing

Focusing Tip #794 – Getting sleepy while going deep with Focusing
April 27, 2022 Ann Weiser Cornell
“She comes up against a heavy blanket of sleepiness that threatens to derail the process by lulling her to sleep...”

Focusing Tip #794 – Getting sleepy while going deep with Focusing

What can you do when you suddenly become very sleepy while doing Focusing? Read on…


Rebecca writes:

I do weekly Focusing with a partner who routinely comes up against a heavy blanket of sleepiness that threatens to derail the process by lulling her to sleep. I would love some advice on ways to support a Focuser in acknowledging and engaging with this part without falling under its spell.

Dear Rebecca:

I remember the first time I suspected that sleepiness while doing Focusing was not simply because the person was sleepy.

My Focusing client was getting close to a part of her inside that she described as, “Very young… tender… and a bit fragile.” I was supporting her in going slowly, with caring attention.

Suddenly she was overcome with sleepiness. “I’m nodding off, I can’t keep awake.” Whereas a moment before, she hadn’t been sleepy at all.

The timing of the sleepiness made me wonder. Was the sleepiness from a part of her that didn’t want her to get close to that tender, fragile part of her?

I tried having her acknowledge the sleepiness. Usually, acknowledging something helps a person separate from it. But not in this case! Acknowledging the sleepiness just brought more sleepiness.

Pondering on it later, I realized that the “sleepiness” itself is not what needs acknowledging. Rather, there is something that is sending the sleepiness.

The next time this came up in a client’s session, I offered the invitation to “acknowledge something in you that is sending the sleepiness.”

Aha! Rather than becoming more sleepy, my client said, “Yes, it doesn’t want me to go too fast.” At that point I could support her in listening to the part that didn’t want her to go too fast… and the Focusing session got back on track.

“You might acknowledge the part that is sending the sleepiness” is the magic phrase. And then the next step is to be compassionate to the part sending the sleepiness… for some good reason.

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