Focusing in Clinical Practice: The Essence of Change Training Program

Focusing in Clinical Practice:
The Essence of Change
Training Program

An in-person course for bringing Focusing to your psychotherapy or coaching practice

Are you more tired than you would like to be at the end of a day with clients?

Do many of your clients keep on telling the same stories without real movement?

Do you long to feel really helpful to your clients but you aren’t sure how?

Would you like to work more somatically but without touch or bodywork?

Focusing in Clinical Practice: The Essence of Change is four weekends of supportive professional training in how to transform your practice using Focusing.

About the Course:

In Focusing in Clinical Practice you will learn how to:

  • Attune to what your clients are really concerned with so you can help them focus on what most needs attention
  • Gently invite your clients into direct experiential contact, so they begin to follow and trust their inner knowing
  • Work effectively with clients who are “in their heads,” or have harsh inner critics, or feel overwhelmed and fragile in the face of emotional experience
  • Support and strengthen your clients’ ability to do self-compassion and self-care, including in between sessions
  • Support and strengthen your own ability to do self-compassion and self-care, including during sessions!
  • Develop your ability to be present to your clients with genuine curiosity and warmth, so that they experience their work with you as the optimal healing environment for change

 At A Glance


For therapists and healing professionals interested in using Focusing in their client sessions.


This program offers training for licensed clinicians and other healing professionals in bringing the methods and attitudes of Focusing into their clinical practice.


Taught in-person in Berkeley, California


Over four weekends, you’ll benefit from the undivided attention of Focusing expert, Ann Weiser Cornell, and Lauren Mari-Navarro, LCSW. Between weekends, participants will form groups for phone practice and peer consultation.


Focusing is an experiential, research-based process that inspired much of the somatically-oriented, mindfulness-based work being done today. You and your clients learn to be Self-in-Presence. The result: both you and your clients can achieve an increased ability to live in the present with balanced awareness of emotional states.

How Our Program will Benefit You

We believe, as you do, that clients hold the key to their own change and life direction. But it’s one thing to know that, and quite another to put it into practice. In general, clients do not know that they hold the key to their own healing and change. Our job is to create an accepting and facilitative environment so that clients can access their own inner knowing, which often involves tuning in to the body.

Wouldn’t it be great to have more of your clients feeling relief and greater freedom as they allow themselves to take steps into new possibilities? You’ll feel the deep satisfaction of being able to help the way you always wanted to… and with less stress, strain, and effort. The result: less burnout and exhaustion.

In addition, you’ll:

  • Be able to be more present and engaged with your clients, even the “difficult” ones
  • Deepen your ability to connect empathically with what your clients really want to have heard
  • Develop skills in using verbal prompts to work somatically where deeper change can happen
  • Learn how to help clients move from storytelling/intellectualizing to sensing inside for what is true in the present moment
  • Actively participate in a community of other clinicians, practicing together and giving and receiving feedback

All this – and you will learn how to do Focusing yourself – and how to easily incorporate it for your own self-care before, during, and after client sessions.

Why Focusing is an Ideal Methodology for Deep Change

Combining Transformation & Practicality: Focusing is an experiential, research-based process that inspired much of the somatically-oriented, mindfulness-based work being done today. You and your clients learn to be Self-in-Presence – that natural state of calm interest and curiosity – and to find and consult felt senses that are more intricate and reliable than emotions.

The result: both you and your clients can achieve an increased ability to live in the present with balanced awareness of emotional states. Plus, Focusing allows deep work with blocks, “resistance,” inner critics, addictive parts, blankness, and any number of other challenging inner states.

How Your Work with Clients May Change

Inner Relationship Focusing (IRF) is a proven method for emotional healing and life change, developed by Ann Weiser Cornell and Barbara McGavin from the Focusing work of Eugene Gendlin. It is a body-centered awareness process that shifts one’s relationship with problems and life situations.

But IRF is not a therapy modality of its own. It is a process orientation that can be seamlessly added to any modality of therapy or coaching. Therapists and counselors can add IRF methods to the work they already do, and their clients can experience empowering change in a context of safety and support.

At the end of the program, we expect you’ll be able to:

  • use “Presence language” and other facilitative language to enable clients to move into a healing relationship with their own emotional states
  • hear and encourage moments when a client is approaching a threshold where change is more easily available
  • smoothly enable clients to shift from repetitive states to fresh, alive, present awareness
  • empower your client as decision-maker (and understand why this is so important)
  • make use of your own felt senses as a source of making contact and working with your clients

Ready to Sign Up Now? Click Here

Program Information

The program meets in person in Berkeley, California over four weekends, with both primary teachers present to facilitate discussion and demonstrations.

In-person training is great because you can:

  • Benefit from whole body learning: visual, auditory, and kinesthetic
  • Develop personal connections with other professionals
  • Learn in an environment free from the distractions of your daily life
  • Receive immediate feedback from master teachers

There are two more teachers (see full teacher information below) who present to the group interactively (on Zoom) on special topics on using Focusing with clients.

Between the weekends, participants meet (by Skype, Zoom, or VSee) in pairs or triads to practice the Focusing skills with each other.

There is a one-hour check-in by Zoom midway between the first and second weekends, the second and third weekends, and the third and fourth weekends.

Participants receive a copy of Ann Weiser Cornell’s book Focusing in Clinical Practice: The Essence of Change, and read and discuss it as a part of the course.



The program includes:

  • Full training in the Focusing process for yourself – equivalent to Levels 1-4
  • If you already know Focusing you can go even further
  • Practical methods for bringing Focusing into any kind of practice – psychotherapy, spiritual counseling, coaching…
  • How to bring Focusing to clients dealing with trauma, including complex trauma
  • How to bring Focusing to clients who don’t or won’t feel their bodies
  • Support and consultation with your actual client sessions

Get a Free Taste of our Course with Our Webinar

Can’t make it to Berkeley?

If this program sounds interesting to you, but you prefer to attend classes remotely, check out our Focusing Training Program for Healing Professionals.

About Your Teachers

Core Faculty

Ann Weiser Cornell:


This program is taught in person by Ann Weiser Cornell, PhD, author of Focusing in Clinical Practice: The Essence of Change and The Power of Focusing. Ann Weiser Cornell PhD is an internationally known author and psychology educator who has been working with the Focusing process – and working closely with Eugene Gendlin – since 1972.

Ann has given presentations and trainings in Focusing for psychotherapists at the American Psychological Association, the Psychotherapy Networker Conference, the National Institute for the Clinical Application of Behavioral Medicine, the National Institute for the Psychotherapies, and the Cape Cod Institute.

Lauren Mari-Navarro:

LaurenMari-Navarro - Small

Lauren Mari-Navarro, LCSW is a somatic therapist with 23 years of experience as a licensed clinical social worker and psychotherapist.  She received her Masters in Social Welfare from UC Berkeley and was a National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) Fellow in the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. Lauren has professional training in somatically oriented therapies that address the integration of mind, body, and emotions.  She works with people experiencing grief and loss, chronic pain, trauma, depression, and anxiety. She teaches expressive arts courses at Cabrillo College Extension and through Palo Alto Medical Foundation. Teaching transformative Focusing skills that empower both her clients and colleagues is one of her main joys and passions in life.

Guest Faculty

Helene Brenner:

Helene Brenner, PhD, is a Focusing-oriented therapist and trainer who has worked for 25 years as a psychologist in private practice with a very diverse clientele. She is director of Women’s Counseling and Psychological Services in Frederick, MD.

Helene is the author of I Know I’m In There Somewhere: A Woman’s Guide to Finding Her Inner Voice Living A Life of Authenticity, (Penguin USA, 2003). She has led numerous workshops, including at the Omega Institute, Kripalu Center, and the Washington National Cathedral and conducts Following Your Inner Voice telegroups for women.

Topic Title: Attuning to Your Clients’ Experiential Process

Joan Lavender:


Joan Lavender is a clinical psychologist with thirty years experience as a psychotherapist and supervisor. Her earliest training in Experiential Focusing and movement serve as a perspective unifying all of her clinical work. Joan is a graduate of the Graduate Program in Clinical Psychology at Widener University and The Institute for Contemporary Psychotherapy. She is a past Fellow of the Postdoctoral Program for Psychotherapy Research at SUNY, where she had the rare opportunity to study the relationship between movement behavior and the symbolizing process. She is a supervisor in the Center for the Study of Anorexia and Bulimia and the Focusing Oriented Relational Psychotherapy (FORP) program.

Topic Title: Doing Focusing-Oriented Therapy Relationally

Frequently Asked Questions

Are CEUs provided?

camft-ceu-logoCourse meets the qualifications for 48 hours of continuing education credit for LMFTs, LCSWs, LPCCs, and/or LEPs as required by the California Board of Behavioral Sciences. Focusing Resources, CAMFT Approved CE Provider #62524

Focusing Resources is approved by the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists to sponsor continuing education for LMFTs, LCSWs, LPCCs, and/or LEPs. Focusing Resources maintains responsibility for this course and its content.

There is a $25 administrative fee for CE units. Course completion certificates are awarded at the end of the course upon completion of all requirements and the course evaluation. (If you don’t want CE units but would like a completion certificate, the $25 fee does still apply.)

Eligibility for CE units requires at least 100% live attendance. Missed classes cannot be made up.

What is the Attendance Policy?

The full Focusing in Clinical Practice Training Program is made up of four weekends (all day Saturday and Sunday). To ensure the safety of the participants and the coherence of the teaching, attendance at every session is required. See Upcoming Courses and Registration section for the current schedule.

Is there a prerequisite?

All participants must be Healing Professionals. You don’t need any Focusing experience to join us. If you’ve already taken our Levels Training Program, you will be able to deepen and expand your Focusing experience even more.

The program will be of core relevance to psychotherapists (psychologists, masters’ level therapists, and clinical social workers). If you are a coach, spiritual director, bodyworker, physician, nurse, meditation teacher, etc., or in training to become a psychotherapist, we welcome a brief chat with one of the teachers to make sure your needs and the program parameters are in alignment.

Do I fit the Healing Professional description?

From our perspective, Healing Professionals include: psychotherapists, coaches, bodyworkers, spiritual directors, physicians, healers, nurses and anyone who meets with clients for the purpose of healing and growth.

I’ve already had Focusing training. Is this program for me?

We designed this training to be appropriate for both new and experienced Focusers, and it works best if there is a mix of both. Although this program offers complete Focusing training equivalent to Levels 1-4, it is delivered in a different way than in the Focusing courses you may have taken. Most of our time in the program is taken up with the question of how to work with clients. Training in your own Focusing is integrated into that as a kind of adjunct. Experienced Focusers who have taken our Focusing in Clinical Practice program in the past have found it is like a subtle review of the Focusing training they have had, rather than going over the same ground.

Is there a cancellation policy?

Yes. Up to 22 days before the first day of class:

We will refund your course fee less a $35 cancellation fee. You can waive the cancellation fee by applying the entire course fee towards a future class with us.

Cancellations received 21 days or fewer before class begins: No refund

When something doesn’t go as you hoped

We are always open to discussing experiences with our courses that didn’t work for you or didn’t go the way you expected. Depending on the circumstances, you may want to email your course instructor, the staff member in charge of your course, or Ann Weiser Cornell. Email addresses for all these people will be supplied on registration. We will work with you to find a way to meet your needs.

Wondering where to stay?

Most recommended: Our participants have had good experience with

If you prefer a motel, here is one that is nearby: Rodeway Inn, 1461 University, Berkeley; 510-848-3840. Newly remodeled and quite reasonable. 2 blocks from BART and 1.4 miles from location. Great Thai restaurant next door.

We’ll email you a more complete list, along with directions after you register.

Don’t Take Our Word for it – Hear About Focusing from Other Clinicians

  • ~Larry Letich, LCSW-C, Individual and Couples Therapist, Greater Washington Center for Focusing and Focusing-Oriented Therapy, Frederick, Md.
    LarryLetich - Small"If it weren't for the methods Ann developed in Inner Relationship Focusing, my work with clients and the skills I'm teaching my therapy trainees would not be anywhere near as rich. Every other system of teaching Focusing that I know of is like a simple melody, but Ann's is like a Brahms or Debussy piano concerto, something so elegant and full of nuance that I can practice and use and teach it my entire life and still find new things about it. It is also so adaptable, and helps me to help people reach such deep places within themselves. Ann is the person who "carried forward" Gendlin's early discoveries the best, back when he concentrated on bringing his insights to the moment-to-moment process of psychotherapy. The concept of the Inner Relationship also probably captures more perfectly than anything else the neuroscience of what is going on, the re-wiring of the connections between different nuclei of the brain."
  • Leslie S.
    "I am a marriage and family therapist and was learning Focusing for my personal practice, as well as, how to integrate it into my therapy practice with a certified trainer and therapist. In time, I was longing for a more intensive training when I saw Ann’s offer for Focusing in Clinical Practice. I was excited to learn from the “originator” of self-in-presence, and be in a community with like-minded practitioners wanting to integrate FOT into private practice. Over the course, I learned more about myself as a practitioner, the therapeutic process, and relational dynamics of being self in presence - being present to my clients’ inner world and aware of mine. Our group delved into the nuances of Focusing and discovered the challenges of introducing and facilitating FOT in session when a client is not intentionally seeking that modality. I learned how to be a “satellite dish” and sense into the deeper and unspoken inner-world of our clients to bring forth rich material. Ann taught us the language of self-in-presence that showers clients with empathy, compassion, positive regard, non-judgment to where they feel heard and known, maybe for the first time. Ann was very good at facilitating our learning and brought in experienced Focusing-Oriented Therapists as needed to increase our understanding. I would highly recommend this course; it was a gift to me and my clients."
  • Rebecca Olmsted
    RebeccaOlmsted"I really want to be a great therapist, and having scoped out various methods and techniques, believe that Focusing will provide me with many of the skills I seek. What I like about Focusing is that it teaches me how to stay close to my clients' experience, in a respectful and caring way. In Levels 1 through 4, I learned basic focusing skills. In Focusing in Clinical Practice I am learning how to apply these skills. The thing I like best about Focusing in Clinical Practice is that we address what happens with clients who have not studied Focusing. Clients do not behave like Focusing partners! I am developing skills to work in the here and now, to find out in a practical way, what works and what doesn't work. I also appreciate my colleagues. It is so rich to hear what other clinicians have to say about their own experience, as well as to consult with them. Good stuff."
  • L.K.
    "New levels of subtle attention in the therapeutic relationship are demonstrated. The careful cultivation of this attentiveness in each student is skillfully, yet playfully, encouraged. I'm aware of new ways in which I listen to ordinary conversations, as well as client /therapist interactions. I know its happening, and yet don't yet know what it is... Can't wait for the deepening of the next weekend training."
  • Carol Ivan, Ph.D., Clinical Psychologist, Brookfield, IL
      “Inner Relationship Focusing just clicks with me; it allows me to focus with the client on whatever is most present for them, and at the same time teach them a way of being with their inner experiences that will help them be emotionally and psychologically wiser and more astute. And learning this approach from Ann was wonderful; she is a great teacher, and I think her attention to facilitative language is invaluable.”
  • Carol J. Sutherland Nickerson, North Chatham, MA
    “Because of the effects of my own IRF practice, my clients are now sitting with a therapist who has a more integrated brain; one whose emotional, mental and physiological regulating systems are working better and better all the time. Professionally, I listen better, conceptualize a client’s needs faster and respond to transference and counter transference issues with faster recognition, more ease, and clarity.”

What You’ll Be Learning Each Weekend

FiCP DoorwayRS

Weekend #1: The Doorway in a Moment

  • The unique Focusing concept of the felt sense: a moment in process where a client can move away from fixed concepts into new possibilities.
  • The most powerful way to help a client stay with and explore felt senses.
  • Fine tune your empathy so you are hearing what is under what your client is saying… and learn why this is so significant.
  • Enhance your ability to be Self-in-Presence with your clients – to be aware, attentive, and available.
  • How you can use Focusing to find what has not been attended to in yourself – about your clients and your life. Experience how this changes how you show up in your sessions.

Path to Lasting Change, Part One: The Path of the Companion

Weekend #2: The Gift of the Body

  • How to enable story-telling/intellectualizing clients to find felt senses.
  • Practice helping another person pause and come into body awareness in order to drop below what they already know into something new.
  • Discover subtle shifts in language that help clients stay in contact with their felt senses.
  • Use Self-in-Presence to create more breakthroughs for and ease with challenging clients.
  • Explore the power of Focusing to bring insight, emotional relief, and new behavior.

FiCP SubtleDanceRS

Weekend #3: The Subtle Dance

  • Explore the subtle dance between connecting with where a client is now, and inviting a different kind of process – while being Self-in-Presence
  • How to help clients who feel overwhelmed by emotion or are challenged by being in contact with their feeling states.
  • The “deep structure” of a Focusing process.
  • Build your intuitive ability to know when a client needs an invitation into process.
  • How to help clients who feel overwhelmed by emotion or who are otherwise challenged at being in contact with their feeling states.
  • Understand how to integrate the best invitation for the moment.

Lighthouse FiCP

Weekend #4: The Spacious Company of Presence

  • Discover the typical reason that some clients get stuck and don’t benefit from Focusing – and how to turn it around.
  • Learn the use of Focusing interventions with an inner critic that sabotages progress.
  • Understand the special considerations of Focusing with trauma survivors and the great benefits that are possible.
  • Learn ways to support clients who have difficulty feeling in the body.
  • Build a sense of community with other practitioners for ongoing support.

Upcoming Courses and Registration

Register early to save money and ensure your spot! Tuition goes up $100 twenty-two days prior to the start of class. To help us provide an excellent experience for everyone, registration closes two weeks before every class.

October 21-22
December 2-3
February 3-4
March 31-April 1


Plus Coaching Calls Meet on: Nov 9, 2017 and Jan 11, Feb 22, 2018

This workshop is not currently scheduled. Please contact us if you are interested in being informed when this workshop goes on the schedule.

Deciding whether this program is right for you? We welcome you to schedule a chat with one of the teachers to determine if the program is a good fit for needs. Email Ann to set up your conversation by phone or Skype.

 From a Practicing Inner Relationship Focusing Therapist

For an article about Inner Relationship Focusing by Carol Nickerson that includes a story about how she used IR Focusing to process feelings about a client, click here.



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