Dr. Eugene Gendlin responded to the announcement about winning USABP’s Lifetime Achievement Award with a huge smile. “Oh, this is great, thank you” he said. He went on to chat about his current activities and work, whether it was providing support to Focusing educational courses, or working with his Focusing partner from Texas, by phone. When asked if he still works with the “felt sense” in a personal way, he replied “of course, everyday.” He spoke about experience—how “this” referring to this moment, once put into words, became a belief. So whether you’re Freud, or someone more recent, whatever your theory proposes, “there will always be another point of view.” That’s why it’s important to go deeper—into the actual experience that lands in the body. And when you do this with another person, the experience, the felt sense, is magnified. “It gets bigger– there’s more movement” he exclaimed, as one shares their experience with another.
Dr. Gendlin was not certain whether he would be well enough to attend the conference next July, 2016. Nevertheless, he was pleased to know that he was being honored by the USABP, in this way. I ended my visit in his home, knowing that his work was alive in him still, as it clearly continues to be, within our field of Somatic Psychology.
More information to come soon.
Looking forward to a great conference,
Eugene T. Gendlin (born Eugen Gendelin; 25 December 1926, Vienna) is an American philosopher and psychotherapist who developed ways of thinking about and working with living process, the bodily felt sense and the ‘philosophy of the implicit’. Gendlin received his Ph.D. in philosophy in 1958 from the University of Chicago where he became an Associate Professor in the departments of Philosophy and Psychology. He taught there from 1964 until 1995. He is best known for Focusing and for Thinking at the Edge, two procedures for thinking with more than patterns and concepts.
Focusing emerged from Gendlin’s collaboration with psychologist Carl Rogers. Gendlin developed a way of measuring the extent to which an individual refers to a felt sense; and he found in a series of studies that therapy clients who have positive outcomes do much more of this. He then developed a way to teach people to refer to their felt sense, so clients could do better in therapy. This training is called ‘Focusing’. Further research showed that Focusing can be used outside of therapy to address a variety of issues. It is described in Gendlin’s book, Focusing, which has sold over 400,000 copies and is printed in twelve languages.
In 1970, Gendlin was the first person to receive the “Distinguished Professional Award in Psychology and Psychotherapy” from the Psychotherapy Division (Division 29) of the American Psychological Association. In 2000, Gendlin also received, along with The Focusing Institute, the Charlotte and Karl Bühler Award from the Society of Humanistic Psychology (Division 32 of the American Psychological Association). In 2007 he was a recipient of the Viktor Frankl Award of the City of Vienna for outstanding achievements in the field of meaning-oriented humanistic psychotherapy.
The worldwide dissemination of Focusing has been facilitated by The Focusing Institute. This nonprofit organization supports the spread of information and research about Focusing, and promotes diversity of practice amongst Focusing teachers.