Sensate Focusing Prologue

Chapter 1


Who of us has not experienced a stomach ache (or at least butterflies) before a test or examination or an important interview. Who of us has not felt a `pinch' in his* heart when he sees the loved one who broke his heart, pass in the street, arm in arm with another. Who does not feel a lump in his throat on learning about a tragedy that has happened to someone close. Whose anger was not aroused many times upon witnessing evil or injustice. Who of us is completely free of events of bottled fear - the kind that makes us feel tense but does not allow us to relate it to a specific or defined thing? Who has not felt depressed, or just in a bad mood that goes on and on...

* Everything hereafter is directed towards both sexes. Therefore, for the sake of economy, only the male form will be used - biased of course by the gender of the main author. This choice does not express in any respect, that the male is superior to the female in any way.

"It is all in the head"

Since the main psychological processes discovered by scientific research became common knowledge, people regard most of their troubles as stemming from their mind: their obsessive thoughts, the unacceptable emotions, the bad feelings and moods, the various urges and desires, the psychosomatic ailments... and every thing that makes us feel guilty. All these and more, are regarded as the result of fast and unconscious processes occurring in the head incessantly. These days, even cancer is regarded as a psychosomatic malady and psychological factors are said to be an essential part of the cure.

Actually, all the important functions of the mind and body, all that we do and feel and nearly all that happens to us, is the result of the working of programs of the mind. Just as the focusing on the feedback of the measuring instruments of the "biofeedback training" enables one to change physiological functions like "brain waves" and electrical conductivity of the skin - so can the focusing on the sensations of the body change the programs of the head which are involved with them.

That is the why the general sensate focusing technique will enable you to change anything which is dependant on you or your mind.


So What?

The technique was developed for people who are no longer willing to relate to their emotions like the weather, about which one speaks about it but does nothing at all to change. The technique (and the book too) is intended for these who are dissatisfied with the quality of their lives and the accepted ways of changing it (or getting reconciled to it). Therefore, I sought for a better way to manage the human emotional life. I looked for a technique or a certain practice which would enable one to organize the variety of one's sensations and emotions in a systematic and comfortable way.

I searched for something more effective than the archaic techniques developed in the Far East throughout history. I looked for something more available than the various kinds of psychotherapy known at that time* had to offer.

*Only while working on the English version of the booklet did we find the enlightening book of Professor Eugene T. Gendlin - Focusing, Bantam Books, New York, (revised edition) 1981; and established connections with The Focusing Institute, Inc. of Chicago, Il., U.S.A.

Eugene Gendlin and his group have found, after meticulous research, that the gains achieved during psychotherapy are restricted to certain kinds of patients. They have found that these patients spontaneously focus on their felt sensations during their psychotherapy.

They have also found that people can be taught the focusing procedures - in and out of psychotherapy settings. They concluded that the focusing by itself, even without the help of a professional therapist, guide or coach, can solve people's psychological problems.

I sought something more natural than the use of chemicals (Alcohol, Drugs, Tranquilizers, "Sedatives" etc.), so common in Western culture. I was looking for something suitable for every one. Something that anyone could do in parallel with other activities, as a part of daily life. I searched during the eighties (mainly 1985 to 1990) - and found - something suitable for the "Healthy" and not harmful for those who are "Unhealthy". Something that can also be done without a guide, a coach or a therapist. The technique was developed in parallel to studies and research in the emotional field which culminated in a Ph.D. Most of the development of the technique was carried out with about two hundreds people - most of whom were between the ages of twenty to forty. It was carried out during semi- structured sessions and was characterized by informal relations.

After seven years of training with the new technique, it was found that previous participants continued to practice their acquired proficiency in focusing after the cessation of the weekly meetings. However, most of the veterans do it less intensively unless in deep trouble.

The contribution of those who took part in the development of the technique was not restricted to being passive subjects. Many of them searched for short cuts and new tactics. Some of them even tried to teach others how to use the technique. The names of those who helped to develop the technique and in the authoring of this book, as well as those who helped with the booklet will not be mentioned individually. The acknowledgment of their precious part is represented in the title of the booklet by the word "associates".

After locating new ways to manage the emotional and sensual part of life, it seemed suitable to share it with others. It was first published as a non-commercial booklet of the "do it yourself type" (1989). Then, the essential parts of it appeared in a daily newspaper. In both (as well as here), the readers were invited to try the new technique and to contact me for clarifications and feedback - and indeed, many of them did so.

You are here offered a book - for reading and application - which is a revised and advanced version of the first Hebrew edition of summer, 1989. In spite of the improvements, this edition too is designated only for those who are not very choosy, and for those who can be shown the preliminary results - even when only half the work is done...

The publishing of this book has two main goals. The first and most important is to enable you to change your emotional climate. If your application of the new technique does not solve all your problems, at least it will change the way you look at them. The second - and only slightly less important goal, is to enable you to take part in the development of this technique, in the improvement of its presentation and in the enlargement of the circle of its users.

next: For Whom the Following Chapters Are Intended and For Whom They Are Not

APA Reference
Staff, H. (2008, November 1). Sensate Focusing Prologue, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, May 24 from

Last Updated: November 22, 2016

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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