FOCUSING AND ANXIETY

By , September 19, 2008 11:49 am

Download   Complete Focusing Instructions Manual (17 pages) 

In the First Week of this four weeks practice of Instant “Ahah!” #1: FOCUSING — Find Out What Is Bothering You, I introduced Gendlin’s Six Step Focusing Process and gave the Complete Focusing Exercise. If you are just joining us, go to blog Complete Focusing Session before proceeding so you will understand the basic steps of Focusing and prepared to do the practice exercise below.

In my personal/work life, I am caught up in a situation generating a lot of anxiety. I often use the Relaxation: Noticing Your Breathing exercise to help break through the wall of anxiety so that I can fall asleep or, at other times, to “Clear A Space” for a deeper Focusing Turn.

I also sometimes add the basic energy meridian tapping sequence from Emotional Freedom Techniques (www.emofree.com  ), another free self-help method which often allows the deep sighs and tension release of the relaxation response.

And, really most successfully, I turn to The Creative Edge Practice E-Group — just knowing there are Listeners out there in cyberspace usually allows me to shift immediately from overwhelming anxiety to relieving tears, even sobbing, about the deeper fears and issues underlying the anxiety. As actual research with brain waves and galvanic skin response (GSR) has shown, simply using Focusing to find a “name,” to find words and images for what the body is carrying subconsciously, actually brings about relaxation. It is better to know what you are facing, even if the words seem bad to others!

Here is a recent example of a Focusing Turn on “Debilitating Anxiety” which I did on The Creative Edge Practice E-Group, getting a lot of “felt shifting” and release of my anxiety (and the ability to sleep for two nights after the Turn) as well as, in a few hours, several comforting, empathic Listening Responses from group members throughout the world. I include only a small part of the Turn, demonstrating the initial shift from “free-floating anxiety” to relieving tears and sobbing as words come as a “Handle” on the felt sense:

Hello, Group,

I am suffering from “debilitating anxiety,” frozen neck and shoulders and jaw, sleeplessness or restless sleeping. I am reaching out to your friendly comfort in hopes of “touching” the edge of this anxiety, and allowing it to unfold its message. I find anxiety especially difficult to “disidentify from”, when trying to do Focusing alone, so I reach for your compassion — just knowing you are out there usually helps!

So,  I am stopping to “sense in,” to try to stand at the edge of this anxiety, instead of being paralyzed inside of it — I imagine I will do some Clearing A Space, naming the various issues I am carrying, seeing which wants attention — or perhaps not! We’ll see what happens in this non-linear Focusing process! But, first, just turning toward my body with some noticing of my breathing as a way to come into my body, and with the general Focusing question, “What is this ‘anxiety’ all about?” —

(eyes closed, sigh, breathing—) Words come up almost immediately, with tears (and the words completely surprise me!): “I feel so alone. I am so lonely.” (sobbing comes, as I ask myself, “What is this lonely?” and wait for the fuller “felt sense” of “it all” to come —so I am asking, “What is this sobbing about lonely, and related somehow to anxiety? (still surprised at the words) (more sobbing, don’t know “why”) —anxiety is somehow related to “feeling so lonely” — “What is ‘all of this’?” and Focusing on the “feel of it all” —

Some thinking comes: “Perhaps it is the sense of ‘battle’ involved in a lot of work and family things on my plate — the “uphill struggle” so commonly created around herself by an 8 on the Enneagram: The Challenger — hostility all around — so, I will stop and do Focusing, sensing into what comes in the ‘center of my body’ in response to this ‘guess’ —

(deep breath, quiet pause for inner ‘reflection’) —(shoulders go up and down in spasm of “fear” — so I decided to “accentuate,” to repeat this body motion, see if something comes as a “felt sense,” larger “feel” of “all of that fear in my shoulders) — (lots of sobbing comes as I repeat this “spasm of fear” and the words, again, “I feel so alone; I am so alone” (“What is this ‘alone’?, I ask myself. These words still surprise me) —

(long pause for Focusing on the “feel of it all”)— Words: “It seems, or perhaps, it is that I am seeing negative possibilities in areas where other people don’t want to think about them or hear about them, and this leaves me alone with my fears, perhaps” — knowing this is just a “guess,” again, I will stop and “resonate” these words against the “bodily felt sense” that is MORE than any of these words — “Is it that?”, I ask, and wait quietly, reflecting inward, and see what comes —–

(big sigh, breath, and another) — (moving my head back and forth on my neck rapidly, trying to break through this tension) —(big breath) — (shoulders spasming again) —

“And isn’t this what I always do, catastrophize, intuit the worst that can happen — and sometimes I am right, sometimes wrong (and these new words come) — but always I am prepared! I am prepared for the worst! Prepared for the battle, the disillusionment, the failure —- (big sigh)

This is just the beginning, but you can see how quickly the even distant presence of Listening Others helped me to “relate to” the anxiety, instead of being frozen inside it, and allowed new steps of forward motion, of intuitive problem solving to arise.

You can explore joining The Creative Edge Practice e-group here.

INSTANT “AHAH!” # 1 Focusing: Find Out What Is Bothering You

Focusing On the Creative Edge

And here, again, is your practice exercise. Please take time to walk through the Complete Focusing Session as I did in the example above. You will find it in this blog, along with the opportunity to download the Instant “Ahah!” Mini-Manual in English or Spanish.

Free Resources

Want to share your experience, do Focusing online and get an actual Listening Response, ask questions? Join The Creative Edge Practive yahoo e-support group.

Tell me what you think at [email protected] or comment on this blog below !

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 See Core Concept: Conflict Resolution to find a complete mini-course on Interpersonal Focusing and Conflict Resolution, including Rosenberg’s Non-Violent Communication, Blanchard’s “One Minute Apology,” Patricia Evan’s books on Verbally Abuse and Controlling Relationships, McMahon’s Beyond The Myth Of Dominance, and much more.

See Core Concept: Intimate Relationship to find a complete mini-course on increasing intimacy and sexuality, including the “Sharing Your Day” exercise, Listening/Focusing Partnerships for The Way of Relationship, untangling and equalizing desire, tantric sexuality, and much more.

Download complete Instant “Ahah!” Mini-Manual, in English and Spanish, from CEF Website, or download from links at top of this blog.

Find links to free articles, personality tests, multi-media Self-Help training, Classes and workshops

Dr. Kathy McGuire, Director

Creative Edge Focusing (TM)

www.cefocusing.com

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