By , December 6, 2007 3:01 pm

This is my favorite question ever!  What is “right” in terms of a Listening Response, a Reflection? I’d love it if everyone would jump in with their answer to this question, regardless of teaching experience or just experience! 
For me, the only “right” that really matters is when the client/Focuser says, “Yes. That is exactly right. That fits” with sighs, tension release, other signs that this is the body’s response: “Yes. That is right. It captures the ‘feel of it all’ completely.” 
The point or goal of Focusing Turns, or Focusing-Oriented Therapy (FOT) IS to empower the Focuser to gain confidence and skill in allowing answers and next steps to come from within their own experiencing of their own unique situation. 

Carl Rogers was so emphatic about this empowering that he would do NOTHING but reflect, not wanting to give the client any temptation to rely upon him as “expert” rather than their own inner experiencing and problem solving.
So, if a reflection/interpretation/evocative technique does not “fit” in the moment, does not touch the Focuser’s present felt experiencing in a way that allows carrying-forward, new next steps from inside, to unfold, draws the Focuser out into discussion, disagreement, or argument with the Listener — then, it is not “right” in this moment — although it may become “right” at a later point when the Focuser has moved forward to a new felt Edge that can take it in in a resonating way—
Most everything else, I guess, is helpful or unhelpful!  Helpful can be getting it “wrong” in a way that helps the Focuser say more what “it” is like: “No, it’s not that. It’s more like this—” (This can happen even when the Listener says back exactly the Focuser’s words, seemingly perfectly “right”!).
Helpful is always going back, after any intervention, especially one that seemed “wrong” in terms of getting the Focuser off the track of felt-sensing, into confusion or arguing or theorizing with the Listener instead of continuing to pay attention to finding words or images for, the present “felt sense.”
My articles Caring Confrontation and Focusing Inner Child Work With Abused Clients (free PDF downloads from )trace my attempts to grapple with this issue, of how hard to press, how often to come back to, a “felt experiencing” I have in relation to the client which I think is “Correct” in some way but they say is not “Right.”
This is such a great question, I would invite everyone to jump in with their own answer, their own way of saying what is “right” in terms of a Listening Response.

Learn more about Intuitive Focusing and Focused Listening and Experiential Focusing Therapy at Creative Edge Focusing’s website, filled with free downloads on creativity, spirituality, collaborative thinking, parenting, innovation in business, and many other aspects of application of Focusing and Listening skills at home, at work, in your community, and globally.

See actual demonstrations of Listening/Focusing in our Self-Help package, a manual in English or Spanish, four CDs of Focusing Instructions, and a DVD with four demonstrations of actual listening/focusing sessions — everything you need to start your own Listening/Focusing Partnership or Support Group or to incorporate these basic self-help skills into existing support groups.

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Dr. Kathy McGuire

Creative Edge Focusing

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