Saturday, March 20, 2010

Spirituality in Psychotherapy

For many of us, bodily feelings have vague meanings. With Focusing, staying with these subtle bodily feelings brings new, clearer meanings.

The coming forth of new, clearer meanings is a process that is both spiritual and transcendent. It is transcendent because it involves moving beyond a former frame of reference in a direction of higher and broader scope. Its spiritual nature lies in the felt shift that results from the sensing of the new meaning and that may involve
experiences like a sense of rightness, bodily felt release, more life energy, and/or a feeling of being more present. The felt shift comes to us as a gift, not as something that we can maintain, create, or control. When a person attends to his or her felt sense and it unfolds into a transcendent growth process accompanied by a felt shift, the Focusing process and the spiritual process become one and the same.

This process definition of spirituality can be experienced by all human beings and does not judge or exclude anyone. The distinction between a process and a content definition is extremely important; each person’s religious beliefs and background, and thus the words and imagery they may use, are unique. But the transcendent, spiritual process in Focusing can be experienced by every person.

This spiritual process is always available to us. But like any aspect of our holistic, intricate, changing processing, we can become alienated from it. Our processing may then become stuck or stopped. Focusing gives us a way to re-connect to this inner experiencing so that our innate impulse toward growth, or transcendence, can carry forward.

Adapted by Shulamit Day Berlevtov based on Elfie Hinterkopf*.


I offer holistic psychotherapy with a spiritual focus grounded in the process described above at $75/hour.

I also offer guided Focusing sessions in person or by telephone at the rate of $75/session. You can save $25 when you buy a 3-session package for $200.

For more information, see

*Hinterkopf, Elfie. (1998). Integrating Spirituality in Counseling: A manual for using the experiential focusing method. The book was first published by the American Counseling Association in 1998 and may now be ordered from The Focusing Institute, 34 East Lane, Spring Valley, NY 10977. The book may be ordered in the UK and Europe only from PCCS Books Ltd., 2 Cropper Row, Alton Road, Ross-0n-Wye, HR9 5LA, UK.

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