Restoring the wholeness of being: Working with trauma from the focusing-oriented experiential therapy perspective

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Biliana Dearly, MCounsHumServ, Senior Lecturer, Cairnmillar Institute, Melbourne, Certifying Coordinator, The International Focusing Institute, New York.



From the focusing-oriented experiential therapy (FOT) point of view, trauma involves emotionally overwhelming experiences with a severe or complete stoppage of the life-forward process and consequent multiple disturbances in functioning. FOT has a unique, safe way of dealing with trauma; approaching it through a felt sense, thereby preventing re-traumatisation by not confronting trauma directly. The critical therapeutic element is that change-steps arise from the felt sense through many incremental, bodily felt shifts. This paper synthesises the authors knowledge of FOT and extensive experience in working with clients presenting with different forms of trauma. The four main phases of FOT’s distinct approach to working with traumatic experiences are discussed. A detailed case study highlights the depth and richness of working with trauma by using the FOT method.


Keywords: focusing-oriented therapy, focusing, trauma, felt-sense 


Address for correspondence:
Biliana Dearly
Email: biliana.dearly@gmail.com