Certification Program Details

This program is designed to be flexible and affordable, allowing therapists to gain the training and experience to become Focusing-Oriented Trauma Therapists at their own pace, as their time and budget allows.

I will be offering a regular series of weekend workshops (and will encourage other local certifying coordinators to participate or augment this training with their own specialties). FOT candidates must complete a minimum of 7 two-day workshops or 14 training days to be considered for certification, in addition to meeting supervision and other requirements as set out below. Up to 2 workshops outside of this program can count towards training, if documented.

*If you are considering becoming a participant, please let me know so I can add your name to the list and keep you updated.

Introduction to Focusing
You will leave this workshop ready to try using focusing in your therapy practice. The course provides an overview of focusing methods, including Eugene Gendlin’s ‘discovery’ of focusing and a walk through the focusing steps, as well as an overview of how current focusing experts Shirley Turcotte and Ann Weiser-Cornell have adapted these methods. There will be lots of experiential practice focusing and leading sessions.

Focusing and Trauma I: Safety and Working with Regression
This course will cover how the brain reacts to trauma, the nature of trauma memory and begin to teach how to notice and work with regressed states. There will be a lot of information on the current trend towards body-oriented therapies as a way to treat trauma, and how focusing can be an effective, yet safe and gentle approach to working with trauma. Safety techniques, including closing sessions safely and staying within the therapeutic window will be discussed, demonstrated and experienced.

Focusing and Trauma II: Intergenerational and Vicarious Trauma
This course will review the basics of trauma treatment and then focus on intergenerational trauma. It will provide a deep understanding of how trauma gets passed down through families and the ways this can show up in a focusing session. Participants will learn to listen to the bodies of their clients for things that they may not be saying out loud. They will learn to work with implicit memories, silent states and places of trauma that occurred very early in life. There will also be a discussion of vicarious trauma for therapists, and self-protection and self-care.

Focusing and dreamwork
The combination of dreamwork and focusing is a powerful one for inner work and healing as the two methods are so complementary. The course provides an in-depth look at how Gendlin and others, particularly Jungian and depth psychologists incorporate focusing techniques to enhance the depth and immediacy of dreamwork. Lots of experiential practice — bring your dreams!

Additional requirements for Certification as an FOT

  • Training is over a maximum of 5 years.
  • Acceptance into the program as an FOT-in-training. Participation is subject to approval by the coordinator.
  • Complete the two trauma workshops (required), plus 12 additional training days. (Up to two focusing workshops by other trainers can be considered for credit — provided you write a short paper documenting what you learned.)
  • Complete a focusing log — 50 sessions as a listener or guide and and 30 as a focuser. Focusing partnerships can be arranged as needed.
  • Demonstrate a 20-minute focusing session that shows the candidate’s skill as a focusing leader.
  • 50 hours of supervision of focusing-oriented psychotherapy are required. About half of this will be included in the course work. As well, there will be opportunities to participate in monthly group supervision sessions and/or to book individual supervision sessions.
  • Appropriate membership level in the Focusing Institute. FOT applicants are charged a one-time fee ($375) and then annual dues to maintain their FOT status.
  • Credentials to practice therapy by a recognized certifying body

Requirements for certification as a Focusing Trainer

  • Completion of core curriculum workshops plus one additional course
  • Participate in the workshop on teaching focusing
  • Register as a trainer-in-training with The Focusing Institute.
  • Gain experience as a student trainer in an existing focusing training program.
  • Complete focusing log and supervision hours as required.
  • Successfully teach a focusing workshop

Certification information

  • Completion of the requirements does not automatically lead to certification. The final decision will be up to the coordinator of the program.
  • Active status as a Certified Focusing Professional requires an annual membership fee, attendance at a Focusing event once every third year, and ongoing supervision for at least two years after certification.