Vital Force Focusing represents a collaborative exploration by Katherine Kehoe, Dawn Flynn and Adelia McFall, as we continue to dare ourselves and each other to make space for what is clearly wanting to come alive in and through us.
The classes, events and services that we offer arise from our shared Focusing practice combined with our overlapping backgrounds and interests, and were sparked into being by several serendipitous events. But first, a little background…
Focusing is a way of directly accessing an inner knowing, unique to each of us, that guides us toward more balance and wellbeing. The process was first identified by Eugene Gendlin, stemming from research that he began with Carl Rogers at the University of Chicago, to discover why some people benefitted from therapy while others did not. Gendlin noticed that the ‘successful’ clients tended to have a different way of responding to questions, a way of pausing, making room for vague feelings and impressions. They seemed to access some inner sense, resulting in new insights and effective solutions to the issues that brought them to therapy.
Convinced that this was a teachable skill that anyone could learn, he distilled his observations into a 6 step process, sharing it in his 1981 best-seller Focusing and continuing to explore and teach in a career that spanned six decades. As a result of his open, encouraging attitude, Focusing is now studied and practiced by thousands of people around the world, in an ever-expanding variety of forms and applications.
WholeBody Focusing is a form of Focusing that developed as Kevin McEvenue, an Alexander Technique teacher and bodyworker, integrated both practices into his own healing process. WBF is based on the premise that we have within us a deeper wisdom—sometimes called body wisdom or the ‘living body’—which knows exactly what is needed to resolve our stuck places and move our lives forward, toward balance and integration…and that this wisdom communicates directly through our bodies.
“In Wholebody Focusing…we pay attention to all the ways that our inner wisdom communicates with us, including:
Spontaneously arising imagery
The particular posture we are in
Gestures, which often communicate things that our mind is not yet aware of
Any sensations in the body
A sense of some sort of energy anywhere in our energy field.”
from WBF Introduction Manual
“I think what still captivates me the most is how this inner wisdom can awaken, come alive, and open my life to new possibilities with perfect timing when I’m ready to accept its challenges. And it offers the same for others, each in their own unique needs and readiness. It is as though we are all part of this vast wisdom, working in all of us, together.”
Vital Force Focusing evolved out of the reunion of Katherine, Dawn and Adelia during a year of WholeBody Focusing study and practice with Glenn Fleisch. We are particularly indebted to Glenn for his emphasis on the ‘5 spaces’, which are energies or resources that support the process of coming alive/embodying.
The concept of the 5 spaces, and the use of attunements to connect with them, allowed each of us to connect more deeply with a deep instinctive knowing which until then had not been integrated into our Focusing practice. Once we overtly acknowledged and directly engaged these energies, we began experiencing transformation in places that had remained stuck or inaccessible even through years of Focusing. We were awed to notice similar shifts in others as we practiced with them.
We had each been experiencing an internal awakening—a slow, steady process of something coming alive inside during our year of WBF classes—and we recognized the role of our class’s ‘shared field’ in incubating this emergence, in ourselves and our classmates. So after that year of classes was over, we brainstormed with our classmate Julie Townsend, looking for a way to keep that incubating environment alive, and to continue exploring where these principles and practices might lead us.
The result was HeartSpace, a small peer-led practice group now in its second year of meeting twice/month with members in three countries on two continents.
The following year, preparing to attend the 2017 Northwest Focusing Gathering, Katherine noticed a request for a peer-led session on WholeBody Focusing, and a next step beckoned. Since Dawn and Adelia were also planning to attend, Katherine invited them to collaborate with her on a presentation for the group.
In the planning process for that first presentation, we asked ourselves what was most alive and effective in our own experience of WBF, and what might be most valuable to our fellow Focusers. This question became a catalyst for a deeper inquiry which both surprised and intrigued us. The subsequent enthusiasm of our fellow attendees fueled it further, and it has been snowballing ever since.
Life seems to keep inviting us to allow a more profound unfolding of possibilities. While following the principles and practices of WholeBody Focusing as we understand them, we find ourselves opening to a Something More within each of us individually and in the shared work that is developing. Not “more’ in the sense of ‘better than’, but rather in the sense of new possibilities, like more colors added to a painter’s palette.
We have given the name Vital Force Focusing to our work together in acknowledgment of that Something More, the vital force that continues to lead the way as we give it our attention, trust and cooperation.