In BioSpiritual Focusing, the skill and art of Companioning another person as they Focus is more than just reflecting back what the Focuser says. There is a unique context within which the Companioning is done as well as specific roles for both the Companion and the Focuser.
What follows on this page is a detailed look at both the context and the roles within the Companioned Focusing environment that are necessary for effective Focusing.
1. Setting the Context
The context within which Companioning takes place has to be one of safety and positive regard. Experience has shown that the trust that the Focuser has for the Companion has a direct impact on what happens in the Focusing flow. Accordingly, the creation of a “caring feeling presence” environment is most critical. If the Focuser senses that the Companion is judgmental or critical, the Focusing flow will be negatively impacted. This is why there is so much emphasis placed on the Companion’s interaction with the Focuser in terms of what Carl Rogers would call “ unconditional positive regard” and “empathic listening.”
From a BioSpiritual perspective, the Companioning setting is sacred ground. This is why a Companion’s caring presence is so critical. The Companion stands as a witness as the Focuser goes within and encounters a felt-sense that unfolds. The Companion does not enter into dialogue with the Focuser but rather, through reflective responses, supports the inner dialogue between the Focuser’s Self and the Focuser’s felt-sense.
This setting has to be purposely created and maintained. This means that prior to the Focusing, the Companion must clear his or her own space in order to set aside anything that might impact the ability to totally and fully listen as the Focuser Focuses. Even during the Focusing, if any reactions, thoughts or rationalizations arise within the mind of the Companion, they need to be quickly acknowledged and set aside by the Companion.
In addition to the above, there are some logistical points that should be discussed before the Focusing session begins:
- The Companion should ensure that the Focuser is sitting comfortably without any physical annoyance that could distract from the Focusing.
- There should be an agreement on the length of time for the Focusing and the amount of time, prior to the end of the Focusing, the Focuser wishes the Companion ( who is keeping track of the time ) to notify the Focuser that the session is almost over.
- The Companion should check with the Focuser as to how verbally interactive the Focuser wishes the Companion to be. Some Focusers prefer a limited interaction whereas others feel more supported by more reflective verbalization.
- Finally, the Companion should ask the Focuser whether the Focuser would like to be guided in the Clearing the Space or to do it on his or her own, subsequently letting the Companion know when a cleared space has been reached (signaled by the raising of a palm.)
2. Role of the Companion
It is not easy to be a Companion because to interact with another person in this way runs so counter to how we usually communicate with each other. It is not the role of the Companion to offer advice or try to fix the Focuser. There is no room for judgment or critique of the Focuser. As difficult as it might be, the Companion cannot be seduced into problem solving with the Focuser or to analyze or try to make sense of what the Focuser is saying ( or not saying…!)
The role of the Companion falls into several categories:
- The Companion supports the Focuser in staying with the process… with the body feel of the felt-sense.
- The Companion helps to create and maintain a safe and healing atmosphere within which the Focusing takes place
- The Companion can assist the Focuser reconnect with a felt-sense if the Focuser has become distracted by mental analysis or problem solving.
- The Companion encourages the Focuser to pause before proceeding in the flow of his or her Focusing.
- The Companion can encourage the Focuser to physically anchor felt-senses and felt-shifts as they occur.
- The Companion can assist the Focuser in creating distance between her or his Self and the felt-sense as it unfolds and not be merged with it.
- The Companion can invite the Focuser to nurture the “more” that might be within the unfolding of the felt-sense or felt-shift.
- The Companion helps to create an atmosphere of caring-feeling presence within which the Focusing can take place.
- The Companion maintains and respects the confidentiality of the session at all times. The content of a Focusing session is never discussed outside of the Companioning relationship.
3. Role of the Focuser
At all times, the Focuser has total responsibility for the Focusing session. This means that the Focuser is the active participant in the Companioning session. From this perspective, it is the role of the Focuser:
- To determine how much interaction he or she wants from the Companion
- To choose what is Focused on and where to go with the flow of the unfolding
- To choose the extent to which the progress of the Focusing flow is shared
- To share or not share the content of the Focusing flow
- To pause or not to pause in the Focusing flow
- To correct a Companion’s reflection that is not quite right or misses the mark
- To have the right of confidentiality and privacy
The more the Companion and the Focuser follow the roles outlined above, the more fruitful and grace-filled the Focusing experience will be!