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WEBINAR. Focusing and Dreamwork: Doorways to Embodied Non-verbal Attachment and Trauma Memory.

  • 12 Dec 2019
  • 4:00 PM - 6:00 PM
  • Zoom


  • Members don't pay

Registration is closed

USABP Spotlight Webinar Series and the International Focusing Institute present:

Focusing and Dreamwork: Doorways to Embodied Non-verbal Attachment and Trauma Memory.

Presented by Dr. Leslie Ellis

Workshop Description

This workshop will cover the basics of focusing as developed by Gendlin, including experiential guidance so you can bring the essence of this gentle yet powerful practice into your body. Dr. Leslie Ellis will describe how focusing opens the doorway to implicit embodied knowledge, including early relational patterns and trauma. She will then describe how dreams and focusing powerfully combine to unearth information about what are bodies are trying to tell us NOW. According to Gendlin, dreams bring “just what you need” and focusing is a way to capture their helpful, “life-forward” essence.

5 - 7 Bullet Points Summarizing Main Points of Workshop

▪An overview and experience of focusing

▪Understanding focusing as a doorway to implicit knowing

▪How focusing helps unearth and tend to trauma in the body

▪An introduction to focusing-oriented dreamwork

▪Finding the ‘help’ or life force in the dream

▪Experiential practice or demo of focusing dreamwork

▪Questions and discussion


First five minutes - Interview with Presenter

85 minutes of presentation

Conclusion and Review

30 minutes of Q&A

Learning Objectives

Participants will be able to:

- Describe the history and basics steps of Gendlin’s focusing

- Understand and begin to apply focusing as a way to access embodied implicit memory

- Describe how focusing naturally moves a person forward in an organic way

- Understand how to use focusing to work with a dream (or daydream)

- Understand how to find the helpful ‘life-forward’ energy in dreams

Presenter Information

Leslie Ellis, PhD

Registered Clinical Counsellor (RCC #1931, BC, Canada)

4505 Stonehaven Avenue

North Vancouver, BC Canada V7G 1E7



Job Description: Author, speaker, teacher, psychotherapist

Presenter Bio

Dr. Leslie Ellis is a teacher, author, speaker and psychotherapist. She offers online dreamwork instruction based on her book, A Clinician’s Guide to Dream Therapy as well as individual dreamwork sessions and training in somatic approaches to psychotherapy. She teaches a two-year certification program in focusing. Leslie has a PhD in Clinical Psychology from the Chicago School of Professional Psychology and a Masters from Pacific Graduate Institute. She is vice president and a Certifying Coordinator with The International Focusing Institute. She conducts research into embodied dreamwork and has numerous publication and speaking credits.

Resumes / Curriculum Vitas


I am an author, teacher and researcher interested in the use of somatic and experiential practices (especially focusing and dreamwork) for alleviating suffering, fostering creativity and initiating lasting change. I have operated a private psychotherapy practice in the Vancouver area for more than 20 years with a special interest in one-on-one counselling using a confluence of focusing and Jungian techniques to alleviate anxiety, depression and the effects of trauma. I am part-time adjunct faculty at Adler University and vice president of the Focusing Institute. I coordinate and teach a Vancouver-based focusing-oriented therapy certification program for practicing therapists and graduate students. My approach to teaching and psychotherapy incorporates somatic and imaginal approaches to engender ‘life-forward’ process that comes directly from the client’s internal wisdom and experience.



Ph.D., Chicago School of Professional Psychology, 2015

I completed my PhD with distinction in Clinical Psychology with a concentration in Somatic Psychology. My dissertation was entitled The Effects of Focusing-Oriented Dream Imagery Therapy for Trauma Survivors with Repetitive Nightmares. I worked with the Vancouver Association for the Survivors of Torture to develop a protocol to help those with PTSD to reduce their nightmares and PTSD symptoms, and to determine mechanisms of action for this approach. I was awarded a Global Psychology scholarship for my research and the 2015 Ernest Hartman award for student research from the International Association for the Study of Dreams (IASD).

Master of Arts, Counselling Psychology, Pacifica Graduate Institute, 1998

Course work at Pacifica was aimed at providing students with the ability to earn the Marriage, Family and Child Counsellor (MFCC) designation in the state of California. In addition to a thorough grounding in clinical methodologies for individuals, couples, groups and families, students learned the theory and practice of Jungian-oriented psychotherapy. My thesis for Pacifica focused on ways to work with adolescent girls at risk or in conflict.

The International Focusing Institute, New York, 2009 - present

In 2009, I completed the requirements to become a certifying coordinator with The International Focusing Institute. This involved assisting in teaching and coaching an intensive two-year series of focusing courses for therapists, with an emphasis on the use of focusing for treatment of complex trauma. I am now vice president of TIFI and also act as liaison to the Gendlin Centre for supporting research in focusing.

Pacific Centre for Focusing, 2000

I completed a two-year course of study in the principles and practice of Focusing, and the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder. A major objective of the course was to provide students with the ability to use focusing as a tool to work with victims of trauma and abuse.

Bachelor of Fine Arts, 1988

(Creative Writing) and English Literature (double major), University of Victoria

Graduated with distinction. Won major academic and athletic awards.

Advanced Jungian studies

Continuing studies in Jungian psychology have included: Finding Meaning in the Second Half of Life: How to Finally, Really Grow Up, with James Hollis; Dream Tending with Stephen Aizenstat; Embodied Dreamwork with Robert Bosnak; and Advanced Jungian Concepts with John Betts.

Continuing Somatic studies

In addition to in-depth Focusing training, other somatic approaches studied include Somatic Experiencing, the Hakomi method, and Psoma Yoga, a variant of the Hakomi method. I have used my expertise in somatic and experiential approaches to psychotherapy to develop my own method of embodied, experiential dream work that combines focusing with Jungian active imagination techniques.

Courses in teaching at the post-graduate level

I have completed (with distinction) the Preparing Future Psychology Faculty course offered to students at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology who show promise as future faculty members. I have also completed a course in Teaching Online Pedagogy and Standards.



Registered Clinical Counsellor with the BC Association of Clinical Counsellors.

Vice President and Certifying Coordinator, The International Focusing Institute, New York, NY.

Member, US Association of Body Psychotherapy

Member, International Association for the Study of Dreams



Article: Body dreamwork: Using focusing to find the life force inherent in dreams (in press). International Body Psychotherapy Journal (IPBJ).

Book: A clinician’s guide to dream therapy: Implementing simple and effective dreamwork. Routledge, forthcoming, August 2019.

Presentation: Navigating the Dream Divide: Unique experience or waking-life commentary? Conference for the International Association for the Study of Dreams, Clinical track. June 24, 2019, Kerkgrade, The Netherlands.

Ellis, L. A. (2019). Common factors leading to a universal approach to dreamwork: A qualitative analysis. Dreaming (29), 1, 22-39.

Presentation: The nightmare is the most useful dream, revisited: Working with nightmares to unlock the potential for transformation of emotional memories. MIT Dream Engineering Symposium. Boston, MA, Jan. 28-29, 2019.

Presentation: Body Dreamwork: Using focusing to find the life force inherent in dreams. US Association for Body Psychotherapy (USABP) Conference, Santa Barbara, CA, Nov. 3, 2018.

Presentation: Common factors in dreamwork. International Association for the Study of Dreams Conference, Scottsdale, Arizona, June 19, 2018

Chapter: Body dreamwork: Using focusing to interpret your dreams. In Dreams: Understanding Biology, Psychology and Culture. A 2-volume reference book forthcoming (2019) from ABC-Clio/Greenwood.

Body Dreamwork: Using focusing to find the life force inherent in dreams and nightmares. Panel discussion and workshop. International Association for the Study of Dreams Conference, Anaheim, California, June 17, 2017.

Ellis, L. A. Qualitative changes in recurrent PTSD nightmares after focusing-oriented dreamwork. Dreaming, September 2016, Vol. 26, No. 3.

Chapter: Focusing-Oriented Dreamwork. In Lewis, J. & Krippner, S. (Eds.), Working with Dreams and Nightmares: 14 Approaches for Psychotherapists and Counselors. Praeger, 2016.

Introduction to Focusing-Oriented Therapy. Invited speaker at the November, 2014 conference for the Ending Violence Association of BC, Richmond, BC.

Stopping the Nightmare: The use of focusing-oriented dream imagery therapy for the treatment of PTSD. Presented at the Third International Conference for Focusing-Oriented Psychotherapies, May 15-18, 2014, Stony Point, New York.

The Inner Journey: Focusing and Jung in The Folio: Journal of Focusing and Experiential Therapy, 25(1), 2014.

Chapter: Living the dream: Evolving approaches to focusing-oriented and embodied dream work. In Madison G. (Ed.), Advances in Focusing-Oriented Psychotherapy. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2014.

Incongruence as a doorway to deeper self-awareness using experiential focusing-oriented dreamwork. Person-Centered and Experiential Psychotherapies Journal, 12(3), 274-287, 2013. This article explores common ground between Carl Jung, Eugene Gendlin and Carl Rogers in approaching the dream, and includes clinical examples.

Seminar on Imaginal Focusing and Embodied Dreamwork, Cape Town, South Africa, March 2013 for the local chapter of the Focusing Institute.

The Fundamentals of Focusing-Oriented Therapy, Seminar for the BC Association of Clinical Counsellors, February 2013, with Adler School of Professional Psychology.

The Attuned Brain: Crossings in Focusing-Oriented Therapy and Neuroscience. The Folio, A Journal for Focusing and Experiential Therapy, 23(1), 2012.

A New Understanding of Grieving, in Insights into Clinical Counselling, The BC Clinical Counsellors’ Magazine, February, 2011.

Focusing: A Way to Deepen Experiencing for More Effective Psychotherapy, in Insights into Clinical Counselling, The BC Clinical Counsellors’ Magazine, April 2010.

Finding a Way Home: Working Safely with Complex Trauma, a pre-conference workshop on the theory a practice of using focusing to help clients who have experienced trauma to build an observer self, and to help therapists see and understand regressions and awareness of the body’s non-verbal cues. Focusing-Oriented Therapy: First World Conference, November 2010, Stony Point, New York.

Jungian Dreamwork and Focusing, an exploration of the intersection of Jungian dreamwork practices and those described by Eugene Gendlin in Let Your Body Interpret Your Dreams, and an exploration of the question: are dreams meant to serve us and our personal development, or are we meant to experience them deeply and ask how we may serve them? Focusing-Oriented Therapy: First World Conference November, 2010, Stony Point, New York.

Understanding Adolescent Risk-Taking, a series of articles aimed at helping parents understand and manage high-risk behavior in their teen-age children, BC Parent Magazine, 2007.

Sea of Cranberries, an in-depth look at BC’s cranberry industry, cover story, Canadian Geographic, Sept./Oct., 1993. This is one of hundreds of articles I have written and published in various periodicals, including Canadian Business, The Globe and Mail, and BC Business.


Private practice.

I have been a psychotherapist in private practice since 1998. I work with individuals on presenting issues that include depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, addiction, life transitions and relationship difficulties. I work with adults and adolescents using a focusing-oriented, client centered approach.

Adjunct faculty, Adler University (2015 – present)

I joined Adler University as an adjunct faculty member immediately upon completion of my Ph.D. in 2015. I have taught theories of psychotherapy, a survey course for Masters students, and supervised clinical practicums and research projects. I also authored a trauma theory course that is now part of Adler’s core curriculum. Other areas of teaching expertise include clinical skills, trauma theory and techniques, dreamwork and somatic approaches to psychotherapy.

Counsellor, North Shore Family Services.

From 2000 to 2003, I worked at Family Services of the North Shore providing contract counselling services to individuals, couples and families for a broad range of issues.

Certifying Coordinator, The Focusing Institute

In 2009, I completed the requirements to become a Certifying Coordinator with the Focusing Institute in New York, NY. I developed and now coordinate a two-year certification program for mental health professionals. The successful program has been operation in Vancouver since 2010. My role includes teaching, curriculum development, marketing and administration of the program, as well as hiring and training teaching and support staff.

Mental Health Services Provider, Worksafe BC

From 2012 to 2014, I provided assessment and counseling services for Worksafe BC, with a focus on work with severe PTSD cases. 

Focusing trainer/practitioner.

In 1999/2000, I completed the requirements to become a Registered Focusing Trainer with the Focusing Institute in New York, NY.

Therapist, Share Counselling Centre.

In 1997/98, I completed a year-long internship at Share and continued providing counselling services on a part-time volunteer basis, for an additional year. I worked with those suffering from addictions, adolescent girls (both as individuals and in group), couples and families. The focus of my work at Share was with adolescent girls, as well as with parent-teen conflict cases.


For ten years starting in 1985, I was a business and science journalist. Jobs included: editor of BCDiscovery Magazine and its successor, Monitor, BC’s magazine for the advanced technology industry; and editor of the high tech section, Vancouver Sun. As a freelance writer, my work was published in numerous magazines and newspapers, including Globe and Mail, BC Business and Canadian Geographic.   


Ellis, L. (2019) A clinician’s guide to dream therapy: Implementing simple and effective dreamwork. New York & London: Routledge.

Gendlin, E. T. (1978/1981). Focusing. New York: Bantam Books.

Gendin, E. T. (1986). Let your body interpret your dreams. Wilmette, IL: Chiron Publications.

Gendlin, E. T. (1992). Three learnings since the dreambook. The Folio, 11(1), 25-30. Retrieved from

Gendlin, E. T. (1996). Focusing-oriented psychotherapy: A manual of the experiential method. New York, NY: The Guilford Press.

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