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Therapist Roundtable - The Role Of Values In Psychotherapy: An Exploration Of Gene's Thoughts

  • 8 Jun 2022
  • Online

Part of the Focusing Roundtable Series

This Therapist Roundtable will draw from chapter 21 on Values in Gendlin’s book, "Focusing-Oriented Psychotherapy: A Manual of the Experiential Method" (1996). In this chapter, Gendlin explores the meaning of “values” to us as humans and more particularly the role of values in psychotherapy.

Presented by The International Focusing Institute

Wednesday, June 8, 2022


This Therapist Roundtable will draw from chapter 21 on Values in Gendlin’s book, Focusing-Oriented Psychotherapy: A Manual of the Experiential Method (1996), pp.264-275.

In this chapter, Gendlin explores the meaning of “values” to us as humans and more particularly the role of values in psychotherapy. He writes, “values are often thought of as general principles or preferences…. We need to recognize a valuing process that is much deeper than such generalizations.” (p.265) “Experiencing generates more differentiated values from itself. Such values are not imposed from the outside.” (p.267)

He explains how values can be used in psychotherapy in ways that help or hinder the client’s life-forward process. Gene suggests that therapists should maintain “value-neutrality” but also “take a stand in favor of a client’s life-forward direction”. (p.264) He cautions, “We can see how senseless and even damaging it can be to push a generalized value statement on someone without knowing the experiential effect it has in them. We cannot know what a value means inside another person or in ourselves, unless its experiential effect is entered into, through focusing.” (pp. 270-71)

This does not mean that values should be excluded from psychotherapy—far from it! Gene tells us, “general value statements matter a great deal, and precisely because they can have great experiential effects. A bodily shift similar to a bodily shift during focusing may happen as we discover or recall a value….Value affirmation lets the problem be felt in the context of a life-forward direction. This does not solve the problem but now the problem brings a new felt sense, so that steps toward solving it can come. Therefore values constitute an avenue of therapy. ” [emphasis added], (p. 272)

In preparation for this Roundtable, we ask that you thoughtfully read chapter 21, a copy of which will be sent to you after you register. You can use it to mark the sections that stand out for you. Questions you might reflect upon as you read are:

What speaks to me in this chapter?”

How does it apply to my own practice or my own life?

How might I integrate Gene’s teachings to make my work more effective?

At the Roundtable we will spend some time exploring these questions and our own reactions to the reading as it relates to our work with clients. Of course, other issues and ideas may emerge from our mutual exploration during the Roundtable. We look forward to a rich and enlightening conversation.

Mary Anne Schleinich, MPS, BScOT is a counselling body psychotherapist in private practice in Calgary and online. She is certified with the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association and The International Focusing Institute as a Focusing Oriented Therapist. She integrates 14 years of work as an OT in palliative care, somatic psychotherapy with Bill Bowen and Internal Family Systems classes and group work.

Julie Ramsey, LICSW, FOT, is a psychotherapist in private practice in Wellesley, MA. She works with adolescents and adults in individual and couples therapy. She also teaches Focusing in small groups and enjoys bringing Focusing to all aspects of her work and life. She is a Coordinator-in-Training.

Steve Moscovitch, MSW is a therapist in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. He has been a Certified Focusing Trainer since 2002 and has integrated Focusing and a Focusing orientation into his work in individual, couples and family therapy for 20 years of his 38-year career. Other significant recent trainings are Emotion Focused Couple Therapy and Internal Family Systems.

Susan Lennox, PhD, CPC, is a psychotherapist and coach in private practice in Westminster, Colorado. She is a Focusing Coordinator and has been a Certified Focusing Professional since 2000. Susan integrates Focusing and Internal Family Systems (IFS) into her work with her clients.

Wednesday, June 8, 2022

10:00 am - 12:00 pm Pacific Time

Location: Online via Zoom

Cost: No cost to TIFI members

Registration info: Contact The International Focusing Institute with any questions: Phone: (845) 480-5111 Email:

1321 Antoine Dr.
Houston, TX 77055


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