Inner Relationship Focusing

Connecting with the wisdom of your body

Click here for information on upcoming trainings.

Do you want to access your bodily wisdom? Do you find yourself saying, “Body? What body?” Do you feel like you’re stuck in your head and you want to get out?

With Inner Relationship Focusing, you will learn and practice gentle ways of staying present and sensing in the body that will enable your bodily wisdom to come forward and unfold into life. Even if you don’t feel anything in your body, with Inner Relationship Focusing, you will learn the skills to listen inwardly, sense what is there, and relate to it in a way that allows your body’s wisdom to unfold. You will experience yourself as more than your problem or challenge, and will experience how, as Gene Gendlin says, “every bad feeling is a potential energy towards a more right way of being if you just give it space to move towards its rightness.”

This process is a bit like a flower bulb. Even if you plant the bulb upside down, somehow it “knows” which way the sun is. It grows around the bottom of the bulb and up toward the light. Bad feelings are like flower bulbs planted upside down, and when given the chance, will find their right way of being, including action steps that can come forward effortlessly, when given the right kind of attention.

Like tulips and other spring bulbs, your insides can find their own right way, even in the midst of cold snow in March, as long as they are given a bit of light and warmth. Also like spring bulbs, inner life-forward energy is remarkably resilient, and will survive and thrive even after cold weather. With Inner Relationship Focusing, you can learn how to provide your insides with the light and warmth they need to flower.

The path of learning Inner Relationship Focusing includes four levels, as described below. Shulamit is an Inner Relationship Focusing Trainer and Guide, certified by Ann Weiser Cornell and the Focusing Institute.

Click here to learn more about Inner Relationship Focusing.

Inner Relationship Focusing training: Levels I to IV

Level 1: The Door Opens

With our Level One Focusing course, you’ll begin to learn about the wisdom of the body and how it can help you. Focusing encourages you to engage with what comes up when you sense inwardly. With this type of attention, your emotions get what they need in order to transform. 

Level 1 curriculum includes the following topics:

  • Presence & presence language: how to support yourself in becoming and staying present, even when you’re thrown off.
  • The felt sense: learn how to pay attention inside with a whole new level of awareness.
  • The role of the focuser: how to allow what you sense inside to unfold and reveal its message or meaning
  • The role of the companion: discover how to deeply listen to another, unlearning the patterns of forming your responses in your head and really take in what another person is saying.
  • Focusing partnerships: peer practice is a key way to harness the power of Focusing and you will learn how to have safe and fulfilling Focusing partnerships.

Level 2: The Path of the Companion

Focusing Level Two supports you in deepening your experience with Focusing and being a Focusing partner. 

Curriculum includes:

  • more tips and practice in cultivating the ability to be compassionately larger than your difficult emotions
  • more ways to help your Focusing partners do this as well
  • a supported process for coming into body awareness at the start of the session
  • more about the “edge,” that place where what is unclear becomes clear, and how that is the key to transformation
  • support in getting the most out of your Focusing process, especially in the places where you know it could go further but it isn’t
  • “advanced listening” skills for working with a partner

Level 3: The Guide’s Journey

Learn the deep structure of Focusing and even more ways to support your own Focusing and that of your partner. 

Level Three is often called the “deep structure” of Focusing. It includes:

  • more options for each stage of the Focusing process: more ways of starting, more ways of deepening your inner connection
  • very specific and powerful ways to go beyond just “being with it,” including the remarkable “not-wanting and wanting” process first developed in Treasure Maps to the Soul
  • more ways to bring Focusing into your life all day long, including in your interactions with other people
  • how to give graceful and unobtrusive “reminders” as a Companion, so the Focuser doesn’t have to do it all alone

Level 4: The Centre of the Maze

Level Four is about addressing difficulties in your Focusing process: inner critics, doubts, feeling too much or too little. It also enables Focusing to become even more integrated into your life. 

Level four includes:

  • understanding the most typical block to Focusing: being identified with a “feeling about a feeling,” (eg, not liking being afraid) – and how to help yourself and other people shift this experience
  • powerful language and attitudes for helping yourself and others shift your experience of an “inner criticizing process” that says things like, “You’re hopeless” and “This will never work.”
  • more ways to help yourself (or a partner) when you are feeling overwhelmed by strong emotional states
  • more ways to help yourself (or a partner) when you are feeling resistant to feeling anything
  • wider understanding of the concept of “body” and what makes our bodies so wise
  • how to let go of “rules” and still stay true to what is essential to the Focusing process

What is Inner Relationship Focusing?

Inner Relationship Focusing is a psychotherapeutic system and process developed by Ann Weiser Cornell and Barbara McGavin ( as a refinement and expansion of the Focusing process identified by Eugene Gendlin in the late 1960s (

The practice of IRF was developed over 18 years of intensive work with clients who were engaging with difficult issues such as action blocks, addiction (primarily eating disorders), depressed and anxious states, and experiences of low self-worth. In addition to these types of issues, IRF has been developed with people who wanted to make decisions that were appropriate for them and to feel more confident in their own inner sense of rightness about their next life-forward steps. Despite its application to difficult life issues, IRF is not a method that is aimed at particular problem areas, but is adaptable to any issue that a client has, including relationship issues and even the suffering caused by pain and physical symptoms.

Like the Focusing method from which it emerges, IRF can be taught to people as a self-growth skill and can be done in pairs in a ‘peer counselling’ format. Networks of people doing IRF with each other in ‘Focusing partnership’ have arisen in a number of places in the world, and since the process can be done by telephone, partners do not need to be in the same physical location in order to work with each other. Professionally, IRF is used by therapists, counselors, and other healing professionals in conjunction with other modalities, and it can also be done as a stand-alone practice by an ‘IRF Guide.’” –adapted from an article that appeared in the Focusing Folio: Volume 21, Number 1, 2008. Read the whole article at

Upcoming Trainings


Nov 20 & 21, 2015 in Rupert Quebec: IRF Level One 

When: Friday, November 20, 6:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. & Saturday, November 21, 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Where: Rendezvous Rupert, 26 Chemin Parent, La Pêche (Rupert), QC

Do you want to access your bodily wisdom? Do you find yourself saying, “Body? What body?” Do you feel like you’re stuck in your head and you want to get out?

In this workshop, you will learn and practice gentle ways of staying present and sensing in the body that will enable your bodily wisdom to come forward and unfold into life.

Upon completion of the workshop, you will receive a certificate in Inner Relationship Focusing Level I, which will entitle you to continue with levels II-IV with any Inner Relationship Focusing teacher and will give you access to the free worldwide Focusing peer partnership program. (Learn more about Inner Relationship Focusing and the different training levels here.)

The workshop will be hosted by Linda Vanderlee.

Registration deadline: Friday, November 13th, 4:00 p.m.

Fee: $260 for those who register by October 30th; $300 for registrations after October 30th.

Workshop fee includes a manual, two meals (light dinner on Friday, lunch on Saturday) and snacks. A receipt for social work services can be provided for a portion of the workshop fee for those who have insurance coverage.

If you have any questions about the training, please contact Shulamit at shulamit at shula dot ca or 613-868-9642. If you would like to register, contact Linda at lindavanderlee dot com or at 819 459-3580.



October 23rd in Chelsea, Quebec: Connecting with self: an introduction to relating with the body

Do you want to enhance your self-connection skills? Would you like support in bringing the body more fully into your awareness?

Join us for a day of self-care and learning, in a peace-filled environment with a simple, nourishing lunch and good company.

In this one-day workshop you will learn some simple techniques from Inner Relationship Focusing–a powerful way to be more connected with yourself–and engage in experiential activities that will nourish and ground you as you bring your body more fully into your awareness.

Date: October 23rd, 2015, 9:30am – 4pm
Location: Chelsea, Quebec (address provided upon registration)
Fee: earlybird registration $200. Deadline 9 Oct 2015 at 4 pm
regular registration $225. Deadline 16 Oct 2014 at 4 pm

To register, contact Jan Christensen at

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