Barbara McGavin is part of the British Focusing Teacher’s Association and works as an Accrediting Mentor, helping other students learn the practice of Focusing therapy. She is also a Certifying Coordinator for The Focusing Institute, which was founded in 1986 in Spring Valley, New York. She divides her time in Britain and in California, where she conducts workshops and performs clinical practice. McGavin has experience across many disciplines, including teaching, psychology, graphic design, and fine art. She explores different techniques for integrating creative arts and focusing and created a technique called From Spark to Beacon in order to encourage people to tap into their own creative abilities and develop them to their fullest potential.
Contribution to Psychology
McGavin has been practicing focusing since 1983 and she is a co-founder of The British Focusing Network. She has collaborated with Ann Weiser Cornell since the early 1990’s, and has worked with her to pioneer the Inner Relationship Focusing in an effort to teach people the art of focusing. Together with Cornell, McGavin has researched focusing and how it can be applied to the most challenging experiences and their work Treasure Maps to the Soul is a product of that research. McGavin strives to help people learn Focusing in the most enjoyable and effective way possible and encourages them to integrate focusing into their daily lives.
Focusing is an experiential form of therapy that involves awareness of the physical sense. A Focusing trainer or a licensed focusing therapist works with a client to facilitate change through identifying and exploring what is known as a felt sense. A felt sense is a physical awareness of something that is not yet verbalized. Through Focusing, a client learns to recognize the physical sensation or reaction or nuance, of something impending, whether that be an action, emotion, or even a word or description. The focuser (the client) and the listener (the therapist) work together to find the proper words that embody the felt sense, and then use this enlightenment for growth in the development of new thoughts, actions, and behaviors. By becoming acutely aware of the body’s sensations, a focuser becomes open to allowing their own body and mind to formulate the next course of action. Focusing can be done in clinical settings, individually, or can be applied to communities, groups, and schools. The creative aspect of focusing, involving drawing or sketching, is especially effective when used with children.