Michael Picucci (1945-2018) was a contemporary psychologist who developed a therapeutic technique called Focalizing: Going Within to Move Beyond.

Professional Life

Michael Picucci held a doctorate in addiction psychology. He elected to return to school to study psychology after a successful battle with cancer in the 1980s. Picucci had been diagnosed with terminal lymphoma in 1983, after losing his wife to cancer. Picucci was a master addiction counselor and a private practice psychologist who specialized in treating the emotional effects of HIV/AIDS and addiction. 

As a long-term survivor of trauma, lymphoma, and HIV, Picucci used his personal experiences to create his therapeutic techniques. Picucci lead workshops and trainings in Focalizing; he was the founder and director of the Institute for Staged Recovery in New York City, and he lead an annual retreat for gay and bisexual men.

Picucci published the book Complete Recovery: An Expanded Model of Community Healing in 1996, and The Journey Toward Complete Recovery: Reclaiming Your Emotional, Spiritual & Sexual Wholeness in 1998. and practiced in New York. His partner, Dr. Elias Guererro, played a critical role in Picucci's work.  

Contribution to Psychology

Focalizing is a therapeutic technique that allows a person to access the wisdom of the unconscious to overcome psychological obstacles. Picucci argued that many people who have suffered traumatic experiences, like loss, abandonment, or abuse, create emotional blocks that prevent them from adequately adjusting to ever-changing life situations. Picucci argued that focalizing can be a powerful tool to help an individual cope during that stressful time.

Focalizing enables a client to set aside pervasive conscious thoughts that can impair forward progress, focusing instead on unconscious patterns and habits resulting from traumatic experiences and their accompanying emotions. Ultimately, this leads to the ability to initiate positive changes, leading to the achievement of long-held goals.

Focalizing is usually conducted in group settings that provide the opportunity for the release of a stronger “energy force.” Picucci believed that the emotional and psychological changes that occur during focalizing rely on inner energy, and collective energy is more powerful than individual energy. The release of the energy allows for the eradication of emotional blocks and permits the body to engage the healthier, unconscious resources within.

Focalizing is a relatively new approach to therapy and has not been the subject of many studies, so its effectiveness and scientific validity are currently unknown. 


  1. Bing, J., Simson, M., Zaleski, J., & Gediman, P. (1998). The journey toward complete recovery: Reclaiming your emotional, spiritual & sexual wholeness. Publishers Weekly, 245(42), 64-65. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/197031992?accountid=1229
  2. Pritchard, Evan. (n.d.).  Michael Picucci. Authentic Process Healing Institute. Retrieved from http://www.theinstitute.org/community/michael_bio.shtml