Practical Guidelines


  • Take some time to arrive in your body and create a sense of grounded presence. Ask your companion for help or guidance if you need it.

  • Acknowledge any pre-existing thoughts, associations, feelings or felt sense about the poem. Maybe noticing why you chose this poem (you may or may not have a sense of that), or if you feel it is ‘calling’ to you in some way.

  • RobinReflectionRead the poem aloud (reading it silently would affect the companion’s engagement and presence in the process). Read it slowly and pause during the reading whenever you need to do so if you feel something arising within you that needs attention. You could pause after each line, and check the impact of the poem line by line, or whenever you feel a need to. Maybe certain words evoke a response. You could repeat a particular word, phrase, line or verse/part of the poem if it resonates with you.

  • Your companion can reflect what you say in a usual Focusing way, if you want them to, or they can listen silently.

  • You might want your companion to repeat a line or phrase of the poem after you read it, or even to read the whole poem. If you want the option of having the whole poem read to you by the companion, you could screen-share it (if you have it on your computer), use the ‘chat’ facility and copy and paste it, or send them a weblink to access the poem online.

  • Focusing on a poem can sometimes bring up strong emotions – give yourself time and space to be with whatever arises in your body. This might mean, if your poem is long, that you don’t have time to get to the end of it in the allocated time. That’s ok – you can always come back to it another time by carrying it forward into another Focusing session. Sometimes a whole Focusing session can arise from just one line of a poem!

  • Reading the poem might bring up a memory, or a situation in your life, or an insight about something – give yourself time and space to embrace whatever arises during the process. What arises could be ‘personal’ or a response to something that’s happening in the world.

  • You may get a felt sense of the whole poem, or maybe sense different aspects of the poem that you are drawn to, or different questions that arise – in this case you could ‘clear the space’ and name the different facets – and then get a sense of how to proceed. You have the option of revisiting the poem, or carrying the process forward in a future Focusing session with a regular partner.


Gordon Adam (November 2020)

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