General Intro

Several of the lecture-style presentations were videoed at the First EFA Conference in Loutraki, Greece ( and are now being edited for public presentation by Nikolaos Kypriotakis with the help of Judy Moore. With the permission of the presenter, Mia Leijssen, PhD (Belgium) we are happy to share with you EFA members the 4th video/lecture and to make it available for the benefit of the wider Focusing community.


Lecture/Presentation: Living forward. The challenge of carrying forward Gendlin’s legacy.

Mia Leijssen, PhD (Belgium)

Part 2 (the Lecture)

Part 1 (the meditative exercise)



Mia Leijssen, PhD:

edX: “Existential Well-being Counseling: A Person-centered Experiential Approach”:

1st European Focusing Conference: “Facets of Focusing”

May 10-14, 2018, Loutraki, Greece
a European Focusing Association (EFA) event

Mia Leijssen, PhD

Mia Leijssen PhD. Professor Em. Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy | University of Leuven. Experiential Psychotherapist and Focusing Teacher since 1981. In 2016 she developed a Massive Open Online Course: Existential Well-being Counseling: A Person-centered Experiential Approach. Until now 40 000 participants enrolled in this international ‘free of charge’ course.
He is now retired from his counselling and teaching work, but continues to write on philosophical themes related to therapy.


The full manuscript/handout can be downloaded here: Living_forward_EFA_lecture.pdf


Gendlin used the concept ‘living forward’ or ‘life-forward energy’ only a few times in his writings. However it is implied in everything he has written and we can read between the lines that it has been of huge importance in his way of thinking, practicing and living, as for instance shines through in these quotes: #

“If one’s attitude is welcoming, even long-fixated memories come as part of fresh living forward, rather than as constriction and stoppage.” Gendlin (1999). #

“It took me a long time to affirm that the ongoing bodily experiencing has its own inherent life-forwarding implying. The little steps that arise at the edge are creative, imaginative, and always in some positive direction.” Gendlin (2003). #

“In bodily terms ‘help’ means anything that brings life-forward energy.” Gendlin (2012). #

In this lecture I will make explicit how Gendlin as the most important ‘game changer’ in the field of Psychotherapy and Philosophy paved the road for some revolutionary steps, that imply several paradigm shifts in the traditional Western way of thinking, acting and living. #

I will explain the paradigm shifts introduced by Gendlin’s approach, by developing the living forward concept along the following themes:

  1. How we can understand ‘life forward energy’. Different aspects of this felt energy in the physical, the interpersonal, the inner, and the transpersonal realms of our experience will be highlighted. #
  2. How we can come into contact with this ‘living forward’. And how the process of contacting the ‘living forward’ is different from the process of letting a ‘felt sense’ arise. #
  3. How we can facilitate the helping process of working with ‘life forward energy’. And how this broadens the therapeutic approach to using other ways of working than an ‘interpersonal talking cure’. #
  4. How or bodily felt contact with living forward opens new perspectives on human development, healing and wellbeing. #

Thus Gendlin’s ideas will be moved forward and each of us will be invited to interact in a living forward way.​

©2024 European Focusing Association (EFA).


We're not around right now. But you can send us an email and we'll get back to you, asap.


Log in with your credentials

Forgot your details?