Change, an integrative focusing model

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Vorauer, Lynda
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This practicum report explores the use of an intervention called focusing with a population of university students at the University of Manitoba Counselling Service. Focusing is viewed primarily of interest to social work as a technique to access the body sense of the difficulties in erson:environment transactions and thus create change in transactions. Since stress is an indicator of difficulty in the transaction, a stress-coping transactional model is used as a basis for integrating focusing into a social work framework. The intervention is used with a university student population because of the dual factors of the stress in being a student combined with the transitions required of the late adolescent life stage. The integration of focusing is examined in three other areas: the strengths perspective, narrative metaphor, and brief therapy. The report examines how integrating perspectives and connecting to messages from the body can contribute to the development of client strengths and empowerment. The thoughts, images, and feelings which emerge from the body sense are like a story and through the shifts or changes in the story, new stories emerge. Therefore, the connection to narrative therapy as a way of opening space for new stories is explored. In this practicum, focusing is used in a brief therapy format, appropriate for this population. Focusing is used as a part of a complete social work intervention. The report discusses the importance of focusing as an integrative model of social work theory and practice. The core of this integrative model is the information focusing can provide about the internal responses of the person in relationship to their environment.