Focusing in Ireland

Eugene Gendlin, a short biography

Gene GendlinEugene Gendlin: born Eugen Gendelin; 25 December 1926, Vienna; died 1 May 2017 in New York. He and his family fled Vienna to the United States in 1938 to escape the Nazis. After serving in the US navy he studied at the University of Chicago where he received a PhD in philosophy.

There, he also studied psychology under and worked with Carl Rogers during the 1950s. Gendlin’s theories impacted Rogers’ own beliefs and played a role in Rogers’ view of psychotherapy. After graduation, Gendlin was Research Director at the Psychiatric Institute of the University of Wisconsin from 1958 to 1963. He then became a professor of philosophy and psychology at the University of Chicago, where he worked from 1964 to 1995. As well as developing the theory and practice of Focusing while at Chicago, he taught a course on theory-building that later gave rise to a new practice called “Thinking at the Edge,” a fourteen-step method for drawing on one’s non-conceptual, experiential knowing about any topic to create novel theory and concepts.

Gendlin founded The Focusing Institute in 1979 to facilitate training and education in Focusing to academic and professional communities and to share the practice with the public. He has been honoured by the American Psychological Association (APA) four times, and he was the first recipient of the APA's Distinguished Professional Psychologist of the Year award. He was also awarded the Viktor Frankl prize by the Viktor Frankl Family Foundation in 2008. Gendlin was a founder and editor of the journal, Psychotherapy: Theory Research and Practice. He wrote several books on philosophy and psychology, including Experiencing and the Creation of Meaning (1962), Focusing (1978) which has sold over half a million copies and has been translated into 17 languages, Let Your Body Interpret Your Dreams (1986), Focusing Oriented Psychotherapy (1996), and A Process Model (1996).

He is internationally recognized as a major American philosopher and psychologist.


Recent News June 2021


Eugene Gendlin Receives Lifetime Acheivement Award From APA

Dr. Theopia Jackson from Division 32 of the American Psychological Association (the Society for Humanistic Psychology) wrote to The International Focusing Institute with the wonderful news:

"On behalf of the Society for Humanistic Psychology, Division 32, it is my pleasure, as this year’s Awards Chair, to inform you that the Executive Board have unanimously voted to present Dr Gendlin the 2020-2021 Memorial Award for Lifetime Achievement: given to an individual in recognition of distinguished lifetime contributions to humanistic psychology."

The award was given at an online event on Sunday, June 6, 2021. 
TIFI's Executive Director Catherine Torpey and Gendlin Center Chair Kevin Krycka accepted the award on behalf of the Institute. The award itself will be sent to Gene's son, Gerry Gendlin.

At the beginning of his career, in 1970, Gene was the first recipient of the "Distinguished Professional Award in Psychology and Psychotherapy" from the APA's Division of Psychotherapy (Division 29). Receiving this award now puts a meaningful cap on the recognition Gene has received from the APA. We are grateful and humbled to accept this award together with his family.


Piece extracted from The International Focusing Institute


This biography is a collation/compilation of information from the following websites: - Gendlin Bio

Good Therapy - Famous Psychologists

Alchetron - Eugene Gendlin - Eugene Gendlin

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