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  • Writer's pictureFocusing Arts Admin

Akira Ikemi – Exploring the Fundamentals of Focusing: Experiencing and Crossing

November 10, 2021

We were delighted to have launched our new series, Roots, Branches, and Wings, starting off with Dr. Akira Ikemi presenting Exploring the Fundamentals of Focusing: Experiencing and Crossing. It was a heartwarming presentation with participants from around the world as we listened to Akira’s stories about meeting Gene Gendlin and seeing photographs that showed some of Gene’s life– his home in Vienna, the school he went to, and the area he lived, near Freud and Adler. Listening to stories like these helps to illuminate and carry forward deeper understandings of the living roots of Focusing and its philosophy– which continue to unfold in new ways today!

Akira explained the influences of Wilhelm Dilthey’s Hermeneutics on Gene Gendlin and how impactful it was in his development of Focusing. Akira then led a Focusing exercise that he created, Crossing with Animals, which helped to teach two concepts of Gene’s philosophy: Experiencing and Crossing. In addition to the partner and group sharing, he taught participants how to apply the principles of Experiencing and Crossing to art expressions. This truly enriched the understanding and practice of Focusing-Oriented Expressive Arts (FOAT). After the presentation, he took extra time to answer questions and hear sharings from participants for added learning opportunities and community!

A couple highlights from participants:

I enjoyed the fact the event was unhurried so that I could absorb some of the ideas. I also loved learning about Gendlin.
It was a lovely presentation. I loved the exercise we did with our partner and found it helpful to understanding a little of how Focusing works.


About Akira Ikemi:

Akira Ikemi, Ph.D. studied with Professor Eugene Gendlin at the University of Chicago around the time the book Focusing was published. He has taught full time at universities in Japan, and is currently professor at Kansai University Graduate School of Psychology. Akira is a Certifying Coordinator of The International Focusing Institute (TIFI) and has served as a board member of that institute, as well as of other academic organizations, including the World Association for Person Centered and Experiential Psychotherapy and Counseling, and the Japanese Association for Humanistic Psychology. He is one of the founders and past-presidents of the Japan Focusing Association. Dr. Ikemi has written many articles and books in Japanese and in English, and teaches internationally online. He was named a “Living Luminary” by the Journal of Humanistic Counseling (USA) and he is the fifteenth person to receive the prestigious Japanese Association of Humanistic Psychology Award.

For more on this topic or to contact Dr. Akira Ikemi, visit


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