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At least since I was in high school I have had a deep interest in both psychology and spirituality. Certain early events in my life led me to understand that each person’s spiritual journey is uniquely generated from within.  It is each person’s challenge to learn how to follow this inner guidance and to be faithful to one’s highest intentions.

I grew up at a time in history when young people were searching for ways of life that expressed their authenticity and ways to continue to develop as a person, rather than fulfill roles or parental expectations. I “knew” in an intuitive sense back then, that these two pathways (spiritual and personal growth) are intertwined and it has been my life work to learn how to be a healing presence for those seeking a kind of wholeness that is rich with spiritual purpose.

After I graduated from college I encountered the works of Carl Rogers, Ph.D. and Eugene Gendlin, Ph.D. Through studying each of their work, I began to learn what kinds of relationships and what kinds of psychological processes really help people develop and act in the world in authentic ways. My own self-exploration also deepened my appreciation of the importance of knowing myself from the ‘inside.’ I learned ways to explore my experiences even before there are words or interpretations in order to really discover what is ‘true’ for me and to clarify my highest values from which I want to live my life. I became very motivated to apply what I had learned to be helpful to other people in this way.

I became certified as a Person-Centered Psychotherapist through a training program offered at the Chicago Counseling and Psychotherapy Center, founded by Carl Rogers in Hyde Park, IL. Shortly after this I began studying with Eugene Gendlin who later hired me as the first Director of The Focusing Institute. I became very active in teaching Focusing to small groups and helped to develop an international training program leading towards certification.

A while later, I began my studies at The Divinity School at The University of Chicago and discovered the deep diversity of spiritual pathways through my study of world religions. I had the opportunity to study religious mystics and this began my exploration of the psychology of spirituality. While continuing my academic education, I studied with different spiritual teachers and practiced a range of meditation practices, contemplations, and prayer.

This was a fertile time in my life. My religious life and interest in world religions led me to want to learn more about how peoples’ faith helps in times of crisis. So I entered a training program in hospital chaplaincy. I was especially affected by how the power of a lived faith supports a person’s physical healing and enables a person to face a dying process or a significant loss. I wanted to understand what it really meant to ‘live out one’s faith’ and how people develop spiritually during times of questioning their faith or religion.

During this time I began working with people who were diagnosed with cancer and I began a doctoral program in clinical psychology at The Illinois School of Professional Psychology, Chicago, Illinois. I then became interested in how people sustain health under stress and how to develop healthy life-style habits. I joined the staff at Advocate Medical Group Center for Complementary Medicine in Park Ridge, Illinois, a multidisciplinary center that provided a team approach to holistic treatment. I brought a Focusing-Oriented Approach to treatment of stress-related illnesses as well as other chronic illnesses and serious diseases.

My ongoing interest in teaching and training included serving on the faculty of The Illinois School (now The American School) of Professional Psychology for 15 years, serving both as Adjunct Faculty and Associate Professor. I have recently joined the faculty of The Institute of Transpersonal Psychology, Palo Alto, CA as Associate Professor in their doctoral program in clinical psychology. I am very excited to have the opportunity to teach in this academic environment here in California because of its commitment to the integration of mind/body/spirit.

I have been a Certifying Coordinator for The Focusing Institute for 19 years. During the past five years I served on the faculty for the Weeklong Certification Program in New York. This program invites trainers in training from all over the world who have completed their training of 2 or more years to become certified as either a Focusing Professional or a Focusing-Oriented Psychotherapist.

I have studied and practiced both within the Christian Contemplative traditions and the Buddhist tradition over the last 30 years. Nine years ago I made a conscious decision to practice Soto Zen Buddhism and to study the Sutras and Practice Manuals. In 2007 I was lay ordained in the Jukai Ceremony at Udumbara Zen Center, Evanston, IL. by Roshi Diane Martin, Ph.D.

I have also taught internationally for many years, including The Netherlands, Hong Kong, Canada and this year I taught a workshop and presented two papers at the World Congress on Psychotherapy in Beijing, China and at both the Japanese Focusing Association and at the 21st International Focusing Conference. I have a special interest in cross-cultural communication and have published in this area.



Co-Moderator and Presenter:
Cross Cultural Studies and Future Directions on Focusing Research:
The Development and Applications of Quantitative Measures.
Symposium held at the 21st International Focusing Conference, Japan.

In Print
Grindler Katonah, D.  Direct Engagement with the Cleared Space in Psychotherapy.  Journal of the World Association for Person Centered and Experiential Psychotherapy and Counseling. Ross-on-Wye, UK: PCCS Books.

Grindler Katonah, D., Riveros, E., Bowers, L. & van Noord, J. (2007) Cross-Cultural Communication:  A Model for a New Pattern of Relating - An Application of Stopped Process, Leafing, and Crossing.  In Prasad, B.V.S. and Kapoor, S. (Eds.) Dynamics of Cross Cultural and Intercultural Communication, pp. 30-54.Bombay, India: Icfai Books, The Icfai University Press.

Pre-Conference Workshop:  Experiential Focusing - Where  Mind/Body/Spirit Meet for Integrated Growth.  5th World Congress on Psychotherapy, Beijing, P.R. China.

Paper Presentations:  Mind/Body Focusing and Behavioral Medicine Applying Focusing to Cross-Cultural Communication.  The 5th World Congress on Psychotherapy, Beijing, P.R. China.

“An Introduction to Focusing-Oriented Psychotherapy” paper and video demonstration presented at: The National Convention for the Division of Humanistic Psychology: Humanistic Psychotherapies for the 21st Century.  San Francisco, CA.

Grindler Katonah, D., Riveros, E., Bowers, L., van Noord, Josine.  Cross-cultural  communication - A Model for a New Pattern of Relating:  An Application of Stopped Process, Leafing, and Crossing.  The Folio:  A Journal for Focusing and  Experiential Psychotherapy, 20(1), 1 04-122.

Grindler Katonah, D. (2005). The Felt Sense as Avenue of Human Experiencing for Integrative Growth.   In Hoshmand, L.T. (Ed.), Culture, psychotherapy, and Counseling: Critical and integrative perspectives, pp. 65-90. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Grindler Katonah, D. (2001). The Cry of the Spirit. Stephen A. Schmidt, Editor.  Stauros Notebook: Prayer as Placebo, 20(1), 3-5.

“Focusing: Opening Counseling to Spirituality.” Presented at Miami Valley Hospital, Miami, OH. Sponsored by Pastoral Care and Counseling, May 2000.

Invited Lecturer: The Sixth Hong Kong International Cancer Congress. Papers presented:
“Navigation Through The Medical System Using Focusing”
“Social Connections and Health”
“Medical Decision-making”

Guest Editor: (1999) “Focusing and Medicine.” The Folio: A Journal for Focusing and Experiential Therapy,18(1).

Grindler Katonah, D. (1999a). Clearing a Space with Someone who has Cancer.  The Folio: A Journal for Focusing and Experiential Therapy, 18(1), 19-26.

Grindler Katanah, D. (1999b). Case Study: A Six-Week Training in Focusing with Someone Who Has Cancer. The Folio: A Journal for Focusing and Experiential Therapy, 18 (1), 36-41.

Grindler Katonah, D. (1999c). A Journey of Transformation and Focusing When an  Illness Threatens. The Folio: A Journal for Focusing and Experiential Therapy,18(1), 56-61.

Optimal Social Support and Health. The Harris Trust and Savings  Bankcorp/BMOEmployee Assistance Program. Video.

“Focusing and Bodily Meanings.” Association of Professional Chaplains.  Audio Cassette.

Gendlin, E.T., Grindler, D., McGuire, M. (1984). “Imagery, Body, Space in Focusing.” In A. Shiekh (Ed.), Imagination and Healing, pp. 259-286.  Farmingdale, NY: Baywood Publishing Co.


The Secret of the Golden Flower
Udumbara Zen Center
Evanston, Il.

“Exploring the Experiential Depth of Clearing a Space.”  Paper presented at The Japanese Focusing Association Annual Conference.  Awaji Island, Hyogo, Japan.

Complementary Spiritual Practices: Meditation and Focusing
International Certification Weeklong
The Focusing Institute, New York, NY

Presentation: Philosophy of the Implicit and Cross-cultural Communication
International Certification Weeklong
The Focusing Institute, New York, NY

A Model for Life-style change
17th International Focusing Conference, Toronto, Canada

Workshops on Mindfulness Meditation
Advocate Medical Group Center for Complementary Medicine, Park Ridge, IL

Focusing and Spirituality
Fourth Annual Conference on Spirituality, Psychotherapy and Healing
Science and Spirituality: The Transformative Connection                                                     
The Association for Spirituality and Psychotherapy
Fordheim University Psychology Association, New York, NY

Interfaith Workshop
Applying focusing to an embodied spiritual practice
The Focusing Institute, New York, NY

Focusing Learning to Listen to the Deeper Self
Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health, Lennox, MA

Developed and Trained a Spiritual Discernment Team for a lay led group process for persons seeking spiritual discernment while at a crossroads in their life. In an interfaith context, this program provided a confidential avenue for prayer and deep listening for the manifestations of spirit. Lake Street Church of Evanston, Evanston, IL.

Led Retreat integrating Native American spirituality and focusing in Feminist Women’s Group Context, Ottawa, IL