Client Stories and Testimonials

Emails from Students and Workshop Participants 

Dear Joya,

I attended one of your sessions this past weekend at AMC and I just wanted to send you a quick note of thanks. I was so transformed and comforted by your ability to create a safe space, to validate and answer some really challenging questions, to meet people where they were at, and to help me attain a stronger sense of self and love and compassion- to be unapologetically me.

Thank you for your patience and presence and dedication to self-knowledge and healing. I look forward to sharing your wisdom with my community of Korean American adoptees in Brooklyn 🙂

With love and respect,
Schuyler Swenson, Brooklyn, NY


Dear Joya,

What a joy this practice is – to focus in (on the interior universe).

The workshop was a joyful reminder to listen with presence. Along with her own teaching on focusing Joya brought together accomplished guest leaders to deftly illustrate that listening to our bodies wisdom can take many forms. The body is always communicating and when we learn how to pay attention a new landscape emerges, one that has been there all along, like the stars in a daytime sky. I felt Joya’s loving presence quickly established a safe space where I could learn and practice this work wholeheartedly.

I trust this finds you well Joya. Thank you, sincerely, for the workshop.

JR, Michigan


Hi Joya,
Because of your help I managed to attend 2 seminars with Dr. L in IL this past summer, something I would not have been able to do before. The more I relaxed and did some EFT, the finances came about almost in a magical way. The last time I was at a seminar was 14 years ago. So being able to attend was the most important thing to happen with me since 2002. It would not have happened were it not for you holding my feet to the fire and supporting my inquiring into my negative patterns. We need soldiers like yourself in this crazy war of consciousness.

Mark, Michigan

Focusing Grows Self Intimacy

I don’t always hear her

I don’t always hear her
I don’t always hear her
I don’t always feel her
Sometimes, she is all I feel and hear
What kind of distance do I need,
So I can hear her
feel her
be with her
Without losing myself?
I am here, I want to tell her
I hear you, don’t scream
I got you, I want to say to her
You are not alone, don’t panic
I am here, I will not push you aside as I have done for decades
I am here, and you are with me. Trust me, I have changed
I can hold you now. I can hear you now. Go ahead. Scream. I can take it.
What kind of distance do I need, so you can stay close to me
Without overwhelming me
Without sweeping me away into your darkness?
It’s a distance that I am learning to live with
So you can be close to me
Because I love you
Even though it’s hard for me to show you that I do.

Christina Papadamitrou, Ann Arbor, MI

I think that everyone who is at a crossroads in life and has choices to make should learn Focusing.
A.S., , School Teacher. ON, Canada
When I first heard about Focusing, it immediately drew me in. Some part of me knew that there was more truth in approaching these vague but pregnant feelings about my life, helping to escape the constant spinning wheels of thought. I was amazed at how I would go to Joya without any clear intentions, and without much prying on her part, I would end up finding exactly what needed me in that moment. I feel that Focusing shows us what’s going on just beneath our day-to-day consciousness, the place where we can really listen to ourselves and find our next moves in life.
B.G. , Pennsylvania
Joya’s quiet gentle presence is so valuable; she’s like a cloud that stays close and aware. Right there.
E.M., Focusing Partner, Buffalo, NY
Focusing with Joya allowed me to talk to that part of my body that was suppressing hurtful feelings. I was able to acknowledge, own and release the emotions, and I felt much better emotionally and physically.
Y.F.,, Retired School Teacher, ON, Canada
It was helpful to see how accepting the diversity in me affects how I relate to diversity in society.
Pastoral Counseling Student, Toledo, OH
I’ve done much personal growth work to heal some distressing emotional experiences. One session of Focusing with Joya gave me deep wisdom and new insights into my suffering.
M.F., Graduate Student, Ann Arbor, MI
I started working with Joya in the spring of 2011 when I was really ill with intestinal problems and medication imbalances. The Focusing sessions had a great impact on my healing. In July I had a bi-polar episode followed by four months of severe depression. What I was learning really encouraged and empowered me. After I attended her training in January 2012 I got a better sense of what Focusing was all about.

Focusing has helped me be in the present moment with my feelings, emotions, desires and decisions. I can get in touch with my inner process through this new way of listening deeply through my body. I was often very distraught trying to intellectualize what I was going to do with my career and how I was going to come out of my depression. Focusing has taught me to be with my issues and cradle them. It showed me how to make space for them to exist in a place next to me.

As I practice Focusing, I’ve truly begun to accept myself and develop a deep sense of trust of my body and mind. I realize the truth that we are all capable of healing ourselves. My life in inner city Detroit is very intense with poverty and need all around me. I practice trusting in many of my encounters with people who are struggling. I now truly believe that they have the power to survive and find meaning in their lives. I realize that it is not my job to save and fix people’s problems. I can be a comforting and very encouraging presence with people in my community here and in Kenya where I was living before.

I use Focusing all day long. When I feel a headache coming on or when I’m talking to someone who is going through a difficult time I try to stop and attend inwardly. When making a decision about whether to do the laundry or take a nap, I simply go inside to ask. I’ve come to trust that my large and small decisions can be guided by simply going inside and spending some moments listening for that feeling in my body that gives me a direction. Sometimes I recognize that I need more time to make the decision because I just have to wait for a more clear sense from my body.

Now that I’m in a stronger place I use Focusing to enhance my work as an artist who seeks to heal communities through group murals. I feel this new vocation really fulfills my desire to combine my skills and passions. I’m very grateful to have been introduced to this technique and I hope that it can be of help for others. The patience, acceptance and availability to myself and others that I have been practicing through Focusing and meditation has been powerful in transforming the way I live.