Leslie Ellis, PhD, RCC

Dr. Ellis is a leading expert in the use of somatic approaches in psychotherapy, and specializes in the use focusing for treating PTSD and complex trauma. She earned her PhD in Clinical Psychology from the Chicago School of Professional Psychology, with a specialization in somatic approaches to therapy. Her dissertation on using focusing-oriented therapy to treat PTSD for refugees with recurrent nightmares won the Ernest Hartmann award from the International Association for the Study of Dreams in 2015.


She has a Masters from Pacific Graduate Institute and has worked as a therapist in private practice in Vancouver, BC for 20 years. Her approach to therapy combines Jungian and focusing-oriented techniques to treat individuals suffering from depression, anxiety and the effects of trauma. She is adjunct faculty at Adler University where she teaches clinical skills and trauma theory and practice in the Masters of Counselling program. She is a Certifying Coordinator with The Focusing Institute and runs a Vancouver-based certification program for practicing therapists who want to incorporate focusing-oriented therapy techniques into their practice. Dr. Ellis has published numerous book chapters and journal articles on the use of focusing in psychotherapy.

Chapter: Body dreamwork: Using focusing to interpret your dreams (in press). In Dreams: Understanding Biology, Psychology and Culture. A 2-volume reference book from ABC-Clio/Greenwood.

Body Dreamwork: Using focusing to find the life force inherent in dreams and nightmares. Panel discussion and workshop. International Association for the Study of Dreams Conference, Anaheim, California, June 17, 2017.

Qualitative changes in recurrent PTSD nightmares after focusing-oriented dreamwork. Dreaming, 2016.

Chapter: Focusing-Oriented Dreamwork. In Lewis, J. & Krippner, S. (Eds.), Working with Dreams and PTSD Nightmares: 14 Approaches for Psychotherapists and Counselors. Praeger, 2016.

Introduction to Focusing-Oriented Therapy. Invited speaker at the November 2014 conference for the Ending Violence Association of BC.

Stopping the Nightmare: The use of focusing-oriented dream imagery therapy for the treatment of PTSD. Presented at the Third International Conference for Focusing-Oriented Psychotherapies, May 15-18, 2014, Stony Point, New York.

Chapter: Living the dream: Evolving approaches to focusing-oriented and embodied dream work. In Madison G. (Ed.), Advances in Focusing-Oriented Psychotherapy. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2014.

Incongruence as a doorway to deeper self-awareness using experiential focusing-oriented dreamwork. Person-Centered and Experiential Psychotherapies Journal, 12(3), 274-287, 2013.

Seminar on Imaginal Focusing and Embodied Dreamwork, Cape Town, South Africa, March 2013 for the local chapter of the Focusing Institute.