SARAH ROSSBACH spends only a few hours consulting in a home, but her approach is highly personalized. ``I start at the front door and try to step into my clients' shoes and see what's affecting them,'' says the soft-spoken practitioner of feng shui. ``Some places need to be activated and some places need to be toned down. And it depends on the individual and what their needs are.'' Probably the American most responsible for introducing feng shui to the West, Ms. Rossbach originally trained as a journalist at the Columbia School of Journalism. In Hong Kong on a journalism fellowship, she met Prof. Lin Yun, her Chinese teacher and a master of the Hong Kong branch of feng shui.
Since then, Rossbach has written numerous articles and two books on the art, most recently ``Interior Design with Feng Shui'' (Dutton, 1987). She still works closely with Professor Lin, who now lives in San Francisco.
Today feng shui is practiced in the United States mainly in Asian communities familiar with its concepts and cultural context. But it has also been attracting the attention of architects and designers, who appreciate its simple, common-sense principles.
Rossbach has consulted in New York, Connecticut, Philadelphia, and Washington, working with two to six clients a week. Lin and another of his students, Steven Post, consult on feng shui in the San Francisco area. Last month, a seminar on feng shui was included at a design conference in Minneapolis.