“Children’s Inner & Outer Peace”

(Initiator of Children's Focusing Corner)

Trainers/Facilitators for the Learning-Groups in the Conference ‘Focusing with Children’

Dear Friends, Facilitators/Trainers  in the Learning-groups.

The Conference ‘Focusing with Children’ comes nearer.  It is time to share with each other our preparations.  I would like to give you the information I know so far.  Last week I have been in Budapest and I visited at the 6th September Jóska Agócs and Ildikó Mesterné- Gálfi in Salgótarján, for the details of the organization.  And at the 10th September we came together with the Hungarian trainers to prepare ourselves.

Altogether with team, trainers/facilitators and interpreters included, I count at this moment about 55 people, and we expect still a few people to come.  So it is important everybody is still trying to bring someone or more persons with you.

It means however that we expect the learning-groups will be small groups with the possibility of intensive, personal training, sharing, and a lot of self-experience.  At this moment we decided to divide the groups as follows

Group A1, Family, Hungarian/English:
Judit Pólya (Hungary), Lauara Bavalics (Hungary), Zack Boukydis (USA)
Group B1, School/Groups, Hungarian/English
Éva Márton (Hungary), Lucy Bowers (Canada)
Group C1, Individual Focusing and Psychotherapy, Hungarian/English
Piroska Németh (Hungary), Vera Kirschner (Hungary
Group C2, Individual Focusing and Psychotherapy, Hungarian/German
Magdi Kurdi (Hungary), Madeleine Walder (Switzerland)
Group D, Trainers for training Parents, Teachers, Psychotherapists, Hungarian/English
Marta Stapert (Netherlands), Ynse Stapert (Netherlands)

We direct our goals of the learning-groups and the whole Conference to the ‘output’. What can we learn / get here in the Conference, that we can use outside in Focusing with children. One of the first things to explain in the learning-groups is that all the exercises and experiences we do in the group, can be used with children. We are the model for that.

Basic principles
I see 3 basic principles for the training in the learning-groups:

  1. Do what you preach
  2. Self-responsible learning
  3. Experiencing learning
  1. Do what you preach
    We teach and preach focusing. It is a challenge to stay in every situation in the basic Focusing attitude. So it means observing, listening, mirroring, no defensive attitude, not solving problems by advice, staying with the process.
    Talk with your partner if you need someone to listen to you. We will also mention someone of the team who is available for listening to you. You will get the name later.
  2. Self-responsible learning
    It means you are at one side the facilitator for the groups-process, that organizes itself and in which you are the one who is holding/guiding the process. That means the Facilitator gives structure to the plans, requests, proposals of the group. And in this respect the responsibility of the group-members is to protect / to feed their own learning-process, and to warn when they are missing something, or have other proposals.
    At the other side you are also the Focusing-Trainer in the group. This means you prepare yourself to offer different parts of children’s Focusing-program and your own experiences, depending of the group you are working with (A, B, C). You can use exercises, experiences and everything from the articles I wrote, and what you got in the different trainings and from your own practice.
    It helps me in this kind of groups to share 4 different scheme’s with the Learning-group, so you can give a structure to the different parts of the program. The group can always know where they are with the sharing / experience / exercise.
    1. With which situation of the children we work now for example:
      individual / group / the situation in family, school, child-care, psychotherapy. (in the Conference-groups this will be clear already
    2. With which age, baby, toddler, basic-school-age, adolescent
    3. Is it: Teaching or Guiding
    4. In Guiding you can make a distinction.  Is it: General Focusing attitude in daily life.  Empathically / Compassionate listening. Incident-Focusing, when something happened.
      Clearing a space. Guiding a Focusing Process.

    It seems important to give time after an exercise / experience to let them discover / to make explicit what they learned from it. You could ask the group-members to go inside and look for: what is my own learning-point, what did I learn from it, what is my new learning-question; what did I get out of it.
    Sharing this is learning-full for everybody: Harvesting.

3. Experiencing
Learning from experience is a fruit-full way, that belongs to the Focusing way of working, so everybody can develop his own methodical theory in the mainstream of focusing.

Give the group-members the opportunity to experience, or to find out something for themselves in pairs or triads, also with Focusing
Use role-playing themselves, or modeling with one of the trainers, and the participant as child
Make exercises, the group-members pretending to be a baby, a child, a teen-ager of a certain age
If a group-member puts a question, give all participants the opportunity to find out an answer, and share this
Using the camera to look back, and reflection the experience is learning-full

Another way of experiencing is to connect with the own attitude of the participants with a child, in different ages. Here are two ways:
“how do you feel towards a child of ‘8’ years old in your body, and what comes with that” “how do you feel as a child of ‘8’ years old in your body, and what comes with that”

In the Reflection/Focusing- groups is the open space for deep personal Focusing especially inner child issues. You can refer such processes to that time and place, so you save time for the children’s work In the Reflection / Focusing-groups will also be a facilitator for holding/guiding  the group-process, explaining what is meant to be done in this hour.

The theme of the Conference is ‘Children’s Inner and Outer Peace’. A possibility is to spend time to Focusing on this issue, and assemble what comes out of it.

Materials and technical equipment
Because the use of drawing / painting/ expressing is important in child-focusing we (the organization) will take care that each group has paper and pencils / pastels. If possible take some materials with you what you would like to use extra.
On Sunday-evening in one plenary meeting we will work altogether with expression with Focusing, with a lot of possibilities.
Important material is to bring your own video-tapes about your work, which you can show. Only 5 minutes to look at can give a lot of material to learn from.
In each room is a flip-chart. Let me know if you need technical systems. Video , projector

Plenary meetings
There will be 15 minutes presentations, and in the evening experiencing together. In the plenary meetings there is no time to reflect on all this. So ask your group afterwards if there is something left they want to share, or reflect on, or to work with.

In each group there will be one interpreter. It is important to help / protect the interpreter. It is a very difficult job! We will share some rules during the Pre-conference.

With the financial help of The International Institute we are very happy to invite you for the Pre-Conference.  We feel it is important to prepare ourselves together, especially the partners together.

I hope that all of you can prepare yourself on certain parts you would like to share/ train/ teach in/ to the group.  Realize in which part of the ‘scheme’ this finds its place.  In the Pre-conference I hope you can share this with your partner and make a schedule, in which also input of group-members or here-and-now-themes can fit.

The Pre-Conference will start on Friday October 20th, 14.00 hr.  We will have a plenary meeting, and work in the small group-teams.  We will have dinner together with the organizational team.  Saturday-morning we start with the trainers/facilitators and from 11.00 hr. on we are together with the interpreters.
We will have an After- Conference on Wednesday 25 October from 13.30 – 15.30 hr., so everybody can catch the bus of 16.00 hr.  

As we did last time, we would like to send reports across the world, so people can learn from our experiences.  In this reports the personal and learning experiences are important.  So I’m asking all of you to make notes during the work, and also from your preparations, which you can use as a report.  Per example I am writing this letter also for the report, so everybody can learn from the ‘what and how’ we think is important to work on in the learning-groups.  

Ending of this overview
This is a first outline for the work.  Please send your comments, ameliorating-suggestions (to make it better), questions, requests.  I could share it with the others.  So we can grow in our activities.

This letters is for the Trainers/Facilitators from abroad.

I did meet the Hungarian Trainers/Facilitators today.  I shared all this with them, and added now certain points after the meeting.

I hope this information will give you some thrill and excitement: it is going to happen!

Ynse and I are looking forward to see you soon.  With love, also from Ynse, Marta








  C. SCHENK-song
  A. van HOLST