Update from the TIFI Membership Committee
2016 International Focusing Conference, UK
Dr. Eugene Gendlin Awarded Two Lifetime Achievement Awards
In Providence, Rhode Island: On Friday night, July 22nd, 2016, Gene Gendlin received the 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award from the US Association for Body Psychotherapy. This recognition was proudly accepted in his absence by Ann Weiser Cornell, who gave a short talk (with video clips provided by Nada Lou) on Gene's contribution to how we understand "the body." A video appreciation from Catherine Torpey was also shown.
In New York City: The 12th World Association for Person Centered & Experiential Psychotherapy & Counseling conference (WAPCEPC) was underway this week in New York City, and Gene Gendlin was honored Saturday, July 23rd, 2016 with a Lifetime Achievement Award. Gene participated by telephone from his home and presented some remarks, after being introduced by Sarton Weinraub, Director of the New York Person-Centered Resource Center. Kevin Krycka and Lynn Preston were present on Gene's behalf, and delivered papers to the assembly after the discussion. Video of the talk with Gene is available here:
2017 International Focusing-Oriented Therapy Conference: The fourth gathering of the international community of Focusing-Oriented therapists, will begin June 22, 2017 at the Garrison Institute in Garrison, New York, one hour north of New York City, and end on Sunday, June 25, 2017. More information
Asia Focusing International Conference 2017年8月25-27日 (August 25-27, 2017) Kobe, Japan asia-focusing-intl.org
Focusing Conference Armenia. June 29th-30th 2017."Experiencing of Meaning and the Philosophy of the Implicit." The Person-centred Approach and its Applications. More information
The 27th International Focusing Conference in 2016 took place in Cambridge, England in July 2016. Website
Update from the TIFI Membership Committee: A Flavour of Workshops Presented at the International Focusing Conference, Cambridge, UK, July 2016
The 27th International Focusing Conference - Country summariesAs part of the networking aim of the conference, we are collecting short summaries on what is happening with Focusing in different countries around the world.
Due to poverty and the lack of a proper health care system, few people have basic medical services in Afghanistan. The Afghan Friends Community Organisation (AFCO), Medica Afghanistan, Yabesh and Beharwan, are among the institutions that adopted Community Wellness Focusing as a tool in their programmes. They provide regular group workshops and individual counselling sessions to women and men in need.
Focusing coordinator Laila Masjedi reports from Kabul that she, coordinator Zarghona Sultani and trainer Masuma Mahtabi have recently trained 82 people, 69 of whom were women. Workshop participants are often social workers, local NGO staff and others who work under highly stressful conditions.
Laila Masjide and Akmal (Haqmal Daudzai)
The history of Focusing in Afghanistan goes back eight centuries, when the great sufi scholar Mulana Jaladdin Mohammad Romi said the human body is a guesthouse, and every day new guests come and the oldest leave. He counselled allowing them to come inside and accepting them all, there being no difference between guests.
I was in the second round of the programme at Kabul University in 2005, and after one year of training I started permanent work with AFSC as a Focusing and psychosocial trainer. We trained teachers, students, children and local people, all of whom were scarred from 30 years of war, and Focusing and psychosocial training were very useful for them. From 2005 to 2014, my colleagues and I worked with vulnerable Afghan people in need, and now we have programmes for women, school students and teachers.
Currently, we have six coordinators in Argentina, a large community of Focusing trainers teaching all over the country and implementing their teaching programmes, and an even larger community of students.
Focusing has also been developing in other areas beyond counselling and psychotherapy: in low resource communities, in poor neighbourhoods, in groups of mistreated and abandoned women, in prisons, in children’s dining rooms, in small projects at schools, in the education of both teachers and children, in teachers’ unions, in hospitals, in professions related to the body and alternative therapies, in neuroscience, in processes involving creativity, and in art.
Amongst other accomplishments, Focusing Argentina has organised events such as the First Iberoamerican Conference in 2007 and the first International Conference in South America in 2012.
Many trainers are teaching Focusing to groups, not only in Buenos Aires and its surroundings, but in other Argentine cities, like Ushuaia, the southern-most city in the world!
We encourage Focusing and listening in companies, creating possibilities as a crucial part of growing a successful business and better relationships, and the training and development of Focusing and listening in counselling institutes and in self-help activities among patients with tinnitus, working in interdisciplinary ways with doctors.
Other programmes include:
· workshops on reflection in Tornu Hospital in 2016, ‘How to learn to listen to my body’
· Focusing and biodecodification
· Focusing and EMDR (eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing)
· Focusing and NVC (non-violent communication)
· Open Spaces in different zones of the city, open to the community, to feel accompanied and supported with Focusing
· workshops on ‘gathering with others’ with the purpose of sharing ‘your Focusing’ and ‘what are you doing in Argentina’
Focusing will go on spreading in our country. Argentine Coordinators meet regularly to find new pathways for fostering Focusing, reaching further to support trainers and their workshops in developing clearer, more attractive and inclusive web strategies, and to create opportunities for more Focusing events and gatherings. There is a lot more to do in this lively and growing community as we continue to develop together the implicit and marvellous processes of Focusing.
Thank you dear focusers throughout the world! for your commitment, your cooperation and ideas, and your leadership. Thank you for spreading the process of felt sensing as a way to explore, develop and work out together ‘the world we co-create as human beings’.
Dutch speaking (Flanders)
Focusing is thriving in Flanders. Until seven years ago, you could only learn Focusing here in trainings for client-centred psychotherapy (one at the Catholic University of Louvain). We wanted to make Focusing available to everybody and formed ‘Focussen Vlaanderen’ (Focusing Flanders), a group of people who want to expand the use of Focusing inside and outside the psychotherapy world.
The members of Focusing Flanders are coordinators, trainers and Focusing-oriented therapists (in training), plus people who are interested in helping to spread Focusing. Focusing Flanders is part of the Flemish Association for Client-Centred and Experiential Psychotherapy and Counselling. I have been the chair of Focusing Flanders since the beginning.
Focusing Flanders wants to be a place of connection. Our mission is to:
· connect coordinators, trainers and experiential psychotherapists by organising days to meet and exchange information, a peer group for trainers, a study group for therapists, and a platform for coordinators
· give information to people who are looking for workshops and training in Focusing - you can find information on our website www.focussenvlaanderen.be and in our newsletter, and on our Facebook page
· connect all focusers by organising international workshops with experts such as Analia Zaccali, Ann Weiser Cornell, Astrid Schillings, Masumi Maeda and Miho Yamamoto, and co-organising the first networking day for all Dutch-speaking focusers in Flanders and the Netherlands
Our main project now is reflect on our story, our dreams for the future, and what action steps are necessary to get there.
French speaking (Wallonia)
Focusing was not present in the French speaking part of Belgium until 2001, when Olivier Gourmet invited Marine de Fréminville to give the first workshop in French. The following year, Olivier started the Belux Focusing Centre (www.focusingcenter.be), offering Focusing courses to coaches, psychotherapists, business people and everybody looking for an efficient self-development approach. The Centre has regularly invited foreign teachers in Focusing and other approaches connected to Focusing to give workshops in French or English.
Another group involved in Focusing in Wallonia-Brussels is the GAREF (Groupe d’Action et de Réflexion Expérientielles en Focusing, www.garef.org). It was created in 2011 by three psychotherapists, A Absil, M Gilsoul and D Vatelli. A Absil was a teacher from 1995 to 2004 at the AFPC (Person-Centred Approach Association), through which Focusing has been taught in Brussels from 1986 by G Demaret. After training in Focusing at the IFEF in France with Bernadette Lamboy, A Absil organised three weekends of training each year from 2004. D Vatelli, also a teacher at the AFPC, organised the first annual international weekend in Focusing in Belgium in September 2009. The GAREF organises a two year training of ten residential weekends every two years. Foreign Focusing specialists are regularly invited to lead workshops during these weekends, including Robert Lee.
In 2016, a non-profit organisation, Aiki Focus Centere asbl (www.aikifocuscenter.be), is being created under the leadership of Olivier Gourmet, to develop Focusing, Aikido and other approaches to mind-body coordination.
A few years later, after he was gone, I was in charge of this Humanistic Module. Within the frame of the person-centered approach, I had my students exposed to the basics of Focusing. We even had two successful graduate theses on this subject. I was a self-taught focuser. My only direct exposure to this approach was Ann Weiser Cornell’s presentations at some person-centered Latin American conferences held in Brazil and other countries.
Focusing did not emerge from the academic world until several decades later. When I retired from the university and my work as a psychologist in Bolivia, I asked myself an important question “what would I like to do with all the energy I was blessed to have during my last years on this beautiful Earth?”. The answer was immediate: I wanted to have formal training in Focusing and re-start something I always felt held a promise for something (…) in my life. That is how I came to seek contact with Edgardo again. He even paid us a visit twice and gave some seminars to help jump-start the movement.
It is already four years since I began the great joy of having people in La Paz become interested in being trained in Focusing. I deeply enjoy this Focusing-connected life I have. Serious and well-respected professionals in psychology and physiotherapy have been, and are being, trained at the moment. Many of them have incorporated Focusing into the work they are already skilled in.
Some projects are being planned to reach other parts of Bolivia, and to reach people from all walks of life - especially the vulnerable ones.
Our mission is to give away Focusing, Thinking at the Edge (TAE) and the Philosophy of the Implicit (POI) to a wide public. We currently have about 60 members and a network of non-members who are linked via Facebook groups and mailing lists. Our community of practice is widely inclusive. We welcome all those interested in learning and practicing Focusing, and our membership fees are only $10 for 2 years.
Now that our organisation has existed for 10 years, we have come to a kind of crossroads. We decided to revise our website to reflect our current activities. We have about 600 pages of documents in French - translations of works by Gene, Mary and others. We want to continue to offer that kind of open source documentation to the public.
We would like to highlight our free mentoring programme. In this, mentors who are experienced with Focusing partnerships are paired with new focusers. After one or two years of practice, new focusers can be mentors themselves. We have 60 people who have gone through this programme and 12 new mentors. Each year there is more interest. New people come to us for this part of our programme. In addition, we pair up people who are still looking for partners.
We define ourselves as a community of practice. Some years ago, we decided that we wanted to have a Restorative Circle System in our community to deal with difficult problems. We have conducted many of these circles. We use Focusing within the Restorative Circle. It brings something very profound to the process. Last year we did a circle about a Board problem. It was very enlightening and brought deep change in the organisation.
For the last two years, 15 of our members have become involved in a new project: peer-to-peer teaching. Gendlin has written about how it does not matter how people learn Focusing. It is often best if it happens quite informally. Everyone is welcome. You show what you know of Focusing to your neighbours and friends. People are enriched by what happens in this group. We spread it through an 85 page workbook developed by Solange, coming from her 15 years of teaching Focusing. In a collective way, people add new things to the workbook, published as an open source document. This new project (which is related to Theory U of Otto Scharmer), peer-to-peer practices and the commons movement, have also brought more people into the organisation.
Diane Couture, Marine de Fréminville & Solange St-Pierre
In 2006, an American Buddhist psychologist Michael and his translator Wang Yifu contacted the Focusing Institute, and then collaborated with Xu Jun to publish a Chinese edition of Focusing in 2009.
Meanwhile, Michael and Xu Jun asked Campbell Purton, an English Focusing coordinator, to lead the first FOT workshop in Shanghai in 2008. Campbell later came to establish a training system along the lines of the English training for FOTs. They agreed a training of 20 days over four periods, and in 2010 16 participants qualified as FOTs. In the same year, Campbell’s Focusing-Oriented Counselling Primer was published in a Chinese edition. In 2010, Xu Jun was recommended as a coordinator by Campbell and Akira Ikemi.
Focusing in China has developed its own unique features as well as being connected with the diversity of Focusing internationally. Xu Jun invited Akira Ikemi from Japan to teach art-oriented Focusing, Professor 吉良安之 to teach FOT, and Professor 前田満寿美 and Professor 伊藤三枝子to teach Interactive Focusing. Chinese character Focusing developed into several types, such as encounter groups, dream interpretation and others. It has flourished with the collaboration of Akira and Xu Jun, and represents a new form of Focusing in the culture shared by China and Japan.
By January 2013, there were one trainer and coordinator, 26 therapists qualified in FOT, and more than 70 participants in training in mainland China – as well as more than 1,000 participants taking the basic training. The numbers are increasing each year. Meanwhile, there have been two trainers and several candidates [? students ?] in Hong Kong. The training system in China covers five categories: Focusing trainer-in-training, FOT therapist, Focusing trainer who is not a therapist, Focusing intern trainer, and coordinator.
Focusing developed earlier in Hong Kong than in mainland China, and in recent years has developed well. The training system in Hong Kong is different, with only three levels - coordinator, trainer and candidate.
In October 2011, the first Summit Forum on Focusing and Focusing-oriented Therapy was held in Shanghai. Campbell and Akira participated. In March 2013, the second Summit Forum, in Hangzhou was larger, with more than 80 people. Zhang Jiaxing and Chen Zhichang arranged for 14 people to attend from Hong Kong, and Professor 前田満寿美 and Professor 伊藤三枝子 from Japan led a workshop on Children Focusing. The third Summit Forum was held in October 2015 in Shenzhen.
Two hundred people attended the International conference in Costa Rica in 2004. Interest groups at Internationals, and cross lingual Focusing, began at this conference.
The primary school of Focusing in Costa Rica is Domain Focusing. Recovery Focusing is presently used in two alcohol and drug treatment centres. María Hon is studying Whole Body Focusing, and Chantal Harte and Dora Gamboa combine Focusing with bodywork,
There are two coordinators in Costa Rica, Lucinda Gray and Suzanne Noel. Suzanne teaches Domain Focusing partnership, Focusing and collage, HOW We Heal and Recovery Focusing, in both English and Spanish and both online and in person. She did a HOW to Move Forward with a Project course for the Ministry of Culture for a group of psychologists and sociologists. Lucinda Gray practices Focusing-oriented therapy and plans to start a Focusing and meditation group soon.
Dora Gamboa gave several courses at a women’s organisation (AMES), and teaches Focusing at the University of Costa Rica. Arienne Garcia is offering two courses in Focusing, Ginette Sanchez crosses Focusing with tango as a therapeutic process at the university, and Agnes Rodriguez does Spanish translations for the Focusing Institute.
Paola Argueta and Carolina Londoño wrote a joint thesis on Focusing and fibromyalgia. Their supervisor, Ginette Sanchez, presented their thesis at the 2012 International in Argentina.
James Doga wrote his thesis for the university on Focusing and the treatment of addiction, and presented it at the 2015 Weeklong where he was the official translator. He facilitates Recovery Focusing groups at the Costa Rica Recovery Centre.
Leidyn Aguilar Vargas teaches biospiritual Focusing and wrote her thesis on The Use of Focusing in Costa Rica as a Therapeutic Tool for the Universidad Hispanoamericana.
Suzanne Noel has published several articles and books in Spanish and several others in English, including Loving At the Edge: Recovery Emerging.
This year, Eeq’anil sponsored my class in ‘Generating a Culture of Peace’, a six week online course that uses Nonviolent Communication (NVC) as a door to Focusing. When people talk about their feelings and needs as they do in NVC, they are already in Level 4 or 5 of the Experiencing Scale, providing an inner atmosphere conducive to Focusing. Twenty five people have taken the class since last October. I asked them how they are living Focusing, and here are some of their replies…
Heazel Martinez and Juan Carlos Hernandez started an online Changes group last November and are committed to the benefits of Focusing partnership: “our plan is to open the group to people from all over Latin America.”
Sandy Ayala says she is better able to listen, pause, check inside and express her feelings: “it's incredible how my relationship with my partner is changing - I’m happy!”
Psychologist Paty Berrios says “just as the morning dew refreshes the plants, Focusing encourages us to meet the day, and helps us deal with the afternoon heat.”
María Rosa Cruz uses Focusing in her work “to help women find themselves and make peace with themselves.”
Alicia Herrera Rebollo is sharing what she learned with a group of 18 women from her political party. She is also helping her elderly mother to express her feelings instead of keeping everything inside.
Melba Jiménez has been part of a 3 year pilot project to bring psychosocial tools, like Focusing and NVC, to women in prison. The Department of Corrections is now adopting the programme, and Melba is collaborating on a training programme for prison staff.
Rafael Zelaya, a youth group leader, says: “when we have a turbulent situation, pausing and listening without judging helps me prevent disproportionate and violent reactions with the people around me. There are fewer crises when something doesn’t turn out as expected. The pause helps take the power out of emotions and lets me think of healthy solutions, by listening to myself and other people. There is a world so unknown, intriguing, changeable, questioning, contradictory and noble inside each one of us, just waiting for us to visit it and understand it. It’s very interesting to discover this, to know that you can learn how to accompany yourself in your inner world and that doing so helps you manage your emotions, channelling them so that you don’t feel so much frustration.”
Many of the participants in ‘Generating a Culture of Peace’ have requested a longer, more formal training. I would love to continue working with these intelligent, open and courageous people, who have such a strong commitment to personal growth and to improving the lives of their fellow Salvadorans. Our dream is to train a strong team that will be able to support Salvadorans in their determination to create a more peaceful society.
We are running six training programmes for person-centred and Focusing-oriented counselling and psychotherapy, four in Athens and two in Salonika. These programmes combine theory, methodology, clinical practice, supervision, experiential exercises, laboratories, encounter groups and some issues in ethics and psychopathology in the fourth year.
Last year we launched a new course in person-centred and FOT Supervision. We also plan to hold, in both Athens and Salonika, a training course in person centred and Focusing-oriented trauma therapy, as well as presentations and discussion for children and parents, while next October, we will hold the 9th Children Focusing Conference in Athens: www.focusing.gr/wordpress/?p=1055
Besides these courses, we teach Focusing to people with or without a background in psychology. We also run bi-monthly Focusing personal growth groups and offer courses in Focusing and poetry.
Following an invitation from the Cypriot person-centred association, we held an introductory course in Focusing in Nicosia in November 2015. We have also been asked to organise and run a person-centred and FOT training programme there.
In addition, we are very happy to note that since April 2015 we have been validated by the European Association for Psychotherapy (EAP) as a European Accredited Psychotherapy Training Institute. This allows us to have the right to certify our own trainees as psychotherapists.
For three years now, we have run workshops on phenomenological and existential issues (mainly Heidegger’s philosophy, Zollikon Seminars and of course Gendlin’s approach) in conjunction with two other Greek associations, the Existential Psychological Association ‘Gignesthai’ and the Greek Dasein Analytic Association. The outcome of this co-operation is the creation of a magazine (two editions so far), called Epoche – www.focusing.gr/wordpress/?p=1045
From time to time we give workshops and experiential seminars in Focusing and non-violent communication to teachers in a private school in Athens on issues such as bullying, violence and mediation. Recently we have been invited by a public school to help and facilitate the teachers of this school through an encounter group to communicate and solve some difficult issues they have faced for years.
A very successful event for us is the translation of Campbell’s Purton book Person-Centred Therapy - the Focusing-Oriented Approach. And we are now working on the translation of Marta’s Stapert book Focusing & Children, which we plan to have edited by the time of the Focusing & Children Conference.
Another essential project is the founding of the Hellenic Association for Person Centered and Experiential Psychotherapy and Counselling, which needed a lot of energy from us in its formation. A lot of our colleagues are now members on its Board and various committees.
Anna Karali & Pavlos Zarogiannis
They teach basic Focusing level 1. Participants are invited to find a Focusing trainer when they return to their home countries.
In 2009 an advanced Focusing workshop was attended by 25 people, and a workshop in Focusing and Spirituality was attended by 40 people in 2012.
Currently in Guatemala 5 people have been certified as trainers through attendance at workshops and personal supervision by a coordinator.
A group of 15 people from a parish in Zone 1 of the capital city received Focusing training for two hours a month in 2015.
In 2016, 8 people began a level 2 training, then were joined by 10 people starting level 1. We have had good results working with both levels simultaneously, especially from the point of view of Focusing where no one knows more than another. This has created an atmosphere conducive to participation.
We were surprised by the attendance in the last two workshops of professionals in psychology who wanted to learn this simple practice for their professional and personal lives.
There are two people interested in becoming Focusing Trainers.
Through our Facebook page, Focusing Guatemala, we are constantly receiving messages from people interested in learning Focusing. It has been very well received.
In September of this year the Iberoamerican Psychology Federation will hold its Tenth Psychology Congress. There will be a 3 hour workshop on Focusing attended by international psychologists. We hope that this congress will bear much fruit.
Guatemala has been, and will continue to be, a place where the philosophy of Focusing spreads out into society.
Carlos Aceituno Godoy
One of the first steps she took, besides creating the www.focusing.it website, was to publish Gendlin’s Focusing book in Italian. The book and the web page gave an impetus to the spread of Focusing not only in Rome but throughout Italy. Psychologists and counsellors, as well as midwives, nurses, body-workers and the general public began to show an interest in Focusing.
Since 2006, new trainers have emerged who have spread Focusing by creating innovative programmes in different cities and different contexts. In the following years, other books were translated into Italian and published: The Power of Focusing by Ann Weiser Cornell, Biospirituality by Peter Campbell and Ed McMahon, Focusing with Children by Marta Stappert, and Focusing-oriented Psychotherapy by Gendlin. Many articles were also translated.
Changes groups have been held regularly in Rome and other Italian cities since 2003. In 2007 the international conference ‘Meeting at the edge - Focusing on Body Oriented Practices’ took place in Ischia with 47 participants, both Italians and people from other countries, who experimented and shared ideas and projects around integrating Focusing with many different body-oriented practices. In 2011 and 2012, a group of trainers organised ‘superchanges’ meetings near Rome, with about 30 participants.
Germana Ponte has helped the spread of Focusing in northern Italy. She discovered Focusing 12 years ago, was trained by Ann Weiser Cornell, and brought her Inner Relationship Focusing method to Italy. She has trained several trainers and four coordinators:
- Rosanna Camerlengo, who has spread Focusing in Naples and has developed her work called ‘Voice Focusing’ about how to find your true voice
- Luisa Toriggia, who has introduced Focusing in Slovenia
- Emanuela Fonticoli, who is doing a great job as coordinator for children Focusing, and who works with René Veugelers
- Bruna Blandino, who is deepening Wholebody Focusing
Some trainers present Focusing at universities, and others for a long time have been integrating Focusing with spirituality and in health and education.
The Italian world of Focusing may seem disorganised and disconnected, but in reality there is great excitement and great vitality, thanks to the 80 trainers and the 8 Italian coordinators.
For example this year's event in Abano, Trade, will see the participation of 80 people from all over Italy, and there will be 16 speakers offering workshops. And this is only one small example of what is happening in our country….
Olga Pasquini and Germana Ponte
And who wrote them? According to the Focusing Institute (TFI) website, there are currently 147 Focusing professionals in Japan, and amongst them are 14 coordinators. Separate from TFI, there is a Japan Focusing Association (JFA) with a current membership of approximately 550 people, widely dispersed throughout the country. These people are the core Focusing fans. In Japan, very few people make a living from Focusing. Many use Focusing in their work as teachers, therapists, businesspersons, writers, nurses, physicians, etc., and many others enjoy Focusing privately. In Japan we have adhered to a policy where all the professional Focusing certification is done through TFI while JFA exists for people who simply enjoy Focusing.
Angela Hicks (UK) refers to 4 styles of Focusing: Focusing Short Form, the Inner Relationship Model, Bio-Spiritual Focusing, and Whole Body Focusing. You will find all of these in Japan, although Bio-Spiritual Focusing may be limited to the Catholic clergy. In addition, there is Focusing-Oriented Art Therapy, Community Wellness, Interactive Focusing, as well as Experiential Collage Work, Kanji (Chinese characters) Focusing, Blue Sky Focusing, Riddles (Nazokake) Focusing, Internal Weather and a whole list of exercises developed out of Focusing. A single book on Focusing and health edited by Morikawa (2015) introduces 35 Focusing exercises for health! Applications using Focusing continue to develop.
Another interesting recent development is that Gendlin’s philosophy has become more recognised among philosophers. Volume 1 of a 3 volume book on Gendlin’s philosophy has come out (Mimura 2016), and symposiums have been held on Gendlin’s philosophy at phenomenological and philosophical conventions.
It is quite fortunate for Japan that the first people who introduced Focusing here were university professors: Professor Shoji Murayama; the late Professor Takao Murase; and the late Professor Haruo Tsuru. Thus, Focusing took root in universities, mostly in clinical psychology programmes. Graduate students continued to study and use it in their therapy practice. The next generation of professors is now teaching Focusing to their students, so this will keep going down the line. In another article in English (Ikemi 2015), I counted 19 full-time university professors amongst the TFI trainers and coordinators. Such being the case, Focusing is included in many textbooks on clinical psychology. A substantial number of clinical therapists and counsellors incorporate some Focusing in their therapy, although they may not be affiliated with a particular Focusing association.
So, may we conclude that, along with a bunch of other flowers, Focusing is blooming in Japan.
As of 2016, there is one coordinator in Luxembourg, Olivier Gourmet, who was also the first Focusing trainer there. And there is one Focusing professional, Deborah Egan-Klein. There are also a number of Focusing practitioners trained and certified in Germany who are using Focusing in psychotherapy or work with children. One who is particularly well-known for her work with children and families is Chantal Résibois-Kemp. She became a Focusing trainer at DAF in Germany, and was certified as a Children Focusing trainer by Marta and Ynse Stapert in the Netherlands.
Since 2016, Olivier Gourmet and Chantal Résibois-Kemp have been collaborating to introduce Focusing and the principles of Aikido for self-leadership to social workers at the Red Cross in Luxembourg.
We have promoted Focusing in several programmes oriented to train psychotherapists, in universities in Guadalajara, Leon and Mexico City. Also, in master's programmes in Human Development. We have advised at least four master's theses with topics related to experiential listening in a psychotherapeutic context. Some workshops to become familiar with Focusing were offered to psychotherapists trained mainly in Gestalt Therapy.
With undergraduate students in psychology at ITESO University, we conducted groups for care-givers. The purpose of these psycho-educational experiential groups was to learn how to listen and to speak from the experiencing body, and from there, transform painful and unsatisfying daily life situations. We have some video-recorded testimonies of how these groups helped participants to improve their lives. These groups continue, and they are facilitated by professors who are now in charge of the project. An article and a master's thesis on the subject were published.
We have conducted workshops for both professionals and the general public to learn to listen experientially, not only in work situations but also in everyday interactions.
Some colleagues are working with children and mothers. They facilitate workshops for children to learn to pay attention to their felt sense and feelings, to identify their feelings and express them in various ways through drawing, movement, sounds and words. With the mothers, they aim to develop their sensitivity to listening to their children and understanding them better, and to suggest ways to address their feelings and to express them.
A few years ago, I published a book entitled Discovering my body wisdom - Focusing. This book has been used as reference in several workshops and university courses.
The ‘music of speech’ is a current project to pay attention to how, as psychotherapists, we sense and feel the client’s music of speech, how we understand the client’s lived world, and how we express our understanding to the client through the music of our speech.
Here in Mexico City we have trained around 120 people in what I call ‘The Pause’ Level 1 in Focusing. I am ending my second certification group, in the first one 5 students were certified (two of them are from Guadalajara) and in this second one another 5 will be certified.
We did two Winter Retreats for the international community and teachers, in collaboration with the Focusing Institute and Melinda Darer. And this June we had the opportunity to have Greg Madison with us.
We have a small and beautiful community, and are hoping we can grow organically.
Mónica Gomez Galaz
Our website is www.kinderfocussen.info/kfs_netw_nl_be.htm. We also have groups on LinkedIn and Facebook. We answer questions about Focusing in the Netherlands and about Focusing workshops and trainings.
We sponsor the September Focusing Month, where 16 trainers give introductory Focusing workshops at different locations throughout the Netherlands. And we support the Children Focusing Foundation, which just celebrated its tenth anniversary. In 2006 our coordinators and the Focusing Network organised the International Focusing Conference ‘Focusing on the Move’.
The coordinators and members of the Focusing Network are: Christine Langeveld, Marta Stapert-Wezelenburg, Marion van den Boogaard, Aaffien de Vries, René Veugelers, and Erna de Bruijn who is gradually retiring. Aukje Strandstra, Ria van Hage and Harriët Teeuw are coordinators-in-training. Seven of these coordinators have a monthly skype consultation, and meet in person twice a year. We organise further training opportunities for Focusing professionals.
Currently our way of being in contact is in transition: we are pausing with the question ‘do we want to continue with our current structure or stay in contact occasionally?’ As of September 2015, we had 136 members and 23 subscribers to the newsletter FocusNieuws. All members received the newsletter. Because we could not find new volunteers for the vacancies of secretary, treasurer and editors of the newsletter, the Network has chosen to look for a less time-consuming way of being in contact with each other. This summer it will become clearer how ‘the story’ will continue.
At present we have no papers on Focusing available in universities, but we do have references to Focusing, Gendlin's work and written material as an Existential modality reference at WELTEC and other institutions.
Some prominent focusers here are:
Charlene Martelli: “I am a counsellor using Focusing in my work. I did Ann Weiser Cornell's training 7 years ago. Following that, I went to the Summer School where I met Karen Whalen and subsequently did some training with her. I am training in Somatic Experiencing and finding that everything I've learnt from Focusing is a great foundation to doing SE. I have also done one of Rob Parker’s Process Model classes.”
Heather Rogers is a counsellor, coordinator in training, a Focusing trainer, and a Focusing-oriented therapist in private practice in Palmerston North on North Island. She presents quarterly workshops, Focusing-oriented therapy and art therapy, plus supervision in Focusing-oriented therapy. Heather has trained with Nada Lou over the past ten years, attended the Summer School and Weeklong in 2011, and studied with Joan Klagsbrun and Positive Psychology.
Jacinda Doogue: “I am a wholebody Focusing trainer, and a coordinator in training with Karen Whalen, working as a counsellor and trainee psychotherapist in Wellington. I incorporate wholebody Focusing into my work, and in the future I hope to offer training in it to groups and use it in counselling supervision groups.”
Kirsty Collins: “I have now moved into full-time occupational therapy work. I trained with Manju and Peter Afford. Focusing is still an important part of my practice.
Membership. The Focusing community is organised and co-ordinated through the Spanish Focusing Association, also known as ‘The Spanish Focusing Institute’. With over 100 members, we currently have three coordinators, one coordinator-in-training, over 40 trainers and over 60 trainers-in-training (more than 30 of them have completed the Spanish Diploma of Focusing Proficiency).
Focusing training in Spain. All trainers follow a well-established, competence-based, curriculum that is regularly revised. Our methods of teaching Focusing are updated and improved at our annual National Focusing Gathering. This curriculum makes it easy for people to be trained by a variety of trainers, besides their trainer of preference. To facilitate the requirement of attending a Weeklong in Spanish at affordable prices, the Spanish Focusing Association has held the Spanish Focusing Summer School since 1998. There is always a waiting list. During this six-day residential retreat, trainees from all over Spain (and sometimes from other countries too) attend workshops, practice Focusing and get to know many new Focusing possibilities, with the supervision of the national coordinators and other trainers. The Spanish trainees are assessed by the national coordinators, so the final decision about certification relies on several professionals.
Focusing domains. Focusing practitioners in Spain use Focusing in many different areas. It is used by psychotherapists and other helping professionals. A significant number of professionals use Focusing in educational settings, from schools to universities, in classes and in extra-curricular activities. Finally, there are also many people who learn Focusing to use it on their own, as self-help, or in their professional fields (in business, in creativity and arts, in mediation etc.).
Disseminating Focusing. We provide general information about Focusing and Focusing trainings through our website www.focusing.es. This year the Spanish Focusing Association launched En-Foco, a free online journal in Spanish, in the spirit of making new developments of Focusing in Spain available for professionals and for the general public.
International involvement. Our association is also committed to the international Focusing community. It is deeply involved with the Focusing Institute, with a fluent communication mainly through our Spanish coordinators. There is also a strong working link with other Spanish-speaking communities in Latin America (and also with Brazil). And there is a strong co-ordination with European coordinators, aiming for synergies and for mutual support.
The Spanish Focusing Association is proud to announce an International Focusing Congress for professionals and for the general public in Seville in the autumn of 2017 (around the 12th to 17th of October). International Focusing professionals will be invited to attend (knowing that it will be a Spanish-speaking event). We would love to welcome you here!
Isabel Gascón & Tomeu Barceló
In 1981, the original Focusing summer school in Achberg was born. Christiane Geiser and Ernst Juchli were part of the founder team, and the ‘Focusing Wochen Achberg’ still takea place each summer. Gene Gendlin taught at Achberg for 5 years.
People who came to the International conference in 2013 in Emmetten may remember the large Swiss Focusing community, coming from different Focusing schools, organising this event together. Since then, we three coordinators have met regularly, maintaining exchange and friendship, respecting the diversity of our teachings and contributions to the Focusing community in Switzerland:
Christiane Geiser is co-founder of the ‘GFK Zürich’, a well known institute for Focusing-oriented psychotherapy trainings, and is also a gifted author. www.christianegeiser.ch
Teresa Dawson teaches her specific dream work classes at home and abroad, besides her trainer-trainings, topic-oriented workshops and Focusing trainings for body-centred therapists, and carries Focusing into encounters with animals of any kind. For many years she worked together with Gene Gendlin, from the very beginning in TAE, and organised German speaking TAE workshops in New York. www.focusingforum.ch
Eveline Moor Züllig represents the next generation of Focusing teaching, she was trained at the GFK Institute and at the Focusing Wochen Achberg, as well as at the Focusing Institute in New York. Together with her husband Martin, she runs the beautiful retreat and Focusing centre Casa Civetta in the southern part of Switzerland. Her trainings start with beginners and continue all the way up to trainer teaching, including the core area of structure bound behaviour and dealing with stopped processes. www.focusingausbildung.ch
Together we run two websites: www.focusingswitzerland.ch for Focusing news and articles, and www.focusing.ch as a directory for Focusing therapists, trainers and professionals in every region of Switzerland. We decided not to have a separate Swiss Focusing association, however we actively share interests in the growing European Focusing association.
Recently, Donata Schoeller became a coordinator-in-training (with Christiane Geiser) – she is a Focusing trainer and a philosopher, and she translated Gendlin’s ‘A Process Model’ into German with Christiane.
There is a large Focusing community in Switzerland. In several cities monthly changes groups are offered. There is a focusing email list for networking, and twice a year meetings for trainers and trainers-in-training to share new topics and projects. A variety of trained people apply Focusing in many professional fields, such as psychotherapy, body work, health care, education, coaching, counselling. Focusing is definitely growing and spreading.
Focusing is alive and well throughout England, Scotland and Wales, with many well-established Focusing partnerships. There are Changes groups in various parts of England, including London, Bristol and Devon, and Fife in Scotland has a Changes group which meets for a whole day every few weeks and a weekend a couple of times a year.
The British Focusing Association (formerly the British Focusing Teachers’ Association) supports Focusing teachers and practitioners in their work. It currently has fifty-five members, four of whom are based overseas but have chosen to maintain links with the British Focusing community. Members offer courses, workshops and one-to-one sessions, and some offer Focusing-oriented counselling and psychotherapy. They come from a range of Focusing backgrounds which include Wholebody Focusing, Children’s Focusing, Inner Relationship Focusing, Meditative Listening and Biospiritual Focusing. Some members have studied and taught the Philosophy of the Implicit and some use Focusing with different forms of creative expression and artistic appreciation.
Members bring Focusing to their various areas of work – not only as counsellors and psychotherapists but as teachers of yoga, Nonviolent Communication or the Alexander technique or as musicians, poets, performers, artists, activists, scholars and scientists. Many of our members are keen to make Focusing more widely available in the community and some have been actively involved in projects using Focusing for community wellness and support. They have worked both with refugee groups in this country and with groups in Gaza and Afghanistan.
Focusing is increasingly being taught in England, Scotland and Wales as part of psychotherapy and counselling courses. The University of East Anglia runs a post-qualification diploma in Focusing-oriented counselling, and Regent’s University in London includes a module on Focusing in some of its psychotherapy courses. Our members have been involved in both of these. Some members of our Association have also been exploring neuroscience as it relates to Focusing.
A number of our members have links with religious and spiritual groups - Christian, Buddhist, Jewish and Muslim - and Focusing has a well-established connection with the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers). Several of our members are interested in combining Focusing with traditional spiritual practices such as prayer, meditation and ritual, and some regularly run Focusing retreats.
The British Focusing Association has run two Focusing Schools along the lines of the Focusing Institute’s Focusing Summer Schools, one in 2011 and one in 2014. Each of these was highly successful and was attended by over a hundred people coming from many different countries, with teachers from Germany and the Netherlands as well as Great Britain. We are pleased and proud to be hosting the International Focusing Conference this year and look forward to welcoming Focusers from around the world.
Susan Jordan & Rob Foxcroft
We have had Focusing in our region at least since the late 1980s. Our current stage of co-operation has developed out of getting together annually for the past 8 years at our Northwest Focusing Gatherings each spring, where 25 - 35 of us share Focusing related experiential activities with each other.
We now have an area mailing list of over 500 people who are Focusers or who have expressed interest in Focusing. We have 38 Focusing professionals and 14 coordinators in our region. From this pool we were able to gather the resources to put on the International Focusing Conference in 2015 in Seattle, the centre of our geographical area.
There are several ongoing Changes Groups. Our structure is very informal, consisting of a planning committee for the yearly Gatherings. We have not yet felt the need of formalising into a non-profit organisation.
People in our region are doing wonderful things. Examples:
· the Aboriginal perspective with the Focusing-oriented Therapy and Complex Trauma Programme
· Focusing and Process Model philosophy is taught on university courses
· active Focusing training programmes
· an NGO (non-governmental organisation) co-director working overseas and bringing rich experiences back to share with us
· community work to bring Focusing skills that promote healing after a mass shooting
· and pulling us all together once a year to celebrate and learn from each other
Nina Joy Lawrence
In 2014, Susan Lennox, with the assistance of newly certified trainer Frank O’Neill (who sadly has moved to Michigan) launched a monthly ‘Focusing Meetup ‘which has been running monthly since then. Each month both new and experienced Focusers are invited to a monthly Sunday afternoon get together in which Focusing instruction is provided for newcomers in the first hour. Returning members arrive an hour later for a two-hour programme consisting of an attunement, a group learning exercise, and partnership breakouts. Over the 2 or more years we have been offering this to the community, we have introduced Focusing to dozens of newcomers and developed a small but dedicated group of people who love Focusing and have integrated it as a practice into their lives.
We have a website called focusingnewengland.com and we sponsor programmes throughout the year for introducing Focusing to the general community as well as for Focusers. As well as teaching Focusing, we have presenters who integrate Focusing with other modalities such as meditation, positive psychology, spiritually, writing, appreciating poetry, dealing with sleep issues or learning Thinking at the Edge (TAE).
A new development is a connection with other Focusing-oriented therapists in the north-east - which includes New York City. We had our first North-East Focusing-oriented therapy (FOT) weekend conference for 55 Focusers last Fall. It was quite inspirational and we will plan another one the year after the international FOT conference in 2017.