Conferences

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.

Gene GendlinIn 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:
www.focusing.org/geneawardnyc

Congratulations, Gene. These awards are well deserved.

Upcoming:

The 9th Children & Focusing Conference will take place in the surroundings of Athens, by the sea-side, at Cabo Verde Boutique Hotel, Mati, between 26th and 30th October 2016. More information

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

Proceedings

The 27th International Focusing Conference in 2016 took place in Cambridge, England in July 2016. Website

The 27th International Focusing Conference - Country summaries

As 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.

Read Bolivia Summary
Focusing in Bolivia is both old and new. When I was a psychology student at the Catholic University of La Paz, Edgardo Riveros came from Chile as a young professional and was accepted at the Psychology Department around 1976 to 1978. He was the messenger of Carl Rogers’ humanistic approach and consequently of Eugene Gendlin’s focusing.

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.

Blanca Lebl

Read Guatemala Summary
Focusing came to Guatemala in 1993 as part of the personal growth workshops given by the Central American Institute of Spirituality (ICE), run by the Society of Jesus. Focusing is the cornerstone of their workshops on personal growth, for the management of psycho-historical-spiritual development, helping people maintain a balance between body and spirit.

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

Read Japan Summary
Go to the bookseller Amazon, Japan site, and search books with the keyword ‘Focusing’. Eighty six books pop up immediately. Take away the books referring to cameras, and there are 50 books on our kind of Focusing. That is 50 printed books, excluding e-books and DVDs! 21 of these books are translations, 29 are written by our Japanese colleagues. This surely testifies that a fair number of readers exist.

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.

Akira Ikemi

Read Mexico Summary
What I describe here are the activities that have been promoted by Focusing Mexico, and my participation as a professor at several universities. Also included are the activities of colleagues who participated with me in a process of training and certification as Focusing instructors. They live in Guadalara, Mexico City, Leon, Monterrey, and one in Puerto Rico.

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.

Salvador Moreno-Lopez

Read New Zealand Summary
Focusing in New Zealand is slowly growing and getting established. We have one psychologist, twelve counsellors and therapists, one occupational therapist, one chaplain and several nurses incorporating Focusing – Focusing-oriented therapy, wholebody Focusing, Focusing-oriented art therapy, and the Pause.

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.

Heather Rogers

Read Spain Summary
Thank you for the opportunity to be present with you and share the status of Focusing in Spain…

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

Read Switzerland Summary
Focusing in Switzerland has a long history. Agnes Wild-Missong, a founding member of the German Association for client-centred psychotherapy, organised a conference at the University of Zurich in 1975, where Gene Gendlin was invited to be the keynote speaker. There was an audience of 500 participants and his speech, combined with a Focusing exercise, was a great success. And from there, Focusing started its journey throughout the German speaking countries in Europe.

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.

Teresa Dawson

Read UK England, Scotland & Wales Summary
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

Read USA & Canada Pacific Northwest Summary
The Pacific Northwest of the North American continent includes Oregon, Washington and Idaho in the US, and British CoIumbia in Canada.

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

Read USA New England Summary
New England comprises six states in north-eastern USA: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont. Focusing has a long history in this part of the USA. We sponsored an international conference 20 years ago. Currently we have many trainers here who are teaching Focusing, and therapists who integrate Focusing into their work. I teach a University course on Focusing and Mindfulness at Lesley University in Cambridge Massachusetts, and have been teaching Focusing for counselling psychologists there for 30 years. I have also been leading trainings for psychotherapists and coaches since 1998, and we have a supervision group that meets monthly for advanced Focusing-oriented therapists.

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.

Joan Klagsbrun


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