February 2018

Support Focusing
Note From Catherine
Dear friends,
At The International Focusing Institute, 2017 was a year of major milestones:
The most significant, of course, was the passing of Gene Gendlin, which inspired the Board to create the Eugene T. Gendlin Center for Research in Experiential Philosophy and Psychology (see Kevin Krycka's article below).  
The sadness of Gene's passing was mixed with joy that this past year also saw his master work A Process Model (APM) published by Northwestern University Press.  At the same time, NU Press published a collection of Gene's essays, edited by Donata Schoeller and Ed Casey, called Saying What We Mean.  The availability of these volumes through this excellent academic publishing house is a great step toward ensuring that Gene's work will remain visible in academic circles. Gene was thrilled to know it was happening.  In honor of the formal publication of APM, one of our Board members created an online course in philosophy, making use of the wisdom of a number of great scholars.
At mid-year, the Institute published its Strategic Plan after two years of thoughtful conversation between the Board and the International Leadership Council (ILC), along with your input.  At the end of the year, the ILC announced a Pilot Program for the new system of naming Coordinators for the Institute (see the article below for more information).  
Also in 2017, an "angel" offered $25,000 as a grant to get our work started on redesigning our website.  A major website redesign of a site as large as ours takes enormous time and resources. Because of this amazing generosity, we will be able to get the sophisticated website that the Institute deserves.  The new site will improve efficiency in such things as course registration as well as having exceptional multilingual functionality. This past fall, after a year's worth of analysis with an excellent project manager, we are thrilled to have a developer to build the site.  We will be raising the rest of the needed funds over the next few months.

These are major achievements, but there's more.  We have continued to expand course offerings, allowing a wide variety of teachers to share their knowledge and skills with the world, through such programs as the Focusing Highlights classes.  Our energetic Membership Committee has created many ways to connect members with one another through Roundtables, Cafecitos, and Trainer Talks.  A number of these classes (and one Roundtable so far) have been offered in languages other than English -- and, of course, Cafecitos is always in Spanish.  We are working hard to truly reflect the multicultural and multilingual nature of our worldwide community. 
All of this happened because of the enormous gifts of time, treasure and talent which you have shared.  We are deeply grateful to all of you who are members; your faithfulness over the years has been the bedrock on which we build, grow and adapt.   For those of you who were able to give above and beyond your membership dues, we offer a special thank you.  We are humbled by the generosity of these donors.  What's more, in November, we asked you to create fundraisers on Facebook and almost 30 of you did so, with well over 100 people donating.  Thanks to all of you, that special "Giving Tuesday" effort raised about $11,000!  We have also raised funds for the new Gendlin Center, and we are deeply grateful for our Charter Donors, and all who have given to launch that important initiative.
All of the great work that happened at the Institute was supported not only by membership and financial gifts, but by the work of over 130 volunteers.  We were amazed when we counted you all up!
I am personally perpetually grateful for the incredible community we share.  Whether you are a member, a donor, a volunteer, or all three: THANK YOU.
Here's to keeping the momentum going in 2018!
With warmest regards,

-Catherine Torpey, Executive Director, 
The International Focusing Institute
TFI logo  
In this issue:
Board of Trustees: Hanspeter Mühlethaler
Eugene T. Gendlin Center for Research in Experiential Philosophy and Psychology
International Leadership Council: Claude Missiaen
ILC Updates Coordinator Document
What is Focusing and Why Does It Work?
Upcoming Courses and Events
Membership Benefits
International Volunteers Needed
Join Our Discussion Lists


Board of Trustees
Board of Trustees: Hanspeter Mühlethaler
An interview by Dawn Flynn

Hanspeter Mühlethaler is on the Board of Trustees of The International Focusing Institute.

Hanspeter Mühlethaler
I had the joy and privilege of interviewing Hanspeter Mühlethaler for this issue of the In Focus newsletter. Hanspeter is the newest member of the Board of Trustees.  He is a physicist with a PhD in atomic physics and astrophysics and worked for several years as an engineer in the electric power and railroad industries.  He is a Certified Focusing Trainer and has studied both Focusing and Thinking at the Edge (TAE).  He has taught TAE with Donata Schoeller at the Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) and at the University of Zurichand.  He is currently teaching TAE courses online.

Hanspeter and I met and had our conversation far away from one another in different time zones.  He lives in Switzerland and I live in the United States.  Yet, I felt a warm delight in our connection, as if we were spending our afternoon in the Swiss Alps sipping hot cocoa near a hearth. We touched upon deep and intriguing topics such as quantum physics, art, mathematics, philosophy and we did it while laughing and having a jolly time.

Dawn Flynn is a naturopathic doctor, licensed acupuncturist, and certified Focusing practitioner in the Seattle area of Washington state.

Board of Trustees
Eugene T. Gendlin Center for Research in Experiential Philosophy and Psychology
by Kevin Krycka
Kevin Krycka is the Chair of the first Steering Committee of the Gendlin Center. He served as Treasurer of the Board of the Institute from June 2014 until December 2017.

Kevin Krycka
On May 10, 2017, just a short while after Gene's death, the Board of the Institute passed a resolution to create a new research center in Gene's honor: The Eugene T. Gendlin Center for Research in Experiential Philosophy and Psychology. At that meeting, the Board asked Executive Director Catherine Torpey to convene a group of academics, as the resolution states, who are "versed in Gene's thought to move the idea forward."
Catherine drew together five of us from across the globe to be the first Steering Committee of the Gendlin Center. We are:
  • Kevin C Krycka, Chair, Professor of Psychology at Seattle University, USA
  • Akira Ikemi, Professor of Psychotherapy, Kansai University, Japan
  • Mary Jeanne Larrabee, Professor of Philosophy, DePaul University, USA
  • Rob Parker, Private Practice, White Plains, USA
  • Donata Schoeller, Habilitation, University of Koblinz, Switzerland
It has been seven months since that resolution was passed and I am writing now to give you a quick update on what we have been up to. First, we meet monthly. At this point our time has been spent on developing a mission statement and further defining the ways in which the Gendlin Center and the Institute can promote Gene's philosophy and psychology. Our second major activity has been to create The Gendlin Prize; one in the area of philosophy and another in psychology. Right now, two subgroups of the Steering Committee are working hard to define the focus of the prizes. We hope to be able to announce more details about the Prizes very soon, along with the scope of each, criteria for application, award amount, and timeline. Thirdly, we are just now beginning to think of how we can present the Gendlin Center and its future works on social media, the web, etc. Finally, we are co-sponsoring with Seattle University, a fall 2-day symposium entitled, "Saying What We Mean."  The exact dates and costs are being confirmed, but most likely, this meeting will be sometime in October, 2018.
I want to make special mention of thanks to all those who contributed to the Gendlin Center in 2017 and to its two prizes. So far, your generous donations have totaled $9,151.  Our plan is to make an annual report, posted to the Institute website, that breaks down our activities, accomplishments, budget, and awards. We are very open to your good ideas and help as we begin this important work. 
To donate directly to the Gendlin Center, go to focusing.org/donate and click on "direct my donation to a special program."

Board of Trustees
International Leadership Council: Meeting Claude Missiaen
by Jocelyn Jacks Kahn

Claude Missiaen is a member of the Institute's International Leadership Council (ILC).

Claude Missiaen
I'm always curious to know what originally draws someone to Focusing, and so I asked Claude how he became involved. It turns out that it was largely by chance.
Studying clinical psychology at the Catholic University of Leuven, it came time for Claude to choose a topic for his master's thesis. This was in 1984.
Claude: I found the topic of Focusing. I did not know what it was but it sounded interesting. But there were a number of different candidates interested in this topic, so it ended up being like a lottery among us - and I was the winner of it!
So I made my master's thesis on Focusing, and my promoter was Mia Leijssen. She was a professor at the time (since retired) and very involved in Focusing. As my teacher, she passed her enthusiasm for Focusing on to me. And I learned very quickly how powerful it was.
Also during that period, Gene Gendlin was in Leuven, and I had the chance to be in his workshop. And in my training as a psychotherapist I learned client-centered therapy and some experiential work as well.
Focusing never left me - and I never left it!

Jocelyn Jacks Kahn is a Certified Focusing Trainer in the traditions of Inner Relationship Focusing and Wholebody Focusing. She is also an instructor in the Realization Process, a spiritual practice of embodied non-duality. 
Board of Trustees
ILC Releases Update to
"Proposal for the Naming of Coordinators" 

At The International Focusing Institute, a Coordinator is a teacher of teachers, and takes responsibility for promulgating Focusing as well as its underlying philosophy. The International Leadership Council (ILC) was created in 2014 with a broad mandate to consider issues that are of importance to the Institute and the future of Focusing.  The current system of naming Coordinators allows an individual Coordinator to name a new one.  The ILC felt that this system would be strengthened by requiring that there be wider involvement of the community of Coordinators in the naming of new Coordinators.  For over two years, the ILC engaged current Coordinators (and those in training) in a process of discussing and refining the proposal. Their document, published in December 2017, lays out a process which requires three current Coordinators to form a "Support Team" in the training of a Coordinator-in-Training, with one acting as the primary "Mentoring Coordinator."  The ILC has instituted a Pilot Program, which will last at least through 2018, in order to learn from the experience of Coordinators and those in training about how this new system works.  They will be looking for feedback about how the Support Team can best function.  The hope is that the experience of those who choose to participate in this new way will help find the answer to such questions as: How often should the Coordinator-in-Training (CiT) meet with each of those in the team individually?  How often should the whole Team meet together with the CiT?  How will the Support Team decide on the readiness of the CiT to be promoted to full Coordinator, and what is a best practice if they are not in agreement with one another?  
During the Pilot Program, those Coordinators and CiT's who prefer the existing system will still be able to proceed on that basis.  If, at the end of 2018, it seems that more information and experience would be useful before requiring that all Coordinators abide by the new system, then the Pilot Program might be extended.  It is exciting to see the many good conversations that have been engendered throughout this process. Thank you, ILC, for all the hard work and thoughtfulness you've brought to this process, and thank you to all Coordinators and CiT's who have participated.  The ILC continues to welcome thoughts and feedback at ilc@focusing.org.

Board of Trustees
What is Focusing and Why Does It Work?
by Edgardo Riveros

Edgardo Riveros is a Certifying Coordinator in Chile and currently on the Facilitation Team of the Focusing Weeklong. Traducción al ingles de la versión original en español a cargo de James Doga, Focusing Trainer en Costa Rica .

Edgardo Riveros
Focusing as a phenomenon is almost unheard of within academia, and yet as a method, Focusing has spread throughout the world thanks to the extraordinary outreach of the international Focusing community that Eugene Gendlin and Mary Hendricks formed along with the first directors of The Focusing Institute in Chicago. This reach is due to the effort and will of individuals who have taken it upon themselves to spread its word since its birth in 1981, when Gendlin published the now historic pocket book, Focusing. Currently, Focusing is alive in 53 countries, with 206 coordinators and over 50 coordinators in training.

In this essay, Focusing as a Phenomenon will refer to that which occurs within us and changes us. Focusing as a Method will refer to the method by which a person accompanies an Other so that she may experience Focusing as a phenomenon. This Focusing as a method is well-known for its virtues and modus operandi. Despite experiencing changes via new cultural and personal appropriations of those who divulge it, it continues to respect the essential form in which it was brought into the world. This form was initiated in 1962 within Gendlin's theory of experiencing, with the publication of Experiencing and the Creation of Meaning (ECM).

Upcoming Events and Workshops

(Focusing Roundtable Series in Italian)
15 febbraio, 14 marzo, 18 aprile
19:00-21:00 orario dell'Europa Centrale
February 22 - April 12
July 25 - Sep 12
Taught by Ruth Hirsch

Listening in Heartfelt Connection
February 23 - March 23
11 am - 1 pm Eastern Time (US)

with Banu Ibaoglu Vaughn
February 25
11 am - 1 pm Eastern Time (US)
March 24-25
Starting May 6
Taught by Charlotte Howorth
A Focusing Retreat by Niagara Falls, Canada
June 15 - 17
Workshops for beginners and advanced Focusers

Become a Member

1/2018  A new colorful manual on community wellness by Pat Omidian: Reaching Resilience: A Training Manual for Community Wellness

1/2018  A new Wholebody Focusing book by Alex Maunder: Wholebody Focusing: Neural Pathways to Prosperity, Health and Wisdom

12/2017  Minutes of the Board of Trustees Meeting, December 13, 2017

12/2017  Gendlin's A Process Model is back in stock.
12/2017  Gendlin's new book Saying What We Mean - Implicit Precision and the Responsive Order is now available.

11/2017 Kjell, Ripert (2017). Despertando al lingüista interno. [PDF]

This section of the Institute's website has a sortable list of major International Focusing events.

Become a Member

The Membership Committee has created a checklist of member benefits.  Please check it out here.

From the TIFI Office
International Volunteers Needed

Volunteers have been at the heart of the Institute since its inception.  Our wonderful volunteers make up our Board and all our functional committees, support us through teaching online classes, organize conferences and produce media, translate and fundraise, and help with countless little projects to which we feel infinitely indebted.  We would love you to join one of our teams.  Currently, we are looking for additional volunteers for:
  • Translating our communications into your native language;
  • Editing our website in your native language;
  • Producing and curating media for our website and social media;
  • Copyediting articles that are submitted to our newsletter;
  • Creating a Focusing app;
  • Creating guided Focusing recordings.
Please contact Henry at henry@focusing.org.
Air Miles

We are a very international organization and it is extremely meaningful when we can be together.  Frequently, however, members of our community cannot attend Focusing Institute events because in addition to the cost of the event, they have very high air fares.  If you have air miles that you are willing to donate, please contact us.  Your airmiles could be used to help members of the Board of Trustees and the International Leadership Council to attend their face-to-face meeting, or to help someone being certified to attend the Weeklong.  Please help give someone the chance for these meaningful connections! 

Discussion Lists

Join our Discussion Lists!

TIFI sponsors several email discussion lists devoted to Focusing. All are welcome!

Click here to subscribe to our lists.



Have you considered remembering the Institute in your will? Leaving a bequest can be a way to continue to promote Focusing well into the future.  Please contact us if you are willing to do this or have done so already. Thank you!

Support Focusing
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All contents copyright 2018 by The International Focusing Institute   info@focusing.org