The relational 'revolutionary pause':
How Focusing Therapy welcomes the deeper nature of 'between'
"Our common humanity is palpable... diverse cultures do not have to be a barrier if we are willing to relate from that implicit commonality. Focusing and FOT have spread around the world into diverse cultures because these practices offer a way to connect through to the living source that culture covers over. "
All forms of Focusing offer the possibility of deep transformation. So much so that I sometimes wonder if, as therapists, we add much extra in Focusing Therapy sessions. What can therapy, especially Focusing Oriented Therapy (FOT), offer that enhances the potential of an already powerful Focusing process? And how can 'therapy', a modern western 'treatment' for individuals, be appropriate for all cultures?
I think there is a role for FOT that could be valuable worldwide, and different from just Focusing. For instance, in therapy we add the therapist as a person for the client to meet. The therapist, like the Focusing Guide, sits in the chair as a full person before s/he adds knowledge, insight, technique, theory, assumptions, or interventions (including Focusing invitations). However, in contrast to most Focusing sessions, with FOT there are two people sitting with their eyes open looking at each other expectantly. The expectation of interaction is different from a guided Focusing session. This creates a culture to be explored. What interaction is expected? How will we live it forward? The situation is already more like the difficult everyday world where we have problems interacting with other people. The likelihood is that between therapist and client we will experience some of the trouble we both usually have in the rest of our lives. In FOT the interpersonal dynamic of 'our new culture’ is explicitly attended to. We call it the relationship. Usually in Focusing sessions the quality of the being-together is fundamentally important but not explicitly talked about. Usually the Focuser is paying attention to the process that we call ‘inner’, already diving into the uniqueness beyond the ‘cultures of meeting’.
FOT offers the unusual experience of attempting to remain connected with the ‘inner’ while simultaneously living with others. Even experienced Focusers can find it difficult to remain connected to themselves when in relationship with other people. After years of Focusing, we still know how to argue without listening (ever been to a Focusing International?). How can we live the intricacy we find through our Focusing in the wider world where culture predominates? FOT works in this territory where we try to integrate our palpable insights into situations with set expectations and social patterns. This kind of therapy is ‘cross-cultural’ by revealing how culture works in us while also touching what is more than culture. Coping with the presence of the therapist while sensing deeply, already gives an experience of how to cope with the neighbors, the workplace, the village elders.
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Greg Madison is an London-based existential psychologist, senior university lecturer and researcher, and international trainer with extensive writings on existential and experiential therapy and the deeper significance of 'home'. Greg has been a Focuser since 1981 when he was an undergraduate in his native Canada and he is a long-time Certifying Coordinator for the Focusing Institute.
An experiment in communication, with Anna Christensen and Serge Prengel
This conversation is unlike others: It is not an interview through which we
get to understand a person's approach to focusing. It is an experiment, in which
two people are taking "the pause" as a starting point, and exploring what
happens during and after the pause.
The idea of recording this conversation happened as Anna Christensen and I
were discussing how to explain, or demonstrate, Focusing to other people. We
decided to start recording our conversation, and to try to describe the process
itself as we were talking. So, at the beginning of the recording, you have Anna
stating what had been happening before. And it goes on from there.
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Upcoming Conferences, Retreats and Workshops
Introductory Weekend: Introducing an Advanced Four Module Certification Training Program on Wholebody Focusing
with Karen Whalen, Ph.D. on June 14-16, 2013 in Tatamagouche Centre, Tatamagouche, Nova Scotia.
Giving Language to Stress
A 5-week phone course in Applied Thinking at the Edge with Dr. Evelyn Pross and Beatrice Blake, CFT. Sponsored by The Focusing Institute Tuesdays, August 13, 20, 27 and September 3 and 10, 2013. Early Bird Discount through July 13, 2013
FISS 2013: 8th Annual Focusing Institute Summer School
At the Garrison Institute in Garrison, New York. August 16-22, 2013.
Focusing with Dreams
September 21 and 22, 2013 in Manhattan with Janet Pfunder. Open to people who have previous Focusing experience.
Zen and Focusing Retreat
Meditation, Focusing, Yoga led by Eleanor Buscher, MS, LPC, NCC and Roshi Paul Genki Kahn, LCSW, DCSW on September 27-29, 2013 at the ZEN GARLAND SANCTUARY, Airmont, NY.
Generative Thinking At The Edge: Part 2 - Moving Forward With Generative TAE October 3-6, 2013 at Stony Point, NY with Nada Lou
Advanced Four Module Certification Training Program on Wholebody Focusing
The Wisdom Body of the Conscious Elder: Carrying the Wholeness of Life Forward Inside our Relationships and Communities at Stony Point Center, New York with Kevin McEvenue and Karen Whalen, Ph.D. Starting October 9-12, 2013.
Connections and Crossings Across Cultures
Advanced and Certification Workshop at the Garrison Institute in Garrison, New York. November 1-7, 2013.
Third International Conference On Focusing-Oriented Psychotherapies
The Third International Conference On Focusing-Oriented Psychotherapies will take place on May 15-18, 2014 at Stony Point New York, an hour outside of NYC.
FISS 2013: 8th Annual Focusing Institute Summer School
August 16-22, 2013 at Garrison Institute in Garrison, New York
Listen to a free recording of a phone seminar
with the five Focusing Institute Summer School Teachers, Ann Weiser Cornell, Joan Klagsbrun, Nada Lou, Kevin McEvenue, and René Veugelers, live on the call.
How would you like to spend one week of your summer vacation at the Focusing Institute Summer School (FISS) learning more about Focusing than you ever thought possible?
Imagine yourself developing an "emotional muscle" to deal with difficult situations that consist of fear, stress and frustration. Imagine yourself becoming your own best friend feeling safe and at home within yourself. By learning Focusing and making it part of your daily living, you dip into the implicit treasures of your body wisdom. Thus, you become a leader who chooses the right next step in challenging times.
Ordinarily you'd have to travel around the world to study with these five master Focusing teachers... but this week they're going to be all in one place, creating an opportunity for going in depth with Focusing and many of its special applications: to health and healing, to thinking, to dreams, to psychotherapy, to spirituality, and much much more! New to Focusing? You're welcome too! You'll be able to immerse yourself in the company of one teacher and sample all five... make it a time of intensive study or more like a holiday with lots of play and fun... and you'll be in a warm and connected community of Focusing people from all over the world.
The Summer School is appropriate for anyone, at all levels of Focusing, from beginners to Focusing teachers, for both personal and professional development. Bring a friend and get a discount! Fees are based on date that the order isplaced and on type of room selection.
If you would like to join us and need to work out a different financial arrangement, e.g a monthly payment plan, please contact Elizabeth Cantor: 845-362-5222 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Click here for more information
or to register!
Click on the links below to see some of the new items that have been added to the TFI website over the past few months.
5/2013 May 2013 Newsletter is now on the website.
5/2013 FOCUSING IN EL SALVADOR: TOOLS FOR HEALING (English) (Español) by Yara Jiménez, CFT. Published in TFI Newsletter In Focus May 2013
5/2013 Community Wellness Focusing Update by Nina Joy Lawrence and Patricia Omidian. Published in TFI Newsletter In Focus May 2013
5/2013 イン・フォーカス April 2013 and イン・フォーカス March 2013 Japanese translation of Newsletter. Updated the Japanese newsletter page.
4/2013 ABRIENDO PUERTAS HACIA LA RECUPERACION por Suzanne L. Noël, CFT, CNT. 3er. Encuentro Iberoamericano de Focusing (2011) [PDF]
4/2013 FOCUS-IN RECOVERY by Suzanne L. Noel, CFT, Certifying Coordinator, Costa Rica. [PDF]
4/2013 "I really need some support!" How a Focusing approach allows a child's inner voice to emerge by René Veugelers. Published in TFI Newsletter In Focus April 2013.
4/2013 Updated the In Focus Newsletter page. March 2013 and April 2013 newsletters are now on the website.
Connections and Crossings Across Cultures: Advanced and Certification Weeklong
November 1-7, 2013 at the Garrison Institute in New York. Read the Weeklong FAQs and new podcasts from the teachers (pictured above) moderated by Susan Lennox.
4/2013 Defining Moments For Therapists, co-edited by Serge Prengel and Lynn Somerstein. Includes two chapters by FOTs, Susan Rudnick and Robin Kappy. A free PDF version can be downloaded at the website. The concept of the book is as follows: If therapy is a relational process, it takes a person on the therapist's end. The goal of the project is to capture the therapist's evolving sense of self as it is shaped by our experiences as active participants in a creative interaction. The essays in this book are first-person accounts, by eleven therapists, of some "Aha!" moments when they got to understand themselves better, and to understand better why they do what they do.
4/2013 April 2013: William Hernandez. This month's conversation is an invitation to start to explore the pause: Serge Prengel is talking with William Hernandez. Introductory notes for the conversation written by Serge. This is part of our "conversations" series which you can access from the "Felt Community" menu or from www.focusing.org/conversations
New Folio: MEMOIRS: STORIES OF ONE AHA TRANSFORMATIONAL FOCUSING EXPERIENCE
Featuring 47 written memories-memoirs from members of our Focusing community. The diversity of insight, growth, change, and inspiration is both heartfelt and often astounding. Now available in the TFI store.
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