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FOCUS ON: Kevin McEvenue and Paul Huschilt

by Ellen Kirschner, Trainee, USA

Kevin McEvenue.

At the age of 35, Kevin McEvenue was a successful investment banker when a condition of degenerative disks in his spine derailed his career. After several back operations failed, in 1972 he discovered the Alexander Technique. Developed by F.M. Alexander, the practice frees up unconscious, automatic body responses that can cause chronic physical disorders.

Alexander teachers focus on the top of the spinal column where six muscles combine to produce a flight, fight or freeze response to stress. Repeated tensing of these muscles can cause them to lock into a defended mode that restricts energy flow throughout the body, leading to conditions like chronic back pain. Once the unconscious, habitual muscular responses are identified, Alexander practitioners use a series of mental commands to stop the body from engaging in its bad habits. This creates a space where the body’s original, intrinsic wisdom can be reawakened, allowing the body to move in health-restoring ways. Alexander called this body wisdom the “Primary Control.”

Kevin became certified in Alexander Technique in 1979 and took over another teacher’s practice. One of his clients was Mary Armstrong, who had just discovered Focusing. Another client handed Kevin a flyer for Ed McMahon and Peter Campbell’s Bio-Spiritual Focusing retreat saying, simply, “Go.” Kevin was certified as a Focusing Trainer in 1989.

Kevin continued to practice Alexander Technique. One day while working with a Shiatsu teacher Kevin experienced that change in function could come directly from his body’s inner wisdom without the use of external commands. “Both inner-directed spontaneous movement and inner knowing were happening at the same time,” Kevin writes. “I realized that what Alexander imposed from without could be awakened from within.”
Kevin went on to cross Focusing with Alexander Technique while respecting the integrity of each founder’s genius. During this time he dreamed that a great tree was growing through a traditional house with a modern glass roof, symbolizing his life work of bringing together two disciplines to create something new. He called this new process Wholebody Focusing.

“Wholebody Focusing comes out of the blending of two vital discoveries,” writes Kevin. “Alexander discovered the importance of activating a physical functioning that awakens the body as a whole towards a sense of expansion and inner flow, leading to healthier and more expansive living. Gendlin developed Focusing as a teachable way to access our own body knowing of what is needed in our lives to move us forward in how we were meant to be.”

“Wholebody Focusing puts these two pieces together in a way that enhances both. What is new to Focusing is the quality of inner directed physical movement that is activated. The sense of the whole person is maintained and strengthened as a relationship builds between ‘me’ physically grounded in a sense of whole-myself in this moment and something that wants my attention. The holding of both at the same time creates a dynamic inner directed movement from the familiar to new functional changes that are needed as a next step, safely grounded in the body.”.

Kevin was nominated as a Master Teacher of the Interactive Focusing process in 2002. Paul has shifted his concentration to public speaking. He hosted a successful fundraiser for the Focusing Institute in New York City last spring.

Kevin and Paul ran two week-long trainings in 2001 and 2002 and Kevin taught two weekends in Baltimore specifically for Alexander practitioners. He held a three-day intensive in Toronto in 2003. He established an internet discussion group to explore specific links between what is essential to Alexander - the awakening of the Primary Control, and Gendlin – the awakening of a ‘felt sensing’ process. He wants to train Alexander Teachers and body workers in Wholebody Focusing because they are certified in ‘touch training.’

He will be teaching a Bio-Spiritual group two weekends in England, a weeklong in France, and a weekend introducing Wholebody Focusing to Lucy Bower’s Focusing trainers group. The Toronto Focusing group is planning the 2005 International Focusing Conference. He and Paul will be doing a series of workshops next August in Japan.

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This page was last modified on 11 April 2008