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The FIRST World Conference on Focusing-Oriented Psychotherapies

Sharing Diversity/Building Community
A First World Conference on Focusing-Oriented Psychotherapies

Sponsored by The Focusing Institute and
International Association for Focusing Oriented Therapists (IAFOTs)

November 12 - 15, 2009
November 11 Pre-Conference Day
at Stony Point Center Stony Point, New York

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We warmly invite all psychotherapists and counselors to attend the first World Conference on Focusing Oriented Psychotherapies with the theme of Sharing Diversity/Building Community. The conference will take place on November 12th -15th 2009, from 1:30 on Thursday, November 12 to after lunch on Sunday, November 15 with 2 Pre-Conference workshops on Wednesday, November 11 in the afternoon and Thursday, November 12 in the morning. The conference will take place at Stony Point Center N.Y http://www.stonypointcenter.org/ CEUs for social workers and CEs for psychologists will be available.

What is Focusing-Oriented Psychotherapy?
Focusing-Oriented Psychotherapy (FOT) is an emerging family of experiential psychotherapies based on the pioneering work of Eugene Gendlin. In empirical studies, Gendlin and colleagues found that clients who succeeded in therapy were those who regularly paused and listened inwardly to a murky 'felt sense' of their situation found beneath known feelings and thoughts. Gendlin's philisophical work explicates how the ‘felt sense’ carries a complexity that cannot be grasped by the analytic mind alone -- and from which fresh new steps of change can emerge. The Focusing-Oriented psychotherapist learns many ways to facilitate the Focusing process and works with a range of therapeutic issues such as medical illness, personality disorders, anxiety, and crisis. One of the strengths of Focusing-Oriented Psychotherapy is that it can be integrated with other therapeutic approaches because it opens up each method’s potential. For example, FOT has been integrated with brief, solution-focused therapy, family systems psychoanalysis, dream work, body work, and existential therapies. Focusing represents a significant advance in psychotherapy and has earned Gendlin three awards for his work from The American Psychological Association.

Please join us in celebrating the richness of the Focusing tradition as it has been creatively integrated into the way we practice psychotherapy. At this community gathering, we will be learning, reflecting, cross-fertilizing, mentoring, relaxing and enjoying the company of our colleagues. There will be intensive morning study groups, many shorter presentations in the afternoons, and opportunities for Focusing partnerships, peer supervision and time for fun each evening.

New to Focusing: If you are a psychotherapist or counselor new to Focusing, we will have a level one training designed for you.

Pre-Conference Workshops will take place Wednesday November 11th: 3:30 PM – 5:30 PM and Thursday, November 12th: 9:30 AM – 12:00 PM.

The Conference will begin after lunch on Thursday and end on Sunday at 2:30 PM.. Please come and register between 11:30 AM – 1:00 PM if you would like to attend the Afternoon Presentation which begins at 1:30 PM. It will be possible to buy lunch for a nominal fee.

Registration will be open all day Thursday for those who are unable to arrive for the 1:30 PM – 3:00 PM Afternoon Presentations – you will have a choice of many presentations. There will be a choice of a second Afternoon Presentation beginning at 3:30 PM – 5:00 PM. (See below for sample of these presentations). Afternoon presentations of 90 minutes each will continue on Friday and Saturday.

On Thursday we will have a wine reception before dinner and a welcoming evening program, where we will come together as a community – followed by some optional dancing. On Friday evening we will have a coffeehouse and on Saturday, the Focusing Follies.

On Friday, Saturday and Sunday Morning, we will have Study Groups. You will be asked to select your first and second choice.

On Sunday morning we hope to have Gene Gendlin from 10:30 AM to 12:30 PM.

Pre-Conference Workshops:

Finding a Way Home: Working Safely with Complex Trauma
This introductory workshop will provide both theory and experiential ways of beginning to understand how the body holds trauma memory. Participants will learn how to safely use Focusing Oriented Therapy to build the clients observer self, notice regression, and begin to build awareness of the body’s non-verbal cues.
Leslie Ellis, M.A., RCC, FOTT is a psychotherapist, focusing trainer and writer based in North Vancouver, BC. She is a graduate of Pacifica Graduate Institute and a Certifying Coordinator with The Focusing Institute.

Alexis Phillips and Shaun Phillips are a sister and brother team. They have been using Focusing Oriented Therapy for over a decade and have specialized training in PTSD and Complex Trauma, under the Supervision of Shirley Turcotte (R.C.C.).

Alexis Phillips, M.A., R.C.C., is a registered clinical counsellor working in community and agency counselling and private practice on the East Shore of Kootenay Lake in British Columbia, Canada. She has been using Focusing Oriented Therapy for twelve years and is a certifying coordinator with the Focusing Institute. Alexis also provides clinical training in Focusing and Complex Trauma and has worked in collaboration with agencies such as the Indian Residential School Survivors Society. Her research on trauma recovery has been published in the Journal of Counselling & Development.

Shaun Phillips, B.Ed., R.P.C., is a registered professional counsellor, Focusing oriented therapist and trainer and Focusing coordinator in training. Shaun works in private practice and is currently working on his Masters in Counselling Psychology at the University of British Columbia, Canada. Over the past ten years Shaun has been developing a program used in elementary schools called Youth for a Just Society- Our Voices: The power for Change. This unique process integrates curriculum, the arts and Focusing techniques to engage young learners and address trauma.

Your Life as a Therapist
The aim of this session is to speak freshly from our deepest places about our lives as psychotherapists. How do we hold the vast complexity – the startling, the extraordinary, the dark- that emerges within us as well as in our clients within the greater context of our personal lives?

Many of our most difficult or transcendent moments may occur within therapy relationships. These experiences live inside us in ways we cannot easily share. This situation goes beyond the frequent admonition that therapists should not “take their work home”.

Through readings, individual and group focusing, I invite you to share how you live with the natural experiential intermingling of your life and work. The two-part structure of the sessions will allow each of us to take in the theme and see what wants to be noticed. Some may choose to share, some to capture in brief writing, others in focusing dyads.

My paper “One Therapist’s Travel Log” is highly recommended to enrich your experience of the session. I strongly encourage you to find time to read it before the session. Email and hard copies will be available upon request at pre-registration. Yet, if you would like to join us, and are unable to do the reading, you will be most warmly welcomed.

Joan Lavender, Psy.D. is a clinical psychologist and Relational Focusing-Oriented psychoanalyst with extensive experience as a clinician, supervisor, teacher and author. Her earliest training in dance/nonverbal behavior and Experiential Focusing theory and method serve as a unique perspective that unifies all of her clinical work.

Morning Study Groups:

Introduction to Focusing Study Group
Our three morning meetings will offer practitioners new to Focusing a basic understanding and experience of “felt sensing” and the and of symbolizing that comes from it. We will demonstrate and discuss the experiential Focusing process that is now considered to be the crux of therapeutic change and forward movement in psychotherapy.
Charlotte Howorth, LCSW, is a psychotherapist and supervisor in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn, and in Manhattan working with individuals, couples, families and groups. She is also the Clinical Director of a social services Agency in Manhattan, a lecturer in Social Work at Columbia, NYC, is on faculty for the FORP Program in both NYC and South Africa, as well as being a Certified Focusing Trainer.
Janet Pfunder is a therapist and supervisor in Park Slope, Brooklyn, in private practice since 1978, and a Certified Focusing Trainer. In addition to teaching Focusing, she leads dream groups, creativity workshops, and Sufi workshops.

Finding Doorways to Spirituality in Psychotherapy
Many aspects of the Focusing process can move clients in the direction of greater wholeness, and toward a deeper connection with their spirituality. Through experiential exercises, case studies, reflection and discussion, we will explore how Focusing-Oriented Psychotherapy can open doorways to the spiritual; while profoundly affecting both client and therapist.

Doralee Grindler Katonah, Psy.D., M.Div. is Adjunct Faculty at the American School of Professional Psychology, Chicago, is a certifying coordinator for The Focusing Institute, and has been practicing as a Focusing-Oriented psychotherapist for over 30 years. She has taught and published about Focusing-Oriented Psychotherapy and it’s applications to Mind/Body Medicine and Spiritual Development. Doralee is a practitioner and lay teacher of Soto Zen Buddhism.
Joan Klagsbrun, Ph.D. is a long time Certifying Coordinator for the Focusing Institute, has been; practicing as psychologist in private practice, training Focusing-Oriented Therapists and teaching graduate students in Counseling Psychology at Lesley University for over 30 years. Joan's current passion is exploring how Focusing enhances health and wholeness. She has held the vision of this conference for many years.

Working Directly with the Body in Focusing-Oriented Therapy: Wholebody Focusing as a Pathway for Transforming Trauma
In this study group, we will present and experience the main skills of Wholebody Focusing (Kevin McEvenue) that form the foundation for a body-centered FOT. The core tool is Focusing from Wholebody Presence as a vehicle for reversing the human stress response and for deep listening to the body’s inner wisdom. We will also explore how the WB process activates life energy to unwind trauma and chronic patterns through inner-directed movement, gestures, posture, sensory awareness and direct experiencing & outward expressing of felt senses.

Glenn Fleisch, Ph.D., MFT, has been a psychotherapist for 30 years. He has been integrating Wholebody Focusing into FOT, specializing in unwinding of trauma, stress and addictions. In addition, Glenn co-teaches (with A. W. Cornell) a two-year training program in FOT, and offers his own training in WBF.
Karen Whalen, Ph.D. is a Clinical Therapist and Focusing Coordinator in Nova Scotia, eastern Canada. She trains Health Care professionals in Wholebody Energy Focusing and Wholebody Presence.
Integrating Experiential and Brief Therapy: Moving Clients from Insight to Change
Some clients are natural Focusers – others are not. Some clients have the funds for long-term therapy – some don’t. There are ways to work more briefly – yet deeply. We will explore, through demos, role-plays and animated discussion the very best of (Brief) Solution Oriented and (Experiential) Focusing Oriented Therapy with an emphasis on "how to" so that participants can immediately and practically use and enrich the client's therapeutic experience. Come prepared with your most challenging cases!
Bala Jaison, Ph.D., author of Integrating Experiential and Brief Therapy: How to do Deep Therapy - Briefly and How to do Brief Therapy – Deeply, is a psychotherapist, workshop leader, Director of Focusing For Creative Living in Toronto and a Certifying Coordinator for The Focusing Institute. She writes extensively on the clinical applications of Focusing in therapy and is co-editor of the Folio, the academic journal for The Focusing Institute.

Focusing Oriented Therapy with Anxiety, Depression. Obsession, Disassociation, Rage, and Terror
How can Focusing be used effectively in psychotherapy when the Focusing classical method of guiding might, for example, increase an anxious person’s anxiety or further overwhelm a depressed person This workshop will demonstrate how even with these complicated and intense issues there are ways to use Focusing to move the psychotherapy process forward.

Robert L. Lee, Ph.D. has developed a new model for teaching focusing (Domain Focusing), as well as a theory and practice for change on the macro level (Changing the Unchangeable). His comprehensive practice encompasses working with difficulties in felt sense formation (Elusive Felt Sensing), special methods for using focusing in couples' and group therapy, and working with difficult feelings (depression, anxiety, terror, rage)

The New Us-Working with the Therapy Relationship
Focusing Oriented Relational Psychotherapy (F.O.R.P.) emphasizes the development of a new relatedness which births and articulates a new sense of self. The understanding that we are our interactions, calls us to attend to the particularity of the therapeutic exchange, its implicit meanings, strivings, obstacles and moments of development. Through discussion, role play, demonstrations and other didactic and experiential processes we will explore questions such as “How do we use our felt sense to carry forward the therapeutic relationship itself?”

Lynn Preston, M.A., M.S. is a focusing oriented psychoanalyst for over thirty years, is the Director of the New York Focusing Oriented Relational Psychotherapy (F.O.R.P.) Program, Co-Director of the Capetown F.O.T. Training, and Director of the New York Training and Research Institute for Self Psychology (T.R.I.S.P) evening program. She has written several articles about focusing and relationality in psychotherapy and has a special interest in experiential teaching and supervision.

Focusing and Your World Voice: Coming from the Inside First
Do you want to speak to a wider audience than yourself about something you know deeply coming from your therapeutic work? This short study group will help you take your knowing to the next level by developing it into a project appropriate to your situation with the aid of the felt-sense and selected TAE steps. No research or project planning experience required!

Kevin C Krycka, Psy.D. is the director of the Master of Arts in Existential-phenomenological Psychology program at Seattle University. For over 20 years Kenvin has taught graduate and undergraduate courses on Gendlin’s philosophy and his two practices (Focusing and TAE) while developing a new approach to phenomenological qualitative research which he calls the Immediacy Model.

Afternoon Presentations include:

  • Authentic Movement and Focusing Workshop with Aileen Crow
  • 'Being and Awareness' in FOT and the Meditative Path - Astrid Schillings
  • Body Dreams - Barbara Chutroo, LCSW, CASAC
  • Capacity for Rest and Sleep: The Foundation for a Balanced Life - Susan Rudnick, CSW & Robin Kappy, LCSW
  • Crossing Eastern Concepts with Implicit - Yasuhiro Suetake, Hiroki Sakuramoto, Kumie Osako, Yoshihiko Morotomi, Tadayuki Murasato, Satoko Tokumaru
  • Dancing with the Implicit: Engaging Playful and Creative Processes in Therapy - Andrew Fieleke, M.A., LMHC and Sophie Glickson, LMHC
  • Deepening Resonance - Serge Prengel, LHMC
  • Dream Appreciation: A Crossing of Eugene Gendlin and Montague Ullman - Janet Pfunder
  • Embracing the Therapist Path as a Spiritual Journey - Susan Rudnick, C.S.W. and Ruth Rosenblum, LCSW
  • Felt Sense Overload: The Process of Emptying the Vicarious Tank - Alexis Phillips, M.A., R.C.C. and Shaun Phillips, B.Ed., R.P.C.
  • Focusing and Drumming: Tools for Self-Soothing and Transformation - Lillian Sober-Ain, Ph.D.
  • Focusing for Chronic Pain in the 21st Century - Chel Merraro, M.A., MBA, RMT
  • FOT for Eating Disorders - Mako Hikasa
  • FOT with Trauma-Clients: Between Symbolic and Pre-Symbolic Processes - Ton Coffeng, MD
  • Focusing with Persons with Cancer - Diane Bourbonnais, Ph.D.
  • Focusing on Positive Emotions - Carlos Alemany, Ph.D.
  • From Loneliness to Solitude: Deadends, Disassociation and Reassociation - Sharron Kaplan
  • Getting to the Heart of it: Working with Recurrent Issues and Themes in FOT - Helene Brenner, Ph.D.
  • Healing Hurting Places - Charles Herr, Ph.D.
  • Heart-Oriented Focusing - Jane Umanoff, LCSW
  • Implicit Relational Intricacy in Group Process - Charlotte Howorth, LCSW
  • Infidelity in Service of the Spirit's Quest for Transformation - Atsmaout Perlstein, Ph.D.
  • Jungian Dreamwork and Focusing - Leslie Ellis, M.A., RCC
  • Look Who is Coming to Therapy: Making Space for Uninvited, Reluctant and Critical Aspects of Self -
    Jude Cobb, Ph.D. and Anne Shollar, LSCW-R
  • Mother-Child Bonding in the Womb Case Study; and Life-Affirming Exercise - Wendi S. Maurer, Ph.D.
  • Ontological Focusing and Coaching: the horizontal change - Edgardo Riveros Aedo.
  • Practice-relevant Focusing-oriented Research: An Invitation - Jim Iberg, Ph.D.
  • Resonance, the Shift and the Healing Process - Lanie Kagan, MACP
  • Supervision:Focusing on the Sounds of One Hand Clapping - Graham Disque, Ph.D.
  • The Felt Sense as the Bridge to Body, Mind and Affect - Liora Bar-Natan, M.A.
  • The Implicit Power of the Background Feeling in Focusing - Marine de Fréminville, M.Ps
  • The Psychotherapy Group as "A Relational Guest House" - Calliope Callias-Akis, Ph.D.

If you are a Focusing Trainer or Trainer-in-Training, you can also attend the Advanced Weeklong: Clear Paths for Focusing Professionals, Nov 14-20, at the same location. The first day of that workshop and the last day of the this conference are designed to overlap, bringing more richness and crossing to both.


Conference Fee: $450

Pre-Conference Sessions: $125
(Wednesday afternoon and Thursday morning)

If you are a full time graduate student, please call Melinda Darer: 845-362-5222 to discuss tuition options.

You will receive a $25 discount if you have paid 2009 Focusing Institute professional dues. Please contact Melinda Darer: melinda@focusing.org or 845-362-5222 if this applies to you.

Plus room and board:

Room and board costs include lodging, 3 meals a day, plus welcome reception and evening wine and cheese.


Single: $145 night - Wednesday arrival: $580 or Thursday arrival: $435

Double: $105 night - Wednesday arrival: $420 or Thursday arrival: $315

Transportation: Stony Point can pick you up at the airport for a fee. Please contact Pam at the Stony Point Transportation Office: 845-786-5674, extension 110.

Travel information will be included in your confirmation letter which will include directions for those who
are driving and public transportation information from New York City.


Stony Point Center is nestled in the Lower Hudson River Valley, between New York City and West Point.

$150 administrative fee for cancellation. After September 10, all fees are nonrefundable except in unavoidable emergency.

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