"> FISS 2013: 8th Annual Focusing Institute Summer School

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FISS 2013: 8th Annual Focusing Institute Summer School

August 16 – 22, 2013 at Garrison Institute in Garrison, New York.

Register for Focusing Summer School

Recording of the Free Focusing Gems Call from May 15, 2013 with the Five Focusing Institute Summer School Teachers

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 children, to aging, to thinking, to dreams, to psychotherapy, to spirituality, to personal growth, 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 Garrison Institute is a stately former monastery now used for meditation retreats. The food is fabulous, healthy and delicious... and there is WiFi in the lounges.

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! When you register at the same time as your friend, you both get a discount. If you're a beginner (or just feel like one!), there will be opportunities for extra training and support all through the week.

The five teachers will each offer one five-morning course so they can go in-depth... and will each offer the same topic in an afternoon session, so you don't have to miss anyone. The teachers will also offer other topics and special workshops in the afternoons and evenings. All the workshops will be experiential and will include some or all of the following: play, creativity, community-building, and interaction. And of course lots of Focusing! (See the course titles below).

If you are a psychotherapist, coach, or other healing professional, the Focusing Institute Summer School offers great benefits for you.

This program has been approved by NASW-New York State for 25 contact hours under approval number A-349.

The Teachers:

Ann Weiser Cornell is the author of The Power of Focusing, The Radical Acceptance of Everything and a forthcoming book on Focusing-oriented therapy, Focusing in Clinical Practice: The Essence of Change. She has been teaching Focusing around the world since 1980, and has a special interest in making the Focusing process clear and accessible. Ann is well known in the Focusing world for her attention to facilitative language, her popular manuals, and her co-creation with Barbara McGavin of Treasure Maps to the Soul.

Joan Klagsbrun is a beloved teacher who is known for her gentleness, warmth and clarity. As a psychologist and University teacher, she has practiced Focusing-oriented psychotherapy and taught Focusing internationally for over 30 years. She writes and teaches about the intersection of psychology, health and spirituality. Joan is passionate about teaching Focusing and enjoys teaching the public, psychotherapists, clergy, and health care practitioners. Her interest in positive psychology includes how Focusing can be used to enhance health, resilience, spirituality, and hopefulness - even in the midst of illness.

Nada Lou is well known throughout the Focusing world through her double specialty in Thinking at the Edge (TAE) and Focusing. Nada is a Focusing Institute Coordinator certified to train those wishing to teach Focusing/TAE. She co-presented TAE workshops with Dr. Gendlin and is in the forefront of spreading this new practice around the world. Writing the Grassroots Introduction Manual to TAE and immersing herself in Gendlin's thinking by her DVD Productions has made Nada one of the world's experts in TAE. Nada has the ability to gently and patiently nurture each person's 'thinking edge', guiding them at every step. She offers the recently created TAE Teacher Certification program.

Kevin McEvenue is internationally known for his development of Wholebody Focusing, bringing together the essential elements of the Alexander technique and Gendlin's Focusing process with his own unique genius. He is a beloved and popular teacher whose warm and generous heart can be felt by everyone in his presence. Kevin is a Focusing Institute Coordinator certified to train those interested in becoming a Wholebody Focusing Trainer. He lives in Toronto and is also an accomplished watercolorist.

René Veugelers is a Coordinator specialising in Children's Focusing with an emphasis on the non-verbal world, teaching parents, therapists, teachers and others how to be with children in a Focusing way, how to (re)connect to their own inner child and how to work with their creativity. René's experiences as an art therapist embrace an expanded richness of creative elements and support a natural unfolding of creative process. René lives and works in the Netherlands and teaches internationally. He is an enthusiastic and inspiring teacher who brings considerable experience, subtlety and joy to every person attending his workshops or training.


Movement and Bodywork

Movement and bodywork sessions will be in addition to regularly scheduled classes and workshops, for refreshing and centering moments throughout the day.

Donna Nisha Cohen

Donna Nisha Cohen, MS, Wellness Educator, Embodied Life Practioner, is a yoga and meditation teacher for over 30 years. She is the director of Yoga On Duck Pond in Stone Ridge, NY. Donna brings energy, humor and attentiveness to her teaching. Her classes are infused with a Focusing and Feldenkrais orientation that have a therapeutic effect. Donna returns this year to offer her popular before-breakfast yoga class. From last year: "Donna is curious about each person in the room so she can support everyone's practice and growth. Each yoga class feels fresh and alive. I always leave her classes feeling more open, spacious and present in my body/mind."

Paul Marks

Paul Marks is in his 25th year of practicing Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine. He loves the challenge of evaluating people's needs and then helping them, as well as finding the openings for healing and transformation that this evokes. He is a certified Ananda Yoga instructor. One of his current passions is teaching Qi Gong, a powerful yet simple series of movements that both stimulates the energy pathways in the body corresponding to the meridians and opens up the vital energy centers. He enjoys teaching and the joy it brings. Paul presents it as a perfect complement to yoga. Practiced on a regular basis, Qi Gong can have lasting and rejuvenating health benefits for the Mind, Body, and Soul.

Although as far as we know everyone scheduled will appear, the Focusing Institute reserves the right to withdraw or substitute teachers while maintaining the overall quality of the program.

The Courses

Morning Major programs:

PLEASE NOTE: For late registrants not all morning choices may be available.

The Morning Courses

Ann Weiser Cornell: Focusing Level One AND Focusing Level One for Healing Professionals
Learn Focusing, really learn it, so it's an easy, trusted part of your life; feel comfortable and solid being a Focusing partner to another person; experience the subtle and intricate "felt sense" and how life flows forward from there. If you're a healing professional, find out how to bring the Focusing moves you are learning into your client sessions immediately. This training by one of the most experienced Focusing teachers in the world takes you step by step, gaining skills and feeling confident in your ability to do Focusing by yourself and with a Focusing partner. You do not have to be a therapist or other healing professional, but if you are, you will be learn about bringing these skills into your client sessions.

Joan Klagsbrun: A Focusing Approach to the Positive: Enhancing Your Capacity for Creativity, Happiness, and Health
In this course we will learn about bringing attention to the positive and how it can increase our experience of well-being in mind, body, and spirit. Each day will be devoted to Focusing on a different aspect of well-being. On Day One we will learn about recent discoveries in Neuroscience and Positive Psychology which, when combined with Focusing, can amplify our appreciation of our lives. On Day Two, we will discover the unique next steps needed to enhance our physical health and healing. On Day Three, we will use Focusing to explore five pathways to happiness, including the practice of gratefulness. On Day Four, we will use Focusing to take delight in our creativity through journaling, movement and drawing. On Day Five, we will attend to what it is that makes our lives meaningful, and explore ways to deepen that sense of meaning. The last morning will be devoted to integrating our journey, and finding fresh next steps. During the week, we will share stories from our lives, engage in practices derived from cutting edge research, and experience the supportive presence of one another. In the process we will discover new ways to liberate our spirit, to value our lives, and to create a personal roadmap towards wholeness. This particular morning course is available for APA CE credits.  The Focusing Institute is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. The Focusing Institute maintains responsibility for this program and its content. CE credits awarded to participants: 15.  For further information please contact: Elizabeth Cantor (elizabeth@focusing.org).

Nada Lou: Invigorate Your Communication through WholeBrain Thinking (TAE)
Do you wish to speak clearly but find yourself lacking the right words? Is your writing a struggle, you know there is more but you can't get to it? Is your thinking loaded with too much information and still not feel complete? In this course you will discover a path to embracing your own generative power to think, speak, write and communicate with confidence and clarity. Give language to your projects, vitalize your relationships, display confidence in your work and delight in your hobbies. With WholeBrain Thinking your speaking will become clearer, your writing more inspiring, your communication more stimulating, and your life moving in a forward direction.

Thinking at the Edge (TAE) is a practice created from Gendlin's Philosophy. In this course you will learn how to find your growing edge of awareness; how to think and use language from your felt sensing; how to write for yourself and how to write for the public. You will delight in having tools to enable your passions and interests to become reality. For those interested in continuing training in TAE, this course will give you credit for TAE - Generative Thinking Module 1 and 2. For experienced Focusers.

Kevin McEvenue: Wholebody Focusing: How the Power of Human Consciousness, Grounding in the Present, Awakens the Wisdom of the Body (Kevin's classes are now full)
Wholebody Focusing is a natural process that invites the power of consciousness to awaken the inner wisdom of the living body, a knowing that is at the heart of every one of us. Beneath our conditioned and stressful patterns that are all too familiar to us, lies an inner wellspring of intelligence and vitality that knows how to unwind our stress and traumas and move forward our life situations. Wholebody Focusing offers us the resources we need to reconnect with this body wisdom, in order to reboot our particular life stoppages and to open us up to the fullness of ourselves, that sense of self that knows who we are and who we were meant to be.
This workshop will be especially geared to people familiar with Focusing, to expand their Focusing experience to explicitly include the resources that come when we feel bodily supported by our environment, creating a safe container for whatever needs our attention. We call this "being in Grounded Presence."
In this workshop, working in partnerships, you will begin to explore the basic elements of Wholebody Focusing to expand and enhance your Focusing experience. You will also explore the resources that come with heartfelt connection in Focusing Partnerships and what gets in the way of it from our own history of relationship experiences and expectations.
Kevin likes to say, "The more I feel space for me as me, the more space I have in me for you as you!"

René Veugelers: "Life wants to live" - An organic approach to connecting creatively with the energy to move forward through life
Being with ourselves in a Focusing way is about contacting the vitality and life forward energy which is always inside all of us. Sometimes we can feel that this energy is just under the surface and sometimes it remains hidden - more implicit. This course is about (re)discovering our connection with this energy within. With a series of exercises to get in touch with our subtle inner responses including: using art materials, inner child work, non-verbal expression and what is still vague and unclear, the body's voice and movements, working with symbols, our sense of rightness and our own personal boundaries. These exercises will help us explore ways to express our connections and our life forward direction.

We will go home enriched with new skills, a renewed respect for the energy that animates us all and a new playfulness we can bring to our movement, our life and our work.

The Afternoon Offerings

Ann Weiser Cornell:

#1: What Makes Focusing Work (with Nada Lou)
What makes Focusing work? What is a felt sense, and how is it different from an emotion or a physical sensation? Join Nada and Ann for a peek into the philosophy that underlies Focusing - what Focusers really need to know.

#2: Turning the Inner Critic into a Friend
"It's like I don't deserve to be successful." -- "I don't really like myself." -- "If I would just not be so lazy..." -- "How could I have been such an idiot?"
Do you ever sound like this? In the tough times of our lives, we often find phrases like "not good enough" or "I'll never be able to…" swirling in our heads. These seeming self-attacks just make bad feel worse, don't they? Ann has done many years of research and work with what's called the "inner critic," and has made three important discoveries that completely reverse the usual view on this painful experience. In this experiential workshop you'll put these three insights into practice with your own critical parts, and end up well on the way to turning the inner critic into a friend.

#3: Spreading the Word: How to Talk about Focusing
The question "What is Focusing?" is notoriously difficult to answer. Whether you are a professional wanting to bring Focusing into your practice, or an enthusiastic Focuser wanting to expand your network of friends who Focus, it's extremely helpful to be able to tell colleagues, friends, and clients what Focusing is and what it can offer them... in a way that makes them want to know more.

Joan Klagsbrun:

#1: Clearing a Space: A Spiritual Practice for Finding Inner Sanctuary
This life-giving practice that Gene Gendlin created as the first step of Focusing enables you to find and place aside the stress-producing issues that are being carried by your body. One by one, each issue is acknowledged, named and invited to an imaginary spot that is just right for this concern. Next, you are invited to notice how it would feel to be free of all your current problems. You then get to briefly experience whom you would be--and how your life would feel-- without the burden of your problems. Clearing a Space can bring a fresh spiritual perspective and renewed energy for resolving your issues, and, with practice over time, provide you with a healing inner sanctuary.

#2: Enriching your Psychotherapy or Coaching Practice through Focusing

Many decades ago Gendlin's research demonstrated that those clients who were natural Focusers had more success in psychotherapy than those who were not connecting to their bodily felt sense. In this workshop, we will speak about the elements that help you create a Focusing orientation in your work with clients. Role plays, transcripts and experiential exercises will help us to make our therapy more effective and more alive for both client and counselor.

Nada Lou:

#1: Dreams and Focusing
Your dream knows a lot more about you than you do! Dreams are fascinating. Your body can open up to your inner knowing spontaneously in the dream, because it can bypass the usual daily intrusion. Dreams bring you something that Focusing doesn't access as easily. Once you learn how to hold the dream in a focusing way, and let the felt sense, not the content of the dream, connect to your situation, the felt sense will give you support, interpretation and the next step for carrying forward your situation. Interpreting your dreams in this way can be taught and learned. Participants in this topic always find a novelty about "focusing and more…..

#2: What Makes Focusing Work (with Ann Weiser Cornell)
What makes Focusing work? What is a felt sense, and how is it different from an emotion or a physical sensation? Join Nada and Ann for a peek into the philosophy that underlies Focusing - what Focusers really need to know.

Kevin McEvenue:

The Power of Storytelling - Let the story tell itself!
This program is designed for participants who want to deepen and enhance their communication skills through felt sense to felt sense listening. We will use the structure of storytelling to share something meaningful in our lives, something heartfelt. Using the qualities embodied in felt sense listening, we will explore sharing a meaningful story in a way that bypasses how we often sabotage ourselves stuck in the fear of not being heard. We will explore how we can invite the story to tell itself, as though the story has a life of its own. In this way, both the Focuser and the listener experience the story freshly with surprising and unexpected twists and turns as it unfolds. This program offers a safe structure to express something directly from the felt sense of a story and offers an opportunity to deepen a heart-felt connection with another person.


#1: Exploring our felt senses through creating a personal collage
Is it often challenging to find words to fit our felt sense? Wouldn't it be relaxing to invite your body to express itself in images or symbols, instead of words? You will be invited to be curious, colourful and surprised in this non-verbal attunement and creative expression. This experience will give new, unexpected dimensions to support our natural Focusing process.

#2: Enriching our Focusing process through working with art materials
Are you a parent, a (Focusing) teacher or Focusing-oriented therapist who would like to deepen the process with yourself, your child or your clients? This program is designed to expand our confidence and creative range through integrating art making into our practice of Sensing and Listening.

Information for Healing Professionals

If you are a psychotherapist, coach, or other healing professional, we've paid special attention to insuring that the Focusing Institute Summer School will be rewarding for you professionally as well as personally.

Memories of FISS 2010 - May the Road take you inside



Situated in the historic Hudson Highlands overlooking the Hudson River, the Garrison Institute occupies a large, newly-renovated monastery surrounded by tranquil forests and fields.

Check-in / Check-out

Workshop check-in -- Friday, Aug 16, 1-6pm. Dinner 6pm, first group meeting after dinner. Intro session Friday at 3:30pm for those interested - please check in between 1-2:30pm.

Workshop check-out - Thusday, Aug 22, Morning will be last group meeting, then workshop concludes with lunch.


Any changes to your room and board choice should be emailed to rita@focusing.org A $25 processing fee will be charged.


$150 administrative fee for cancellation. After June 12 all fees are nonrefundable except in unavoidable emergency.



Room and Board

Double $660
Single $780
Dorm style $540 (limited availability. 3-4 to a room. These rooms are on the 4th Floor)

Commuter Fee: Includes Meals and Facilities Use $390

If you are registering for two people, please enter the second person's information in the special instructions field on the last page of the order process.

Special Tuition Discounts

When two people register together, each person's fee is reduced by $50 (combined savings of $100).

Focusing Institute Members who have paid their 2013 dues get $25 off the tuition price. Please select the appropriate tuition option if this applies to you.


Garrison Institute is 50 miles north of New York City by car, and just over an hour from Grand Central station in New York City by commuter train. You'll receive directions for driving or arriving by plane and train when you register.

FISS 2013 Theatre Event

Hudson Valley Shakespeare performance of "All's Well That Ends Well" - Directed by Russell Treyz on Tuesday evening, August 20 at 7 PM at Boscobel Restoration.

For those interested, we have arranged for a wonderful theatre outing for Tuesday evening, August 20, 2013.

The Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival is known for its imaginative outdoor productions, performed under an enormous tent on a great lawn next to the magnificent Hudson River in Garrison, New York. The setting is on the grounds of Boscobel Restoration, a beautiful Federal house and museum a few minutes from the Garrison Institute. In years past, FISS participants have enjoyed this event so we are offering it again!

Theatre Date: August 20, 2012 – Tuesday Evening at 7PM

Theatre Location: Boscobel Mansion, 1601 Route 9D, Garrison, NY 10524. Boscobel Mansion, a 10 minute drive from Garrison Institute. Situated on a bluff on the east bank of the Hudson River, overlooking the United States Military Academy at West Point, Boscobel House & Gardens offers its visitors inspirational and astounding views of the river and the Hudson Highlands.

Theatre Price: $50 USD per ticket includes Ticket & Picnic Dinner. Limited number of tickets.

Theatre Transportation: Car Pool – Share a ride with other FISS Participants

All's Well That Ends Well
Theatricality reigns as a troupe of eight traveling players presents Shakespeare’s comedy of the spunky, lovesick Helena and her pursuit of the fickle Bertram, a callow young man who prefers war and womanizing to romance and responsibility. Expect theatrical surprises, music, adventure, and rapid-fire onstage character changes in this delightful tale of a young woman triumphing over adversities.

The Focusing Institute is not responsible for program quality or changes and holds no liability for transportation to and from the event.


All workshops will be taught in English. A person attending in order to translate may receive some or all fees reduced depending on the number of people needing translation.

NASW Credit Hours

This program has been approved by NASW-New York State for 25 contact hours under approval number A-349.

Questions and More Information

Questions, please contact Melinda Darer: melinda@focusing.org or 845-362-5222.

Product Code: W-130816-FS


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