"> FISS 2014: 9th Annual Focusing Institute Summer School

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FISS 2014: 9th Annual Focusing Institute Summer School

August 15 - 21, 2014 at Garrison Institute in Garrison, New York.

Registration for Focusing Summer School - Closes at 1PM

Use the player below or click here to listen to the free "Focusing Gems" Phone Seminar recorded on May 28, 2014
with the Focusing Institute Summer School Teachers.

Read the FISS Brochure (Opens in a new window)

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. The teachers will also offer other topics and special workshops in the afternoons and evenings. so you don't have to miss anyone. 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 S-538-B.

The Teachers:

Ann Weiser Cornell is the author of Focusing in Clinical Practice, The Power of Focusing, and The Radical Acceptance of Everything. 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 Inner Relationship Focusing and Treasure Maps to the Soul.

Nada Lou is well known throughout the Focusing world through her double specialty in teaching BioSpiritual Focusing and Thinking at the Edge (TAE). Originally trained by Frs. Ed McMahon and Peter Campbell, Nada has developed her own method of how to explore the connection between Spirituality and Focusing. She also co-presented TAE workshops with Dr. Gendlin and is in the forefront of spreading this new practice around the world. Nada is a Focusing Institute Coordinator certified to train those wishing to teach Focusing/TAE. Author of 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.

Greg Madison teaches Focusing therapy internationally at graduate university programs and training workshops and also maintains a private practice as a psychologist and existential psychotherapist. He has written numerous professional articles and chapters and edited two recent texts on Focusing-oriented therapy. Greg is an experienced clinical supervisor and emphasises the therapeutic relationship and existential themes in his work with supervisees. As a Canadian living and working in the UK, he has a personal and academic interest in what it is like to live as a foreigner in another culture and the experiences of feeling 'at home/homeless' and what it means to belong in the world.

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 Opportunities during the Program


Jennifer Whittemore Jennifer Whittemore believes that every human being can find more enjoyment in life by increasing his or her freedom of movement. During her 20+ years of body-mind exploration, Jennifer has helped hundreds of clients move through pain, stress, and disability to find, not only a sense of physical improvement, but larger life transformation. Her work combines many physical and energetic disciplines including: Iyengar-based Hatha Yoga and Pranayama (yogic breathing practices), Integrative Manual Therapy, Hanna Somatics, and Evolved Pilates. Jennifer's work is novel: she believes strongly that the body is the place where one’s biography meets one’s biology and that how one moves through the world is the living record of that union.

Jennifer's yoga work during the Focusing Summer School will integrate breath, energy and basic yoga poses. Classes will support beginning practitioners and will use yoga postures to illuminate our physical patterns of freedom and disconnection as a gateway to accessing our emotional life. Classes will be offered each morning before breakfast.


Melissa-Wirsig Melissa Wirsig, has been teaching awareness and movement for 16 years. She is a student of Russell Delman and will be offering Embodied Life movement lessons, based on the work of Moshe Feldenkrais. This class will be offered each afternoon after programming ends before dinner.

These lessons use movement and the cultivation of deep awareness to invite the nervous system to find the most effortless, efficient, and pleasurable way to move. Beginners welcome, suitable for all levels of fitness.

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
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. Discover and practice how Focusing partnership deepens your experience of being present to yourself and another person. 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. By the end of the week you'll be ready to carry Focusing forward into your own life setting.

Nada Lou: Exploring the Spiritual in Focusing - The Body's Search for Spirit
Have you ever experienced a sense of gratitude for something meaningful you suddenly discovered? Or notice some synchronicity occurring and wondered how it came about? Have you received unexpected help just when you really needed it? Was that the time you first started to believe that maybe there is something bigger or more powerful than your own self - like a transcendent reality perhaps? Some people even call this "spiritual."

Often people who discover Focusing quickly associate it with spirituality-related practices like meditation, prayer, worship, mindfulness, synchronicity and intuition. There is a spirit dimension in body that can be explored through felt sensing in Focusing. And this can bring qualities of connectedness to something larger, a sense of life's meaningfulness, and fresh energy.

In this course we will explore topics that are designed to help you explore your body's search for spirit. We will experience the attitude of Caring - Feeling - Presence, which can help you to be in a gentle contact with all your life issues. We will learn the 'art of dwelling' which enables you to feel connected to a source of new information and new energy. We will learn and practice a way of paying attention which can keep you connected to your larger self. We will introduce special Focusing steps that carry spiritual awareness so that you feel supported in cultivating new ways of prayer or whatever you would like to call it.

Greg Madison: The Reality of Focusing-Oriented Practice as a Counsellor, Therapist or Coach
This group is open to anyone who would like to explore the new possibility of integrating Focusing into their work with clients. It is also open to counsellors, psychotherapists, and coaches who already integrate Focusing and the philosophy of the implicit into their practice. This course will offer a supportive space for us to experiment with various ways to work from a Focusing-oriented perspective whether we are new to this integration or very experienced. We will explore how to integrate felt sensing, how to point towards bodily experience, the realities of our own feelings during sessions and how that might inform us, what gets in the way of connection with clients, working with not-knowing what should happen…and so on. Greg will offer some input from his existential-phenomenological emphasis and we will explore together with various exercises, demonstrations, case supervisions, and discussion, in order for each person to further embody their own diverse way to be a Focusing-oriented therapist, coach or counsellor. Over the five mornings we will create a community of shared knowledge and experience and hopefully have some fun!

Kevin's morning class is now full but you can still attend Kevin's afternoon courses - no pre-registration required.
Kevin McEvenue: Learn the Basics of Focusing with your Whole Body from the Ground Up

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.

The experience of self as an alive organism awakens when it senses connection and support from its environment. From this space of grounded wholeness, the parts that need our attention begin to feel the support they need to awaken to their own innate wisdom.

In this workshop you begin to explore the basic elements of Wholebody Focusing in Grounded Presence as the foundation of a bodily felt sense emerging out of a whole body awareness, a purposeful process of inner directed movements that carry with them a knowing of how to carry forward our particular life situation.

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 we will 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

Some of the afternoon workshops are offered in two parts on two successive days. Anyone may attend Part One, but we prefer only people who have attended Part One to attend Part Two. If you attended Part One you may choose whether to attend Part Two or to go somewhere else on the second day. A workshop that doesn’t say “Part One” or “Part Two” is a stand-alone workshop offered on only one day.

Ann Weiser Cornell:

(with Nada Lou) The Worlds of Focusing – An introduction to some of the main ways that Focusing is presented, and what they all have in common… in other words, What is the essence of Focusing? Includes an exploration Focusing terminology such as felt sense and carrying forward. Also an introduction to the work of the Focusing Institute.

Turning the Inner Critic into a Friend: Part One
“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.

Turning the Inner Critic into a Friend: Part Two
In Part Two of this presentation Ann will offer practical methods for helping another person shift their relationship with an inner critic, from a Focusing partner to a therapy client. Includes a live demonstration.

Nada Lou:

Generative WholeBrain Thinking (TAE): Parts One and Two
Generative WholeBrain Thinking is a method by which you will explore what TAE can stimulate to enhance additional life skills. You will experience how thinking from your felt sensing is different from what you know about thinking so far. When you use language that comes from your felt sensing, you will delight in having tools to enable your passions and interests to become reality. Your speaking will become clearer, your writing more inspiring, your communication more stimulating, and your life moving in a forward direction. This experiential course will teach you how writing for public will be expression of your own meaning filled wisdom.

"Worlds of Focusing" co-presented with Ann.

Greg Madison:

Focusing on Existence: The feeling of belonging and not-belonging: Part One
Belonging is a profound question for humans. It touches on experiences of acceptance and exclusion. In this workshop we will explore our experience of belonging or not, being in or out... and begin to discover how we create belonging and how we exclude parts of ourselves in order to belong. This will be the first of a two-part series on using Focusing to explore closely-related existential themes. We will begin with a private experience and some group discussion of belonging, in-group/out-group…How we proceed with our explorations will arise from the interests of the people present.

Focusing on Existence: Feeling at-home and not-at-home: Part Two
Each of us has our own experience of the meaning of ‘home’ - leaving home, feeling at home, living away from home, or homelessness. We have our reasons for staying and for leaving. Why is it even possible for a person to have this experience we call ‘home’? In this workshop we will explore and safely share some of our personal meanings. This will be the second of a two-part series on using Focusing to explore existential themes. The workshop will include private experience, small group discussion, and a brief presentation of Greg’s research from his book, The End of Belonging, influenced by Gendlin’s philosophy.

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.

WholeBody Focusing
An abbreviated introduction to Wholebody Focusing.

René Veugelers:

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? Creating a personal collage can be an immediate and fun way to connect deeply with our selves while retaining a playful distance from any residualheaviness we may still be carrying. 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 your natural Focusing process.

Creative Nonverbal Expression in Focusing: Part One
Wouldn't it be relaxing to invite your body to express itself in color, sound or movement instead of words? Let’s do a series of playful exercises to get in touch with your subtle inner movements and vague senses. I will invite you to be curious and surprised in an expressive non-verbal attunement that supports your natural creative process while giving new and unexpected dimensions to your Focusing practice.

Especially suited to parents who want to be with their children in a different way, for therapist who want to explore non-verbal expression and for Focusers wanting to invite their creativity to flow in fresh, surprising ways.

Creative Nonverbal Expression in Focusing: Part Two
Would you like to deepen this process with symbols to explore the details?  Invite your eyes to explore materials, your hands to choose a colour and your body to begin to move - so that, from out of your body, new and unexpected forms and information can emerge …whether at arm’s length or close up, though always the right distance for you. In this way the process can unfold outwards from the felt sense, the symbolization and your bodily wisdom. This is a dynamic interaction.

May the Road take you Inside - Invitation to FISS 2014



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 15, 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 - Thursday, Aug 21, 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 $750
Single $870
Dorm style $630 (Limited availability. 3-4 to a room. These rooms are on the 4th Floor)

Commuter Fee: Includes Meals and Facilities Use $450 (Sorry, no discount can be given for meals not taken)

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 2014 dues get $25 off the tuition price. Please select the appropriate tuition option if this applies to you.  If your 2014 dues are unpaid, they will be charged when the order is processed.

FISS 2014 Theatre Event:
An Invitation for 2014 Focusing Institute Summer School Participants

Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival at Boscobel Restoration
Tuesday Evening August 19th, 2014 at 7 PM

The Two Gentlemen of Verona by William Shakespeare, Directed by Eric Tucker.

Shakespeare's take on friendship, young love, constancy and fickleness, this romantic comedy takes us from the courtly world of Verona and Milan to the wildness of the forest where, it seems, anything can happen.

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!

DATE:  August 19, 2014 – Tuesday Evening at 7PM

: Boscobel Mansion, 1601 Route 9D, Garrison, NY 10524 (10 minute drive from Garrison Institute)

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

Car Pool *** Share a ride with other FISS Participants ***
If you will be driving to Garrison and would be willing to drive others to the performance, please email Rita at rita@focusing.org and indicate how many people you can drive. Thank you!

Interested, but you have already registered for FISS ? Please email your ticket order to Rita at rita@focusing.org and we’ll use the credit card on file to charge your ticket. We have a total of 25 tickets reserved so please reserve your ticket ASAP!

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


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.


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 S-538-B.

Questions and More Information

Questions, please contact Elizabeth Cantor: elizabeth@focusing.org or 845-362-5222.

Payment Plans

Payment plans are available but not through online registration below. Please call the office directly for registration with a payment plan. 845-362-5222.

Registration for Focusing Summer School - Closes at 1PM

Product Code: W-140815-FS


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The International Focusing Institute  |  15 N. Mill St., Nyack, NY 10960, USA  |  Tel: +1 (845) 480-5111  |  Fax: +1 (845) 704-0461
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