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2017 International Focusing-Oriented Therapy Conference

Join us for the fourth gathering of the international community of Focusing-Oriented therapists, beginning Thursday June 22, 2017 at 6 pm (check in 1-5 pm) at the Garrison Institute in Garrison, New York, one hour north of New York City, and ending at noon, followed by lunch, on Sunday, June 25th. One day optional pre-conference on Thursday, check-in Wednesday June 21.


FOT 2017



Would you like to take part in creating the 2017 International FOT Conference? Please let us know! We still have a need for more members on both the hospitality and programming committees. Prior experience on similar committees is of course welcome but isn’t necessary. Just bring your enthusiasm and ideas.
And if you don’t wish to be on a committee, but have a specific way in which you’d like to contribute, that is welcome as well.
To join a committee or in any way participate in creating the conference, please email 2017HELP@focusing.org


(Closed: for informational purposes only)

This year’s theme is “FOT – Taking our place in the world of psychotherapy.” For twenty years, a revolution has been occurring in the field of psychotherapy. A new generation of leaders in the field, armed with the latest discoveries in neuroscience, are saying that therapists must go beyond thoughts and insights to change the very way the client’s body is reacting to the world around them.

But long before Mindfulness and other mind-body therapies, 30 years before MRIs were revealing the brain’s secrets, Eugene Gendlin was writing that psychotherapy was most effective when the client was reaching below verbal introspection to directly get in touch with a “bodily felt sense” within them that was occurring right during the therapy session.  This inner experience, which in many clients occurred spontaneously, seemed to be encoded in the body itself, and then “translated,” with some hesitation and difficulty, into language, images, feelings, memories. When this bodily felt sense was brought out into the open, encouraged and given expression, it would move and shift and change, and direct the client from within to their next step forward in their growth and evolution.

Focusing-Oriented Therapy – therapy that explicitly aims to foster, support and be guided by this deep, living inner awareness -- was revolutionary back when Gendlin first developed it, and it still is revolutionary. There is still no other psychotherapeutic system or method that helps clients bring their minds and their bodies together as effectively or as elegantly as Focusing.

Yet even as an increasing number of therapies use (and sometimes mis-use) the term “felt sense,” FOT itself is not widely known. This presents us with a wonderful challenge and opportunity, as there has never been a more exciting time to be an FOT therapist. Finally, we can claim our place in the field for what we have always been – therapists at the cutting edge of understanding about the nature of growth and change.


Two full-day Pre-conference workshops will be offered on Thursday:

Ann Weiser Cornell

The Art of Inner Relationship - When Clients Find It Hard to Do Focusing

The clients who are potentially most helped by Focusing are often the ones who don’t take to it easily. They may be stuck in repetitive processes that don’t carry them forward, such as telling the same stories or experiencing the same emotions over and over. More ...

They may be beaten up by a harsh inner critic, or feel overwhelmed and fragile in the face of emotional experience. They may find their bodies to be “unsafe territory,” popping out or getting distracted as soon as they make contact with something.

In this workshop we will offer empowering interventions based on a model of supporting clients to move into a compassionate and respectful relationship even with harsh and fearful aspects of self. Click here for full workshops description.

Ann Weiser Cornell, PhD, is the author of Focusing in Clinical Practice: The Essence of Change and The Power of Focusing. She is internationally recognized as one of the leading innovators and theoreticians of Focusing and as a psychology educator. She has worked as a clinician trained in the person-centered approach and now teaches Focusing worldwide.

Laury Rappaport

Integrating Focusing-Oriented Expressive Arts (FOAT®)
into Your Clinical Practice

This pre-conference workshop is useful for psychotherapists and other practitioners who are interested in learning how to integrate the expressive arts into their work with clients and/or expand their own creative expression with Focusing. More ...

In this workshop you will learn a natural, way to integrate the expressive arts into Focusing. The workshop incudes: the foundational principles of FOAT®; the basic step of symbolizing the felt sense through artistic expression (art, writing, movement, sound); and an overview of the three main FOAT approaches—Theme Directed; and Focusing-Oriented Arts Psychotherapy Process, and Clearing a Space with Expressive Arts. Click here for full workshops description

Laury Rappaport, Ph.D., MFT, REAT, ATR-BC is a Certifying Coordinator with TIFI, and Founder/Director of the Focusing and Expressive Arts Institute. Laury has been on faculty at several graduate education programs and pioneered the development of Focusing-Oriented Art Therapy and Focusing-Oriented Expressive Arts Therapies as recognized approaches. She is an Integrative Psychotherapist at Sutter Health in Santa Rosa, CA.

There are seven Morning Study Groups:

Nancy Falls

“I’m Not My Trauma!” —
FOT for Children and Youth Who Have Experienced Trauma

Practically nothing can be more devastating to children and youth than experiencing interpersonal violence, abuse and neglect. But it is possible to help children and youth overcome the potentially devastating impacts of trauma using an FOT approach. More ...

In this study group, participants will have the opportunity to learn how to best understand the specific impact of complex trauma on the child through the lenses of child development, attachment, neurobiology, and trauma theory. Specific FOT strategies will then be identified and, through case studies and experiential exercises, participants will experience first-hand the effectiveness of these strategies related to safety and stabilization, resolving and integrating traumatic experiences, and moving on to healthy futures. Information on opportunities for specialized training and relevant resources will be provided.

Working with a child or youth through this healing process can be an incredibly rewarding experience. Participants will explore the benefits and potential impacts of doing this work and how to develop a self-care plan to avoid experiencing secondary trauma. Click here for full workshops description.

Nancy Falls, Ed.D., RP is a psychotherapist in private practice and manager of Training and Consultation at Radius Child and Youth Services. For over twenty years she has been using Focusing in her work with individuals who have experienced trauma. Her area of emphasis currently is using a focusing-oriented approach to help children and youth overcome the impacts of trauma, and in particular sexual victimization. Nancy is a Certifying Coordinator with the International Focusing Institute.

Glenn Fleisch

Wholebody Focusing Therapy: —
Letting the Body Show the Way Toward Transforming Life-Patterns and Recovering Its Spirit

Whole Body Focusing in therapy is an embodied-relational process that harnesses the full range of our body’s life energy and wisdom. Through awakening inner-directed movement, the body transports us to those places within itself and in our history where spirit was broken or wounded. More ...

Using the tool of Grounded Co-Presencing, we will enter the shared field in which the body brings to awareness conditioned patterns along with the undercurrents of life-energy embedded within them. We will explore how to use the whole body as a resonating instrument, attuning to and felt sensing the embodied story that emerges. We will practice facilitating the body’s deeper unfolding, a process that informs, reforms and ultimately transforms life-patterns. The body shows the way toward recovering its vitality and natal spirit. Click here for full workshops description.

Glenn Fleisch, Ph.D. is a licensed psychotherapist in California with over 35 years experience. Glenn has taught WBF workshops worldwide, using innovations from drama, expressive work, theater, and relational healing. In addition, he had written numerous papers, articles and is currently working on a book project. Most recently, Glenn has been teaching online WBF seminars entitled: “Recovering your body’s spirit.”

Joan Klagsbrun and Doralee Grindler Katonah

The Sacred Art of Psychotherapy: A Spiritual Journey for Therapist and Client

We each have moments in life and with our clients that feel deeply sacred. By recalling these moments we will become wiser about the processes and the practices that open us to our spirituality and make these sacred moments more available. More ...

When a spiritual connection arises in therapy, it can loosen stuck patterns and help clients have both a larger perspective and a more fully engaged life. Together we will explore the attitudes and skills that foster integration of our own spiritual lives and our therapeutic work.

Through exercises and discussion we will take inspiration from Focusing, spiritual traditions, poetry, transpersonal and positive psychology and the wisdom of the community we will create. Click here for full workshops description.

Joan Klagsbrun, Ph.D, a practicing psychologist and certifying coordinator, teaches at Lesley University, and has taught Focusing internationally to therapists for over three decades. She has written articles in professional journals, several chapters in books, and has a CD and a DVD. She was awarded the Alice Ladas research award for her study on Focusing with women with breast cancer.

Doralee Grindler Katonah, Psy.D., M.Div., is an FOT psychologist and certifying coordinator whose life passion is the integration of an embodied spiritual approach to healing. Practicing for over 35 years, Doralee has published articles and chapters on this topic and taught at the university level and internationally. She is passionate about her Buddhist practice, which also informs her work.

Masumi Maeda and Miho Yamamoto

Interactive Focusing: Co-creating New Relational and Therapeutic Possibilities

Interactive Focusing is a powerful method for experiencing and embodying the qualities of empathy, deep listening, connecting with the felt sense and being present to oneself and the other that are the hallmarks of Focusing-Oriented Therapy. More ...

Through step-by-step exercises developed over the past 10 years and taught worldwide, this workshop will teach you how to harness the power of “Interaction,” through which two people co-create a transformational moment of connection leading to a deeper understanding of the self and the other and a deeper bond of intimacy. We will also explore how to empathically catch the essence of a Focuser’s (or client’s) world and express it symbolically. Interactive Focusing can be used as a safe process for healing troubled areas in relationships and as an effective peer-counseling tool, especially to prevent burnout. Click here for full workshops description

Masumi Maeda, MA, is a clinical psychologist and school counselor at Toho Gakuen Girls Division, a private school in Tokyo. She is a Master Teacher of Interactive Focusing, has written extensively about Interactive Focusing in Japanese, and has taught Interactive Focusing in Japan, China and Belgium.

Miho Yamamoto, MA is a clinical psychologist and a Focusing Trainer. She was a co-presenter of the Interactive Focusing workshop in Belgium.

Jeffrey Morrison

Toward a Psychology of Embodiment: Integrating the Practices of
Focusing, Mindfulness and Movement in the Healing of Trauma

Learn key aspects of working with trauma and embodiment. Exercises will include working safely with regressed states, vicarious trauma and resourcing positive emotional states. More ...

Mindfulness and movement will ground our learning in both the physical and felt sense body. Handouts will support demonstrations, exercises and personal exploration. Perfect for therapists who want to use their own bodily awareness in sessions. Click here for full workshops description.

Jeffrey Morrison is a Focusing-Oriented Psychotherapist and Focusing Coordinator who specializes in working with complex trauma and teaching Focusing to therapists and other healing professionals. He has developed a FOT training program, which blends Focusing, mindfulness, and other embodied practices for unwinding trauma and restoring wellbeing. He lives with his family on Vashon Island, Washington. For more information: www.morrisontherapy.com

Lynn Preston and Charlotte Howorth

How Gene’s Philosophy Radically Changes How we
Work as Therapists - Being guided by the powerful
forces of implicit process

Gene’s philosophy provides us with a revolutionary way of thinking and being in which thinking is not separate from the body and emotions but is one process. It brings us into a larger dimension of knowing. More ...

Therapy is a radically different experience when we conceptualize it as a process of small steps of becoming and not as merely problem solving or fixing what is broken. The person is a process – not a thing. Dialogue with implicit experience moves this process forward.

We will experientially explore the fundamental concepts of ‘process’ and ‘implicit’ and how they profoundly change the way we think about and practice therapy. Click here for full workshops description

Lynn Preston, MA, MS, LP, is a Focusing-oriented relational psychotherapist, teacher and supervisor. She is the Director of the Experiential Psychotherapy Project in New York City. She has written and presented internationally on the integration of Focusing and relational psychoanalysis. She has an abiding interest in the exploration of the relationship between philosophy, theory and practice.

Charlotte Howorth, LCSW, teaches and supervises psychotherapists in how to use Focusing in their practice internationally. She is on the faculty of The Relational Focusing Oriented Psychotherapy program headed by Lynn Preston in New York City, where she teaches and supervises psychotherapists taking the program. Charlotte has 20 years experience, teaching, counseling, supervising, and writing, and is a lecturer in Social Work, Columbia University, NY. Charlotte is a Clinical Consultant, CHDFS (Center for Human Development and Family Services), and runs a private practice for adults, children, couples, and families in NY.

Jan Winhall

Bold Steps Forward: The Felt Sense Experience Model of Emotional Regulation

The capacity to ground, feel safe and regulated in our bodies is a fundamental skill. Some of us are fortunate to learn this through secure attachments with loving caretakers. Others spend their lives in its pursuit. More ...

This workshop will explore core aspects of emotional regulation through the lens of Interpersonal Neurobiology and Trauma theory. The Felt Sense Experience Model is a graphic depiction of the integration of these theories within Focusing-Oriented Therapy. This alternate model conceptualizes wellbeing as integration and psychiatric “illnesses” as falling at the extremes of a spectrum of emotional regulation.

Through a combination of didactic learning and experiential exercises we will explore, create, and feel into this rich model using case examples to bring the work to life. Click here for full workshops description

Jan Winhall, M.S.W. R.S.W. is a psychotherapist in Private Practice and Director of Focusing On Borden, a centre for teaching Focusing and Focusing-Oriented Therapy. Jan is the author of “Understanding and Treating Addiction with the Felt Sense Experience Model” In Emerging Practice in FOT. Jan teaches internationally and is a lecturer in the Faculty of Social Work at the University of Toronto.


Click any workshop title for the full description


We are delighted to offer early morning yoga on Saturday and Sunday.

Donna Nisha Cohen, MS, Wellness Educator, Embodied Life Practitioner, 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.


Friday Evening Program: Stories at Play with Lani Peterson

"Find the STORY that will lead to connection, insight and change!"

Lani PetersonWe are very excited to have Lani join us for our conference as we expand our circle, build bridges and make connections between Focusing-Oriented Therapy, the larger world of psychotherapy, and the global community at large.

Come join Lani as she leads our group through playful story exploration exercises to help us connect in new ways. Through turning our habitual way of looking and listening upside down, Lani will encourage us to see ourselves, each other and perhaps the world in a new light. At the very least, we will have fun in the sharing.

More ...

Lani Peterson, Ph.D. is a psychologist, executive coach, award-winning professional storyteller, workshop leader, organizational consultant -- and Focuser! -- whose dynamic workshops about the power and uses of storytelling for healing and connection lead to profound changes in both individuals and organizations. Some of the organizations for whom she has led management workshops and leadership retreats include the Center for Creative Leadership, Boston University, Greater Baltimore Medical Center, the University of Massachusetts Medical Center, Brandeis University, Devon Energy and the Eaton Corporation.

Saturday Night - Shake Your Soul® with Dan Leven

We’re Going to Have a Soul-Shaking Evening!

You’ve spent two days re-connecting, Focusing and learning new methods and applications for FOT. Now it’s time to let Dan Leven show you how to shake your soul! 

Dan LevenThe Shake Your Soul® evening event will be an opportunity to trust your deepest nature, your spirit and soul that speaks through the body, through movement.  Whether you love to dance or feel like you may come kicking and screaming to a movement experience, this evening will be a perfect opportunity to uncover your natural joy. Your joy lives in your body and can be discovered through tapping your foot to the beat of music or moving your hips freely or any one of a countless ways your body and soul wants and needs to move. Not only will you stumble your way into moments of moving joy, but you will easefully find your way into enjoying a vibrant community where bodies and souls speak and connect to each other. 

More ...

Dan Leven is Founder and Director of LIFE Movement, Leven Institute for Expressive Movement. Drawing from 40 years of experience in the healing arts, Dan created integrative approaches to body-mind healing and wellness including Shake Your Soul®: The Yoga of Dance and SomaSoul®: Somatic Therapy. As a former professional dancer and Program Director at the Kripalu Center where he co-founded Kripalu Danskinetics™ (now Kripalu YogaDance), Dan has led numerous workshops and professional certification trainings. Dan holds a Masters Degree in Pastoral Counseling and is a faculty member of Hartford Family Institute’s Body-Centered Psychotherapy Training Program, training psychotherapists and healers in this work.


Continuing Education Participants will have the opportunity to earn either APA or NYS Social Work Continuing education for many (not all) workshops at the conference. Pre-conference: 5.5 hours. Morning Study Groups: 6.25 hours. Individual afternoon workshops 1 or 1.75 hours.

The International Focusing Institute is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists.

The International Focusing Institute maintains responsibility for this program and its content.

Social Work

The International Focusing Institute, Inc. is recognized by the New York State Education Department's State Board for Social Work as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed social workers #SW-0055.


The pre-conference day will be held Thursday, June 22, 2017 with check-in the day before on Wednesday June 21, 2017.

The conference will begin at 6 pm on Thursday, June 22, 2017 with dinner followed by an opening ceremony, and end Sunday, June 25 at noon, followed by lunch.

The main conference will include two-and-a-half days of workshops and presentations from FOT therapists from around the world sharing their insights and approaches as they apply FOT to therapeutic issues and different populations, helping people heal and grow. And of course, there will be time and opportunity to Focus, to dance, to re-connect with old friends and make new ones, in our ever-expanding circle.


The Garrison Institute is a beautiful and peaceful retreat center, a former Capuchin monastery located on 95 majestic acres overlooking the lovely Hudson River, approximately 50 miles north of New York City. It is reachable by a one-hour Metro train ride from New York’s Grand Central Station, along a line that runs approximately once an hour. For information about The Garrison Institute and transportation please visit www.garrisoninstitute.org or here for information on Transportation.


All inclusive – Conference Fee, Room, Meals, Facilities Use, Parking, Shuttle from the Garrison Train Station to the Garrison Institute

Main Conference, 3 nights (check in Thursday) $900 $800 $720 $630
Pre + Main Conference, 4 nights (check in Wednesday) $1200 $1060 $960 $840

Focusing Institute Member Discount $25 (current on dues)

Student Discount $200 (for students currently enrolled full-time in a university or equivalent program). Call the office at 845-480-5111 to register. 

Payment plans are available. Call the office at 845-480-5111 for more information.

Registration for this conference is now closed.

Room Information

  • All rooms use shared baths. There are beautifully renovated separate women’s and men’s bathrooms on each floor with multiple shower stalls. There is a sauna on the 2nd floor for women and on the 3rd floor for men.
  • This beautiful historic building is a walk–up-- there are no elevators. Sleeping rooms are located on the 2nd, 3rd and 4th floors. If stairs are difficult for you, please request a 2nd floor room in the special instructions.
  • There are two rooms on the first floor that are wheelchair accessible.
  • For double rooms, you may specify a roommate or a roommate will be assigned.
  • Dorm rooms (4th floor only) are limited - 3 or 4 people per room.
  • Commuter fee includes all meals – sorry no credit can be given for meals not taken.
  • Early arrivals and late departures are not permitted. We suggest staying in a local hotel or NYC hotel if you are arriving early or staying late.
  • Click here for more information on the Facilities.


If you must cancel, you will receive a full refund minus a $100 cancellation fee until April 15, 2017. All fees are non-refundable after April 15, 2017 except in the case of unavoidable emergency.


TIFI reserves the right to cancel, change and alter the program if necessary. Participants authorize TIFI to use their name, statements and likeness without charge, for promotional purposes in publications, advertising, video, web, new media, or other formats.

Registration for this conference is now closed.

Product Code: W-170622-IFOTC


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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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