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The First Felt Sense Conference: Bridging Philosophy and Practice

Photo: Emanuel Hahn

The first
Felt Sense Conference

Honoring the work of Eugene T. Gendlin

Friday May 18, 2018 - Sunday May 20, 2018

at Hebrew Union College, New York City

Bridging Philosophy and Practices

Donata Schoeller, Harville Hendrix & Helen LaKelly Hunt, Gerry Gendlin,
Jan Winhall, Maureen Brine, and Ram Eisenberg

Heinz-Joachim (Hejo) Feuerstein

Harville Hendrix and
Helen LaKelly Hunt

Akira Ikemi

Donata Schoeller

image to come

Jan Winhall

image to come

Maureen Brine

Gerry Gendlin

Ram Eisenberg

PLEASE NOTE THE CHANGE IN PROGRAM: Kevin Krycka will not be presenting, but will join us for the Panel Discussion. We are pleased to announce that Ram Eisenberg will be presenting.

At the anniversary of the passing of Gene Gendlin, The International Focusing Institute is beginning a new event: the Felt Sense Conference.

Executive Director Catherine Torpey
talks with Presenter Jan Winhall about
the First Felt Sense Conference.

This year's theme is Bridging Philosophy and Practices.

Bridges connect. We will construct together bridges between philosophy and practices, bridges between one practice and another, bridges between the past and the future, and bridges between us as individuals.

The practices that will be featured are Focusing, Focusing-oriented Psychotherapy, Thinking at the Edge and Imago Therapy, but whatever your practice, we invite you to join us.

Our presenters will share the power of Gendlin's insights and teaching on their own lives and their work. The emphasis in these two days is the power of bridging or "crossing" areas of life and thought which had seemed separate. Amazing new possibilities arise when we are open to the that what we already know is not all there is. There will be experiential workshops as well as stimulating talks. The two days will be filled with opportunities not only to listen and learn but to interact and participate. The conference culminates Sunday morning with an informal gathering to connect and integrate the two days.

Hebrew Union College was also the location of Eugene T. Gendlin's memorial service.

In his life and work, Gene Gendlin was a model of bridging. While he was in his doctoral program of philosophy, he studied outside his field, with Carl Rogers, whose field was psychology. Gendlin found Rogers' work to be a practical application of the philosophy he was elaborating, and Rogers was, in turn, deeply influenced by the insights Gendlin brought to the practice. Gendlin continued bridging worlds throughout his life. While working at the highest levels of philosophical discourse to the very end of his life, he also continued to practice psychotherapy. Though his work is brilliant and sophisticated, he made it accessible through the simple yet powerful practices of Focusing and Thinking at the Edge.

Gene Gendlin was a pioneer of what today is considered the "turn to embodiment" or the “mind-body connection.” He didn't simply criticize the prevailing dualism of body and mind, but his work demonstrated what it means to think with body and mind. Philosophers talk now about philosophical practice, but Gene actually delivered one, through his great work, A Process Model, and through the development of the practice of Thinking at the Edge. The practice of Focusing which he developed is a revolutionary place where human beings do not only delve into their individual experience, but also see their intimate connection to others and the world around them. Focusing counters our tendency to rush to conclude or judge.

All are welcome and encouraged to attend. Some familiarity with Focusing, Thinking at the Edge or Imago Therapy will be helpful but is not required. Background reading could include basic books on Focusing found at www.focusing.org, or on Imago Therapy at www.harvilleandhelen.com.

About the term "felt sense"

The “felt sense” refers to the body's sense of a situation which is greater than our thoughts or feelings about it. It is that “something” that we know, but which is so murky that we have no words for it. Often, it is so subtle or so pervasive that we aren't consciously aware that it's there. Gendlin referred to it as "an implicit complexity and a wholistic sense of a situation." The concept of the felt sense was foundational to his groundbreaking work in philosophy and psychology. The number of people whose lives and work have been changed by this simple process have been legion; we bring you a few whose work we find fascinating and powerful.

The Schedule

Please note: this schedule is subject to change.

* All attendees will be assigned to small groups. The small groups are a brief, informal opportunity to meet other participants and to share thoughts, ideas and experiences. We recognize that individual needs and desires will vary, and so participation in the small groups is (of course) completely optional. For those who look forward to making new connections, we hope that the small groups will make that easier and more enjoyable.

Thursday, May 17

Optional dinner at a local Italian restaurant at 6:30pm. Conference registrants will be sent details.

Friday, May 18

9:00 am

Gather, registration, coffee

9:30 am


9:45 - 10:45 am

Donata Schoeller: Felt Sense Is Interaction

10:45 - 11:15 am

Break and optional small groups*

11:15 am

Harville Hendrix and Helen LaKelly Hunt:
Reminiscences of Eugene Gendlin

12:15 - 2:00 pm

Break for lunch and optional small groups*

2:00 - 4:00 pm

Harville Hendrix and Helen LaKelly Hunt: Imago Dialogue and Focusing (Continuing Education)

4:00 - 4:15 pm


4:15 pm


4:30 - 5:30 pm

Ram Eisenberg: Using the Felt Sense to Create Considerate Environmental Designs

5:30 - 7:30 pm

Informal gathering nearby - address will be provided at the conference.

Saturday, May 19

8:30 am

Gather, registration, coffee

9:00 - 11:00 am

Donata Schoeller workshop: "Now" as a Window into "More"

11:00 - 11:15 am


11:15 am - 12:15 pm

Gerry Gendlin: Gendlin on Gendlin

12:15 - 2:00 pm

Lunch break with optional small groups*

2:00 - 4:00 pm

Jan Winhall and Maureen Brine workshop: Deepening Our Capacities for Interaction

4:00 - 4:15 pm


4:15 pm


4:15 - 6:15 pm

Panel discussion: Bridging Philosophy and Practices - Felt Sensing in Real Time
Donata Schoeller, Jan Winhall, Ram Eisenberg, Kevin Krycka and Maureen Brine

Our panelists will lead us in a conversation in which all are invited and encouraged to participate. They will begin with sharing what has been stimulated for them in our two days together and invite all present to share.

8:00 pm

Jazz at the Blue Note - for those who reserved a ticket through TIFI (or call directly to buy your own - $45)

Sunday, May 20

9:00 - 11:00 am

Informal gathering (off-site; location to be announced) for processing,
collaborating and closing. Details about how this time will be organized will given at the conference. Coffee and bagels will be served, or bring your own breakfast.


Harville Hendrix and Helen LaKelly Hunt

Friday Morning: Reminiscences of Eugene Gendlin. Attendees will hear reminiscences of Harville’s initial and subsequent interactions with Gene, what was learned from him, and Gene’s influence specific aspects of Imago Theory and Therapy. Helen, Harville's wife and co-developer of Imago, who also met Gene, will share her memories and appreciations.

Friday Afternoon Workshop: Imago Dialogue and Focusing. Helen and Harville will guide participants in this workshop through the Imago Dialogue process with special reference to the influence of Focusing. To receive continuing education for this offering, 100% attendance is required. Read Course Objectives

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. CE Credits awarded: 1.5


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. Contact Hours awarded: 1

Harville and Helen are a bridge to Imago Therapy, and an example of how Gene's insight about how humans symbolize experience was taken in an exciting new direction. Imago therapy and Focusing share a deep emphasis on listening. What Focusing can offer to Imago is a deeper ability to understand our own bodily experience. What Imago can offer to Focusing is deeper understanding of how to enrich our intimate relationships by understanding past patterns that carry forward.

Harville Hendrix, Ph.D. and Helen LaKelly Hunt, Ph.D believe that how we interact with each other, in all our contexts is the key to personal and societal well-being. They vision the of shifting from the age of the individual to the age of relationship. To make relational information and skills available to everyone, Harville and Helen co- initiated Imago Relationships International as a training institute for couples therapists, and developed Relationships First® and Safe Conversations®.

Harville and Helen continue to co-create Imago Relationship Theory and Therapy and make it available in workshops, training programs, lectures, seminars and books. Their professional partnership has produced 10 books including three NYT best sellers (Getting the Love You Want, Keeping the Love You Find, and Giving the Love that Heals). Their latest book is The Space Between (2017). They are working on a new professional text on Imago theory and therapy. In addition, a 30th anniversary edition of Getting the Love You Want will launch in 2018.

Donata Schoeller

Friday Presentation: Felt Sense is Interaction
Saturday Workshop: "Now" as a Window into "More"
Saturday Panel Discussion: Bridging Philosophy and Practices - Felt Sensing in Real Time

Donata is a bridge to philosophy How do we open up again and again to the richness, depth and specificity of our experiencing? How do we integrate the "more“ that we know in tacit and experiential ways, in what we say and do? How do we bring it into the world? The biggest and most fruitful challenge is to think philosophically about our practice. After all, if something is worth practicing, it is worth thinking about it, understanding it, finding ways to communicate it in terms which bring with them the vibrancy we experience. Likewise, it is a big and fruitful challenge for philosophy to face practices that have the potential to open up or change fundamental notions such as meaning, living organisms, environment, time and space, feeling, thinking etc. How does one include the not-yet-articulated, so that both our practice and our philosophy is always fresh, carrying us forward in unpredictable ways?

Donata Schoeller, Ph.D., received her Habilitation (the highest university qualification in Europe) at the University of Koblenz. Her doctoral dissertation at the University of Zurich was entitled "Humility." She worked closely with Gene Gendlin over many years and has a deep understanding of the Philosophy of the Implicit. She recently translated Gendlin's A Process Model into German (with Christiane Geiser). With Dr. Ed Casey, she edited a collection of Gendlin's essays: Saying What We Mean. A recent winner of the Rannis Grant of the Icelandic Centre for Research for Embodied Critical Thinking (ECT), she has taught at such universities as DePaul University in Chicago, the University of Chicago, and Columbia University. She lives in Zurich, Switzerland.

Jan Winhall and Maureen Brine

Saturday Workshop: Deepening Our Capacities for Interaction
Saturday Panel Discussion: Bridging Philosophy and Practices - Felt Sensing in Real Time

Jan and Maureen are a living example of bridging practices. Jan is deeply involved in the Focusing community, being one of the Core Facilitation Team of the Advanced and Certification Weeklong (the flagship program of The International Focusing Institute). Maureen is a close associate of Harville Hendrix and a faculty member of Imago Relationships International. Jan and Maureen co-teach in their native Canada, in order to bring the gifts of both Imago and Focusing to clients.

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. She is one of the Core Facilitation Team of the Advanced and Certification Weeklong with The International Focusing Institute. The upcoming Weeklong will take place outside Santiago, Chile in January 2019.

Maureen Brine is a respected Imago therapist, senior clinical instructor, workshop presenter and addictions specialist. Having completed the majority of her training with Dr. Harville Hendrix, she has been a Faculty Member of Imago Relationships International since 1997, and a past Chair. She is a former Co-Dean of the Institute for Imago Relationship Therapy; and is very active in the Imago Community worldwide. Since 1985, she has had successful private practices in Vancouver and Toronto. She teaches the Getting the Love You Want and Keeping the Love You Find Workshops in Toronto and the Maritimes, and trains Therapists to become imago therapists. Maureen believes deeply in the mission of Imago — To create a new way to love and to transform the world one relationship at a time. Her passion for Imago is evident in all her work and personal life.

Gerry Gendlin

Saturday Presentation: Gendlin on Gendlin

As Gene Gendlin's son, Gerry is a bridge to the personal. In the talk he gave at Gene's memorial, Gerry shared that Gene had specifically asked that everyone be reminded that he had been divorced and was a smoker, lest anyone think that he had been a perfect embodiment of virtue. Gerry will share a bit more with us about the influence of being raised by someone who lived his own philosophy.

Gerry Gendlin, Ph.D., has been a professor at Edinboro University in 2002, having come from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he was doing research on Russia's infrastructure in the Center for International Studies. He has also taught at Tufts University, College of the Holy Cross, and the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO), where he was the first foreign full-time faculty member. He maintains an active research agenda and has frequently presented papers at annual meetings and conferences in his field. He is often sought by the media for comment on global affairs. Dr. Gendlin has been involved with community education, serving on the board of a local early learning program.

PLEASE NOTE THE CHANGE IN PROGRAM: Due to illness, Kevin Krycka will not be presenting, but will join us for the panel discussion. We are pleased to announce that Ram Eisenberg will be presenting.

Ram Eisenberg

Friday Presentation: Using the Felt Sense to Create Considerate Environmental Designs
Saturday Panel Discussion: Bridging Philosophy and Practices - Felt Sensing in Real Time

Ram Eisenberg is a landscape architect specializing in creating urban-nature experience in what he calls considerate designs. His award winning projects “Kiryat-Sefer Park” and ”Enlightenment boulevard” have gained significant acclaim in Israel. Ram's encounter with Focusing in 2012 had a profound influence on his practice and academic career, expressed in his masters thesis “The Nature of the Goodness Experience in Nature, a phenomenological inquiry grounded in Eugene Gendlins’ ideas." He believes that focusing is significant to the practice and study of design, because design-thinking involves a similar iterative crossing between “experiencing” and “expressing”. As an Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture at the Technion, Ram developed together with Dana Ganihar, a course called “focusing in the design studio” which has recently been incorporated into the Technion architecture catalogue. In 2018 he taught a design studio at the Mazor Psychiatric Hospital, portrayed in the short documentary “Architects of the Soul.”

One of Ram's newest projects is "The Tel ​Aviv walkability project":  a study inquiring what makes people ​​prefer walking over other modes of transportation in Tel Aviv. For this project, Ram and his colleagues developed ​​the 'Depth Walk', a ​novel ​qualitative methodology ​grounded in Focusing and Felt-Sensing, and based on the precept that the universal is to be found at the heart of the most personal. They invited some 60 people to walk the city accompanied by a Focusing-trained interviewer, and describe their experiencing.  They later developed further innovative methodologies for reading the transcriptions of these walks, and created multidimensional map​s of the experiences. The ​final outcome is a call for a paradigm shift in the way the city is managed, and a catalog of some 240 proposals of practical tools the municipality can employ to make the shift.

He's presenting this week at the International "Making Cities Livable" Conference, and recently did a Focusing Conversation with Serge Prengel. He was also interviewed by Mary Jennings about his presentation at the International Focusing Conference in Cambridge, England in 2016. Visit his website.

Registration - (note single day and full conference registration available)

Registration may be done online below or by calling the office at 845-480-5111.

Registration closes Monday, May 14, 2018.

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.

Location and Dining

The Friday and Saturday workshops will be held in New York City at Hebrew Union College, the location of Gene Gendlin's Memorial service in May, 2017. It is located at One West 4th Street in the Village. You can look up directions here or learn more Hebrew Union College.

The location of the Sunday Community Conversation and Closing is near the venue and will be announced to conference attendees.

Meals are on your own. Numerous food options exist in the area at all price points, including delis, pastry shops, bars and excellent restaurants. If the weather is nice, you can take a picnic to lively and beautiful Washington Square Park one block from the venue.


Sheraton Tribeca

370 Canal Street (between W. B’way and Canal Street)

We have reserved a block of 10 Guest Rooms:

8 kings @ $259/night
2 doubles @ $309/night (up to 4 people)

Includes free in-room Wifi and free continental breakfast. Additional amenities: fitness center, restaurant, lounge, work station, Starbucks, and pet friendly.

15-20 minute walk, or a short subway ride, to Hebrew Union College. Close to shopping, restaurants and public transportation. These rates apply UNTIL APRIL 18th. You can also extend your booking to include 2 days prior and/or 2 days after the conference at the same group rate above.

Guests have until 7 days prior to cancel their reservation without penalty. Reservations can be made by Booking Link or Individual Call-ins.

You may visit this link to make a reservation online.

Call-in reservations can be made directly through Starwood Central Reservations at 1-646-439-2428 or 1-866-961-3319. (if you call, please reference the group block name “International Focusing Institute when making the reservations to receive the special group rates.




Friday through Sunday program



One-day (Friday or Saturday)**



* Member pricing listed above is available for members of the The International Focusing Institute who are current on dues. If you choose the member pricing and your dues are unpaid, you will be charged your dues upon registration. If you are not a member, join now and then return to this registration page.

** One-day attendees are also invited to the Sunday program.

Pricing does not include meals or accommodations. See the previous section for information about local eateries and hotel options.


A full refund minus a $50.00 administrative fee will be given to participants who cancel by May 14th, 2018. From May 15th forward, all fees are non-refundable. The International Focusing Institute reserves the right to cancel or re-schedule for insufficient enrollment or for other unanticipated reasons. In such cases you will be given a choice of applying your tuition to future programs, or the full enrollment fee will be returned.

Questions and More Information

Registration and administrative questions please email Elizabeth@focusing.org.

Volunteer and Student Discounts

(please email elizabeth@focusing.org to inquire)

Small Group Leader – discount $150
- Attend one online meeting prior to the conference to discuss how small groups will work (time and date TBD depending on availability of volunteers)
- Attend both days of conference as well as Sunday morning (if arranged in advance, one or two small group leaders might be able to skip Sunday if necessary).
- It will be necessary to arrive early on both days.
- Lead small group time; encourage interaction among small group; have enough presence to guide the group yet also listen and respond to your particular group’s needs.

Registration desk assistant – discount $50 for each day that you assist at registration
- Volunteer for Friday or Saturday or both (double the discount if you help both days)
- Sit at registration desk with Elizabeth (an employee of the Institute), helping to check people in under her supervision
- Be friendly, welcoming and helpful
- You will be required to arrive half an hour before registration opens
- We will make every effort to make sure you get into the conference when it begins, but if the registration desk is busy, you might be asked to miss up to the first half hour.

Translation – discount to be arranged as necessary
We sometimes get requests for language interpretation. If you are capable of translating from English into another language, please contact us.

Greeters / General assistance – discount $25 for each day that you assist
- Volunteer for Friday or Saturday or both (double the discount if you help both days).
- Stand at entrance to help guide people to registration, bathrooms, etc.
- Occasional assistance during the day with such things as handing out papers.
- You will be required to arrive half an hour before registration opens.

Student discount
If you are a full-time student with a current student ID, you pay $75 for one day registration or $150 for two days registration. Please bring your student ID to registration.

One-day registrations include Sunday morning.


All workshops will be presented in English. There may be a of language assistance for those who speak Spanish or Mandarin. If you require translation into one of these two languages, please contact us right away so that we can make arrangements.

Online Registration is closed - please call 845-480-5111 for last minute registration instructions.

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