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Follow Your Flow: A Focusing Retreat alongside Niagara Falls, Canada

Follow Your Flow
A Focusing Retreat
alongside Niagara Falls, Canada

June 15 - 17, 2018
Mount Carmel Spiritual Centre
Niagara Falls, ON, Canada

Enliven your Focusing Flow in the presence
of one of the most powerful flowing rivers and waterfalls
known to the US and Canada, Niagara Falls.

The Program

View The Schedule

What others have said:

“This was my first Focusing retreat... (read more)

and one I will never forget it. A very well-organized weekend full of wonderful workshops. Beautiful people and surroundings. Fabulous!"

"I had never attended a focussing retreat before so had a fair amount of trepidation when I signed up for this one, needlessly as it turned out. The course offerings were varied, interesting and expertly presented. I met some wonderful people, deepened my focusing practice and felt richly rewarded for taking this small plunge into a new experience. Highly recommended!"

This retreat weekend will be filled with opportunity:

  • A diverse selection of interesting workshops
  • Time for experiential work/practice in Focusing partnerships
  • Enjoy a relaxing time with a walk to Niagara Falls on Saturday afternoon with retreat participants
  • Morning wellness offerings

Workshops & Presenters

Follow your flow to a unique diversity of workshops! Catering to the new and experienced, we encourage those Focusing in personal and professional practice to attend. Several themes tie the weekend together: the natural surroundings; inquiry into emotional regulation; and the exploration of Focusing as an aid to a new way of thinking and experiencing. Our Beginner Series will introduce the Focusing process and the importance of the grounded place. Focusers with more experience can deepen their practice connecting with the felt sense using a variety of felt sensing modalities.

Read workshops in the Beginner's Series

Practicing the Focusing Attitude and Compassionate Listening For Beginners

with Jon Herberman

*Beginners Welcome!

This Introduction to Focusing Workshop will provide you with the building blocks of Focusing and give you first-hand inner-experiences with Focusing. We will work with the Focusing attitude of compassionate listening and learning together. This workshop will introduce the 6 steps of Focusing. We will then spend more in-depth time familiarizing ourselves with the first 3 of the 6 steps: 1. Clearing Space; 2. Inviting a Felt Sense; 3. Finding a Handle. Once we explore a step through a teaching piece, we will have the opportunity to translate that learning into your own individual experiences. Upon completion, you will have experienced half of the Focusing steps which will hopefully leave you feeling curious and excited to dive deeper into a Focusing practice.

Jon Herberman is a certified Focusing Trainer. He co-leads Focusing training groups with Jan Winhall at Focusing on Borden In Toronto. Jon is a life-long meditator, an avid cyclist, a hiker and camper. Jon’s academic and work background were in environmental studies.

Focusing and the 8Cs of Self-Leadership

With Annette Dubreuil, MBA, BSc

*Beginners welcome!

This workshop will cross Focusing with Richard Schwartz’s 8Cs of self-leadership. The Self is the part of us that is grounded. It is always there, underneath our other parts that are there to protect us. The Self is calm, curious, clear, compassionate, confident, creative, courageous, and connected. This workshop begins by discovering the felt sense of our 8Cs, and then asks which one needs some attention; the answers are recorded on a body card, including drawing the physical sensations in the body, as well as identifying in words the four aspects of the felt sense (physical sensations, feelings, thoughts and memories). Participants then further explore their selected C with an art project. We then use Focusing to identify a current problem in our life where our lack of this C has contributed and ask the body to guide us to new ways of being, thereby carrying forward our experience.

Annette’s career has focused on advancing and disseminating cutting edge sustainability research and practice, most recently with Canada’s Ecofiscal Commission. Annette is a Certified Focusing Professional and developed body cards to record the felt sense with her Toronto community, led by Jan Winhall. In the past year she has co-taught two women’s classes that facilitate growth of the Self. She enjoys yoga, rock climbing, cycling and cooking.

Focusing for Beginners

with Amona Buechler

In this Workshop, you will learn the essentials of Focusing. In the beginning - which is the beginning of every Focusing Session - you will be guided into presence and into accessing your inner resources. This will be followed by a practice of how to listen to your own felt sense as well as to your partner in a friendly and compassionate way. The process itself allows for, and encourages change. You will learn Presence language, to describe aspects of what you notice while Focusing, listening, and reflecting. You will learn the basics for a respectful, gentle and holistic process for change. Students will receive a hand-out and basic explanation of the Focusing process. In this short workshop however, people are not going through the entire 6-step process.

Amona’s home country is Germany, but she has lived in Chicago, USA for nearly 20 years. Amona has practiced Awareness Through Movement, based on the Feldenkrais Method, for 20 years and has discovered the Focusing Method for herself and her students during the last few years. She has a regular meditation practice of over 20 years. For more information, please visit: www.move-with-life.org

Read workshops in Deepening Your Focusing Practice (suitable for Focusers with a wide range of experience, including those early in their exploration of Focusing)

Unravelling the Mysteries of Addiction with the Felt Sense Experience Model

With Jan Winhall, MSW RSW FOT

*Some Focusing experience is needed.

This workshop will explore the ups and downs of addictive, impulsive, compulsive behaviors. Behaviors that arise from Frozen States. Using Jan’s Felt Sense Experience Model, we will examine, experience, and gently be with all ways that we Process Skip over our uncomfortable feelings. We will arrive at a place that appreciates how and why these behaviors are so tough to be with and tough to be without. We will explore the path of healing: how to listen to the bodily knowing, and find the carrying forward into a more grounded place. By deepening our capacity to be with stressful feelings, we widen our window of tolerance.

Jan Winhall is a Focusing-Oriented Therapist and Creator/Lead Trainer of the Focusing On Borden Centre in Toronto, Canada. The centre offers group classes for training as a Focusing Professional and Focusing-Oriented Therapist. She is creating a community of like-minded and embodied people who share a passion for bringing Focusing into the world. Jan teaches, supervises and sees clients in her private practice. She is also a member of the Facilitation Team at The International Focusing Institute's 2016, 2017, and 2019 Advanced and Certification Focusing Weeklongs and Adjunct Lecturer at The University of Toronto. Learn more at www.focusingonborden.com;

Focusing with Pain: Embodying Healing

With Beth Mahler, LCSW, FOT

*All levels of Focusing experience welcome.

Is it possible to think of PAIN as an opportunity? Pain is just ONE of the many doorways inward to access our body’s wisdom. In this workshop, we will experientially explore our attitudes and precepts about pain and being with pain. Then we will invite our Focusing attitude to the experience to be with PAIN as a body-felt location, a doorway into the implicit. Together we will journey toward the doorway of PAIN as an access point to deepen our connection to the emotional and physically felt sense, going deeper into and underneath our pain, to reveal possibilities of being with it. We will sense how to discover health and healing in our own bodies.

Beth Mahler, LCSW, FOT is in private practice and internationally recognized for Focusing-Oriented Therapy and Focusing training via skype, facetime, and Zoom. As a Certifying Coordinator for The International Focusing Institute, Beth teaches a 2 year Certification Training course, as well as group workshops and retreats to teach self-care practices toward health and wellness. Beth is an adjunct professor in the Sociology Departments at William Paterson University and County College of Morris in New Jersey. bfmahler@optonline.net, www.focusingtherapy.org.

Focusing Connection: The Felt Sense Experience with The Mandala of Being©

With Maria Vieira, M.A.

*All levels of Focusing experience welcome.

Presence and listening are key to Eugene Gendlin. These elements lead to the creation of a space inside the body that holds knowledge and can identify where we feel grounded. In this workshop, I invite you to discover the Mandala of Being©, a model created by Dr. Richard Moss. We will explore how to find our place in a grounded space with a Felt Sense of our uniqueness. The Mandala of Being© is a map suggesting that our attention and awareness can leave the present (Now) in four main directions: past, future, subject (Me) or object (You). This process is based on the understanding that we leave the present when we are feeling something we find difficult to grasp or experience. By integrating each of these directions, a shift takes place and we feel grounded, recognizing, as Gendlin says, “what is in there, that which is living there and […] that which somehow wants to lead a life.” This shift, which is in the very essence of Mandala of Being©, is also present in Focusing.

Maria Vieira is a Certified Coach and a Certified Focusing Professional in Québec. Her practice focuses on identity and grief. She holds a Master’s Degree in Media Studies from Concordia University (1996) for her research on identity, and recently undertook graduate work in Studies in Death at the Université du Québec à Montréal (2016).

Focusing & Writing - Express a Deeper Understanding of your Felt Sense Through Writing

With Nicole Mitchell

*Some Focusing experience is recommended.

Writing can be an excellent tool in the exploration of ourselves & crossed with Focusing this can be even more true. In this workshop there will be opportunities to express your Felt Sense by exploring dominant hand/non-dominant hand writing, haiku writing, free association writing and partner exercises, including Focusing with a scribe. Utilizing these writing activities while resonating between your Felt Sense and words that come can be a new, fulfilling way to express your inner experience.

Nicole Mitchell is a Focusing Trainer and a Focusing-Oriented Therapist in training. Nicole works with individuals, couples, families and groups, incorporating Focusing into her practice on a day-to-day basis. She is always delighted by seeing the “shifts” clients can make in just one session.

The Felt Sense, Expressed in a Collage of Images and Words

With Maria Skoufas, CFT

*All levels of Focusing experience welcome.

During this experiential workshop we explore how the felt sense leads us to images that resonate with our being. Our attention is led to choose and arrange images forming the story of what is present here and now. This workshop will assist you in revealing the Big Picture of what is embodied within. Focusing in partnership with the felt sense as reflected to us by our symbols gives rise to words and reveals new meanings.

Maria Skoufas is a Certified Focusing Trainer. She completed her two-year program with Beth Mahler and wants to assist others in revealing the treasures that lie within through Focusing. She currently works as a Client Support Manager for a telecommunications company; facilitating communication and connection for her business clients.

Focusing: Spending Time With Hard Feelings

With Lorri Pacheco

*Some basic Focusing experience is recommended.

We experience the world through our emotional response to it. Our ability to experience a complex range of emotions is what makes us human. As a society, we are taught to repress our emotions for various personal, social, or cultural reasons. We often focus on the idea of happiness, while repressing emotions perceived as negative. By acknowledging uncomfortable emotions, we expand our ability to change and grow. During this two-hour workshop, we will spend time engaging in a variety of activities to support emotional regulation in our day to day lives. We will use our felt sense as a guide to strengthen our ability to tolerate distress. As a group, we will acknowledge the strength in vulnerability.

Lorri Pacheco MSW RSW is a clinical social worker in downtown Toronto where she works with adolescents and families struggling with mental health and addiction issues. Introduced to Focusing in 2016, Lorri is working to incorporate aspects of Focusing in her everyday work. Under Jan Winhall, she is training to be a Focusing-Oriented Therapist.

Concentration, Mindfulness, and Compassion: How Focusing Skills Can Support a Life-Long Meditation Practice

With Peter Ryan Sabom Nim, Dean, The Lotus School of Liberal Arts

*Some Focusing experience is needed.

In this seminar we will move from direct experience of meditation, to group reflection, to conceptual understanding, and return to meditation. This will all be discussed in terms familiar to the Focuser. This will help create a rich sense of how we can bring Focusing and the insights of Zen practice into our moment to moment awareness. Zen Meditation is not well understood in America. Traditionally, it is a group activity, embedded in a matrix of service, labor, study, and relationships. We will explore the history and evolution of Zen Meditation. Focusing, with its emphasis on relating to others and the direct experience of a fluid self has much to offer us as a bridge or complementary practice to meditation.

Peter Ryan Hae Il Sabom Nim (M.Sc. F.O.T.) is a psychotherapist, literature teacher, poet, and Zen Sword instructor. He is a long time student of the Zen Master Chang Sik Kim, founding master of the martial art, Shim Gum Do. Peter is founder of the Zen Buddhist high school Tinicum Art and Science and Dean of The Lotus School of Liberal Arts.

A Background Feeling Experiential Focusing Workshop

With Marine de Fréminville

*Some Focusing experience is recommended.

In this two hour workshop, participants will be exploring what Gendlin called the Background Feeling in Focusing. After reviewing a bit of theory to gain a better understanding of what is called a “background feeling”, participants will be invited to discover more about their background feeling. We will explore experientially a few ways of being and working with it, using some creative resources and whole body inner directed movements. This work gives access to old implicit connections and lead to some transformative possibilities. Where “what was felt as a burden or a limit – may open – to the extension of being” (Tribute Folio, 2008).

Marine de Fréminville is a clinical Psychologist in Montreal, a Certifying Coordinator of The International Focusing Institute, presenting and teaching Focusing for 30 years in Canada, Europe, and other countries. She uses Focusing-Oriented Therapy with Complex Trauma. As an EMDR practitioner, she uses Focusing with EMDR in dealing with trauma and unresolved grief.

The Authentic Companion: Exploring the Role of the Listener in Focusing

With Nancy Falls, Ed.D., RP

*All levels of Focusing experience welcome.

It is truly a privilege to be present to another, to share in their journey, to listen so that they truly feel heard. To quote Gene Gendlin, “the essence of working with another person is to be present as a living being. And that is lucky, because if we had to be smart, or good, or mature, or wise, then we would probably be in trouble”. Being present and listening is not always that easy. This workshop will explore the role of the listener in Focusing. As a listener, you will learn how to use your body to prepare for the encounter, to create a safe space, to discern and manage your responses, to avoid common pitfalls, and to help move their process forward while staying out of the way. Whether you are an experienced therapist or new to Focusing, participants will learn about the latest research related to presence as well as have plenty of opportunities to practice and improve their skills as a listener.

Nancy is a Focusing-Oriented Psychotherapist in private practice with over 20 years’ experience. She is also the manager for Training and Consultation at Radius Child and Youth Services. She primarily works with children, youth and families who have experienced trauma. Nancy is a Certifying Coordinator with the Focusing Institute and has presented locally and internationally on topics related to Focusing, trauma, sibling sexual abuse, and children and youth engaging in sexually harming behavior.

Morning Wellness

For those early birds who like to wake up and get your day going right with morning wellness, the retreat experience will feature Amona Buechler and Jon Herberman offering wellness Saturday and Sunday morning.

Read more about Morning Wellness options

Morning Stretch with Jon Herberman

with Jon Herberman

Welcome the morning by giving yourself a gentle 30 minute full body stretch. We will start with a breathing exercise to bring our awareness into our bodies, followed by a stretching routine which incorporates elements of yoga and pilates. It’s easy and accessible to all. No prior experience is required. You will leave feeling looser than you have in years!

Feldenkrais Method - Awareness Through Movement

With Amona Buechler

In a one hour movement exploration, verbally guided in great detail, the focus is on self-discovery. It is to find one’s own felt understanding of what is easy and organic, while recognizing habitual patterns of acting, that may contain unnecessary effort. With this newly found awareness, one now has more choices available. While the students are given responsibility for their own learning, the lessons are systematically and finely constructed to trigger neurological change and facilitate learning on a deeper level than on the conscious level. Every lesson is different from the previous one, and participants remain interested self-scientists throughout. Most lessons start lying on the back, and from there students gently and slowly move in endless possible ways, while observing the how. Lessons are suitable for all levels of capacity and age groups. Preferably students should have a wide mat. It is most beneficial if students attend a series of lessons.

ZEN Meridian Stretches followed by meditation

with Amona Buechler

This series of eight positions closely resembles a Yoga practice. Every posture is to activate a set of meridians in order to enhance a general energetic- as well as organ balance. As in traditional Eastern Medicine, based on the system of Meridians, there is a specific order of movements according to the understanding, which organ influences the next. Movements are slow, positions are held for a little while, accompanied by breath- and whole-body awareness. The series, repeated 2-3 times within the hour, is followed by a lying and then silent sitting meditation. Yoga mats are beneficial. Movements are shown to the students. A brief video is available on my web site.

Who Should Attend/Pre-Requisites

All are welcome! Whether you are new to Focusing or experienced, you might be drawn to the water to Follow your Flow! There will be workshops for beginners as well as a diverse offering for learning and expanding your river of experience.

Location and Accommodations

The Mount Carmel Spiritual Centre is located in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada. The centre is located on 12 acres with wooded areas, open spaces and gardens overlooking the world famous Niagara Falls.

The address is: Mount Carmel Spiritual Center, 7020 Stanley Avenue, Ontario, L2G 7B7, Canada.

If you're coming from out of town the closest airport is Buffalo/Niagara International Airport, Buffalo, NY (45 minutes + border crossing). Other airports are Hamilton Airport (Ontario) (approximately 1 hour) and Toronto Pearson International Airport (approximately 1 1/2 hour). Please visit www.niagaraairbus.com to organize your transportation. If you're driving, you can enter Canada from Buffalo, NY, USA or Niagara Falls, USA to Niagara Falls, Canada. Please remember that you'll need your passport to enter Canada.

Accommodations: Modest rooms: only 5 single rooms available with Queen Size bed and private bath. Double rooms with 2 single beds and private bath. Laundromat onsite (4th floor of main building). Free onsite parking. Wi-Fi available in most areas.

Meals included are dinner Friday evening, Saturday breakfast, lunch and dinner and Sunday breakfast and lunch . (Sorry, no discount for meals not taken)

Check-in: 4:00-5:30 PM Friday, June 15 (Dinner served at 5:30 PM)
Check-out: June 17 - Rooms must be vacated by 9:00 AM, however the conference will end with lunch


Single room and conference fee (*)

Double room and conference fee (*)

Early Early bird (until 3/31/18)

$593 Canadian

$475 U.S. (TIFI members)

$500 U.S. (non-members)

$493 Canadian

$375 U.S.

$420 U.S. (non-members)

Early Bird (4/1-5/31/18)

$655 Canadian
$525 U.S. (TIFI members)

$550 U.S. (non-members)

$537 Canadian
$430 U.S. (TIFI members)

$455 U.S. (non-members)

Full Price (6/1-6/10/18)

$699 Canadian
$560 U.S. (TIFI members)

$585 U.S. (non-members)

$580 Canadian
$465 U.S. (TIFI members)

$490 U.S. (non-members)

* NOTE: Canadian dollars are listed for informational purposes and are approximate based on exchange rate as of 1/22/2018. The International Focusing Institute processes transactions in US dollars.

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.


A full refund minus a $50.00 administrative fee will be given to participants who cancel by March 1; March 2 - May 1, 50% of the registration fee will be refunded; May 2 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.


Online registration is closed - please call 845-480-5111 by 3pm Wednesday June 14 to complete a last minute registration. We'd love to have you!

Double Rooms: If you would like to select your own roommate, please write your roommate choice on the "Special Instructions" line on the last page of registration. If not, roommates will be assigned.

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.

Questions and More Information

Registration and administrative questions please email Elizabeth@focusing.org
For program-specific questions please email: Beth Mahler: bfmahler@optonline.net


All workshops will be presented in English.

Sorry, registration is now closed.

Product Code: W-180615-FYF


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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
All contents copyright 2018 by The International Focusing Institute   info@focusing.org