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Children and Focusing

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Helping Children with Focusing - Some Guidelines for Companions by Simon Kilner - translations:  العرب Deutsch English Español Français Eλληνικά 日本語 Nederlands русский Svenska [PDF]


Only a few articles were written about Focusing with children when Marta Stapert started in 1985 to integrate focusing in individual child psychotherapy in a school for children with special needs. Bart Santen wrote already in 1975 in a Dutch magazine: B. Santen en G.Koopman: Symmetrische symbolisering bij kinderen. Uit: Tijdschrift voor psychiatrie, 1975, nr. 10-11, Jaargang 17.

Mary McGuire had started focusing in a school in Canada. She wrote an article and had to end this experience too soon. McGuire, M. Psy.D. (1986), School Project: 'Teaching Clearing a space' to Elementary School Children, The Folio, vol.5, nr.5, 1986

In 1993 Marta Stapert saw a video of ‘Clearing a space in the classroom’ from Japan. She started to introduce focusing to her colleague teachers in The Netherlands. Together with Anneke Broertjes they developed a program on how to teach focusing to children in a group.

During the International Focusing Conference in Gloucester (near Boston) in 1996, the  first workshop, ‘Clearing a space in a group of children through drawing’, took place.

During lunch time in this conference the “children focusers”  came together around a table in the corner of the room. The ‘Children Focusing Corner’ had been born.

Since 1996 till October 2006 Marta Stapert was the coordinator for ChFC.

International Children Focusing Conferences,  once every 2 years

1998, 1st in Hungary, Salgótarján “Focusing with children”

2000, 2nd in Hungary, Salgótarján “Children’s Inner and Outer Peace”

2002, 3rd in Canada, Toronto “Harvesting Wisdom, Planting New Seeds”

2004, 4th in Iceland, near Reykjavik "Bringing Focusing to the Children of the World"

2006, 5th in Romania, Cluj Napoca “Bringing Focusing to Children in Institutions and Education”

2008, 6th in Hungary, “Focusing: Bringing Safety To The Child’s World”

2010, 7th in The Netherlands, Heemskerk, “Sparkling Energy”

2014, 8th Ireland, Portarlington (near Dublin) Éist, the power of listening for our children


ChFC is a work group of The International Focusing Institute and works together with the Institute on important structural issues and decisions.

Acting on behalf of ChFC, there are national and international coordinators:

International coordinators for ChFC enhance the development of focusing with children in the broadest way, throughout the world. National coordinators stimulate Children Focusing within their own country.

In order to be as open as possible for energy and input from all sides, ChFC is an open organization without strict rules.


Up till now in many countries Children Focusing has been developed by several focusers, as yet unknown to The International Focusing Institute and Children Focusing Corner. For example: We were happily surprised that in The International Focusing Conference in the Netherlands in May 2006, we could count 42 participants out of 180, who are involved in focusing with children.

Marta and Ynse Stapert developed programs to train adults in Focusing with children. New coordinators are in training now.

The main program at this moment is 60 hours training in Focusing with Children, in three parts of 20 hours, mainly for Focusing-trainers and trainers-in-training.

Part 1 General focusing, focusing attitude, focusing for parents in the family

Part 2 Focusing in schools, institutions and in other groups, individual and group programs

Part 3 Focusing in child psychotherapy, play therapy and individual focusing sessions with a child.

These trainings have been given in Belgium, England, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Japan, Netherlands, Romania, Suriname, and the USA. 

New programs and trainings have been developed for:

Child Focusing Psychotherapists, in Romania (Marta Stapert and Madeleine Walder-Binder)

Parents, in England  (Eileen Fendick)

Children and Teachers, in the Netherlands: Focusing in the classroom, with a research program (Marta Stapert). (Will be translated into English)


In agreement with the Institute you need to be

  • a Focusing Trainer to be able to become a Children Focusing Trainer
  • a Focusing Coordinator to become a Children Focusing Coordinator

If you are a Focusing Trainer already, you will get the Children Focusing Trainer certificate after attending with good result the 60-hours training program, with the requirement to be certified member of the Institute.

As a Children Focusing Trainer you are able to work with children in a focusing way and teach/train other adults (for example, parents, teachers, group workers) how to be in a focusing way with children, also depending on your professional education and interest.

You need to be a Children Focusing Trainer and certified member of the Institute to train the ChFC School-Focusing Programme in schools.

If you are not yet a Focusing Trainer you can start  a Children Focusing Program after a minimum of one Basic Focusing course. You will get a part-certificate of the number of hours you attended training in children focusing. Once you are a certified Focusing Trainer and have got 60 hours of Children Focusing Training you can ask your Children Focusing Coordinator to exchange it for your Children Focusing Trainer Certificate.

Part-certificates can be given, taking into account that by the end, the whole field of children focusing has to be covered in order to become a Children Focusing Trainer.

This is especially meant for those focusers who want to use focusing with children at home or in their profession.

The Children Focusing Coordinator can use and carry out the already developed 60-hours trainings program to train Children Focusing Trainers. The Children Focusing Coordinator stimulates and furthers Focusing with Children in the broadest sense, in the first place in their own country.  Becoming a Children Focusing Coordinator is through the invitation of, or deliberation with, a National or International Children Focusing Coordinator.  This can include other ways than those mentioned above.

Certified Children Focusing Trainers and Coordinators may use the logo of ChFC and the Institute.

Training abroad

Up till now Focusing Training and Children Focusing training in other countries took place after invitation, mostly of a focusing coordinator in that country, or, in countries where focusing was unknown up to then, by a key person in the field of psychotherapy or education.

New models of certifiable training can be developed in deliberation with an International Child Focusing Coordinator.

Children Focusing Coordinators (and Coordinators in Training) - Jan 2017


Analia Zaccai


Tine Swyngedouw


Lucy Bowers


Heidrun Essler


Laura Bavalics (CF coordinator in training)


Derek McDonnell


Atsmaout Perlstein
Bilha Frolinger


Emanuela Fonticoli


Mari Orbán (CF coordinator in training)
Enikö Skolkae (CF coordinator in training)

The Netherlands

René Veugelers
Harriët Teeuw


Simon Kilner

Contact Persons Children Focusing - Jan 2017


Angela Mackenzie

El Salvador

Beatrice Blake CC


Brigitte Domas CC


Elli Coumoulos


Kie Yano (coordinator in training)


Petr Andreyev


Ferran Juan Torrens
Juan José Mendinueta
Lucía Ema Llorente


Teresa Dawson CC


Camilla Sim


Nina Joy Lawrence CC


Home page of ChFC (this page):
- general information about children focusing
- articles in different languages, some with translations

- reports of the conferences

Moderator: Heidi Essler 

Webmaster: Scott Will

Children Focusing Discussion List

The Children Focusing Discussion List is meant to be the connection between adults who are, in the broadest sense, involved in Children Focusing, in the world. Learning from each other is a fundamental belief in Focusing training and development.

Moderators stimulate and manage the discussion list, the organizational part as well as the content, and maintaining the respectful attitude.

Moderators for the Children Discussion list

Laura Bavalics (USA-Chicago) for stimulating the content and maintaining the respectful attitude

Lucy Bowers, Brigitte Domas and Agota Székely also support the energy and variety of discussion on the list.

Simon Kilner (UK,Leeds) for the organizational part 

Webmaster is Scott Will


Helping Children with Focusing - Some Guidelines for Companions by Simon Kilner - translations:  العربية English Español 日本語 Nederlands  [PDF]

Erik Verliefde and Marta Stapert wrote in Dutch language: De kunst van het luisteren, Communiceren met kinderen op school en thuis.

The translation and publishing in English is now available at the Institute store and at

Translations in Hungarian, Korean, Romanian, Japanese and other languages will follow after the English translation.

In the Netherlands the Manual ‘Focusing in schools’ is ready. In this training the teachers learn ‘Focusing in the classroom’ at the same time. Questionnaires before and after the program are added for research. Translation in English will follow as soon as possible, so that it can be used in other countries also.

The Manual (in English and German) of the training for Child Focusing Psychotherapists in Romania, (given by Marta Stapert and Madeleine Walder-Binder) is almost ready. It consists of 100 hours adult focusing and 60 hours children focusing, described step by step. It is a Manual for Children Focusing Trainers only.

Organizing the Children Focusing Conference once every 2 years

Up till now we managed to organize small conferences, in Hungary with around 75 participants, the last 3 conferences with around 30 participants. The conference is organized in the country where it will take place. The coordinator of the organizing country, organizes the Conference with a team of Focusers, with support of ChFC. However the input for organizing such a conference is a heavy job, it is an important meeting-point to exchange and present ideas and experiences, so that focusing with children can develop further and take a more influential role for a better world for children.


ChFC is administering a small fund from gifts. It is sometimes used for travelling to give training in under-developed countries, where no fee could be asked for the training.

Greetje Stienstra oversees the management of this account.

Some Ideas for the Future

- to moderate a discussion list for children. Can you imagine!

- to stimulate still more, so that all focusers with children send their materials/manuals/articles to the ChFC Homepage. It can be in any language
- to create an archive in the ChFC Homepage with messages from the Discussion list, to make important content available to more readers, after permission from the writer.