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Understanding who you are: mapping your nervous system, parts and timeline

8 week course to retell your story with Focusing

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Annette Dubreuil

Annette Dubreuil, Coordinator & MBA

Where & When

Thursdays, September 5-November 7 (break weeks October 17 and 24th), 1:30-3:30 pm OR Tuesdays, April 19-June 24, 2025 (break week May 27), 6:30-8:30 pm
Eastern (New York Time)

Venue Website
Online Joining Information

Provided after registration.

Meeting Format

Owning your story is the bravest thing you will ever do.
—Brené Brown

Understanding who we are in an embodied way is a powerful way to grow our emotional regulation and emotional intelligence. When we know what it feels like in our bodies when we get scared, or mad, or are happy—or when more complicated patterns or parts emerge—then we can more quickly notice these shifts in our autonomic nervous system.

In addition, growing our access to our grounded and calm self with Focusing practice, ensures that we can more easily access that part of us when something does happen. This clarity helps us know when we need to self-soothe or reach out to others for co-regulation.

If one does not have the felt meaning called “understanding the context,” one will only grasp a very limited, superficial part of a symbolization.
—Eugene Gendlin, Experiencing and the Creation of Meaning, page 128

In this course, we use Focusing to explore our autonomic nervous system, getting to know the three main kinds of experiences we can have in our nervous system. We do so using Jan Winhall’s Felt Sense Polyvagal Model™ as a model for the nervous system and Internal Family Systems as the roles the parts play:

  • grounded (flock, fun, flow)
  • hurt (wounding interaction that takes us from flock/fun/flow to fight/flight/fold/fixate/freeze)
  • protective (fight/flight, fold, fixate/freeze)

Using Focusing, we get to know a few parts of ourselves each class and steadily build a timeline of our life to date. We notice when parts emerged. How old were we? What happened to spur it to life?

The class spends the first three weeks in the grounded parts, building a “safe nest” to do the deeper Focusing on our wounded and protector parts in weeks four to seven. As we map our parts, we also map out our timeline. At first with the key memories, and then with the parts that are connected to the memories. We finish the class by completing our timelines and noticing what additional insights emerge for us in being with the timeline.

Insight involves our ability to shape and tell our story in a way that is both coherent and that maintains emotional contact with its meaning. We are neither overwhelmed by, nor disconnected from, what happened to us, and we have a developing sense of meaning about our pathway through life. Only through integration of the limbic-based memory with the capacities of the middle prefrontal region in both hemispheres does this capacity emerge.

—Bonnie Badenoch, 2008

Timing and other details


  • Thursdays, September 5-November 7 (break weeks October 17 and 24th)
    Time: 1:30-3:30 pm Eastern (New York Time)

  • Tuesdays, April 19-June 24, 2025 (break week May 27)
    Time: 6:30-8:30 pm Eastern (New York Time)

Course size: each course is capped at 16 people

Who is this course for? The course is designed for all levels of Focusers. However, some previous Focusing training is required as you need to be able to access your Felt Sense and hold space (have practice in Focusing partnerships). This beginner training can be learned in Annette’s 4-week or 8-week beginner courses. This course emphasizes getting to know and name in an embodied way the main parts of ourselves.

Course location: Zoom

Sliding scale pricing:  This course has sliding scale pricing, offering multiple price points to make the course more accessible and reduce financial barriers for people with different levels of income. Please view the sliding scale pricing page for details and codes.

Full fee: US$480

25% off: US$360

50% off: US$240

70% off: US$144

80% off: US$96

90% off: US$48


  • You can take this class as a stand alone experience, continue on with the whole PUPA journey, or whatever course or courses resonate with you.

  • Consisting of five courses, the journey covers learning Focusing, learning about who you are (this course), discovering who you want to be and what you want to bring into the world with TAE, transforming a large block using the 8Cs of self-leadership, and finally a course on taking action with embodied leadership.

  • The journey can also be extended to the PUPA Focusing Training Programme, which includes additional requirements to become a Certified Focusing Professional with The International Focusing Institute.

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