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May 2017

With sadness, we announce the passing of our Founder and friend, Gene Gendlin.
In Memoriam
Eugene T. Gendlin
December 25th, 1926 - May 1, 2017
Board of Trustees
In Honor of Gene
From the Board of Trustees and the International Leadership Council
At our May monthly meetings, the Board of Trustees and the International Leadership Council of the International Focusing Institute marked Gene Gendlin's passing with a period of silent reflection and shared remembrances. As our founder, advisor, teacher, and director for more than three decades, Gene inspired us to re-conceptualize how we create meaning and how we broaden and deepen our connections to ourselves and others. But most of all, he deeply touched us with his disarming gentleness, humor, and loving acceptance of the person sitting across from him.
We extend our deepest sympathies to Gene's children, as well as to all of you who knew and loved Gene. We pledge our commitment to working together with our Focusing colleagues across the globe to promote Gene's extraordinary vision that reconnecting people to their inner experiences could begin to restore sanity to our troubled world. Our continuing dedication to Focusing can be the most fitting tribute to his life of service.
The International Leadership Council is working with staff and members of the Institute to have a symposium on the day of Gene's memorial service, as a way to continue carrying forward his work. The Board is proud to announce the formation of the Eugene T. Gendlin Center for Research in Experiential Philosophy and Psychology of The International Focusing Institute. We will be telling you more on this "Gendlin Center" as well as more about the symposium in coming weeks.
We are very proud and humbled to be entrusted with leadership in the Institute which Gene founded, in order to carry life and thought forward alongside all of you.
Board of Trustees
A New Home for The Process Model
For many years, The International Focusing Institute was proud to have Gene Gendlin's important work of philosophy, A Process Model, available for print and as a free download on our website.  This was in keeping with Dr. Gendlin's hope to spread his philosophy as widely as possible.  However, there was an unintended consequence to his generosity, which is that academics tended not to read it, since it was not published by a university press.  In the last years of his life, Dr. Gendlin was very happy that Northwestern University Press wanted to publish it, and he understood that this would mean that it could then no longer be given away for free on the website.
It was a great convenience for those who already were convinced of the importance of Dr. Gendlin's work to have it available online on our site.  However, having Northwestern University Press publish and distribute it gives it a chance to be taken seriously in academia, where it deserves not only a place, but many of us feel a central place.
We invite and encourage you to pre-order the book, as well as a newly compiled book of Dr. Gendlin's essays: Saying What We Mean: Implicit Precision and the Responsive Order. Both will be available for pre-order in our online store shortly at this link.
Note from Catherine
Dear friends,
Because of my role at the Institute, I was privileged to get to know Gene Gendlin and see him frequently over the last three years of his life.  I loved the good humor and grace with which he faced his old age.
I had first met him twelve years ago, when I used to attend the Focusing Institute Summer School (FISS) each year.  In those first few years of FISS, he would come one afternoon to teach.  Or, rather than "teach," I should say, to engage us in conversation so that we had the opportunity to see him in action.
I had been a dedicated Focuser for ten years before I attended the first FISS in 2005, having first learned Bio-spiritual Focusing. I had been taught exactly how to proceed in Focusing: what prompts to offer, what questions to ask or not ask, and how to reflect back.  The method I learned worked beautifully. Focusing changed my life, and I am grateful to have learned in the way that I did. 
Until that first FISS, I had only been peripherally involved with the Institute, mostly by maintaining my membership and reading (never posting) on the discussion list.  I noticed that people on the list revered Gene, but having never met him, I didn't understand why.  And so it was with some skepticism that I sat in the hall at the Garrison Institute at that first FISS, awaiting the great man.  I guess that because he was so revered, I expected that he would be arrogant or imperious.  To the contrary, I was immediately charmed by his warmth, his good humor, his deep intelligence, and most of all by his humility.  I fell in love with him, too.
What opened my mind and heart most was that Gene broke every rule that I had learned about how to Focus.  He didn't invite the person to close their eyes.  He didn't reflect back in the way I had been taught.  He made suggestions of words to them, whereas I'd been taught never ever to do so.  A light bulb went off for me about what it meant to really listen, and to really be present to another person.  Rules and guides could help, but when one is truly present and listening - to the other as well as to oneself - the rules and guides yield to wisdom. For me, it was like diving much deeper into something which I had already experienced as profound.
I am conscious of how many of you know Gene as a person and as a thinker far more deeply than I ever will.  In my position at the Institute, I seek your guidance as, together, we live out the wisdom that Gene's life and work has helped us discover within ourselves.
Love and blessings,
-Catherine Torpey, Executive Director, 
The International Focusing Institute
In this issue:
In Honor of Gene
Note from Catherine
A Letter from Texas to Japan
Membership Committee Update
Secrets Your Body May not be Sharing
Focusing Highlight
Thank you to Bill Silverman
2017 Focusing-Oriented Therapy Conference (FOT)
Focusing Conversations
2017 Focusing Institute Summer School (FISS 2017)
What Focusing Means to Me - Maria Kotitsa, PhD
Weeklong 2017
Become a Member
From the TFI Office
Upcoming Events
Join Our Discussion Lists
Our Strategic Plan will very shortly be published. 
Please watch for an announcement soon!
Board of Trustees
Board of Trustees - Introducing Paula Nowick

Paula Nowick joined the Board of Trustees of The International Focusing Institute this year, and will serve until summer 2019.
 am grateful to have the opportunity to contribute, along with five other outstanding Board members and Catherine Torpey, to the establishment of the new, dynamic International Focusing Institute. The Board is exploring the many creative ways the Institute can utilize the internet and group communication capabilities, like Zoom, to share the innovative developments of Focusing communities across the globe, to strengthen the deep personal connections that flourish among Focusers worldwide, and to provide scholars with easier access to all Focusing research, including the complete collection of Gendlin's extensive writings. Sometimes, amid the darkness of the news, I recall the joys of Focusing and feel reinspired to share these as widely as possible. Those are a few of the reasons I feel so blessed to be part of this Board!
Paula Nowick, Ed.D., joined the Board of The International Focusing Institute this past year. With Bala Jaison, she is co-editor of The Folio: A Journal for Focusing and Experiential Therapy. Paula began her career with the U.S. Foreign Service in its embassies in Teheran and Paris. When she returned to the United States, she taught high school English, eventually earning her Doctor of Education from the University of Massachusetts, specializing in Creativity in Education. She served as a professor at Springfield College and the University of Massachusetts, as well as director and developer of specialized tutoring programs at Springfield Technical Community College. For the last two decades, she has been the Vice President of Nowick Environmental Associates, overseeing its finances and marketing. Paula is now retired, and lives in Massachusetts.
Board of Trustees
A Letter from Texas to Japan
by Miho Yamada
Miho Yamada is a visting scholar at the University of Texas at Austin. This article is an English translation and reconstitution of part of the article in the 2016 annual report of Shujitsu University Counseling Room (Okayama, Japan).
I have been staying in Austin, Texas as a visiting scholar at the University of Texas at Austin since August 2016. The areas of my learning are "Dance Therapy" and "Focusing". In this essay, I will focus on my experiences of Focusing learning that I could feel, taste, and put into words.

I had a feeling that my "head" and "body" were functioning separately and not connected properly. I felt like this had been at the root of my unclear feeling of discomfort as a psychologist, and as a member of the university faculty. My struggle to connect these two parts of myself was a big motivation for traveling to the U.S. Both dance therapy and Focusing are body-oriented approaches, and they have many overlapping features. Today, as of January 2017, the things I have learned in both these areas are interlocking and resonating, and I feel that the relation between my head and my body has been gradually changing.  Link to full essay
Board of Trustees
Membership Committee Update

Susan Lennox is the Chair of the Membership Committee and a former member of the Board of Trustees.
Susan Lennox chairs the membership committee and organizes the Focusing Roundtables
The TIFI Membership Committee has been meeting approximately monthly since November 2015.  We currently have ten members, including Mary Jennings (Ireland), Florentina Sassoli (Argentina), Hejo Feuerstein (Germany), Jane Quayle (Australia), Jocelyn Kahn (US), Wendi Maurer (US), Javier Romeo-Biedma (Spain), Tine Swyngedouw (Belgium), Mariana Pisula (Argentina) and Susan Lennox (US). 
The Committee's primary mission is to serve and build community among TIFI's current members.  Our action emphasis to date has been on developing new member benefits, including Focusing Roundtables, Cafecitos, and Trainer Talks.
Roundtables are small group conversations around various Focusing-related topics. Held on Zoom, these gatherings enable Focusers from all over the globe to share their experiences and explore a topic of mutual interest in a casual peer-to-peer environment.  So far we have had excellent geographical and cultural diversity in our attendees.
The Membership Committee hopes to present a Roundtable each month so stay tuned for upcoming events.  Thus far we have held Roundtables on Gender Differences in Focusing, TAE & Everyday Life, Aging, Touch in Focusing, Focusing & Dreamwork, and  Sustaining Global Felt Community during Stressful Times.  Plans for summer and fall Roundtables are already underway so stay tuned.  Members will receive a personal email announcement of each Roundtable and future Roundtables also can be found in the TIFI Store under workshops.  Just look for the Roundtable Logo to see what's coming up.   
Capably spearheaded by Mariana Pisula from Argentina, Cafecitos are Spanish language webinar interviews with live attendees.  There have been four Cafecitos thus far.   Beatrice Blake was interviewed on "Non Violent Communication as a Portal to Focusing" in September. The December interview featured Elena Frezza talking about her new book, POI and chronic pain. In March, Edgardo Riveros shared "An Invitation to Take a Look to the Experiential Era and the New Paradigm of the Implicit".  On April 26 Mónica Gómez Galaz shared her thoughts on Biodecodification and Focusing.  The upcoming Cafecitos in May will feature an interview with Isabel Gascón followed by a Cafecitos with Roberto Larios on Wholebody Focusing.  Members will receive a personal email announcement of each Cafecitos and upcoming programs also can be found in the TIFI Store under workshops.  Just look for the Cafecitos logo to see what's coming up.
Our third new program is Trainer Talks, which are recorded Zoom interviews aimed at providing information and inspiration to support TIFI's professional members.  The first Trainer Talk featured Sally Tadmor, who offered many valuable strategies and tips on "How to Build Your Focusing Business."  Instructions on how to access the Talk were sent to all current members by email in January. If you missed it, contact e[email protected] to request the link to the program.  The second Trainer Talk featuring Mary Elaine Kiener on "How to Create a Virtual Changes Group" was also released.  Future Trainer Talks in development include a program on The Process Model and an update on research on Focusing.  If you have ideas for additional topics that would be useful to TIFI professional members, please submit them to [email protected].
The Committee warmly welcomes member input and ideas.  If you would like more information or would like to help with particular initiatives, please let us know at [email protected].
Board of Trustees
Secrets Your Body May Not be Sharing (Huffington Post)
Marilyn Harding describes how she learned to better understand her body through Focusing - and how you can do the same. 
Board of Trustees
Focusing Highlight:
Responding with Focusing Invitations: 
Ten Opportunities Clients Present
With Jim Iberg
Saturday, May 27, 2017
11:00 AM - 1:00 PM Eastern Time (US)
As Gene Gendlin said decades ago, Focusing does not belong to the therapist but "you find it inside you and then it's yours."  Over his 44 years of listening to people in psychotherapy, Jim has observed that when Focusing happens, it always seems to help, relieve, and inspire the person talking.  But how can the listener promote Focusing without sacrificing empathy, and also allow the Focuser to own their process?
Board of Trustees
Thank You to Bill Silverman
by Barbara Dickinson
When the International Focusing Institute asked me if I would write a "thank you note" to Bill Silverman for his years of service as Webmaster, I was delighted. It gave me an opportunity to reflect on my working friendship with Bill and on his wonderful work for all of us in the world wide focusing community.  
Bill, it turns out, is the kind of webmaster who is always doing some sort of pro bono work, so in 2000 when he was looking at ads for open positions, he found one that sounded like a really interesting group. This was the early days of the partnership program and it was Mary Hendricks Gendlin who contracted with him to do the work of upgrading the website and Partnership Program. 
There was a web page at the time with a list of names of people who wanted Partners, but Mary wanted a lot more. Bill described her as a visionary (not surprisingly). And so, in the partnership between Mary and Bill, they developed the website for the Partnership Program and he did it pro bono. Link to full article
Board of Trustees
Save the UEA Focusing-Oriented Therapy Course!
The University of East Anglia, UK (UEA) has recently announced that it will be closing its Counselling Department this year, and therefore all the courses the department currently offers will cease to exist at the end of this academic year. UEA has provided a world class Person-Centered Training in counselling and psychotherapy for 25 years. 
In addition to its Person-Centered Post Graduate Certificate and BACP-accredited Diploma course, it also has been the only university in the world to offer a Post Graduate Certificate in Focusing-Oriented Psychotherapy. UEA's Focusing course is one of only a handful of avenues to become qualified in the UK as a Focusing-Oriented Psychotherapist.
UEA is situated in the county of Norfolk, where there is a real need for mental health provision. Closing this department will mean a significant reduction in qualified person-centered counsellors in Norfolk in the future, and this obviously will have an impact on those in need of this valuable provision.
Please sign the petition to oppose the closure of the Counselling Department at UEA so that British Focusing practitioners don't lose one of their only paths to certification. We already have over 2,000 signatures - please add your name to help us get more.
Board of Trustees
Calling All Focusing-Oriented Therapists
Join us for the fourth gathering of the international community of Focusing-Oriented Therapists at the Garrison Institute in Garrison, New York, one hour north of New York City. This year's theme is "FOT -Taking our place in the world of psychotherapy."
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.
We will have two-and-a-half days of workshops and presentations from FOT therapists from around the world. They will share 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.
Board of Trustees
Focusing Conversations Series
Listen to Focusing Conversations hosted by Serge Prengel
Russell Delman, mid-May
Russell speaks with Serge about beginner's mind.
Karen Liebenguth, May
Karen speaks with Serge about mindfulness in nature.
Donna Varnau, mid-April
Donna speaks with Serge about Embodied Presence.
Jan Winhall, April
Jan speaks about the need for human beings to gather together in communities, and draws on her experience establishing a healing community based around Focusing in Toronto, Canada.
Manju (Peter Gill), March
Manju (Peter Gill) relates his experience of what happens when he takes time to pause and notice how it feels to be in the world.
The Focusing community has grown and developed in recent years, and represents a broad range of different cultures and viewpoints. Marcella reflects on the Focusing community's ability to absorb differences while preserving a sense of commonality.
To improvise means be aware of the moment and its resources, a principle very similar to Focusing. In this conversation, Serge and Tobias talk about improvisation as a way of life. 
Peter Afford, January
In this conversation, Serge and Peter discuss the relationship between Focusing and neuroscience, and the ways in which the left and right hemispheres of the brain contribute to felt sense.
The 12th Annual Focusing Institute Summer School (FISS)
Immerse Yourself in Focusing!
Whether you've been Focusing for years or you're brand new, the Focusing Institute Summer School is a warm, exciting, supported community experience of deeply diving into Focusing in the company of great people and highly experienced teachers.

The Summer School returns this year to the Garrison Institute in Garrison, NY. Situated on the Hudson River just north of New York City, the surroundings are serene and beautiful. The Garrison Institute is a stately former monastery now used for meditation retreats. The food is fabulous, healthy and delicious... and there is WiFi in the lounges.

You'll be able to immerse yourself in the company of one teacher and sample all four... make it a time of intensive study or more like a holiday with lots of play and fun... and you'll be in a warm and connected community of Focusing people from all over the world.
The Teaching Team - Featuring Two New Teachers  
The Summer School brings together four experienced and highly-regarded teachers. In addition to long-time Summer School teachers Ann Weiser Cornell and Nada Lou, this year we welcome two new teachers: Glenn Fleisch, teaching Wholebody Focusing, and Tobias von Schulthess teaching Playback Theater. Learn more about the Teaching Team
Rich learning options all week
You choose one teacher to work with in-depth each morning, and experience the others in a variety of afternoon optional workshops. Learn more about each teacher's morning courses and afternoon workshops.
Who can attend? Are there any prerequisites? 
The Summer School is open to everyone! Beginners and advanced Focusers are welcome. No prior Focusing experience is required. The program is designed to be an enriching retreat whether you are new to Focusing or have been Focusing for years. 
Board of Trustees
Writings From the Edge:
What is Focusing and What it Means to Me
by Maria Kotitsa, Ph.D.
Beginnings are elusive - rather hard to trace, since true beginnings happen spontaneously, silently and unrushed; and with focusing being a natural or innate capacity, it means that it might be a self-arising process, too... so, when did it begin for me? 
It was when I thought my dear grandmother, the significant other in my life, had died. It was more than a thought; it was a conviction, a real bodily experience of alone-ness in life, the clear, dark and certain abyss of life lying in front of me, with no one left to walk it with. It was a tormenting 'what is going to happen, now?', 'to me?' Despite my efforts I was unable to wake her from her death-sleep. One last move, before resorting to accepting the reality of death - sitting down on the hallway floor, the same floor that meant so much fun playing previously, my little body all curled, embracing my knees as if to draw courage from the ground up, a conscious decision was made to turn my attentions to the skies, and then slowly my hands reaching up. I transferred all my burden out there, and uttered 'please, God, don't let her die'. And in doing this, the first, and perhaps the most memorable shift in my life came, as the bleak inner place had vanished; completely - I remember nothing else. 
This was four decades ago, I was only five and I had just discovered self-empathy. My grandmother did wake up, and she and I shared many times together, happy and sad, so closely intertwined, such that, as it often happens, one finds the greatest joy in the deepest sadness. And probably the deepest of all is the sadness of death (to which we will return at the end of this essay). Link to full article
Advanced Certification Weeklong 2017: Belonging and Connection in Community
October 15 - 20 in Madison, Connecticut, USA
Focus Into Something Fresh and New in Community
The Weeklong celebrates the diversity in the Focusing world by holding a space where Coordinators, advanced Focusers and newly Certified Focusing Professionals all come together to deepen and celebrate their Focusing practice.
The first Weeklong was held in 1979 in Chicago, IL. At that time, the Weeklong was a requirement for certification. While attendance is not required for certification today, we carry on the tradition of honoring those newly certified in a beautiful certification ceremony.
The Weeklong can reinvigorate or launch your work, and strengthen the foundation of your life-long participation in our global Focusing community.  At the Weeklong, you will deepen or learn new skills, connect with others through common interests, experience a variety of cultural perspectives, and build upon the legacy of Focusing and The International Focusing Institute.  A multi-cultural, international team of Focusing Coordinators with a wide array of skills will facilitate your experience.  There are also ample opportunities to share your skills and your particular Focusing approach.
Beautiful Seaside Location
Mercy by the Sea is located on 33 acres on the shores of Long Island Sound. It has a small yet diverse ecology, ranging from wetlands and woodlands to landscaped grounds and gardens. Visit their website here.
Workshops and Activities
The 2017 Focusing Weeklong Facilitation Team has developed a schedule that offers a wide variety of experiences that reflect the theme of belonging and crossing across focusing cultures. 
Each morning before breakfast a yoga class will be held by Mateja Vrhunc Tomazin. Mateja's classes are performed according to an ancient, authentic yoga system, adjusted to modern life, named Yoga in Daily Life. It subtly includes all paths of yoga, for body, mind and soul. Morning yoga classes will be suitable for everyone.
Following the optional morning class, all the participants will meet together for morning workshops, facilitated by one or more of the Weeklong Facilitators. These will be experiential encounters where you will be given time and space to process with your fellow participants.

After the lunchbreak you meet in your home group. These are small, fixed groups that meet daily to explore a Focusing, personal, or creative project; a personal topic/change; or to simply meet and explore what needs your attention at that moment. We encourage you to explore your own interest in a particular application of Focusing, perhaps crossing Focusing with one of your passions.
Optional afternoon workshops allow participants to explore a variety of topics with different teachers. Learn more about all of these workshop offerings.
Become a Member

Being a member of The International Focusing Institute is one way of staying connected to the International Focusing Community and its latest developments. The Institute is a supportive matrix whose purpose is to help the human community integrate Focusing into its many ways of living and working, and to see to the continued thriving and evolution of Focusing and Focusing teaching.


We organize what has already been done so that people have access to it. We support a thriving philosophical community centered around the Philosophy of the Implicit.


To introduce Focusing to people requires reaching out on many levels: publicity; archiving resources; bringing focusing into schools, medicine, churches, businesses and other areas. As Focusing is introduced in these areas, we connect people who need to know about each other worldwide. Membership is a way to support our work, and, as we are a non-profit organization, your contributions may be tax deductible.


Each member of our International Community is special to us. We deeply appreciate that you care enough about this work we are doing together to put some of your life energy into it, whether in the form of training, personal development, organizing projects, money or in other ways. 


Learn more here. 


From the TFI Office

Translation and Interpretation


It is important to us to have as many of our communications as possible translated into as many languages as possible.  If you are willing to translate written materials from English into your native language, please contact us at [email protected] and let us know your language, and how much time you can volunteer for this valuable task.


It is also important to us to be able to offer interpretation (spoken) when we have events such as the Summer School (FISS) and the Advanced and Certification Weeklong.  When we have four or more people needing interpretation, we pay for an interpreter.  Please contact us if you would be willing to be an interpreter, or if you know of someone who you believe would do this well.

Air Miles

We are a very international organization and it is extremely meaningful when we can be together.  Frequently, however, members of our community cannot attend Focusing Institute events because in addition to the cost of the event, they have very high air fares.  If you have air miles that you are willing to donate, please contact us.  Your airmiles could be used to help members of the Board of Trustees and the International Leadership Council to attend their face-to-face meeting, or to help someone being certified to attend the Weeklong, or for any Focuser to attend FISS (the Focusing Institute Summer School).  Please help give someone the chance for these meaningful connections! 

Upcoming Conferences, Retreats and Workshops
Cafecitos: con Isabel Gascon
Miércoles, 24 de mayo
1:30 - 3 PM hora del este (Estados Unidos)
Focusing Highlight: Responding with Focusing Invitations: Ten Opportunities Clients Present
Saturday, May 27, 2017
11:00 AM - 1:00 PM Eastern time (US)
June 3-4
September 30 - October 1
October 2017 - September 2019
Taught by Charlotte Howorth, LCSW
July 26 - September 13 
October 18 - December 6
Taught by Ruth Hirsch, MSW, MPH, CMP
June 22-25, 2017 at The Garrison Institute, Garrison NY.
August 14-19th, 2017
Garrison Institute, New York

October 15-20, 2017
Mercy by the Sea, Madison, Connecticut

Have you considered remembering the Institute in your will? Leaving a bequest can be a way to continue to promote Focusing well into the future.  Please contact us if you are willing to do this or have done so already. Thank you!
Discussion Lists

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