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May 2019 Newsletter

Note From Catherine
Catherine with Gerry Gendlin at 2018 Felt Sense Conference
Catherine with Gerry Gendlin at the first Felt Sense Conference

Dear friends,
I have to confess that as I write this, I am "multi-tasking."  A Focusing Highlights class just started, and I popped in to say hello.  After greeting the teachers and students, I turned my video feed off, but I can still hear what's being said.  The teacher is inviting participants to "find words for what you're actually experiencing."
As the second Felt Sense approaches in just a few days, and with so many tasks yet undone, a part of my mind is pressuring me to do more.  But when I drop down inside, what I am actually experiencing is calm: it's a mixture of eager anticipation, gratitude and a sense of satisfaction.  As I am with the feeling of all that, I see the conference as an organic human process. A team of teams has interacted with purpose and joy to offer something meaningful for those who will attend.  Beyond the exciting group of presenters, we have a team of "Touch-In Group" leaders; a team of volunteers to greet folks as they arrive; and of course the incredible staff I am blessed to work with in the office and remotely.
I want these kinds of experiences not to be limited to an elite group of people who have been blessed with resources to afford the price.  As Mary Hendricks-Gendlin famously said, "Focusing belongs to everybody."  As we made efforts to reach out beyond our existing audience to diversify the attendees, it was clear that we need more scholarship money available for events.  Soon, we will launch Phase II of our Stepping Up campaign.  One of the things we will concentrate on in Phase II will be just this: setting money aside to help more people from communities under-represented at our events to be with us.
I am pleased with the diversity of people and communities that are so far signed up for the conference, but we can do more.
As I finish up writing, and tune my ears back into the Focusing Highlights class that is still happening online, I hear the teacher saying, "In the support of your feet on the ground, notice if there is energy and aliveness coming up from that support."
We are supported by so many forces seen and unseen; never probably unfelt, but truly felt only when we take a moment to notice.  When I become aware of how much I have received, then offering support to others is not an act of charity but something more like breathing; an interaction fundamental to my own aliveness.
With warmest regards,
In This Issue
Stepping Up
News from the Board & ILC
An interview with Henry Chen
Weeklong in Chilé
Focusing Conversations
Upcoming Courses and Events

At the Institute, we are Stepping Up to the next level, where we are more visible to the world, and -- the world is more visible to us.  Our "Stepping Up" campaign is the Institute's first capital campaign, meant to build up our resources to offer scholarships, improve infrastructure so we can support our teachers, promote research and enhance connections for our members.
Donations to Stepping Up brought several students from El Salvador to the Weeklong in Chile. Thank you!  Please continue giving to this campaign, above and beyond whatever you are normally able to give to the Institute on an annual basis.
Board of Trustees
News from the Board, ILC &
Membership Committee
Mary Jennings
Membership Committee Notes
by Mary Jennings
The Committee has now completed development of the Partnership Network (formerly known as the Partnership Pool). This re-developed service for members will be available when our new website launches later this year. The Partnership Network is open to eligible members - Coordinators, Coordinators-in-Training, Trainers, Trainers-in-Training or anyone who has a Proficiency as a Focusing Partner (PFP) Award from TIFI.
Any member who is eligible can opt in to the Network to find a Focusing Partner. Members can search for a Partner using a number of criteria, for example, area of interest, location or dates or days they are available. That may be someone in their local area, or someone in another part of the world; people may meet on Skype, in person, by phone or use a number of other technology platforms.  
Working with our webmaster, Scott Will, the Committee has worked hard to make this streamlined service easy to access. Focusing Partnership is such an important part of Focusing. We hope that this initiative will enable members to find as many Focusing Partners as they wish. Many thanks to our sub-committee members, Elizabeth Cantor, Susan Lennox, Nada Lou and Susan Rudnick who steered the project to completion.
Mary Jennings
Membership Committee Chair

Meeting with ILC member Evelyn Fender-Lee
by Annie Mahon
Evelyn Fendler-Lee
Evelyn's focus is bringing TAE into the professional arena. She works with scientists, writers, teachers, anyone who wants to break out of language constructs and connect to their deeper knowing, in order to create something unique to their life experience. According to Evelyn, "TAE is an attitude, like Focusing is an attitude." She works directly with clients and also teaches her method to others, online and at in-person workshops.
Evelyn has her PhD in material studies as well as a Master's in Organizational Psychology, and she also completed a Person-Centered Counselor Training. One of her teachers in that program studied TAE directly with Gendlin, so Evelyn and another student worked with him on a project bringing TAE into industrial research. The project didn't work out, but Evelyn really learned TAE and was hooked.
Evelyn's newest project is more playful. It's a game-like inquiry tool based on TAE, and involves an adventure journey story and multiple dwellings, each with questions that Evelyn wrote herself. Next step for her is finding support for marketing the game.
Full article available here.
Annie Mahon
Annie Mahon is a Certified Focusing Professional. She is a mindfulness author, teacher and blogger at, and founder of the Opening Heart Mindfulness Community and Circle Yoga Cooperative.
An Interview with Board member Nancy Falls: Ambassador and Connector
by Tara Renee Breitenbucher
Nancy Falls
Having worked in children's mental health for 18 years, Nancy has supported hundreds of children and youth who have experienced some kind of trauma or maltreatment. Teaching new clinicians Focusing as one of the approaches to doing assessments and treatment, she sees Focusing as "a way in to connect them with their body," which she notes is crucial because trauma happens in the body. 
When I asked her about barriers to teaching and using Focusing in working with kids with trauma, she wisely indicated that actually, kids often have an easier time accessing their felt sense than adults. She uses the felt sense experiencing model created by Jan Winhall to determine how disconnected they are and notes "they have way less maladaptive behaviors and defenses that would otherwise keep them disembodied."
Full article available here.
Tara Renee Breitenbucher
Tara Renee Breitenbucher is a licensed professional counselor and owner of Imagine A Path, counseling and workshops for inner and interpersonal growth. She has a holistic psychotherapy practice for individuals and couples in Bend, Oregon.
Board of Trustees
An Interview with Henry Chen
By Suzanne Noel
Henry Chen is the former communications and media manager of the International Focusing Institute and is working toward becoming a Certified Trainer with TIFI.
Henry Chen
Suzanne NoelHow did you hear about Focusing, or what attracted you to it?
Henry Chen: It was a serendipitous encounter with a photocopied book at the Beijing University. They tend to photocopy all their books, even the teachers. It was Waking The Tiger by Peter Levine which is about trauma therapy. He based his work on Focusing, so I bought the Focusing book and tried to do it myself. There was one little "Oh, wow! Something shifted" and it was the first time I was able to self regulate without having to do something. Before I would have this anxiety, and then I would, like a bit of OCD, and have to "do this or do that, or undecided this or decide that" to ease the anxiety.
I don't know the philosophy that well, but it is some kind of carrying forward that might not necessarily be an action. I was like "Wow! This is great. I don't have to be a slave to this need to do things." ...and then for the next six months, I would get disregulated and then try for like a day to get that shift, and eventually it got faster and faster, and I was able to do it. Over many years. And still sometimes I get disregulated, I will take a few hours before I can regulate back."
And click here to see the video interview
Suzanne Noel is a Certifying Focusing Coordinator who lives in Costa Rica. She developed the HOW We Heal model for working with groups, which came out of her Recovery Focusing work. She loves to ride her motorcycle in the mountains of her beautiful adoptive country, Costa Rica.
Weeklong participants
El "Weeklong" en Chile: 
Memorias y Más
Reflections from Participants:
A special extended document
The full document, including articles (con traducciones) and photos from the weeklong are available here.
Video interviews from the conference are available here.
A special thank you to Beatrice Blake and Mariana Pisula for translations
"Belonging. Ahhh... The word brings a sigh. It's a sigh from my bones. It's a sigh of relief. Of allowing myself, as I am, to be held. It's a sigh that signals permission for my body to be exactly how it is, where it is, connected and connecting in its very own particular and universal way, whether or not its language is literally shared. Wherein the willingness and desire to understand is so implicit it gets to be taken for granted. And from there I naturally, without so much as a thought, open my eyes, softly, receptively, to what previously I might have called "other" and just like that I see you, I hear you, I sense you, and in doing so I see and hear and sense myself in a new way, a way that wouldn't have been if not for you."
"Durante las tardes, vivieron la experiencia de Focusing grupal para luego tener talleres en la noche. Lo singular fue que cada cado uno de los integrantes se pudo relacionar con quienes quisieron, aprendieron y consultaron todo lo que ellos quisieron. Se conocieron y crearon una fraternidad de hermanos en focusing, un grupo en el cual podrán comentar durante su vida futura los alcances significados y cambios que podrá traer a sus vidas el Focusing."
"Tälle matkalle minut lähetti ensimmäisen päivän yhteiset pohdinnat monimuotoisuudesta, moninaisuudesta, erilaisuudesta. Näemme sitä arjessamme joka päivä. Meissä jokaisessa on paikka, joka tuntee tarvetta puolustautua, suojella itseään kohdatessaan erilaisuutta - ja juuri se on se paikka, johon meidän tulisi keskittyä löytääksemme yhteyden erilaisuuden keskellä."
Board of Trustees
Focusing Conversations Series
Listen to conversations with Focusers, hosted by Serge Prengel
Lynn Preston
Lynn Preston - April 2019
In this conversation, Lynn Preston talks about a new venture: Learn Focusing, Pay It Forward. This project involves no money, but instead the commitment to share the teaching with others. It is an introduction to Focusing as a way of relating for community organizers, therapists of all kinds, religious leaders and everyone else. It helps people experience why Focusing, an approach to tuning in to one's deeper implicit knowing, is used all over the world for many projects.
Upcoming Courses and Workshops
This program and those to come will afford members a valuable opportunity to engage in casual peer-to-peer conversation with other members who share Focusing-related interests. 
Monday June 10th, 7:00 - 9:00 pm EDT
What would happen if we shift the term "body" from a noun to a verb? When sensed as a verb, Focusing shifts to what the body is doing, what is showing, and how we can invite our living energy to body itself, to play itself out.
Friday, June 14, 2019, 2:00 - 4:00 pm EDT

Creating Space For Lasting Change - A Level One Focusing Class facilitated by Sandi Jahmi Burg
In this Introduction to Focusing, you will learn a practical step-by-step process that moves you toward your well-being with any life issue, on your own & in partnership, now & in the future.
6  Wednesday afternoons - Starting June 19
4:00pm - 6:00pm EDT
Focusing in Place: Our Living Spaces - An online class facilitated by Gillian Parrish
During this class, participants will be guided through an exploration of the "living spaces" in your home that replenish and inspire you for your work in the world outside your door.
Saturday, June 22, 2019, 1:00 - 3:00 pm EDT
Become a Member
This section of the Institute's website has a sortable list of major International Focusing events.
The International Focusing Institute  |  15 N. Mill St., Nyack, NY 10960, USA  |  Tel: +1 (845) 480-5111  |  Fax: +1 (845) 704-0461
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