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Heritage Gallery

As many of those who worked closely with Gene Gendlin in the early days of Focusing begin to leave us, The International Focusing Institute has created this Heritage Gallery to honor those who have done so much as pioneers, teachers, innovators and inspirations.

In addition to this page, we have begun a tradition of having an annual online "Honoring Milestones" ceremony.  The ceremony begins by acknowledging all those newly certified by TIFI and those who have become Coordinators. Toward the end of the ceremony, we honor Coordinators who have recently passed.

You can watch the first Honoring Milestones ceremony from June 2023 here. The 2024 ceremony will take place on Friday, October 11 from 9am to 10:30am New York time your time here.  This year, we will honor Bebe Simon who passed away recently, as well as Reva Bernstein, who passed away in 2012.  All are welcome - watch your email as the date approaches for information on how to attend.


Bebe Simon 1925 - 2024 (USA)

We were saddened by the recent news of the passing of Bebe Simon.  She was a legendary and beloved member of the Focusing community.  She was well known for attending every International Focusing Conference, and for leading the Love Exercise, among many things.

Read the lovely "Get to Know Bebe Simon" article written by Barbara Dickinson and Len Grossman for our July 2020 newsletter here.  The archives of her work were announced in the September 2022 "In Focus" newsletter; you can read that again here.

Bebe is the author of Discovering the Gift of Your Inner Wisdom: How I Teach Focusing. and enjoyed leading the Love Exercise, which she learned from Gene Gendlin.  You can watch her leading that here.

We will remember Bebe as part of our Honoring Milestones online ceremony on October 11.  Please see above for details.

If you would like to give a financial gift to The International Focusing Institute in honor of Bebe, please do so here, and write her name in the box (at the bottom of the page) provided for that purpose.  Unless you specify otherwise, we will use funds given in her honor to help others attend the next International Focusing Conference.

Read Bebe's obituary in the Chicago Tribune here.

Read here Len Grossman's account of Bebe's 99th birthday and other remembrances


Bala Jaison - d. 2023 (Canada)

Bala gave tirelessly of herself in a myriad of ways, one of which was her running of the Focusing Institute’s annual journal, the Folio. She was meticulous in her work, but always with a spirit of caring. Rather than rejecting articles that didn’t meet her high standards, she put in endless hours to help them improve.  She was also a leader at the Focusing Weeklong - the flagship program of TIFI - and was one of the elders interviewed in this video by Dan Schachter about the early days of Focusing and the Weeklong.

When Bala passed away, it sent a shock wave through the close-knit Focusing community – a community she had done so much to create. Many asked: “How are we going to honor Bala and others who have been so important to us?” It was the passing of Bala and Lucy Bowers which was the impetus to create this Heritage Gallery.  So even in her very passing, the kindness, love, wisdom and high expectations she embodied continues to nurture a community of caring.

She is the author of Integrating Experiential and Brief Therapy.  She is also a featured presenter in the video FOT: Focusing-Oriented Therapists, produced by Nada Lou, and contributed her own articles to a number of Folios which can be found in the TIFI online bookstore.

You can read our tribute to Bala Jaison from our May 2023 "In Focus" newsleter here, and the obituary published in the Toronto Star here.

Watch here the tribute to Bala during the 2023 Honoring Milestones online ceremony.  (Tribute given by René Veugelers.)


Lucy Bowers 1943 - 2023 (Canada)
Lucy and Gene

Lucy was a real pillar of the Focusing community, known for her warmth and her wisdom in working with children.  She was active even as she navigated her serious health concerns, taking part in the Children & Focusing online conference only a few months before her passing. Here is a short video she made with Laura Bavalics to share what she planned for that workshop.  It was the passing of Lucy and Bala Jaison, both of which sent shock waves through the worldwide Focusing community, which prompted the development of this Heritage Gallery.

You can read here our tribute to Lucy from the June 2023 "In Focus" newsletter.


Agnes Wild-Missong  1931 - 2022 (Switzerland)

Agnes is the person who first brought Focusing to Switzerland, and she was an important woman in pcaSuisse (the Person-Centered psychotherapy organization in Switzerland). 

The pcaSuisse honored Agnes with a commemorative writing.  You can read it here in French and here in German.


Christel Kraft  1932 - 2021 (Canada)

In her final years, Christel was a beloved, constant presence at TIFI's online offerings, especially the Focusing Roundtables.

Christel is the author of Energy Flow Focusing Explorations.

We wrote a tribute to Christel in our February 2021 "In Focus" newsletter, which you can read here.


Marta Stapert - d. 2019 (The Netherlands)


Marta was a great leader in Children's Focusing and wrote "the book" on Focusing with children, De kunst van het luisteren (The Art of Listening).  This is the English translation, Focusing with Children.

Here's where you can read our tribute to Marta in our March 2020 "In Focus" newsletter, in both English and Dutch.  Please scroll down to find it.

This is the tribute to Marta, given by René Veugelers at the 2023 online Honoring Milestones ceremony

Eugene Gendlin 1926 - 2017 (AUSTRIA / USA)

Gene Gendlin is the much loved and admired founder of The International Focusing Institute.

Please see the website created to memorialize him here: where one can read his obituary in several languages (English language obituary here).

We also have a biography page for him on this website.

The video recording of his full memorial service (including symposia on psychology and philosophy) in New York City in August 2017 can be watched here.  An excerpt of his son, Gerry Gendlin's eulogy can be watched here.  That of Ann Weiser Cornell is available here.

In honor of Gene's passing the Board of TIFI created the Eugene T. Gendlin Center for Research in Experiential Philosophy and Psychology.  Donations in his honor can be given to that fund or to the Gendlin Legacy Fund by going to our donations page and by choosing the fund at the bottom of the page.

Mairead O'Brien - d. 2016 (Ireland)


Mairead was a nun in the congregation of the Holy Rosary, which took her to Nigeria and Sierra Leone to teach.  She first learned Focusing while working in the United Kingdom, and asked to be transferred back to Ireland in order to concentrate on studying Focusing.  She created a training course specifically for Ireland and eventually trained more than 40 people.  She had a special interest in Bio-Spiritual Focusing as developed by the Catholic priests Ed McMahon and Peter Campbell.

Watch here the tribute given by Mary Jennings at the 2023 Honoring Milestones online ceremony.

Mary Hendricks-Gendlin 1944 - 2015 (USA)

Mary was Gene's wife and intellectual partner.  A brilliant psychologist in her own right, she was the Director of The International Focusing Institute from 1996 (when the Gendlins and the Institute moved to New York) until 2013.  She taught Focusing-Oriented Psychotherapy to countless students.

Mary developed Thinking at the Edge with Gene, based on his University of Chicago course on theory-building.

The memorial page for Mary can be found here and comments in memory of her from members of the Focusing community can be found here.

A collection of Mary's writings, compiled for her memorial, can be found here.

Janet Pfunder - d. 2015 (USA)

Janet was a wonderful partner, friend, psychotherapist, artist, Sufi practitioner and Focusing trainer in New York City. She related to others with warmth and depth of interest and was deeply committed to fostering spiritual and personal growth.

She was certified as a Focusing practitioner in 2000 and was a Teacher and Supervisor in FORP (Focusing Oriented Relational Psychotherapy).  She taught Focusing-Oriented Dreamwork.  As a Sufi Teacher and Practitioner, she published “Sufi Meditations and Psychotherapy”; and “Colors of the Invisible: Sufi Healing”.  Her last painting exhibit took place at Harvard University, where she was an alumna, in 2000.

You can read here the obituary of Janet on the Focusing Therapy website, and you can watch Janet on this video celebrating Gene Gendlin's legacy.

Here is the video of the tribute to her by Jude Cobb at the 2023 Honoring Milestones online ceremony.

Zack Boukydis 1948 - 2015 (USA / Hungary)

Zack was an active and passionate member of the Focusing community, as a regular presence at international gatherings.  After receiving his PhD in psychology, Zack came to specialize in babies. He brought family centered care into hospitals at the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, working with premature babies and their mothers as well as professionals who work with these young babies.

His friend, Jim Iberg, wrote a tribute to Zack for the December 2015 "In Focus" newsletter, which you can read here (once there, scroll down toward the bottom of the page).

You can watch a talk given by Zack at the 2015 Stockholm Conference on Ultra-Early Intervention at this link.  To skip to Zack's talk, scroll forward to the 1 hour, 49 minute mark (1:49:00).

Zack is the author of Collaborative Consultation with Parents and Infants in the Perinatal Period.

To see the tribute to Zack by his wife, Laura Bavalics, during the 2023 Honoring Milestones online ceremony, click here.

Reva Bernstein 1931 - 2012

We will honor Reva at our Honoring Milestones online ceremony on October 11, 2024 (read above about Honoring Milestones).

Read Reva's article "The Essence of Being With What Is: Thirty-Three Years with Focusing


Janet Klein - d. 2010
Janet Klein

Janet Klein took over the Directorship of The Focusing Institute in 1992, until its move a few years later from Chicago to New York.  She and Mary McGuire created and taught "Interactive Focusing". They taught workshops on Interactive Focusing for many years, including team teaching the Focusing Weeklongs.  Because of her dedication to the Weeklongs, and to making them financially accessible to all, the Dr. Janet Klein Scholarship was created upon her passing in order to help students attend the Weeklong.  Dozens of students have received this scholarship,making it possible to attend in person or, in recent years, online as well.

Janet had discovered Focusing when her doctoral work in psychology brought her to the Chicago Counseling and Psychotherapy Center led by Carl Rogers, where Gene Gendlin was an important presence.  She ended up writing her dissertation on Focusing Partnership.

You can read the announcement of her passing by Mary Hendricks-Gendlin as well as an autobiographical sketch by Janet here.

If you would like to give to the Dr. Janet Klein Scholarship fund, please go to our donations page and select the fund at the bottom of the page.

Friedhelm Köhne 1948 - 2004 (Germany)

Friedhelm Köhne January 14th, 1948 - May 15th, 2004
He was the first Coordinator in Germany