Skip to main content

August 2014 Newsletter

In Focus  Newsletter Banner
  August 2014
note Note from Catherine

Dear Focusing Community -


Here in the northern hemisphere, we are enjoying the long days of summer.  I am blessed to have a free public outdoor swimming pool across the street from my Manhattan apartment, and most mornings I get myself up early to swim alongside my neighbors as the sun grows progressively higher and warms my skin as I glide – or, more accurately, flail – through the water.  The other day, as I paused after a lap and felt elated by the sun’s shining on my skin, I thought of those who are prevented from receiving the blessing of direct sunlight: those in prison or otherwise confined.  I thought of how the warm, gentle and generous light of the sun makes me feel welcomed by the universe, as though I were receiving a divine, loving embrace.  That, in turn, made me feel love and generosity toward the other flailing bodies in the water, even when the trajectory of their laps intersected mine.  How much more power love has to reconcile than punitive measures have!  In the words of Martin Luther King, Jr., “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

As a Focuser, I would alter King’s wording slightly, because I have found that darkness is not something to be driven out; rather, it is often our embrace of darkness that allows us to feel the embrace of light.


I love the theme of the Advanced and Certification Weeklong: Connections and Crossings.  It is connection – inner and outer – that makes us most alive.  It was that connection in the pool that left me elated: connecting inside myself with my body, with my neighbors whom I greeted poolside and swam alongside, and connection with something bigger than all the earth when I felt that sunshine upon me.  Focusing, at its heart, is all about connection, and in the Weeklong, our advanced students and teachers are encouraged to remember, honor and strengthen the connections that they have already discovered, and in the course of the week, the hope is that they will discover even more.  This idea of our interconnectedness is fundamental to Interactive Focusing, as developed by Janet Klein and others. In this month's newsletter, we celebrate the three recipients of the Janet Klein scholarship, who will be attending the Weeklong thanks to the generosity of people like you who help to make sure that people from many different walks of life can attend this special week.


On July 9, something momentous happened in the life of The Focusing Institute.  The transitional Board of Directors, which was put in place by Gene Gendlin and Mary Hendricks in December, handed over the stewardship of the Institute to a new Board of Directors. The new Board was chosen by a process of nominations from the whole Focusing community, and the outgoing Board wrote an excellent explanation of the how’s and why’s of that process, which you can read here on our website.  The work that the transitional Board did was truly extraordinary, and there is a tribute to them in this newsletter.  Just because a “peaceful transfer of power” has taken place, please know that the period of openness and potential for change and transformation has not passed, and hopefully never will.  We have a new Executive Director (me!), an incredible new Board and a dynamic new International Leadership Council, and we are all finding our way forward.  We want and need for you to actively engage with us.  Write to us, call us, CONNECT with us.  We warmly embrace all of you and welcome all the light that you have to bring.


- Catherine Torpey, Executive Director, The Focusing Institute

TFI logo  

In this issue:

Note from Catherine
August 2014 Focusing conversation: Katarina Halm
FISS and Weeklong
TFI Board News
New Resources

Support Universal Felt Sense Literacy


August 2014 Focusing Conversation: Katarina Halm

Hosted by Serge Prengel

Listen to podcast: Katarina Halm

This month's Focusing Conversation features Katarina Halm discussing the various ways in which she approaches Thinking In Movement. This is part of the "Conversations" series hosted by Serge Prengel.

Lara Rosenthal

Letter to the Community

Third International Conference on Focusing-Oriented Psychotherapies

Hello Everyone,

We want to celebrate with you the rich success of the Third International Conference on Focusing-Oriented Psychotherapies (May 15-18, 2014) held at Stony Point Center in New York.  Many of you were THERE (a total of 125 participants from 18 countries attended)!!!!! And many of you may now be inspired to plan ahead to attend the 4th FOT Conference in two years.  Committees are already forming (and you are invited to volunteer) to plan for the next conference!

Imagine a conference centered around the ‘work you love most’ and imagine that every aspect of the days of learning were created so that you could live and express the core of your therapeutic work in each relational moment!  This dream came true at this 3rd International Conference with the theme - THE RELATIONAL DIMENSIONS OF FOCUSING-ORIENTED THERAPY. 

From the moment each of us walked into Stony Point there were friendly, welcoming people, flowers, fellow focusers to help you find your room, and more friendly people lingering around ready to engage.  Remember The Opening Ceremony and the bridge pictures on your nametag to guide you to your connection group. Recall the Wine and Cheese gatherings that were buzzing with fascinating conversations.  Our Interfaith Shabbat was enthusiastically received and our Celebrate our Authors recognized all of our book authors over the years. We initiated Open Space – a time when spontaneous workshops and conversations happened from this relational spirit!  Remember the music, our participatory Art Exhibit, and our own Talent Show!

The preconference workshops featuring the work of people who have made contributions in the areas of parent/baby consultation, relational dimensions of recovery, navigating between the implicit and explicit realms, two things to know about philosophy, and introducing FOT through a relational perspective. The Study Groups opened up opportunities to live deeply a particular dimension of relationality (expressive arts, couples work, spirituality, philosophies of the living body, interactive focusing, and complex trauma, the healing interaction, and being with children of any age): 

“Everything was attended to in depth”
“I learned the reality of what interactions can be in the ‘opening’ and the ‘closing’ of the relationship.”
“What was best was the chance to be creative and expressive in a playful way.”

The afternoons included 45 workshops which included experiential exploration and didactic and research presentations. Topics included clinical issues such as addiction, ADHD, trauma, parent-infant bonding, challenging clients, couples work, a case conference model, how to work with polarized thinking, family therapy.  Other presentations offered models for integrating focusing with other approaches such as: focusing and homeopathy, hakomi, meditation and mindfulness, attachment theory, etc.   One person commented: “These workshops are becoming more and more sophisticated!”

Our predictions came true:

“We anticipate we will break new ground as we explore our conference theme and bring forth new relational dimensions and practices … In addition all of the beautiful informal relational experiences we will create together will generate spontaneous new ‘somethings’. Our conference will allow us to celebrate our presence in the world of psychotherapy.”

One of the amazing aspects of this conference was how (because we all are deeply grounded in felt sense living) conversations went right to the ‘felt core’ of meaning as a social basis of conversation…. These moments could be as short as a two-minute exchange and yet the profoundness of the exchange was palpable.

This Conference could not have been as successful as it was without an incredibly creative, thoughtful group of people working together to uphold the high level of quality of the conference.  Both the Hospitality Committee and the Program Committee lived a relational process of felt sensing our visions (at each meeting), the quality of what we want (for example quality of workshops and wine and cheese events), and then inviting each person to volunteer for what tasks inspired them. Each member expressed how fulfilling it was to work in this way. The TFI Staff, Elizabeth Cantor and Rita Kirsch worked day by day to fulfill all of the organizational details that made the conference flow and to bring their wisdom of previous conferences to many key decisions. 

Thank you Hospitality Committee – Helene Brenner, Cathy Cornell, Chel Ferraro, Beth Mahler, Shaun Phillips, Lillian Sober Ain; and Program Committee – Cynthia Callsen, Jude Cobb, Eileen Kaufman, Joan Lavender, Joan Klagsbrun, Jeffrey Morrison, Janet Pfunder, and Susan Rudnick.

We want to create a publication that includes the preconference presentations, study group process and discussions, and workshop presentations so everyone who is interested will have access to all of the wealth of developments within the FOT community that were shared during this conference.  If you would like to contribute to this Proceedings publication please contact Soti at: or Elizabeth Cantor at:

We are already interested in hearing from those of you who would like to serve on a committee to develop the next FOT conference. If you are interested please contact Soti at: or Doralee at:

Soti Grafanaki and Doralee Grindler Katonah


Janet Klein Scholarship Fund: 2014 Recipients

Compiled by Shaun Phillips

The Janet Klein Scholarship Fund continues Dr. Klein’s vision of an international Focusing Community where anyone with a passion to learn and spread Focusing has access to the best training and lack of financial resources is not a barrier. The scholarship supports people who demonstrate a commitment and capacity to spread Focusing in areas of the world where Focusing is emergent and/or new applications of Focusing are being developed. The Crossing Support Group is exited to announce this year’s scholarship recipients:

Li Ming

Li Ming 我叫李明,退休前是一家日本在中国企业的经营者,现在从事佛教禅修,同时研修聚焦并从事聚焦在中国的传播教学。最近我写了一篇论文,尝试以简德林哲学和聚焦来理解和实践佛教禅修。聚焦与禅修的不同在于聚焦是两个人做,禅修是一个人。那能不能以聚焦的形式来做禅修呢?我想出了正念双人舞形式并已经在小组和工作坊中试行。

My name is Li Ming. Before my retiring I was the manager of a Japanese company in China. Now I am engaged in Buddhist meditation and Focusing. Sometimes I teach Focusing in Chinese group workshops.  I wrote a paper recently about understanding Buddhist meditation, Gendlin's philosophy, Focusing and the Mindfulness practice. Focusing and Buddhist meditation are different. Focusing is usually held between two partners, Meditation is one person. Can it be possible to do Buddhist meditation in the Focusing way? I came up with “Mindfulness Dance” and have been trying this in groups and workshops.

Cintya Martínez

Cinta MartinezMi nombre es Cintya Martínez, vivo en Guadalajara,  México. El lunes 21 de julio cumplo 40 años, hace 10 años mi vida entonces era “perfecta”, pero…En  dos meses, me separé de mi pareja,  tuve un hijo, desarrollé una enfermedad crónica, no podía estar al sol ni bucear;  mi vida se detuvo, cambió, pasé  por los peores miedos, ser madre soltera, no bucear, estar en una silla de ruedas, sentir el enojo y frustración, todos los días. El lunes 21 de julio cumplo 40 años, estoy viva, siento la vida recorrerme, he recuperado mi cuerpo, me funciona, convivo y disfruto a mi hermoso hijo a diario, enseño buceo de nuevo y ahora además tengo la profunda alegría de compartir mi experiencia con otras personas y así acompañarnos juntos en nuestros propios caminos. Esto ha sido el Focusing para mí, no me ha cambiado mi vida, me ha cambiado la manera de vivirla. Gracias.

My name is Cintya Martínez, I live in Guadalajara, México. On Monday, July 21st I’ll be 40 years. Ten years ago my life was “perfect” but…in 2 months I separated from my boyfriend, had a child, developed a chronic disease- I couldn´t be under the sun or teach diving. My life stopped, changed, went through the worst fears I had…was a single Mom, didn’t dive, being in a wheel chair… I felt only anger and frustration. Today I am alive and I can feel life in me. I recovered my body- it works. I see and enjoy my beautiful son every day. I teach diving again and now I have the great joy to share my experience with others and thus join together in our own ways. This is Focusing for me, it hasn´t change my life but certainly has changed the way of living it. Thank you.

Jeff Halliday

Jeff HallidayMy name is Jeff Halliday (Canada). Six months into my recovery from a life of addiction I began practicing Focusing with a group in Toronto. Since then I have faced incredibly challenging life events: long-term disability, divorce, separation from my three wonderful children, losing my job and financial disaster. The good news is that I have managed through these challenges. Why?  Focusing has become one of my core recovery practices. Earlier this summer I embarked on a new career - Recovery Life Coaching. I am excited to integrate the vast knowledge from the Focusing community into my recovery coaching work. 

We invite members of the Focusing community to make a donation to the Janet Klein Scholarship Fund to sustain this important program in the future. Please visit:


The Crossing Support Group:

Elizabeth Cantor, TFI
Peter KH Cheung, Hong Kong
Aaffien de Vries, Netherlands
Monica Gomez, Mexico
Eunsun Joo, Korea
Sergio Lara, Chile
Maki Miyake, Japan
Suzanne Noel, Costa Rica
Shaun Phillips, Canada
Catherine Torpey, TFI


Note from TFI's New Board of Directors

Dear Focusing Community,

We are privileged and honored to have been appointed to the Board of the Focusing Institute in its next phase of development. We are mindful of the rich legacy with which we have been temporarily entrusted to nurture and develop. It is an exciting if somewhat daunting and humbling task.

So far, we have met five times and have begun posting minutes on the TFI website to make our discussions and decision-making as transparent as possible to membership. We have spent some time getting to know one another, finding a way to work together, and educating ourselves about the role and responsibilities of non-proft boards, as well as getting up to speed with some of the operational, financial and legal issues that needed immediate attention. These issues are now well in hand and reaching resolution.

Our next step is to sense the next steps to bring Focusing more into the world. This is TFI's mission and we mean to see that mission fully realized. We have created an initial planning committee, including board and International Leadership Council (ILC) members, to help guide this process. Our intention is to work closely with the Executive Director, with the ILC, with the Coordinators, Trainers and Members, as well as our donors and supporters so that, together, we find supportive, creative ways to carry forward the gift of Focusing.

Right now, we are in what Gene Gendlin calls "the murky zone"; that rich, knowing-not-yet-knowing place of felt sensing for the best next steps. We do know that that includes finding ways to involve as many of the people who value and love Focusing as possible so that together we form and fashion an Institute that serves our larger purpose.

With warm regards to you all,
David Rome, Acting President
Susan Lennox, Acting Vice President
Kevin Krycka, Treasurer
Catherine Torpey, Executive Director and Secretary
Jim Iberg
Mary Jennings
Jane Quayle


Recognizing the Work of the Transitional Board of Directors

In December 2013, a complete change came over The Focusing Institute. Our Managing Director, Melinda Darer, and our co-Executive Director, Kye Nelson, both resigned. At the same time, Gene Gendlin and Mary Hendricks took the bold step of giving up their positions as Board members.

Having been advised that the best way forward would be to appoint a temporary Board of Directors which would shepherd the organization into its post-Founder phase, Gene and Mary wondered whom to appoint to this temporary but key post.  They were so impressed with the work that Jerry Conway, Rob Foxcroft, Nina Joy Lawrence and Robert Lee had done to organize the upcoming First International Coordinators Assembly that they asked those four to take on this daunting task.  Jerry, Rob, Nina Joy and Robert were all Quakers and brought that sensibility into their work together.  After meeting with Gene and Mary several times, they decided to accept the job of being a temporary Board for 200 days.

The work was daunting; it was power that they had not sought, and they knew that not everyone would agree with decisions they made.  However, their love for The Focusing Institute and their love of Focusing and the Felt Sense guided them.  Their shared Quaker tradition gave them a template for how to run their Board meetings, and they found it a profoundly right crossing.

These four were thrust into learning how to understand TFI's finances, how to hire a new Executive Director and how to plan for succession to a new Board -- while keeping the place running -- all within 200 days.  As if that pressure were not enough, the great passion that so many people feel for TFI meant that many worried about which direction this transitional Board would steer the Institute.  Some in the community were quite understandably concerned that the transitional Board had not been placed into their position in a way that felt democratic; this did not seem to bode well for a democratic and transparent future.

About a month into their tenure, Jerry Conway chose to step aside.  He had been doing yeoman's work as the new Treasurer from all the way over in England and he advised that it would be important to find a new Treasurer in New York, where the bank accounts were.  Cynthia Callsen stepped into the breach and dove right in, building on Jerry's excellent work in clarifying the finances.

I was hired as Executive Director in March, and began immediately to meet with the Board at their weekly (yes, weekly) meetings.  I saw first hand the incredible work and dedication they brought to their task.  Beyond their regular meetings, there were endless streams of phone calls and e-mails, and an awareness that the whole community was counting on them to do their job well -- both in terms of process and outcome.  Their personal lives were on hold and often stressed by the amount of time they had to give to keep the organization not only functioning, but functioning well.

In April, Nina Joy decided to step down for personal reasons, and this naturally raised anxiety in the community at an already anxious time.  The Board decided not to replace Nina Joy, but by that time, Jane Quayle had begun attending many meetings.  The dynamic on the Board was cordial, but had settled into patterns that sometimes left Board members frustrated, so Jane was asked to come and be a listener and reflector. The Board was so pleased by the effect her presence had that she was then asked to attend regularly.  By adding someone whose primary role was listening and reflecting rather than deliberating, consensus seemed to be reached with more ease and efficiency.

A turning point in this history was the Coordinators Assembly.  At that meeting in May, for the first time, TFI's Coordinators were able to raise questions and concerns directly with this newly hired Executive Director, one current member of the transitional Board (Robert Lee) and one former member (Nina Joy Lawrence).  The power of speaking and listening with openness and respect were well on display, and many anxieties seemed to be relieved.  Concerns remained, but there was a greater sense that we were all in this together.

Jerry, Nina Joy, Robert, Rob and Cynthia served TFI as Transitional Board members selflessly and faithfully.  They bore some slings and arrows, but understood why and gracefully managed the need to balance transparency with the duty of confidentiality.

We have been richly blessed by the honor, dignity and integrity with which this group of people gave of themselves at a crucial moment in our history.  I hope that you will join me in heartfelt gratitude for their service.

Catherine Torpey
Executive Director, The Focusing Institute


Upcoming Conferences, Retreats and Workshops

FISS 2014: 9th Annual Focusing Institute Summer School
August 15 - 21, 2013 at Garrison Institute in Garrison, New York. Beginners Welcome! With Ann Weiser Cornell, Nada Lou, Greg Madison, Kevin McEvenue and René Veugelers. Read more below

Introduction to Focusing - Level One Workshop
September 7, 2014 in New York City with Charlotte Howorth, LCSW. Focusing is an easily learned method of inward bodily attention that opens new possibilities and meaning that can lead to lasting change.

Introduction to Focusing - Level Two Workshop
September 28, 2014 in New York City with Charlotte Howorth, LCSW. The goal of this workshop is to increase each participant's comfort and expertise in Focusing

Two Year Focusing Certification Program for Mental Health Professionals
Starting in Fall 2014 in New York City with Charlotte Howorth, LCSW.

Bringing Your Ideas To Life
For Focusing Trainers and emerging Trainers. A 4-Month Mentorship Program In Thinking At The Edge with Mentors Beatrice Blake and Evelyn Pross starting September 10, 2014.

2014 Weeklong: The Connections and Crossings Across Cultures: Advanced and Certification Focusing Weeklong
September 26-October 2, 2014 at Garrison Institute in Garrison, New York with Aaffien de Vries (Netherlands), Eunsun Joo (Korea) and Suzanne Noel (Costa Rica). We now have a slide show of photos from last year's Weeklong and new podcasts. Read more below

International Children Focusing Conference 2014
Portarlington (near Dublin) Ireland from 8th to 12th October 2014. The theme is Éist, the power of listening for our children. Éist is the Irish word for 'listen'. Full details and booking on the website.

Focusing Adventures: The Winter Focusing Retreat
February 14 - 21, 2015. The Winter Focusing Retreat at Mar de Jade in Chacala, Mexico. Featuring teachers Mónica Gómez Galaz, Charlotte Howorth and Karen Whalen. Photos from last year's retreat.

The 26th International Focusing Conference
The 26th International Focusing Conference will be Wednesday July 29 to Sunday Aug. 2, 2015, with a Coordinators' meeting the day before, July 28, 2015. We will meet on the Seattle University campus.


Featured Events

FISS 2014: 9th Annual Focusing Institute Summer School on August 15-21, 2014

2014 Weeklong: The Connections and Crossings Across Cultures: The Advanced and Certification Weeklong on September 26-October 2, 2014

Both at the Garrison Institute in Garrison, New York

There are two incredible events coming up, and registrations are still open for both -- but time is running out, so don't let the summer sun (or winter sun, if you're in the Southern Hemisphere!) lead you to slow down too much.  The Focusing Institute Summer School begins August 15, and the Advanced and Certification Weeklong begins earlier than in other years, on September 26.  The Summer School is appropriate for ALL levels of Focusers; the Weeklong is appropriate for those who have a significant amount of experience.  We are happy to answer questions, write to Elizabeth at


Click here for more information or to register for the Focusing Summer School!

Click here for more information or to register for the Weeklong!


Institute's New Mailing Address

TFI Office

Many of you have asked about our change of address. We have actually been in a lovely, small office in Nyack, New York since November, but we only recently switched our mailing address to get the mail here directly. So that you can get a sense of our workday home, we have included a photo. Nyack is a lovely town on the Hudson River, about 40 minutes north of Manhattan.


Our new address:

The Focusing Institute
15 N. Mill St., Suite 210
Nyack, NY 10960, USA

TFI Office Staff

TFI Staff in our Nyack, NY office:
Catherine Torpey, Elizabeth Cantor, and Rita Kirsch

Board News

TFI Board News

7/2014 Minutes from The Focusing Institute Board Meeting July 16, 2014

7/2014 Minutes from The Focusing Institute Board Meeting July 9, 2014

7/2014 By-Laws of The Focusing Institute, Amended 6-2014 [see current version]

7/2014 June 2014 In Focus Newsletter is now on the website.




7/2014 Minutes from The Focusing Institute Board Meeting June 3, 2014

6/2014 Report to the Board of Directors of the Focusing Institute, Catherine Torpey, Executive Director, May 27, 2014


6/2014 NOMINATING COMMITTEE – May 23, 2014

6/2014 COMITE DE NOMINACION - 23 de mayo 2014

6/2014 理事と国際リーダーシップ評議会への推薦のお願い <指名委員会とは? 2014年5月23日>

6/2014 NOMINATING COMMITTEE Suggestions on Selecting Board of Directors May 26, 2014

6/2014 NOMINATING COMMITTEE Suggestions on Selecting International Leadership Council May 26, 2014


New Resources

Click on the links below to see some of the new items that have been added to the TFI website over the past few months.

8/2014 August 2014: Our August conversation features a discussion with Katarina Halm. This is part of the "conversations" series hosted by Serge Prengel which you can access from the "Felt Community" menu or from to audio file

7/2014 イン・フォーカス November 2013 Japanese In Focus Newsletter including translation of Identity Restoration, Posttraumatic Growth and Cultural Connectedness by Alexis Phillips and Shaun Phillips (September 1, 2012).

6/2014  2014 Folio: FOCUSING AND...Crossings and Integrations. Now available as a free digital eFolio or as a printed version which can be purchased in the TFI store.

6/2014 Several new books have been added to the TFI store:

New books


6/2014 Publications on Focusing-Oriented Psychotherapy: 2011-2014. Compiled by Doralee Grindler Katonah. This and other bibliographies can be found on our bibliography index page.

6/2014 June 2014: Our May conversation features a discussion with Lara Rosenthal. This is part of the "conversations" series hosted by Serge Prengel which you can access from the "Felt Community" menu or from to audio file

6/2014 Connections and Crossings Across Cultures: Advanced and Certification Weeklong on September 26-October 2, 2014 at the Garrison Institute in New York. Hear the new podcasts from the teachers moderated by Susan Lennox.

6/2014 Focusing and Jewish Spirituality This online discussion group is open to all who are interested in using Focusing to deepen their experience of Jewish spirituality, practice, and thought. Questions and comments welcome. To join the list, click here.


Join our Discussion Lists and Forum!

TFI sponsors several email discussion lists devoted to Focusing. All are welcome! Click here to subscribe to our lists.

Where is Focusing needed, and what do you need to take it there?  Please go to the Forum for Exploring Our Future and share your answer to this question under the topic 'Hopes, Dreams, and Visions for Focusing In the World.' If you aren't yet signed up for the Forum, you can access it via our website under 'Felt Community', titled 'Forum for Exploring Our Future'.  There are detailed instructions there for how to sign up.  It's open to all members of the Focusing Institute.


Support Universal Felt Sense Literacy

We need your financial support to keep on making Focusing universally available. Together we can bring Focusing to more people who need it. Focusing belongs to anyone anywhere who is:

  • living in poverty,
  • suffering trauma or trying to recover,
  • in chronic pain, seriously ill, or dying,
  • living through war, natural disasters or personal crises,
  • and more
Click to Donate to TFI