Note from Catherine - Happy New Year!
Dear Focusing Community -
I hope you got the chance to read my annual appeal letter – and not just because I hope it will inspire you to give a donation to the Institute, but also because I want you to know about some of the amazing work I learned about at the Eist Children Focusing conference in Ireland. If you missed my letter, never fear, you can click this link to read it, or click the link next to the sunrise on the top of the TFI homepage.
When I taught high school back in the 1990’s, I used to take one full class each week and Focus with my students. All day, every day, they were pushed to do more and more. Study harder. Read more. Even the “fun” activities could produce anxieties: Play basketball more gracefully. Have more friends. Look more attractive. I felt it an honor to be able to give them an hour each week when they could stop pushing to be more than they were, and appreciate the amazing selves that they already were. They loved it. They began bringing sweaters, jackets, sometimes even pillows to class when they knew we would be Focusing – ready to relax, lie down on the floor, rest their heads on their desks, or simply close their eyes and explore the universe inside. We would take time to talk about their inner experiences after I had lead them in the group Focusing, and many of them became more and more able to identify and articulate Felt Senses, though they never named them as such.
There’s one regret that I have of those many Focusing sessions – and that is that I did not let them know what I knew: I did not teach them that what I was doing with them had a name and that there was a defined process that was helping them go inside. We simply called it “meditation time.” Now, twenty years later, I worry that if those young people face difficulties in their lives now, and if those “meditation sessions” meant something to them, they will not know that it was Focusing that helped them all those years earlier. They will not know that it is something they can access again, without “Miss Torpey,” their theology teacher, to guide them.
It is now the Christmas season for Christians and for all those who love the traditions around this holiday. Central to the meaning of Christmas is the giving of gifts. It is a time for selflessness; a time to especially remember all those who hunger physically and spiritually. I always worry about whether I have gotten presents for enough of the people in my life who mean something to me. I want to be sure to give them something that will delight them and show them that I value them. I am thinking, though, that this year, in addition to finding the right gift, I’ll seek to find the right words with just as much care. I want to name my love and appreciation to those I love; to let them know what I know.
May 2015 bring you all the blessings your heart desires.
- Catherine Torpey, Executive Director, The Focusing Institute
Two Interactive Webinar Focusing Courses
with Ruth Hirsch MSW, MPH, CMT
Small correction to our last email - Focusing Basics has no pre-requisites!
Greetings from Mary Jennings
Member of the Board of Trustees
Dear Focusing Community -
I was asked to write a bit about being a Board member for this month’s newsletter. As I checked in to see how all of this is now – having the privilege of being one of the Trustees of TFI - a memory stirred. I recalled fragments of For a New Beginning by John O Donohue:
Though your destination is not clear
You can trust the promise of this opening;
Unfurl yourself into the grace of beginning
That is one with your life’s desire.
Awaken your spirit to adventure
Hold nothing back, learn to find ease in risk
Soon you will be home in a new rhythm
For your soul senses the world that awaits you.
The words capture something of what my experience has been these past few months. Our destination is not clear – as yet – but there is rich promise in the opening that is there in our rich conversations, in our taking small, next steps as we sense our way forward. At our December meeting there was something too of a new rhythm, a felt understanding of how best to work together. A strategic planning process is under way, in conjunction with members of the ILC; we have a clearer picture on the way we manage our finances and there has been much work done on our governance structures. For me, a really exciting part has been the discovery of the many, many ways that Focusing is used, promoted, taught – and loved - all over the world in diverse communities. A key task is to find appropriate ways to support this amazing work.
We are fortunate to be working closely with Executive Director, Catherine Torpey. She has reached out to many groups in the world-wide Focusing community, eager to engage with what was alive in them. I had personal experience of this when she attended the 8th International Children Focusing Conference in Ireland in October. She engaged with participants from all over the world, listened and responded with imaginative and heart-felt solutions to issues raised.
Being on the Board is an adventure, it is about learning to find ease in risk, but my soul does sense that a whole new world awaits.
Note from International Leadership Council Member Marine Fréminville
The link above will bring you to the TFI website
To all of you, Focusing around the world,
It is an honor for me, Focuser since 1985, to address you as a member of the International Leadership Council (ILC). When I received the news that I had been nominated to be part of this Council which was created to bring a unique perspective to the Board of The Focusing Institute (TFI), especially regarding the International Community, I felt a deep gratitude towards my colleagues around the world and our founders Gene and Mary. A big question arose as to how to contribute to the restructuring movement in the best way possible.
Last October we, the ILC, did share with you in German, English, Spanish, French and Japanese, our commitment to promote viewpoints and exchanges about subjects which had caught the attention of the working groups formed during the Assembly of Coordinators in May. We have therefore translated summaries of 6 major themes listed on the website under the new heading "International Leadership Council" just after our photos - there to help you better identify us!
When Catherine Torpey, our Executive Director, invited me to express what I saw emerging or what I wanted to see emerge, the timing was great because we Québecois were going to be at the annual General Assembly of our Focusing association: Focusing Diffusion Québec. Once we elected a new board, we addressed this broad theme in our "orientation meeting" where we pay attention to all interesting Focusing projects and topics in our community for the coming year, 2015.
I see the ILC's role / function as a 'bridge', a gateway, that communicates the views, wishes and visions between the Board of TFI (including its committees) and the local, regional, worldwide Focusing communities. Therefore, I will briefly share with you some of what my community, in Quebec, said in response to the question: what would you like to see emerge?
Some have felt a sense of calm in relation to the situation of Focusing internationally: "The original work of Gendlin will remain intact, in all its richness," even though the founder is no longer on the board. And even "if TFI restructuring process takes place slowly, there is something normal, even healthy that can enable more consistency." Locally "we continue to work here in our Focusing community, in our language." Another person reported the image of a stream, like a wave moving up and down regularly. At this meeting, it is about community and fluidity, although we appreciate being kept informed of what is happening at the helm of the ship, it is important that "already created programs and projects at the base, keep their ‘aliveness’ through our commitment." A question is launched: "what makes us unique? Then," If each country were asked to establish a charter, what everyone would like to see in it? " Another speaks of the community model of Plum Village created by Thich Nhat Hanh in France, which runs on a model of self-management, sometimes proceeding very slowly.
In fact, what matters in this "nursery of human experiences" is perseverance and while the first snow covers the ground, we will carefully take care of our roots.
I am very pleased to offer you my best wishes at the dawn of this New Year, 2015.
Let’s Cross the Bridge Together…
Marine Fréminville, Montreal, December 2014
"A Cycle of Fostering"
At the Eist Children Focusing conference, a group of foster parents gave a presentation about how much Focusing was helping them be better foster parents. One of them, Joanne Lowry, read us this poem, which she agreed to share with us in this newsletter:
The system said: Welcome to fostering. You’ll make great foster parents.
We said: Thank you. We hope we can do well.
The neighbors said: Aren’t you wonderful people.
We said: Everybody gives back in their own way, this is just ours.
The system said: You are doing a great job.
We said: We are trying for the sake of the children.
The neighbors said: We couldn’t do that, we would be too heartbroken when they would leave.
We said: What makes you seem so uncomfortable?
The neighbors said: Aren’t they lucky children to have you.
We said: We are the lucky ones to have them.
The system said: We know they’re difficult but,
We said: We need help.
The neighbors said: You’re just doing it for the money.
We said: We were doing it before the money.
The system said: We give you enough training.
We said: We need more.
The system said: We know you’re in difficulty but,
We said: We can’t keep them any longer.
The system said: You’re not good enough.
We said: We are the same people we were when we started.
The Focusing teacher said: There is another way.
We said: Focusing does help us to deal.
The Focusing teacher said: Your problems are only part of you.
We said: We enjoy our other parts to help us deal with our problems part.
The 3rd China International Summit Forum
on Focusing and Focusing-oriented Therapy
Theme: Focusing and the mental health of all the People
Date: 10th ~ 11th October, 2015
Date for Pre-Forum Workshop: 5th ~ 9th October, 2015
It is very exciting to see Focusing growing in China. They are having an international conference in Shenzhen, China in October, 2015.
Visit our International Events page to see details of this and other international events.
If you have an international event that is suitable for the events page, please send it to us.
We have a new phone number
We are retiring our old phone number, which has served us so well. Beginning immediately, please call us at (845) 480-5111. The old number will work for only a short while longer, so please update your address book now!
New Phone Number: (845) 480-5111
Closed for the Holidays!
The Focusing Institute offices close on Dec. 24 and will re-open on Monday, January 5, 2015.
Dr. Eugene Gendlin to be honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award!
We received the wonderful news recently that Gene Gendlin will be honored with a Lifetime Achievement award by the World Association for Person Centered and Experiential Psychotherapy and Counseling (the PCE for short). The PCE is the world’s premier organization promoting the Person Centered Approach and the work of Carl Rogers. Gene will be honored at their conference at Columbia University in New York City, July 20-24, 2016. This conference is only the 2nd time the PCE has been hosted in the US, and they anticipate over 800 participants and significant Person Centered and Experiential theoreticians from around the work to be in attendance.
Congratulations to Gene on this well-deserved honor!
The Advanced and Certification Focusing Weeklong
The 2014 Advanced and Certification Focusing Weeklong was another great success this year and we are excited for the 2015 Weeklong, to take place November 6-12, 2015 in beautiful Garrison, New York.
Learn more here
Upcoming Conferences, Retreats and Workshops
Two Year Focusing Certification Program for Mental Health Professionals
Starting March 8, 2015 in New York City with Charlotte Howorth, LCSW.
Introduction to Focusing - Level One Workshop
January 11, 2015 in New York City with Charlotte Howorth, LCSW.
Two Interactive webinar Focusing courses with Ruth Hirsch MSW, MPH, CMT
This course is intended for beginners and has no pre-requisites.
Starting January 13, 2015 - 8 Tuesdays
A comprehensive program for intermediate Focusers who want to deepen their skills and understanding. Starting January 14, 2015 - 8 Wednesdays
Introduction to Focusing - Level Two Workshop
January 25, 2015 in New York City with Charlotte Howorth, LCSW
Meeting at the Edge of Change
Focusing for We are pleased to offer a new Two-Year Certification Program in Focusing-Oriented Therapy (FOT) starting Feb 2015 in Maryland with Helene Brenner, Ph.D. and Larry Letich, LCSW-C.
Focusing for Generative Thinking: Tapping your untapped genius
Three modules, starting April 10, 2015, taught by Nada Lou. Spend three weekends in beautiful Stony Point, New York. Enjoy nine months of partnershiping with other participants!
The 26th International Focusing Conference
The 26th International Focusing Conference will be Wednesday July 29 to Sunday August 2, 2015, with a Coordinators' meeting the day before, July 28, 2015. We will meet on the Seattle Pacific University campus.
FISS 2015: 10th Annual Focusing Institute Summer School
August 14-20, 2015. At the Garrison Institute, Garrison, NY.
Registration now open! Early, Early bird discount until January 31, 2015.
The Advanced and Certification Focusing Weeklong
November 6-12, 2015 at Garrison Institute in Garrison, New York.
Registration now open! Early bird discount until December 31, 2014.
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.
12/2014 Interacting With Implicit Knowing in the Mathematics Classroom by Martina Lynn Metz. A thesis submitted to the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research, University of Alberta. [PDF]
12/2014 Focusing-Oriented Addiction Treatment by Arlene Kahn, LCSW, LCADC, LMFT [PDF]
12/2014 Experiential psychotherapy consists of three therapeutic relationships by Frans Depestele (2014). Paper presented at the Third International Conference On Focusing-Oriented Psychotherapies, May 15-18, 2014, Stony Point Center, Stony Point, New York. [PDF]
12/2014 The Board of Trustees and the International Leadership Council have their own, new pages on our website.
12/2014 We are retiring our old phone number, which has served us so well. Beginning immediately, please call us at (845) 480-5111. The old number will work for only a short while longer, so please update your address book now!
12/2014 Minutes from The Focusing Institute Board Meeting November 5, 2014
12/2014 December 2014: Our November conversation features a discussion with Annmarie Early and David Glanzer. This is part of the "conversations" series hosted by Serge Prengel which you can access from the "Felt Community" menu or from www.focusing.org/conversations
12/2014 Thirty years before Mindfulness, there was Focusing by Larry Letich, LCSW-C
11/2014 November 2014: Our November conversation features a discussion with Bruce Nayowith. This is part of the "conversations" series hosted by Serge Prengel which you can access from the "Felt Community" menu or from www.focusing.org/conversations
11/2014 October 2014 In Focus Newsletter is now on the website.
11/2014 New World Meditation: Focusing-Mindfulness-Healing-Awakening by Lucinda Gray, Ph.D. New book in the TFI store.
11/2014 Minutes from The Focusing Institute Board Meeting October 1, 2014
11/2014 Minutes from The Focusing Institute Board Meeting September 3, 2014
10/2014 Gene Gendlin: Psychotherapy Networker Inteview Excerpt with link to full interview.
10/2014 Joan Klagsbrun: The Emotion Revolution Interview A transcript of the full interview is now available.
10/2014 Your Body Knows the Answer: Using Your Felt Sense to Solve Problems, Effect Change, and Liberate Creativity by David I. Rome. New book in the TFI store.
10/2014 If you enjoyed the message in the October newsletter from our Board President, David Rome, then check out his brand new book Your Body Knows the Answer. In this "eminently readable, engaging and wise" book, David ehances the traditional Focusing techniques with mindfulness and other Buddhist principles. You can buy it from the TFI store here.
10/2014 October 2014: Our October conversation features a discussion with Alexis and Shaun Phillips. This is part of the "conversations" series hosted by Serge Prengel which you can access from the "Felt Community" menu or from www.focusing.org/conversations
10/2014 Responsive Combodying, Novelty and Therapy. Response to Nick Totten's "Embodied Relating: The Ground of Psychotherapy" by Akira Ikemi, Ph.D. International Body Psychotherapy Journal. The Art and Science of Somatic Praxis. Volume 13, Number 2 Fall 2014 pp 116-121. Somatic Colloquium - Embodied Relating. [PDF]
10/2014 Sunflowers, Sardines and Responsive Combodying: Three Perspectives on Embodiment by Akira Ikemi, Ph.D. This is an accepted manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis Group in Person-Centered & Experiential Psychotherapies 13 (1) 19-30 (2014) [PDF]
9/2014 Romeo-Biedma, F.J. (2014). Crossing Focusing and Nonviolent Communication. Reflecting for Deeper Implications. The Folio. A Journal for Focusing and Experiential Therapy, 25 (1), 111-123. [http://www.focusing.org/folio/Vol25No12014/FJavierRomeo-Biedma_2014.pdf] Versión en español realizada por el autor del artículo: [PDF Español]
9/2014 イン・フォーカス August 2014 Japanese In Focus Newsletter
9/2014 September 2014: In our September conversation, Serge Prengel talks about a practice he calls Active Pause and invites Focusers to explore it. This is part of the "conversations" series hosted by Serge Prengel which you can access from the "Felt Community" menu or from www.focusing.org/conversations
9/2014 Minutes from The Focusing Institute Board Meeting August 6, 2014
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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.
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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