Greg Madison - Focusing-oriented Democracy
What would I really like the world to be like? How would people interact in that ideal world, how would we treat each other, what values would we express? If you imagine that, do you think that any of the political movements of today will get us there?
One of the most important things I want to offer is an approach that comes from the open space that you naturally are. This is different from trying to be compassionate, or trying to do good, or enforcing a set of rules or wanting to appear caring – those all begin with an agenda. This approach begins empirically, by being open to all of you as the experiencing being that you are, however you want to describe that or understand that. Can we be all of ourselves, while interacting in the world? It requires us to value the uncertainty that first arises and to protect it from everything that would close it over. Our openness and interest towards the self and other might meet a kind of aggressive certainty at the social level. How can we stand up for uncertain experiential process in the face of such certainty?
I think the problem isn’t that a Focusing-informed process is not workable at a larger community level, I think the problem is we haven’t discovered HOW to do it yet. If we could develop these skills, they would also be very helpful to our clients in their lives, especially as therapy makes them more and more sensitive, elaborate and complex. This is offering your clients a very different kind of activism and is giving them, in your sessions, a particular experience of embodied democracy.
Focusing-oriented, or experiential or embodied or inner or deep (notice how using more terms keeps it open) democracy is the opposite of attempts to achieve inner or interpersonal peace through the pressure to conform, subtle oppression or rejection of parts, taking sides (which we see in the inner and wider world always creates resistance), attempts to compel, trying to convince, controlling or cajoling ourselves rather than listen carefully for the wisdom contained within each part, and by extension, the wisdom within know as Focusers and FOTs all the way out to our way of being citizens in societies that seem increasingly polarised and fractured. Greg will alternate between experiential exploration and presentation, followed by discussion about the possibility for a larger FOT movement. each part of every person in any group.
This re-defines democracy as inclusive and consensual and consistent with the climate we want to nurture in our Focusing process. This kind of Democracy is about process, not about majority rule decision-making. It is about listening carefully to every voice and allowing that voice to move into the process of becoming more than a point of view.
Greg will attempt to present a consistent line from the respectful experiencing process we know as Focusers and FOTs all the way out to our way of being citizens in societies that seem increasingly polarised and fractured. Greg will alternate between experiential exploration and presentation, followed by discussion about the possibility for a larger FOT movement.
Greg Madison, PhD Greg is an existential psychologist and psychotherapist teaching internationally on experiential-existential practice and Focusing. He founded the London Focusing Institute, and led the initial formation of the International Association of Focusing Oriented Therapy. Greg has written extensively, including several articles, book chapters as well as the text, The End of Belonging, also a co-edited text, Existential Therapy: Legacy, Vibrancy and Dialogue and two major edited books on Focusing Oriented Psychotherapy. He is a former co-editor of the Journal of Existential Analysis and maintains a private practice with clients and supervisees online.