Focusing in the world

Some reflections from an interview conducted by Dawn Flynn

The Focuser’s Focus Vol.22, No.2, Summer Issue 2019

Some reflections from an interview conducted by Dawn Flynn

Sergio Lala (TIFI coordinator, Chile)


Sergio Lala (right) & Mieko Osawa (left)
at Cambridge International Conference (2016)


I am Sergio Lara, a Chilean Psychologist. I was researching at the University of Chile and at the University of Desarrollo (round 17 years), where I was professor of Theory and System in Psychology and Experiential Psychotherapy, Focusing Oriented Psychotherapy. Wright now I am teaching focusing and Alba Emoting and some and some transpersonal psychology courses I have in private practice in Santiago of Chile, as a psychotherapist, I have a private practice where I attend  clients.

I know formal focusing from 1996 (non formal since 1987). I am certifying Coordinator since 2004. I am too Certifying in Alba emoting Method, which is a system and method of emotional activation with breathing, posture and facial expression. I use this method in an experiential version, Alba Emoting Focusing Oriented, so in a experiential process way.

In Concepción city, souther Santiago, when I teached at the University of Desarrollo I have leaded researches with focusing and “Alba emoting”. We begun with cancer and some catastrophic disease for improving the quality of life; with very good results. We have done many experiences of research with children, adolescents, adults, nurses, teachers,etc.

2003 I founded an Integral Development Education Institute (I.F.D.I.), where It begins a program for the certifying Focusing and a program for certifying Alba Emoting.

I have been participating in ILC for 4 years.


What events in my life led me to Focusing?

When I was child I loved to be in silence. I loved to feel nature, to touch it, to smell it. I always had a contemplative soul.  As a teenager I did contemplative exercises. For example, I would go to the country or to the sea and I would experience the feel of those places. During this time (very young), I also formed a community with others and we would do exercises to be in touch with the soul and the body.

Then I went to medical school and spent 2 years there before I had a crisis. I saw these people in the medical system had egos so big that I wondered to myself, what is this? So I left there and I entered a monastery for 6 years.

While I was there I had a very strong experience.

All of us were there in the monastery in silence. We didn’t talk, we didn’t watch the news, didn’t listen to a radio. It was a very special time. I discovered things I had never known- how the grass grows, how the birds sing. I learned the necessity of humor and optimism. There I had a conversation every week with another monk. He never pushed me to think something or to say something. He was only my companion. It was my only deep conversation for the week. In this way I learned Focusing but without the name, only the experience.

While living in the monastery I learned to be in touch with my body, my felt sense, to recognize what I felt.  Even if I wanted to, I couldn’t escape my experience. I could not go see a film or have a beer.  I could only pray and meditate.  That was a very strong experience in my life.

I learned: Companion, truth, kindness, ‘felt sensing’, pay attention to the body, empathy and self-empathy, radical acceptance,…

Then I had another crisis and left the monastery. I knew I wanted to study psychology. This was difficult time for me but I did get my degree in psychology, and after my PhD (research: “what happens to the therapist in the meantime that ends with one client and waits for another”.

Meeting Gene Gendlin…

In 2000 I attended the psychotherapy conference in Aneheim, CA.  There were more than 6,000 psychotherapists. I saw that Gene Gendlin would be there.  I only attended Gene’s presentations during the entire conference. I told Gene about my paper on Alba Emoting and asked if I could talk to him about it.  He said yes.  We walked as we talked for 40 minutes.  We were so engaged in our conversation that we found ourselves in the kitchen in the hotel.   We left to go outside and he said to me, “I ready your paper and it’s interesting. Oft we have the question: how can we lower the emotional intensity so that it is appropriate to focusing? Because that can be a problem. So Gene was very Interested in this ‘Step out’ to come in a neutral state – He said, can you show me? –  So I taught him the exercise. And he said it was very interesting. After that, Gene then introduced me to Neil Friedman who taught me more Focusing.  At this time Gene said he wanted to have a Focusing Coordinator in Chile and would I do it? I agreed. Finally I was n 2004 certified as coordinator of TIFI.

Meeting Mary Hendricks- Gendlin…

After coming to New York and studying Focusing with Janet Klein and Mary McQuire (Interactive Focusing), I had the opportunity to speak several times with Mary Hendricks-Gendlin, at the time the director of Focusing Institute.  She was very kind. My experience with her was that, when she would listen to me she would always, always, always deeply listen to me.  As I would speak she would say: “Wait, I want to make sure I understand what you are saying.”  –She would pause, take in what I had just said, reflect – Then say “ok, please continue”. Always When I saw her in another times, for example, when we eated together, walked together, visited places together, she was always like this. So I understood that Focusing is a way of life, where the pause makes a great difference. In another hand, that means that too be like this as a psychotherapist is a nice way to be because you give more than advice, you transmit love and attention to life.

Mary had made companion to me in this issue of Alba Emoting and she said:“Ah so what you want to do is Alba Emoting Focusing Oriented». That helped me enormously to clarify my way of working, which is in a line of the process model, from an experiential paradigm. Alba Emoting by itself could be a very cold, behaviorism technique.  But when incorporated with the body shifts of Focusing, and process model something different and interesting happens.

How do you integrate Alba Emoting with Focusing? 

In 2002 I began working with Alba Emoting and Focusing in parallel and together.  I call it Experiential Alba Emoting.  And I’ve taken the name Mary provided, Alba Emoting Focusing Oriented.

I began to present it in workshops in the International Focusing Conferences, this way of Experiential Alba Emoting, Focusing and the way of Focusing and in sacred movements. Then I started to develop these three slopes or sources.


Focusing and Sacred Movements…

In this workshops, I combine sacred movements like this, (bends head to breast) or this (crosses hands over chest), or for example (hands open by ears). I combined these movements with songs, psalms, mantras, and chants. I provide an explanation to participants that these movements are in all the cultures of the world. I take these movements from many cultures, Jewish, Sufis, Buddhist, Christian, Catholic. Within these movements of the body, the hands, the eyes, something very deep is happening. Afterward we go inside, and we get in touch with felt sense, sometimes we paint mandalas and we do Focusing. People have very interesting experiences of spirituality (without creeds or dogmas).

Focusing Oriented Psychotherapy…

We have Focusing Oriented Therapy (FOT) and Focusing Oriented Psychotherapy (FOP). What is difference?  My task is to teach both but to distinguish the two. Many people do therapy in different ways, but therapist who are psychologists have legal responsibility in societies, this implies that they must respond to what happens in the space of psychotherapy. In this space, objectives are set and certain changes proposed in common agreement are expected (between Therapist and Client). In my opinion who make FOP has to know about the development of the human being, systems, psychopathology and some clinical topics. So, I teach this and experiential psychotherapy. In the last 6 years I began to offer online courses in addition to teaching at the university. I also have started to teach this in Spain, in Portugal, Germany and South America. I’m teaching Focusing Level 1,2,3, and 4. I am also teaching too transpersonal psychology. Now I am working with Focusing, FOP, and Focusing and Spirituality.

How does your training and experiences influence your understanding of how human beings transform themselves and their relationships?

For me it is a very deep experience to share as a companion another’s life. It’s not doctrine, to help them to be in touch with life, with soul, with spirituality. For me, spirituality through Focusing is how to be in touch with life.

On a trip to Spain I was in Barcelona and I stayed with a hermit. From the age of 19 to 40 years old he lived alone in the Pyrenees mountains. He invited me to go where he lived.  He was very sweet, very warm.  He invited me for lunch, and he said to me “You can speak, you can be in silence, or you can ask, or do nothing.”  (Laughing) I love that!  For me this is part of the essence of focusing!

He shared something that a old woman said to him (before she passed away): “Live life because death will come when it has to arrive”. For me this sentence is very important because it shows me that what we live, anxiety, fear, death-it comes when it must but we can’t live thinking about that, but … we must live life!


Something that I would like to develop and spread is the spirituality of Focusing. Many people are hungry and thirsty for spirituality of something deep.  It cannot be a doctrine or a dogma or religion.  Focusing gives an open door to go to the soul with the body without pushing something on someone.  For me this is very important. 


What do you enjoy about being on the International Leadership Council?

For me it was a privilege to be elected as an ILC member. It’s a very good group. It’s a very good challenge and hard task to listen to all people and to be in a Focusing way in the spirit of Gene Gendlin.

All people can say something. We don’t believe in leaders that say, “This is the way”. This is because the spirit can talk from anywhere from any person at any time. This is very similar to Focusing in that the group is like a body, felt sensing what is happening.

 This is the way that Gene and Mary wanted the institute to improve, to be clear and in touch with the body of the community, not to push or to impose something that is “right” or “the best”. When we are in touch with conflicts or problems or the dark part of the body it is ok, it’s our body. It’s important to not be afraid of the darkness from a conflict or from the people in the group that are not so easy going, for example. No, because the darkness is part of the body too.

Gene and Mary wondered, how can the institute go forward in the best way. Later, as a group from the institute, we would meet to decide how the institute was to go forward. It was my destiny to be in these meetings, especially in Seattle where we decided how to go forward. It was a very difficult time for all but necessary to growth.

We recognized a problem -that the board consisted in this time only of members from the United States.  This was not international. As we need an international community, The proposal arose: it began to build a group called the International Leadership Council. (With the time the board has others participants who are not from USA).

The International Leadership Council improved mechanisms for how to go forward with people’s questions, problems, tasks, etc.  We changed the name of the institute to The International Focusing Institute.  Also, we propose things to discuss, not decide, we only propose. We have someone from all over the world, from Europe, from South America, etc.  This group provides a service.  We don’t represent any community. We are people from the community working toward the task of feeling the spirit of the community.   It’s a group elected to work in this way: to do a free service to the community.

For me, there are two words that for me are very important and I fight for these two words: Pluralism and Diversity: Something I have seen many times in our community is that people are very good people, very nice people but we have tendencies toward ethnocentrism. Sometimes one believes that all the world is English (for example). Diversity and pluralism is the capacity to be open to the human being, to recognize that we all don’t see the same, we don’t make the same decisions, we don’t have the same ways. Pluralism and diversity is to consider the soul of the cultures, of the countries, of the groups and of the minorities too. Gene Gendlin felt it was important to not only making decisions for the majority.  It is necessary to consider the minorities.  When we don’t do that we lose the spirit.


Growing forward… a story to tell

I have a magnolia tree in my garden that I’ve had for 7 years.  Recently we had the heaviest snowfall in 40 years. One of the branches broke with the snow. I thought to myself, “Oh my gosh, this tree hasn’t given flowers for 7 years and now it will be a short tree forever and never produce flowers.” The gardener told me calmly and resolutely: “You know, the tree is probably looking for how to grow.  One of the other branches will grow up. We have to wait because the tree is looking for the direction of growth (or life)” I said to myself, “Ah! This is my master.” (laughing). And sure enough, last spring the tree grew the first flower; beautiful, white, big and smelling so beautiful.

Gene Gendlin said Focusing always goes in the direction of life. When we are stuck in something, we must wait for the process of life because life has its own way to grow.  It’s the same with the magnolia.  We may say, “Oh my gosh, this person is terrible”, or “I hate this meeting because we discuss and discuss and discuss and end with nothing”.  But, the process is so.  It’s important to remember this. “The life always brings more life” (Gendlin).

Hong Kong Report

The Focuser’s Focus Vol.22, No.1, Spring Issue 2019

Hong Kong Report

Mieko Osawa (TIFI coordinator)


     I happened to visit Hong Kong in March      2019. So, I got contact to some Focusing leaders in Hong Kong.


     I was introduced Peter Cheung for the first time by Ann Weiser Cornell in Awaji International Conference in 2009. I have been watching his striking achievement since then, and this time I could know his new project with his wife, Grace. Their non-profit Company is called Family Heartfelt Reconnecting. This program, “Love Inhering Focusing”, is to help reconnecting between individual and family, especially in life’s crucial moments, through teaching and practicing relevant aspects of “Focusing”, the Satir Model, and related spiritual, philosophical, social, psychological thinking. Association activities of 6-month period were all organized towards ‘facilitating reconnecting and resolution for “unfinished business” between individuals (young and old) experiencing sickness, aging, and imminent death and their significant others’ in end-of-life situations.
     Farther information is Cheung Ka Hing Peter PhD : cheungkhp@gmail.com.


      Grace & Peter                                                  Grace & Peter and Mieko

     They put on the picture of Norman Rockwell, which is very much like Focusing. I liked their sense of art.


      Chee-seung & Josef 

     “Hong Kong Focusing Institute” started in 2015. Joseph Shin is now the president after Peter Cheung. They invited many teachers from other countries and gave many workshops and teachings.

     Chee-seung Chan, who is the writer of the newsletter, is now retired and enjoying the clues around the world with his wife.


     I would like to add one more essay by Amos Cheung, the son of Grace & Peter Cheung. Amos attended the first Asia Focusing International Conference in Kobe in 2017. He wrote the beautiful feedback about the workshop of the “3.11 and Focusing”. This workshop started in 2011 at the Focusers’ gathering when the great earthquake and Tsunami had happened in Northern Japan.

The experience of the “3.11 and Focusing, and “…” at the Asia Focusing International Conference

     As a外人 and a person coming from a place with no experience of any earthquakes (to provide a little bit of the background, Hong Kong, though being regarded as part of China, is a very independent city with very few natural disaster, apart from occasional typhoon during summer), one would not expect that such a workshop would carry the appeal for a conference attendee to join. Added to the fact that the workshop is nearly entirely conducted in 日本語, a language that is rather foreign, any rational thinking person would expect the experience of the workshop with such a background, to be an out of place and awkward experience.

     However, the actual experience is one that is totally the opposite of the expected. Upon reflection, my decision in attending this seemingly very “local oriented” workshop is not driven by logic but a response to the “something” I felt from my felt-sense. It is like an inner still voice that called me to join. And this is a decision that I do not regret.

     Though my日本語is rusty, the information and emotions contained and carried by the images, videos, and subsequent sharing transcend the barrier of language. The impact goes much deeper than words can relay and the connection between all the participants of the workshop are built on something more than any mere simple abstract symbols can describe.

     The process is filled with tears and sadness, sorrow and despair. It is just like a re-enactment of what had happened on that very day when the disaster struck. The impact and the emotional shock are just as new. The video served as a very good entrance and assisted in setting the scene.

     From a focusing process perspective, it is such an amazing experience. Under normal circumstance, one would only expect a focusing experience to go as deep as the most suitable symbol can be found, articulated, and communicated across. Yet this workshop is one that managed to go beyond symbols of abstraction and communication, but to form a connection between the hearts and souls among participants through the use of focusing. Indeed, focusing can be facilitated by the use of language, but not bound by language, meanings can be communicated and shared across individuals coming from various cultures, reminding us all that we are all humans, where we share more similarities than differences.

     “May those who fall rest in peace,

     May those who live hold the courage,

     This I pray to the God Most High”

Dr. Amos C.Y. CHEUNG
Registered Clinical Psychologist (HKPS)
President, The Hong Kong Psychological Society (2013-2014, 2017-2019)
Hong Kong

My personal history of Focusing and development in Hong Kong, P.R. China

The Focuser’s Focus Vol.22, No.1, Spring Issue 2019

My personal history of Focusing and development in Hong Kong, P.R. China

Chee-seung Chan (TIFI Coordinator, Hong Kong)



                    Cheeseung Chang                                                 With Gene at Cicago Weeklong

     I studied Focusing during a summer course taken in the Institute of Spiritual Leadership, Chicago in 1997. The feeling that Focusing is the right “thing” for me to learn and develop for myself aroused and grew stronger and stronger that I dropped off the ongoing studying of a distant learning degree course in “Counselling in Couples and Families” and looked for further studies in focusing. While ordering video tapes on Focusing I got in touch with Mrs. Nada Lou, and start inviting her coming to Hong Kong teaching Focusing to the local community. Once she was known to the public, other organizations also invited her to give focusing workshops as well, thus she came to Hong Kong for ten times from 1999 up to 2008, teaching Focusing, Thinking at the Edge, and also certified another four focusing professionals in Hong Kong.

     Mrs Nada Lou became my tutor and mentor for the focusing training for many years, and certified me as a Focusing Trainer in 2006 and Co-ordinator in 2014..

     I had a long struggling history in becoming a Catholic on my road of faith, and finally when I got in touch with Focusing, I experienced the inner journey deeply down to the bottom of my heart, and strongly believe that God is within each of us. The more I learned and did Focusing I experienced the feeling of much more close to God. The rational demand on the explanation of God’s existence and faith turned into the experiencing of the wisdom of the body, in turn connected with God’s love.

     Thus, I devoted myself in bringing Focusing into the Chinese Catholic community. In the year of 2002, I started teaching Focusing in my own organization, Couple Co-creation Society. (an NGO with religious background, targeting on the education of Marriage and Families), then in the Parishes in Hong Kong, and later on in the Chinese Parishes in New York, Melbourne, Auckland, Toronto, Macau, whenever I traveled and visited the churches there.  In recent years, I was invited to offer training to couples in the mainland China parishes on the topic of “Marriage and Families”, I inserted a lot of Focusing skills and methodology in the couples’ training with positive results.

     In 2007, TIFI New York signed a contract with a publisher in Shanghai, China to translate Dr. Eugene Gendlin’s “focusing” book into simplified Chinese. I was invited by Mary Hendricks to oversee the translation done by the Shanghai publisher, especially on the Focusing terminology. I formed the trio with Dr. Peter Cheung and Ms. Gloria Lau, ONLY commented on the translation of all the Focusing Terminology and not the whole Chinese translation. It was a hard job, however, we had a very nice comments from Gene and this was the text of Mary’s e-mail in 2008: ” Gene and I went over your document very carefully, line by line. Gene said it is a great pleasure to him. He is happy about the consistency point, and life’s self sense is lovely. He says, “please tell them that I completely agree with them all the time. I am happy with each item separately.”  It is very seldom that Gene is able to say that!


           PFP Awards 2012 Group Photo

     Before the establishment of the Hong Kong Focusing Institute. We were very grateful that many oversea trainers came to Hong Kong and introduced the Focusing practice to us, including Ann Weiser Cornell (Inner Relationship Focusing), Laury Rappaport (FOAT®), Nada Lou (Thinking At the Edge and Focusing), Xu Jun (Focusing with Chinese Characters) and Prof. Akira Ikemi(Focusing). Over the past few years,  the HKFI invited trainers from overseas organizing workshop to teach different streams of Focusing to our community, like Dr. Campbell Purton (Working with the whole: Focusing and Buddhist Meditation), Shaun & Alexis Phillips (focusing with Trauma), Dr. Karen Whalen (Wholebody Focusing), and Rene Veugelers (Children Focusing).

     In 2016, three of us (Dr. Peter Cheung,  Mr. Joseph Sing and myself) formed the Hong Kong Focusing Institute, registered with the Hong Kong government as a Charitable organization. The mission of the Hong Kong Focusing Institute Company Limited (HKFI) is to connect and attract like-minded people; to bring diverse strands of Focusing into the Hong Kong community; to facilitate research studies; to promote Focusing and related applications; and to enrich Focusing practice in Hong Kong.  Our goal is to make Focusing accessible to all local people, rich or poor, as long as they see a need for Focusing and want to learn Focusing.


Focusing in the UK from a PCA Perspective and the development of a European Focusing Network

The Focuser’s Focus, Vol.21, No.2, Summer Issue 2018

Focusing in the UK from a PCA Perspective and the development of a European Focusing Network

Judy Moore  (Focusing Coordinator, UK)


Judy Moore

Focusing has developed in Europe through many different routes.  The practice of focusing as a taught procedure often grew from the experience of individuals who had trained in the US in the 1980s or were taught focusing by visiting American practitioners.  Elsewhere, focusing has been integrated into programmes where the person-centred approach has been taught as part of a degree in psychology or as a part of a broader professional training.

In the UK, as in several other European countries there have been parallel streams of development.  As Rob Foxcroft has described in ‘Focusing in the United Kingdom’, the British Focusing Association (BFA), which was formed in 1994, was the result of a collaboration of individuals who had all been trained in focusing by different US-based practitioners.

At the same time as the BFA was being dreamed into existence by Rob Foxcroft and his peers, my friend and colleague Campbell Purton and I were being trained in the person-centred approach by Dave Mearns and Brian Thorne.  We both became employed as counsellors at the University of East Anglia (UEA) and in 1993 I joined Brian Thorne as a trainer on the UEA Diploma in Person-Centred Counselling and Psychotherapy. Both the course on which I was trained and the one where I taught acknowledged focusing as part of the Person-Centred Approach, but focusing was regarded as a ‘technique’ and therefore incompatible with the principle of ‘non-directivity’ that lies at the heart of the PCA.   For several years I was responsible for teaching one session a year on the ‘six steps’ of focusing. I was always surprised by how effective it was when I worked with individuals as a demonstration, but I never understood in those early years how focusing relates to the theory of the PCA or how understanding of the felt sense might be subtly- and helpfully- integrated into clinical practice.

I remember early international conferences (the equivalent to those now held on behalf of the World Association for Person-Centered and Experiential Psychotherapy and Counseling (WAPCEPC)) where focusing workshops were offered.  I enjoyed some of these workshops, but focusers in general were regarded with mistrust and even some hostility. In part, this was probably down to intense rivalry between the ‘Person-Centred’ and ‘Experiential’ strands of the Approach, which was in part a battle between ‘non-directivity’ and ‘directivity’ (Emotion-Focused Therapy (EFT) was developed in the late 1980s by Robert Elliot, Les Greenberg and Laura Rice and included focusing as one of the ‘techniques’ by which clients could access deeper emotional experiencing).

Despite the anger and confusion that seemed to gather around focusing in these early conferences, in 1994 Campbell Purton and I were both profoundly affected by a Japanese presentation on ‘Client-Centered Therapy in Japan: Fujio Tomoda and Taoism’. This inspiring and life-changing presentation was given by the Japanese Rogers Group- Sachiko Hayashi, Toru Kuno, Yoshihiko Morotomi, Mieko Osawa, Mikio Shimizu and Yasuhiro Suetake.  The presentation questioned our Western understanding of ‘the self’, explaining how both Dogen, a Japanese Zen priest of the early 13th Century, and Gendlin’s ‘anti-substantial concept of self-process’ had influenced Tomoda in his wish to avoid ‘the definition of self as a conceptual entity’.  To develop our understanding, and, taking separate but what turned out to be complementary and extremely compatible routes, I began to study and practise Zen Buddhism,  Campbell meanwhile began to study Gendlin’s philosophy and eventually he trained in focusing with Barbara McGavin (a member of the newly-formed BFA group). A new understanding of focusing/ ‘the self’ had begun to open up to us.

Campbell’s enthusiasm for Gendlin’s philosophy and his deeper understanding of the practice led to us eventually integrating weekly focusing sessions into our one-year PCA training and, in 2005, with the support and encouragement of Mary Gendlin, we launched a diploma in Focusing-Oriented Therapy at UEA. This was the first time that focusing formally became part of the academic programme in a British University.   Many students later chose to deepen their understanding of focusing through Masters’ level research and several students have written PhD theses on focusing-related topics over the past ten years.

The professional training in FOT ran until 2017 when all the UEA counselling trainings were closed down by the university.


Making connections with European colleagues

The first International Focusing Conference I attended was that held in the Netherlands in 2006.  It included a Remembrance Service where several delegates recalled their experience of the trauma of war.  The fact that the conference took place in a country that had been invaded and occupied within the living memory of some of the participants brought especial poignancy to the occasion.

There are 24 official languages in Europe and, despite English being the most commonly used language, the majority of us are not native English speakers and our cultural norms are very different.  Living in Europe also involves acknowledging and working with the residue- fear, prejudice, hostility, loss, shame- of many old enmities, particularly those that have arisen from the suffering experienced on all sides during and after the Second World War.  More recently, relations have been affected by the very different economic status of countries within the EU. However much we might wish that these difficult feelings did not exist, it takes skilled listening and careful communication to overcome our many differences and to discover a sense of commonality and shared understanding.

To this end, a group of European Co-ordinators came together in Gengenbach in Germany in 2009 with the dream of planning a Focusing ‘academy’ where European focusers could ‘cross borders’ and contribute to the healing of some of these old wounds by working and learning from each other in a cooperative and non-hierarchical way.

After several meetings and many discussions over the years that followed, the European Focusing Association (EFA) was born.  It is described as ‘a European network for focusers, focusing professionals and focusing practitioners who wish to develop focusing and the experiential approach through collaboration, openness and mutual support’.  EFA’s Vision Statement was presented at the Cambridge International Focusing Conference in 2016 and can be found on the EFA home page (https://efa-focusing.eu/).

The Association is run by volunteers and no subscription is charged.  The aim is for the ‘life’ of the Association to come from interest groups who work together on specific topics (e.g. teaching, coaching, wholebody focusing, spirituality). Group members might come together in person at an annual meeting, but most of the time we communicate with each other through the Internet and the website.   A Steering Group takes responsibility for communications and for taking steps to ensure that a next annual gathering will take place.

The First European Focusing Association Conference, ‘Facets of Focusing’, a celebration of the life and work of Eugene Gendlin, was held in Greece, under the auspices of the Hellenic Focusing Association, in May  2018.  It was soon fully booked and over 130 delegates enjoyed a rich variety of presentations and workshops, savouring the warmth and hospitality of the Greek culture in the beautiful surroundings of the Hotel Pappas at the coastal resort of Loutraki. A more detailed report of this inspiring gathering can be found on the conference website at https://efa2018.weebly.com/news.

The first is of me introducing Campell’s lecture at the Greek conference

The second is of Campbell’s lecture in Greece (that I have just introduced)

The third is of delegates voting at the EFA General Assembly in Greece

The fourth is of Mia Leijssen addressing the General Assembly in Greece

Greek conference excursion to the ancient theatre at Epidaurus


Bio Judy Moore:
Judy Moore is the former Director of Counselling at the University of  East Anglia (UEA), Norwich, UK. She ran the University Counselling  Service from 1998-2013 and was also Director of the Centre for  Counselling Studies, based in UEA’s School of Education and Lifelong  Learning, from 2003-2012. She ran the University Counselling Service  from 1998-2013.
She taught on the postgraduate Diploma in Person-Centred Counselling at  UEA throughout the 1990s and was also responsible (together with  Campbell Purton) for the development of focusing training there.


New York Metro Focusing: An emergent focusing community

The Focuser’s Focus, Vol.20, No.3, Autumn Issue 2017

New York Metro Focusing: An emergent focusing community

Cynthia Callsen (Focusing Professional)
Larry Hurst (Focusing Professional)


Cynthia Callsen                                              Larry Hurst



The vision of a new local Focusing community emerged for New York’s Cynthia Callsen in 2007 out of a Focusing training project assignment and was articulated at The Focusing Institute’s Certification Weeklong that year. Titled “Bringing into Being a Living Focusing Body,” the sense of the whole was that this local Focusing Body would be a living, breathing manifestation of the practice of Focusing and its underlying philosophy. Not a ‘Changes’ Practice group, not training, not a workshop, but rather a place that would hold all of this diversity and more—an anchoring to steady the inner life of the local Focusing community as well as to give a new face for Focusing to the non-Focusing.


A small team comprised of Larry Hurst, Naomi Glicken and Katya Salkinder, joined with Cynthia to bring this project to fruition. We held our first meeting of Focusers from our metropolitan area on February 29, 2008, when around 40 Focusers gathered and named our local organization New York Metro Focusing.


Collectively, we then created a Mission Statement:
The mission of New York Metro Focusing is to embody and carry forward the practice of Focusing and the philosophy that supports it as developed in the work of Eugene Gendlin and others. By holding regularly scheduled meetings, NY Metro Focusing offers members of this local geographic community ongoing opportunities to connect, share, and grow in their appreciation and practice of Focusing. The group welcomes newcomers by offering them an opportunity to learn about the life-enhancing practice of Focusing. In this way, NY Metro Focusing aims to engender a thriving and visible presence for the practice of Focusing in our Metropolitan area.


We meet five times a year. On each occasion we offer a largely original theme, usually devised by one or more of our members. Over time NY Metro Focusing meetings have evolved from Experiential Presentations of the work and interests of Focusers in the Greater Metropolitan area to Focusing Explorations of topics of interest, guided by members of our community. These meetings offer an opportunity to engage in a Felt Sensing, Interactive Conversation – slowing down, listening from a Focusing place, and letting what we hear resonate within us to bring something new and fresh both within ourselves and within the group.


At our gatherings we include networking and refreshment breaks as well as a Marketplace session for members to announce their workshops and associated services. Attendance has ranged between 15 and 50, including newcomers. A small donation is invited to cover the cost of the room hire and refreshments.


The organization is held together by a coordinating group (the Planning Group) comprised of individuals from a variety of professional backgrounds and expertise. These individuals take responsibility for every detail of our meetings including hiring the meeting space, creating and mailing the announcements, setting up and cleaning up, refreshments, and liaison with the evening facilitator and main Focusing teachers in the area; also setting the dates for the Planning Group’s own meetings and creating the agenda for those meetings.


Early on we created a website and an ever-expanding email list for the announcements of our meetings and other local Focusing events. We invite you to explore our site – www.nymetrofocusing.org . Especially you might want to note the Archives page which lists our almost 50 meetings with notes for many of these meetings. We also would like to draw your attention to further details of our meeting process – notes prepared for the 2015 International Focusing Conference in Seattle, USA – http://www.nymetrofocusing.org/group-process-and-shared-field-focusing-interactions.html.


With the passing of Eugene Gendlin we all feel a deep need to honor his immense achievement in opening our minds to the life-forces held within our own bodily selves and to their powerful interactive qualities. From this comes a sense of urgency to play our parts in bringing the benefits of Focusing to everyday relationships, whatever the situation – with sincerity and humanitarian purpose.


New York Metro Focusing still has a way to go as it strives to build and sustain its constituency. However, in tandem with the continuing dedicated work of numerous other Focusing and Deep Listening initiatives nationally and around the world, we are determined to carry forward the spirit of Gendlin with courage and conviction. We can only live in hope that, some day, a threshold will be reached where people and communities and indeed governments globally will be able to come into each others’ sights to have Focusing- oriented conversations.


It has been an honor to present this brief summary of our group, its purpose and its aspirations.


Thank you.

Cynthia Callsen and Larry Hurst. July 2017

Focusing in Japan

The Focuser’s Focus, Vol.20, No.2, summer Issue 2017

Focusing in Japan

Edited by Mieko Osawa
 (Focusing Project, Certifying Coordinator)

*The Japanese edition is here.

Eugene Gendlin and Mary Hendriks visited Japan twice, once in 1978 and next in 1987.

Long before in 1963, Takao Murase visited Gendlin in Madison, Wisconsin and translated his main articles including “A Theory of Personality Change” and published as a book called “Experiencing and Psychotherapy” in 1964, revised in 1966.

In 1973, Shoji Murayama visited Gendlin at Chicago University, and introduced Changes Group and Focusing Manuals to Japan.

In Japan, in 50s and 60s, Carl Rogers gave enormous influence on psychologists, counselors and therapists all over Japan and eventually people got interested in the new theories and methods by Eugene Gendlin.

In 1978, Gendlin was invited as a keynote speaker for the 42 Conference of Japan Psychology Association at Kyushu University and gave workshops in Fukuoka, Kyoto and Tokyo.

Gendlin’s “Focusing” of Bantam Books was translated into Japanese in 1982 by Shoji Murayama, Haruo Tsuru and Takao Murase. (“Focusing-Oriented Psychotherapy” was translated by Takao Murase, Akira Ikemi, Mako Hikasa etc. in 1998.)

In 1978, Takeo Tsutsui met Gendlin in Chicago and got permission to translate “Experiencing and the Creation of Meaning” (1963), and the translation came out on 1993.

In 1980, Akira Ikemi came back from Chicago finished MA with Gene Gendlin and joined to Kyushu group, where people with Shoji Murayama of Kyushu University began to study and practice Focusing more and more, set up Japan Focusing Society and started a Journal called “Focusing Forum” in 1983. Meanwhile many Focusing networks appeared in many areas in Japan.

Gendlin and Mary Hendriks were invited to Japan again in 1987, gave advanced workshops with demonstrations including dream works and open symposium, gave a lot of influence to Focusing in Clinical Practice in Japan.  This big project was edited into a book, “Focusing Seminar” by Shoji Murayama in 1991.

The first visit by Ann Weiser Cornell was in 1994. Her workshops were planned in different areas in Japan, Kyushu (Fukuoka), Kansai (near Osaka), Tokai (Nagoya) and Tokyo. This made the Focusing map in Japan clearly. Ann Weiser Cornell came to Japan 8 times and gave many workshops in many areas in Japan. We still love her “The Focusing Student’s Manual and Guide’s Manual Third Edition” published in 1993 and translated into Japanese in 1996.

Japan Focusing Association was set up in 1997 and we are having annual meetings and Focusers gatherings every year in different areas in Japan. The Focusing journal “The Focuser’s Focus”   started in 1998, coming out every 3 months, 4 times a year.

In 1998, Gendlin’s third visit was planned, but he couldn’t come because of the car accident and Mary Hendriks came as a substitute for Gendlin for the big conference of The Association of Japanese Clinical Psychology in Nagoya. Here she planned with Shoji Murayama, Takao Murase, Akira Ikemi to appoint new Certifying Coordinators and Trainers from The Focusing Institute.

Now we have 1 Honorary Member, 14 Certifying Coordinators, 4 Coordinators in Training and 130 Trainers.


Here is the map of CCs and CNTs in Japan.


Hideki Kamimura, TR in 2004, CNT in 2014.

Worked as a staff writer at a newspaper company in Hokkaido. Set up Sapporo Focusing Project(SFP)in 2001, taking care of Changes (Practice) group once a month, organizing WSs with many teachers almost twice a year ever since. He wrote MA thesis, “Social Construction by Writing, Recording with Focusing” in 2017. He has been interested in “Writing with the Body”. He is active as a chief editor of the newsletter group of Japan Focusing Association.





Kanto & Koshinetsu:

Teruyuki Chikada, CC in 1998.
Mako Hikasa, CC in 1998.
Naomi Horio, CNT in 2011, CC in 2014.
Nisseiken, Inc. (Psychotechnological Institute of Japan, Inc.)

Nisseiken (Nisseiken, Inc.) is a private psychology services company which started soon after the World War II, and now its office is located near the emperor’s palace in the center of Tokyo.   Originally being a reliable psychological testing company, in 1970’s it became one of the centers of Person-Centered Approach practices in eastern Japan and in 1990’s became a center of Focusing which has produced many of Focusing practitioners and professionals.   Late Haruo Tsuru started Focusing Seminar at Nisseiken in 1983.  In 1988 Focusing seminar by late Takao Murase started and joined by Teruyuki Chikada in 1992 and by Mako Hikasa in 1995.

In 1996, Chikada and Hikasa succeeded Murase’s seminar and expanded it into two level courses, Focusing Basic course and Advanced course.  Later they have further expanded into many more levels and varieties.  From these courses many Focusing communities, Japanese version of “Changes” group, which are the meeting place for Focusing practice, are created and became nests for expanding Focusing activities.

Chikada and Hikasa, along with fellow Focusing trainers, have taught in many Focusing workshops for different professional organizations and made Focusing a stable item in training seminars for helping professionals in Kanto area.  Hikasa invited many Focusing teachers from aboard, translated their books into Japanese, and encouraged Japanese Focusers to attend the International Focusing conferences.  With those activities, she bridged Japanese Focusers to the world-wide Focusing community.  Nisseiken Focusing courses have produced quite a few Focusing groups which eagerly practiced Interactive Focusing or Wholebody Focusing.  Some of the students have become internationally active teachers in those fields.

Naomi Horio was one of those students at Nisseiken seminars.  She has been very active in promoting Focusing by organizing many workshops featuring both nationally and internationally renowned Focusing teachers, keeping Focusing communities, teaching Focusing both in private sessions and as a workshop teacher for different institutions, including psychotherapist training at graduate schools.  She has been a key manager for Focusing courses in Nisseiken, working with Hikasa since 2011, and replaced Hikasa in 2015. Currently she is the president of Japan Focusing Association.


Mako, Bebe, Mieko & Naomi in Cambridge 2016

Mieko Osawa, TR in 1993, CC in 1998.

Worked as a counselor at a University in Tokyo. Set up Focusing Project in 1994, organizing workshops of Focusing & Listening and WSs for Ann Weiser Cornell and other teachers, giving private sessions and trainings. She has been interested in teaching “Listening with Whole Body”. She often attended workshops with Gendlin in Chicago and Ann Weiser Cornell in USA and Europe and participated many Focusing International Conferences. She is active as a member of the international group of Japan Focusing Association.


Koko Shiraiwa, TR in 1998, CC.

Logo-therapy of Viktor E. Frankl and Client-Centered Therapy of Carl R. Rogers which I learned from Fujio Tomoda has been my background as a psychotherapist. When I encountered the Experiencing theory by Gendlin in 1978 through his lectures and demonstrations, I was moved by the fact that what Tomoda taught us was the concept of felt sense. In 1980, Heizo Iwaya, Reiko Kawamura, Sumiko Inoue and myself organized Tokyo Focusing Institute and gave Focusing workshops for 10 years. We established the introductory style of bodywork named as Karada-hogushi, and published newsletters and the booklet of 10-year history of the institute. In 1990, I personally started Holistic Psychology Institute to convey Focusing for helping professionals and provide practice space for Listeners.


Akiichi Mochiduki, TR in 2003, CNT in 2010, CC in 2016.

Set up Nagano Focusing Project in 2001, Organizing WSs for David Brazier etc. and his own, and giving private sessions and trainings. He has been interested in the Embodied Dream Works and Embodied Imaginations by Robert Bosnak. He worked as a clinical psychologist at a hospital in Nakano City for 32 years and recently he works Private Practice.



Yoshimi Ito, TR in 1993, CC in 2000.

When I was a graduate student of Nagoya University in October,1978, I encountered Dr. Gendlin’s special lecture “Experiential Therapy” and happily could participate Focusing Workshop by Gendlin and Mary Hendricks for the first time. Since then I have been working on research and practice of Focusing. I had a chance to study under Prof. Gendlin at University of Chicago from1993 to 1994 as a visiting professor. I got Ph. D in 1998 from Nagoya University by a study about Clearing a Space of Focusing. We have been giving Nagara-River Focusing Workshop for a long time, and I have been supervising Nagoya Focusing Community (NFC) for 18 years. At present, I’m hoping to build up Self-Help Focusing (SHF).


Katsuko Usui, TR in 1998, CC in 2015.



Akira Ikemi, Ph.D. TR, CO.  Professor, Kansai University Graduate School of Psychology.

Back in 1980, as I recall, Doralee Grindler had arranged the first Focusing Training Program at Professor Eugene Gendlin’s office at the University of Chicago. I attended this program, as I was a graduate student studying with Professor Gendlin at that time.  It was the year after the first edition of the book Focusing came out from Everest House.  There were no certificates at the time, so I cannot give the exact date when I completed this program.  Around 1995, sometime before or after the Great Hanshin Earthquake, Gene (Gendlin) had recommended me to become a Focusing Coordinator.  Again, there are no certificates for coordinators, so I cannot recall when it was, that I was appointed as a coordinator.  In college, I was a psychology and philosophy double major, so I got enchanted with Gene’s philosophy and psychotherapy theory, and I have taught people to hold fast to and think freshly from experiencing, in my clinical work, university and graduate school teachings, and workshops.  I have taught at universities in not only Japan but in the UK and Belgium.  I have presented workshops in Japan, USA, UK, Canada, Belgium, Germany, Greece, Italy, China and Hong Kong and Australia is my next destination.  I’ve written many books and journal articles in Japanese and English, as well as DVDs in English and Japanese.  My most recent book and article is now being translated into Chinese from Japanese and English.


Toshihiro Uchida, CC.

Learned Focusing from Shoji Murayama at Kyushu University and is now a professor at Kyoto University of Education, teaching graduate students who are willing to be teachers and clinical  psychologists, and teaching Focusing practice as listening training for them. He is offering Kyoto Focusing Experiencing Room, trying to spread Focusing and training listeners in Kyoto area. He is interested in Focusing-Oriented Psychotherapy, especially clinical application of clients with trauma.


Kie Yano, TR, CNT.


Sanin & Sanyo:

Shoji Tsuchie, TR in 2004, CC in 2015

He is a representative of Shimane Focusing Project, has practice groups and training groups in Shimane. He is a clinical psychologist and works as a school counselor. He is also an Indian government’s certified yoga teacher and a monk of Jodo Buddhism. He developed the inner weather picture therapy and Focusing Sangha which is group focusing method.



Akiko Sasada, TR in 1998, CNT in 2010.

She is a staff of Focusing Project since 1994, has a practice group and a training group in Tokushima.

She is a school counselor of junior high schools and teaching focusing at a college. She is a member of JCFA (Japan Child Focusing Association). Focusers in Tokushima have been gathering for many years.



Shoji Murayama, HM (Honorary Member).

Looking Back of my 2 small contributions to the beginning stage of the development of Experiencing & Focusing in Japan. In 1978, I had a lucky chance to invite Gene Gendlin as a key note speaker for the 42 annual Conference of Japan Psychology Association at Kyushu University and he gave workshops in Fukuoka, Kyoto, Tokyo with Mary Hendricks. Since then, this practical focusing seed has been spreading, growing and blooming in Japan. Second, from Kyushu University, many CC and TR members and related therapists are grown up. They are Kira Yasuyuki, Tamura Ryuichi, Uchida Toshihiro, Morikawa Yuko, Fukumori Hideaki, Masui Takeshi, Tajima Seiichi, Ohishi Eiji. Now they are developing their own way of helping.


Yasuyuki Kira, TR in 1998, CC in

He had learned Focusing at Kyushu University under Shoji Murayama as a graduate student, and has been practicing counseling and psychotherapy based on the Experiencing theory. Meanwhile he realized that it was meaningful for the therapist to focus on his or her own implicit feeling at his practice and to be aware of its meaning explicitly. He has been practicing this method, named as “Therapist Focusing”. He and his colleague published a chapter about this method on a book as follows.

Kira,Y & Fukumori,H. Chap.8 The Significance of Focusing for the Therapist: Therapist focusing. Mikuni,M.(Ed.), The Person-Centered Approach in Japan: Blending a Western approach with Japanese culture. PCCS Books Ltd. Monmouth, UK. 131-145. 2015.


Yuko Morikawa, TR in 1998, CC in 2015.

She is an associate professor at Kyushu Sangyo University. Her theme is daily Focusing attitude and “handling pain with Focusing”. She and Hideaki Fukumori invited Focusing teachers in Kyusyu: Ann Weiser Cornell(2011), Marine de Fréminville(2012), Jim Iberg(2014). She wrote a book with cartoons named “Health management method with Focusing ”. (2015: ISBN-9784414400946)


Ryuichi Tamura, TR, CC in 1998.

He learned Focusing from Shoji Murayama at Kyushu University. He served as the president of Japan Focusing Association from November 2012 to March 2016. He is interested in research on Focusing-oriented dream work. He is a professor at Fukuoka University teaching counseling and psychotherapy.


Hideaki Fukumori, TR in 1998, CNT.

He is working at Counseling and Health Center as a counselor in Kyushu University. He is interested in relations between Focusing Attitude and Quality of College Student Life. Shoji Murayama, Hideaki Fukumori and Yuko Morikawa published a book named “Learning Focusing with cartoons.” (2005: ISBN-10: 4414400201)


My personal story of Focusing and its development in Israel

The Focuser’s Focus, Vol.20, No.1, Spring Issue 2017

My personal story of Focusing and its development in Israel

 by Dr. Atsmaout Perlstein
(Certifyng Coordinator, Israel)


I am a Focusing Oriented clinical psychologist for the past 30 years specializing in relationships between couples, family members and most importantly the relationship between a person’s conscious mind and his body wisdom experiences.  I feel privileged and passionate to accompany other human beings on their life journey exploring with them sacred places in their souls and how to anchor them in their lives.

Focusing has become a way of living for me. It has been an inseparable process in my professional and day-to-day life. It has nourished my life’s journey in good and bad times.

Moreover, Focusing has carried me through stormy waters with a deep knowledge and a trust within that I am supported by my life intelligence and an inner wisdom that carries me forward.

Today after almost 25 years with this process, I experience myself as a freer human being who continues to explore life with an open heart and full of empathy and compassion for others and myself.

I first heard about Focusing when I started therapy with Eugene Gendlin after the sudden death of my father in 1985.  I was touched deeply by his unique way of listening – the way he took pauses during the session to “really get what I was saying”.

For the first time in my life I experienced a feeling of “coming home to myself.”  I remember a moment of feeling lost inside when Eugene said: “Let us sit here quietly with this place of sadness inside you. Give it some space so it can breath…” As I followed his invitation, I felt a calmness and silence within that was carried forward with a wave of renewed energy that started at the pit of my stomach and travelled throughout my body.   It felt like a miracle that happened naturally even though I was in a deep mourning process.

I was a licensed clinical psychologist with a private practice when I entered my first weeklong workshop in the Chicago Focusing Center.  That week I was so taken by the many breakthroughs and insights I witnessed in myself and other participants that occurred naturally with the Focusing process that I decided then to become a trainer.

I had the privilege to be trained by Eugene Gendlin, Mary McGuire who started the International Focusing Institute and Janet Klein who taught me Interactive Focusing.  I became part of the Focusing International Team and vision of spreading Focusing around the world, which I have been doing passionately ever since.

At the same time I became a member of a group under the leadership of Dr. Vesavada, an Indian and Jungian psychologist who combined in his teachings the wisdoms of the East and West.  I was with his group for 12 years and his teachings have opened me to the realm of the spirit. He was a good friend of Eugene Gendlin and I recall many enchanted breakfasts and lunches with them both discussing life.  Dr. Vesavada urged me and other Focusers to spread Focusing around the globe because he felt it was one of the most important human processes that people need to know about and practice in their daily living. I hold both of them in my heart as my mentors in my teaching Focusing in Israel and around the world.  Another important mentor and dear friend is Mary Gendlin. We would often Focus both in person and on the phone long distance on personal and other issues about the world focusing community she cared so much about.

For three years I joined the functional team that started the Focusing Summer School in New York.  Later on I also joined the International team for the Focusing Oriented Therapy Conference.  These activities supported and nurtured my continued interest of spreading Focusing.

Upon my return to Israel in 2000, together with my sister Bilha Frolinger, we co-founded the first Focusing Institute in Israel.

We started to teach groups, train trainers and over the years we certified six coordinators. In 2007 we organized an International Focusing Conference that included a post conference of Focusing with a group of Palestinians to hold an open “Focusing oriented discussion”.  Even without any Focusing training, the participants experienced deep listening that created a close relationship among the participants that went beyond politics. This post conference proved that Focusing can support a human dialogue in conflicted areas such as Israel and other places.

Bilha and I have been teaching Focusing to professionals and paraprofessionals all over Israel in many different settings.  For example: for the past five years we have been teaching in the Israeli National Educational Psychologists Conference and in the Israeli Clinical Psychologists Conference, teaching social workers and psychologists in major Israeli hospitals, introducing focusing principles to municipality departments in different cities and teaching mindful focusing to groups of psychologists who are responsible for early education in nurseries and kindergartens.

Over the years many coordinators from around the world have traveled to Israel to teach their different Focusing models such as: Anne Weiser Cornell who taught Inner Relationship Focusing and certified a few new Israeli coordinators, and others who taught Whole Body Focusing, Children Focusing, Process Model, TAE and more.  Nowadays, we have 15 coordinators and more than 1000 members listed.  Each year in May we celebrate the Israeli focusing National day.  We call it a Spring Festival and it is a not-for-profit that is based on sharing information among coordinators and focusing trainers in Israel.

The Israeli focusing community is characterized by enthusiasm, creativity, thinking outside the box and creating new connections between Focusing and variety fields of Interests.

A few words about my latest project: Kol-Be

Living in Israel has been challenging to say the least.  The national safety issues and continued war episodes activate intense survival issues. Nevertheless, Israelis live life to its fullest potential and they thrive daily to be present and create a vibrant, creative life. It is under these circumstances that I started to explore ways to find an interactive tool that would allow the process of Focusing happen naturally, allowing the inner movements and shifts to occur. In 2011, I was introduced to an abstract figure that Etty Katz, an artist and a body psychotherapist has been using for 25 years for cognitive and emotional troubled children. I introduced the Focusing process onto it and my dream came true. I have witnessed natural shift happening in most natural and nonverbal way.

This is an abstract human figure that holds neither gender nor human characteristics that I named:  KOL-BE- a Hebrew word for the voice within me and stands for the meaning- everything that is within me. KOL·BE acts as a mirror, creating a non-verbal interaction between the implicit inner experience and the person engaged with it. It enables the experience to be visually and concretely expressed as something separate. It can be observed and witnessed from various distances, offering new perspective and information.

It is a simple and powerful therapeutic tool for use with individuals, couples, parents, families and groups on which one can express inner emotions and sensations.  In a simple and effective way, KOL·BE enables people to connect to themselves, to bypass obstacles and barriers and to expand and to heal.

My life with “Focusing”

The Focuser’s Focus, Vol.19, No.4, Winter Issue 2017

My life with “Focusing”

 By Christel Kraft
(Certifying Coordinator, Canada)

Thanks to Mieko Osawa who asked me about my personal experience with Focusing.
This article is in answer to her questions, from my heart with caring and love.

The term “Focusing” did not come into my life till much later but what I remember from my earliest childhood is “something” that was and still is a foundation of my living.

Sensing, feeling, observing, questioning? – –  A loving mother was teaching me to become still, guiding me through a short prayer that confirmed a loving, protecting inner presence before she kissed me good night and tucked me into my comfortable warm bed for the night. – –
I felt safe.

Was there a time when I wanted to know more about this indwelling presence which Mom called Christ?  – –  Memory of two Sunday school teachers left a lasting strong impression on my early life: Their teaching combined with some beautiful Light and Love that shone through their eyes drew me into their presence. That’s what I want !! –  came a call from deep inside me.

Even after 85 years of life, I can still see and feel myself into that moment.  It became a first deep focal point for my life during many years of school, friendships, life and family disrupting war time, and refugee experiences. – – Underneath the outer living, I stayed connected to some inner knowing and guiding.  At the same time I also searched for some kind of connection to people who “had the Light in their eyes”.  –

Many years later when our 5 year old child(son), coming home from Sunday school, asked: “Mom, what is the Holy Spirit?”  My answer jumped out of my mouth: “Look for the Light in people’s eyes!”  The symbolic inner connection was still there!! –

After a long Pause here – –

How do I condense a learning, searching, exploring, questioning LIVING towards the theme of this article about “Focusing” ? –  I met many interesting people, much controversial religious, spiritual, philosophical, and psychological, teachings. I explored, accepted and I rejected, I experienced moments of bliss and deep pain.  In all of it, I listened, I listened deeply for the inner resonance that became ever clearer over the years. –

There was a moment of shock when I discovered that not everybody lived their life in this searching and struggling way. So many seemed content or perpetually unhappy in what to me seemed a limiting traditional existence without what I felt could be a more fulfilling experience and discovery for them. Did they not know what to me felt very normal and natural?

I also felt that I was not acceptable to those who appeared to be threatened by my constant questioning, changing and evolving. Yet they seemed to live in some safe, well defined circles/groups while I needed to accept a certain degree of aloneness. I wanted to respect them while at the same time was puzzling about how I could perhaps teach them to bring out this to me fuller seeming potential that must be there for them as well. Could I write a book about

“Root Living”?  Going to the roots of life giving energy?? Could this be taught??
Well, you guessed it, Gene Gendlin’s book on Focusing found me and answered my question.

FOCUSING.   I recognized a connection to my lifelong living. I went to Chicago, met Gene, experienced some wonderfully alive people around him, visited a few more times and took part in several exciting learning workshops. –  My response, when Gene asked me after several meetings if I want to be a Focusing Coordinator, was simple: Sure!

I went back home to Winnipeg, continued and finished my Educational Psychology M.Ed. applied some Focusing research to my Thesis about “Adult Development and the Implication for Career Oriented Counselling of Women During Mid-Life.” This expanded into more research and “Reaching Out”, an agency for the Employment for Persons with Physical Challenges. As the Executive Director of this successful and growing endeavor, I was able to also train my staff
and many other groups in the five levels of Focusing.

During those years I also met Rev.Ed McMahon and Pete Campbell and recognized a spiritual leaning in their approach to Focusing. I participated in several of their Bio-Spiritual workshops, and incorporated their experiences into my teaching. – –

At several ongoing visits to Chicago I met many people from all over the world, some of these were also from Canada.  Would or could we create some ongoing connection?  –  My own opportunities for travel were restricted by home and career responsibilities. I did not extend my teachings into other Canadian provinces where other coordinators were and are still actively expanding their own outreach.

In the early times of Focusing we were held together by Gene Genlin’s basic publications and our individual experimentations based on the outlined step-by-step techniques in his book “Focusing”.  Some of us shared training plans we developed based on diverse opportunities in school, continuing education, hospital, social, community settings.  Eventually these were also published on a developing Focusing website.

Several of my students were interested in teaching the Focusing approach and being certified as Trainers by the Focusing Institute.  At that earlier time they were required to have successfully completed the five level Training Program I had developed and attend a weeklong at the Institute.  Six people desired and received Certification from TFI at that time. –

My outreach and connections flowed from individual clients and training groups into several established agencies, associations, and continuing education facilities. I did not keep track of the hundreds of lives that were touched by a focusing related experience. –

My Psychotherapist private practice was growing along with this and the “Manitoba Association for Focusing and Bio-Spirituality” became the catch all for about 20+ years of my creative applications of Focusing, combined with everything else that I sensed in the energy flow of my own growth and learning and in the needs I sensed in others around me. – In order to distinguish it from my earlier teaching programs I labeled it:

 “ EFFE – Focusing Flow Energy Explorations – Passageways Into Your Inner Treasures “

What made it different? –  I had discovered that every deeply meaningful Focusing/Listening exchange is unique and has to be experientially lived.  It cannot be taught, it has to be lived and demonstrated in every situation with every individual.  Yes, there is also value in any kind of teaching, it was just never satisfying enough for me.-

The main difference seems to be the quality of listening which can develop through practice, observation and deeper awareness of a certain kind of attention to an inner and outer listening.
It requires an ability to be fully in Presence to an inner development, and trust into the ongoing sense of the newness that comes during the interaction between the Focuser (client) and the Listener. An inner Essence can open up, needs to be observed, needs to be sensed and followed into during the next movements. This also involves letting go (or leaving out) some instructions and expectations from previously learned “Next steps” – –

Here I need to pause while sensing into how I can relate years of searching towards awakening into a deeper mystical/spiritual higher level of consciousness. Meditations, and questioning every conditioned value and belief with trust into an inner guidance can be at times painful but allows fullness of life to unfold.  Each person needs to find their own path. –

Listening interactions become more powerful if the Listener/guide has reached higher levels of awareness. Different degrees of consciousness can be transmitted subliminally in the process.  I am grateful to people and lots of books that are guiding me in this ever unfolding inner treasure of the Universal Light, Love and Life.

I have enjoyed bringing my awareness into various areas of teaching and living. Some examples of this are dream explorations, stress management, health and healing, therapeutic spiritual counseling, non-violent conflict resolution, discovering your full potential, effective interpersonal communication, assertiveness training, guidance into your inner wisdom, focusing into poetry and other artistic expressions, interactional focusing conversations, and more. – –

My own professional life and career came to an almost sudden twist when my own and my husband’s physical condition required full time nursing care.  That’s where it is now.
There seem some connections opening up, for perhaps more virtual focusing explorations – – –

In 1999 I self-published a somewhat condensed “workbook” : which is now available in pdf from TIFI and iafots@lists.focuslists.org
Energy Flow Focusing Explorations –Passageways Into Your Hidden Treasures”
ISBN 978-0-9937 125-0-0  copyright 2014

Focusing in El Salvador

               Focuser’s Focus vol.19 No.3, Autumn Issue 2016

Focusing in El Salvador

By Beatrice Blake
(Certifying Coordinator, USA )

Since 2012, Focusing has been spreading in El Salvador through the thanks to donations from the international Focusing community and to the vision of Eeq’anil (a Mayan word for “the path of the seed”). Eeq’anil is an umbrella organization founded in 2007 by people who work at the crossroads of community organization and psychosocial growth. I have been able to provide tools for self-care and resilience to people who promote the wellbeing of young people of El Salvador. Eeq’anil provides training for group facilitators, counselors, school psychologists and others who are on the front lines of social change in El Salvador.

Salvadoran society is attempting to emerge from centuries of economic exploitation and institutionalized violence, by creating new forms of governance and the rule of law. This is no easy task! The country is struggling with a contentious political situation that is still divided along the lines drawn in the country’s 12-year civil war (1981-1992). The party of the former dissidents, the FMLN, has won two presidential elections in a row, and enjoys more popularity than the right-wing ARENA party. However, ARENA still wields a lot of political and economic power. Well-organized gangs have become part of in the social fabric and have put tremendous pressure on young people and on society as a whole, causing mass migrations to the US and other countries.

Eeq’anil sponsored my courses in ‘Focusing and the 12 Steps’ in 2012 and in ‘Focusing with Children’ in 2014. In 2016 they sponsored my online class in Generating a Culture of Peace. The course was made available to representatives of groups that are members of Eeq’anil. The course combines Nonviolent Communication with Focusing Level One. People who attended the course began with a desire to use the tools of Focusing and Nonviolent Communication to help young people and for their own ability to deal with the pressures they face in their demanding work. Alejandra Zuniga of CORDES said it very well: “As facilitators within communities is important for us to pay attention to our own personal growth and attempt to resolve our own emotional situations. Generating a Culture of Peace allows us to learn new skills to apply in work and personal life.”

My class in Generating a Culture of Peace, is a 6-week online course that uses Nonviolent Communication as a door to Focusing. When people talk about their feelings and needs as they do in NVC, they are already in Level 4 or 5 of the Experiencing Scale, providing an inner atmosphere conducive to Focusing. Twenty five people have taken the class since lasut October. I asked them how they are living Focusing. Here are some of their replies :

Heazel Martinez and Juan Carlos Hernandez started an online Changes group last November and are committed to the benefits of Focusing partnership. Our plan is to open the group to people from all over Latin America.

Psychologist Paty Berrios says “Just as the morning dew refreshes the plants, Focusing encourages us to meet the day, and helps us deal with the afternoon heat.”

Alicia Herrera Rebollo is sharing what she learned with a group of 18 women from her political party. She is also helping her elderly mother to express her feelings instead of keeping everything inside.

Melba Jimēnez has been part of a 3-year pilot project to bring psychosocial tools, like Focusing and NVC, to women in prizon. The Department of Corrections is now adopting the program, and Melba is collaborating on a training program for prison staff.

Rafael Zelaya, a youth group leader, says “When we have a turbulent situation, pausing and listening without judging helps me prevent disproportionate and violent reactions with the people around me.

“There are fewer crises when something doesn’t turn out as expected. The pause helps take the power out of emotions and lets me think of healthy solutions, by listening to myself and other people.

“There is a world so unknown, intriguing, changeable, questioning, contradictory and noble inside each one of us, just waiting for us to visit it and understand it. It’s very interesting to discover this, to know that you can learn how to accompany yourself in your inner world and that doing so helps you manage your emotions, channeling them so that you don’t feel so much frustration.”

Patricia B. says “I have more compassion for my own emotional pain. I feel like a part of me is more loving, and it is growing. When I find myself rushing to do things, I slow down and try to be more aware. I recognize that I can ask for help to solve my problems. I’m giving myself small gifts to meet my needs. I am careful to ask, considering the right of others to say Yes or No. I’ve gotten massages and taken naps to rest and be better able to serve others. All this strengthens my sense of well-being.”

Many of these participants have expressed interest in a longer, more formal training. I would love to continue working with these intelligent, open and courageous, people who have such a strong commitment to personal growth and to improving the lives of their fellow Salvadorans.  Our dream is to train a strong team that will be able to support Salvadorans in their determination to create a more peaceful society.

Please help us realize this dream !

Beatrice Blake, June 15, 2016

Profile, Beatrice Blake, CFP

Beatrice Blake started out as a Doctor of Oriental Medicine (licensed by the State of New México in 1982).

Family ties led her to Costa Rica, where, as the author of a best-selling guidebook, she was instrumental in the shaping of that country’s ecotourism industry.

From 1982 to 1984, while living in Costa Rica, she volunteered doing acupuncture at a clinic for refugees from the Salvadoran Civil War (1980-1992). She saw their wounded bodies, listened to their wounded hearts, and was inspired by their incredible spirit. At the time, she wished to understand more about the body/mind connection so that she could do more to help them. When she first studied Focusing in 1989, she felt that she had found the key to that understanding.  After raising a family, she returned to her fascination with the body/mind/spirit connection and in 2000 became a Certified Focusing Professional. She went on to study Thinking at the Edge from its developers, Psychologist / philosopher Eugene Gendlin, Kye Nelson and Nada Lou.

Now, in addition to teaching TAE online and in person, she is working on ways to teach Focusing and Nonviolent Communication to community groups in El Salvador and internationally.

Rather than advocating for peace and dialogue alone, Focusing and NVC show people HOW TO work with their own situations to resolve conflict  — first in their own lives, then with their families, spreading into the community. Once people have experienced reduction in conflict in their own lives, it becomes easier to believe that peace is possible. In this way Focusing and NVC are changing lives in El Salvador and around the world.


History of The Focusing Community in the Pacific Northwest of the North American Continent

The Focusers Focus, Vol.18, No.4, Winter Issue 2016

History of The Focusing Community in the Pacific Northwest of
the North American Continent

By Anna Willman (Focusing Trainer) with assistance from
Nina Joy Lawrence (Certifying Coordinator)

Nina Joy Lawrence (left), Anna Willman  (right)


When I moved to the northwestern U.S. in 1989, there were just three Focusing Professionals in the Oregon section of The Focusing Institute data base, including myself.   I contacted the nearest trainer, Kathy McGuire, who lived an hour away.

As a graduate student in Chicago Kathy had helped Gene Gendlin start the original teaching of Focusing in the first Changes Group in 1970.  In Oregon she used Focusing in her private practice, and started one or more Changes Groups.  She got people interested in Focusing by holding monthly workshops connecting Focusing to some popular topic drawn from a local issue, a recent movie or TV show, or some current event.  Kathy also organized periodic weekend retreats for therapists and counselors, where Focusing was taught to professionals.

During my first year as director of a social service program called the Confidence Clinic, I asked Kathy to do a weekend retreat for the staff, a first step to my introducing Focusing to that program.  The staff and I were able to incorporate Focusing into the operation of the Clinic during the next 18 years.

When Kathy married and moved to Arkansas, she left behind an active Changes Group. It gradually shrank as older participants became frail, but still continues 20 years later as a men’s support group.

For several years after Kathy left, Oregon Focusers continued to be scattered, and operating separately except for the small Changes Group. One of these Focusers was Nina Joy Lawrence, who lived two hours travel from me.  She received her first training from Kathy McGuire in the 1990s, and joined Ann Weiser Cornell’s training program in 2001.  By 2004 she became interested in bringing Focusers together in our area, and contacted me and Linda Prier, who had been Focusing for years on her own, after learning from Gendlin and Mary Hendricks in the early days in New York.  We lived in three different cities within a radius of about 150 miles, so we met midway between.

The three of us sent out invitations to all the Focusers we knew about, inviting them to come together.  Thus began a series of quarterly meetings held at a central location. Some of us traveled two hours each way but we made sure that all could attend and get home within a day.  We usually had about 14 people at these quarterly meetings, some who had learned from Kathy, some of my trainees, some Nina Joy had taught, and some who had learned from Gene, Ann or others.  From the beginning our group has included people from many Focusing traditions and has tried to stay inclusive.

In 2008 Nina Joy felt the need to expand our group and reach out to Focusers farther away.   A feeling for the size of the territory she wanted us to reach can come from imagining being in the middle of our coastal area, and traveling by train or car for about 12 hours north, or south or east. Nina found other small active groups by contacting all the Northwest Focusing Trainers she could locate in the 2008 Focusing Institute directory, and anyone who had trained people in our area of the continent.

Two of the nine Focusing teachers in our area found the time and energy to help Nina organize that first gathering.  They were Miriam Atkins, a Chicago-trained Focusing professional and Jane Nelson, trained by Jane Bell and Ann Weiser Cornell.  Others, like Kevin Krycka who teaches Focusing at Seattle University, Jack Blackburn in Seattle, and Katarina Halm in Vancouver, Canada, helped train the Focusers who did take part.

Miriam and her husband Len had a small resort on the beach.  Miriam had been training people who passed through their lodge, and she also held small workshops there.  Miriam and Len graciously made their space available for a winter gathering and invited Miriam’s students.

Jane Nelson was active in a Focusing community that started during the training workshops Jane Bell gave in the Seattle area. Jane Bell was Ann Weiser Cornell’s work partner at the time.  Nina connected with Jane Nelson at a Treasure Maps workshop taught by Ann and Barbara McGavin in 2005. Jane Nelson helped us invite more people, so that eighteen of us from Washington and Oregon found our way to that first Northwest Focusing Gathering, including Jeffrey Morrison and Donna Varnau, who had recently become certified trainers through Ann’s training program.

The next year more of us met at a sports camp in Oregon, and we have met every year since then, alternating between Oregon and Washington.  We draw participants mostly from three large states and a province of Canada.  Sometimes people come from further afield.  Most of us can travel by car to our meeting place in eight hours or less but some fly from further away or come by train.

Our annual Northwest Focusing Gathering format is simple.  We purposely keep the cost low, covering only room and food expenses, with just enough extra to be able to offer a few scholarships.  The sites are not fancy, but always in beautiful settings with lots of opportunities to walk on the beach or in the woods.  There is always plenty of good food to eat.

We meet for a long weekend each spring, coming together first on Friday afternoon to collaboratively create the program for our time together.  Our gathering includes professionals and nonprofessionals, and all of us are equal members.  We encourage anyone who attends to consider presenting on a topic related to Focusing.  We have had workshops, explorations, or presentations on Focusing and… spirituality, meditation, many kinds of body work, writing, philosophy, end-of-life questions, creative play, walking a labyrinth, calligraphy, clay, collage, postcards, dreams, TAE, walking in nature, and much, much more.

Usually one of our professionals will offer a basic Focusing class at a reduced rate for those interested.  We schedule lots of time for individual focusing turns and always have a Focusing Follies evening, when we all sing and play together with much enthusiasm.  At the end of our time together, we always sit down for one hour and ask ourselves, “What did we love about our time together this year?”  And then “What could be even better?”  From the gathered responses, we find what to keep doing and what changes to try next year.

In 2016 we will hold our 9th annual Gathering.  In recent years we have about 35 participants, with a core group of twenty who are consistent attenders.  We have formed strong bonds, even though many of us see each other just once a year at this event.

Each year a group of five or six takes on responsibility for organizing the next year’s event.  Organizing meetings were originally conducted by telephone, and now mostly use video conferencing.  Since program content is settled at the event, organizing is simple: securing the place, advertising the event, and collecting fees and information about dietary needs from attendees.

It was the strength of our sense of community and our experience in organizing this annual gathering that gave our Northwest Focusing community the courage to plan the 2015 International Focusing Conference in Seattle. Successfully completing that project has connected more of us in the area, and we are exploring other ways to enliven our community.  A Facebook page is open now for exchanging information.

We continue to hold local Changes Groups in various locations in the Northwest between our annual Gatherings.  With Kathy McGuire planning on moving back to Oregon soon, we look forward eagerly to seeing more Focusing activities develop.

We can see that encouraging Focusing in this large area of the North American continent has started with a few individuals sharing our practice with small groups.  Once enough people knew and loved Focusing, all we needed was for someone to take the Initiative to call them all together into a larger circle.  And in that larger Gathering, crossings of our body wisdom have created an ongoing lively community.

History and development of Focusing in Italy

The Focuser’s Focus, Vol.19, No.2, Summer Issue 2015

History and development of Focusing in Italy

By Nicoletta Corsetti and Olga Pasquini
(Certifying Coordinators, Italy)

Nicoletta Corsetti             Olga Pasquini

The history of Focusing in Italy begins in January 2000 . After four years of living in Argentina, I returned to live in Rome and started working to spread Focusing in my country of origin, where it was still unknown.

The first step was the creation of the web page www.focusing.it  and the publication the Italian edition of “Focusing” by Gendlin. The book and the web page were essential tools in order to give impetus to the spread of Focusing movement not only in Rome but throughout Italy.

Psychologists, Counselors, but also midwives, nurses, body workers and the general public began to show interest  and to discover  Focusing.

To these first steps followed years of traveling in different cities of Italy, from north to south of the country, invited by various associations and training institutions for presentations and courses.

In 2003 I founded in Rome, together my colleague Olga Pasquini, the Association “Serendipità”, which was soon transformed into a center of training and integration of Focusing with other practices, especially in bodywork. The same year the Association started hosting the monthly meetings of the Changes groups.

In those years was fundamental the encouragement and support I received from Mary Hendricks-Gendlin, from Atsmaout Perlstein, Israel, and Dorothea Damrath, Germany, and from many other colleagues coordinators met at international conferences.

In 2004 I became Coordinator and this allowed a further step towards the insertion of Focusing in Italy, with the training of trainers who have actively begun to create new programs and training centers in different cities and contexts.

In the following years the Italian editions of other books were published: “The Power of Focusing” by Ann Weiser Cornell, “Biospirituality” by Campbell and Mac Mahon, “Focusing with Children” by Marta Stappert and “Focusing oriented Psychotherapy” by Gendlin. Each of these publications has been a new impetus to let Focusing rich a wider audience and new areas.

At the same time many articles have been translated and published in www.focusing.it and in the several web pages of new Italian trainers and coordinators.

Currently, in 2016, there are in Italy 8 coordinators and 80 trainers who carry out various training programs and are developing original experiences of integration, for example with body work, meditation, artistic expression, spirituality, music, children and adolescents education, Non Violent Communication, Coaching, etc … ..

Many workshops and residential meetings have taken place in these 16 years of history of Focusing in Italy.
The international  retreat  “Meeting at the edge – Focusing in Body Oriented Practices ” was held on the island of Ischia, in the Bay of Naples in 2007. It was an innovative and challenging experience, in which 47 participants, from Italy, USA, Belgium, Switzerland, Germany, Ireland, Greece, France, the Netherlands and Costa Rica,  have experimented, created and shared ideas, hypotheses and Focusing integration projects in numerous and different body-oriented practices.

Well-known international coordinators have brought their teaching to Italy, as Ann Weiser Cornell from the United States, Barbara McGavin from Britain, Robert Lee from the US, Nada Lou from Canada, and Renè Veugelers from The Netherlands.

A group of Roman trainers have organized near Rome two residential meetings named “Superchanges”, in 2011 and 2012, with the aim of creating a space in which Focusing practitioners and trainers should meet to share their experiences and projects.

The coordinator Germana Ponte, along with Bruna Blandino and Luisa Toriggia, organized in 2013 and 2014 meetings called “Scambi” in Abano Terme, near Padua. In 2014 the participants were 85 and there are already 85 registered for the meeting of 2016 in which will also participate Catherine Torpey, the Executive Director of The Focusing  Institute.

There are many active people in Focusing in different areas and in different Italian cities and many other activities and initiatives have been and will be developed.


Focusing in the United Kingdom

The Focuser’s Focus, Vol.18, No.1, Winter Issue 2015

Focusing in the United Kingdom

By Rob Foxcroft
(Certifying Coordinator, UK)

2015.2.1 Rob

I began to learn focusing and experiential listening in the summer of 1987, when I was tentatively emerging from a very difficult period in my life. In March 1988, I made the first of several brief visits to Chicago to study with Gene Gendlin, Mary McGuire, Bebe Simon and their colleagues. Soon afterwards, I got in touch with a number of people in Britain who were already teaching focusing. Peter Afford, Barbara McGavin and I met for tea in the city of Bath one wet autumnal afternoon. It was a memorable encounter, as we began to sound one another out (that process, at least, still continues).

In many countries, focusing has come through the universities. This was not so with us. We were all individual practitioners in private practice. We had come from many backgrounds. Our understandings and approaches were naturally varied. Some of us were psychotherapists, some not. Some had had person-centred training, some not. No two had the same perspective. No two had been trained by the same teachers. We found we must take our time. The process would not be hurried.

For it was not at first easy to see whether we would be able to come into enough unity to work together and support one another’s teaching. We seemed so far apart. Yet we learned to value diversity of practice. We came to see diversity as central to the focusing approach. We were protective of our own ways and we came to respect the ways of others. After all, if we were not going to trust each individual’s felt sense, what would we be doing in focusing anyway?

We had many further meetings and conversations – an icy weekend amongst the mountains of the Lake District, a couple of sunny meetings in busy London, several peaceful gatherings in the countryside. During one such gathering, I spent more than twenty-four hours waiting in a frozen train, whilst heavy snows fell outside and gallant colleagues daringly attempted a rescue by road. In the end we did what we had set out to do, when the British Focusing Association was set up in 1994.

Today our members include practitioners, who work one-to-one, offering focusing sessions and individual teaching; teachers, who are also qualified to teach groups and to offer a ten-day training in focusing and listening; and mentors, who are also qualified to train practitioners and teachers. Some of us are specialised focusing teachers, some are focusing-oriented psychotherapists or life-coaches, and some bring focusing into other areas, such as yoga, art, music and creative writing.

Focusing is deeply woven into our daily lives. We have seen the subtle and profound ways in which focusing informs our actions and relationships. We are thankful for the quiet, reliable developments in our inner lives. We long for a world in which focusing is as well known and widely practised as prayer or meditation. We have found it possible to balance stubborn independence with friendly co-operation, in a way that supports our work and slowly builds a presence for focusing in British society.

We want the British Focusing Association to embody our deeply-held values, so that all our interactions will be respectful and focusing-oriented. We want to combine very high levels of openness, acceptance and mutual respect with equally high standards of focusing teaching and practice. We work together all the time to find and maintain a balance between individual creativity and professional integrity.

After much focusing and discussion, we decided to uphold a set of seven core values, and we agreed on the following wording as a clear expression of those values.

  1. Mutual respect.We believe that each person brings something of value to our endeavours. Each member’s voice has equal validity – and everybody is encouraged to share his or her viewpoint.
  2. Integrity.We are committed to high standards of personal and professional integrity.
  3. Diversity.We honour the creativity and diverse styles of each of our members. Because this is so important to us, our teachers are free to design their own programmes and develop their own teaching styles.
  4. Openness.We are open to what each person can contribute to our knowledge and understanding of focusing and how it can be shared with others. We are open to including recognised practitioners from each of the approaches to practising and teaching focusing.
  5. Support.Working alone can be a lonely business. We encourage our members to have partnerships where they can exchange support for their work.
  6. Sensitivity to each person’s needs.Each person is an individual with his or her own needs. We are committed to being sensitive to the individual needs of each of our members, students and clients.
  7. Consensus.We are committed to taking into account each person’s feelings of acceptance or disquiet. For this reason we do not vote. We make decisions by listening carefully until all those present agree to go forward.

This last value, our principle of consensus, changes everything. Any time people vote, somebody’s felt sense is overridden. But when you know that the group will not go on without you, something in you becomes peaceful and secure. You are no longer driven to be tense and rigid, in the fear of being unheard or disregarded.

And when the group knows that it is not going to vote, but to wait until a common way emerges, people remember to listen to the person whose felt sense is uneasy, even though action feels pressing. While consensus seems slow, it is secretly fast, because nobody is left behind.

One of the effects of this way of coming to a decision is that we have to spend a lot of time coming to know and trust one another; and then, perhaps surprisingly, we find that we often make decisions very quickly and efficiently. One way we sometimes use to decide something is to say to two or three people: “Do something sensible. We trust you.” This may be the best decision of all.

By putting the human aspect before the executive, in the way I have just spoken of, we have slowly built a real community of practitioners; one that feels very strong and loyal, one in which all are equal and all our voices are heard.

For many years we were an unincorporated association, simply a gathering of friends and colleagues, with no legal status or protections. Recently we became a Community Interest Company: a legal structure which gives our members security from debt in the event of financial losses. This enabled us to organise our second Focusing School a few weeks ago, a most successful gathering of focusers from as far away as Israel; and it will make it possible host the International Focusing Conference in 2016.

The conference will be held in Robinson College, Cambridge, an easy walk from the river and the ancient colleges. We hope that it will be a deeply memorable occasion, and that many of our Japanese friends will come to be with us.

There are a number of excellent focusing teachers in Britain who are not part of our association. We are (I believe) on good terms with all of them. There is fine work going on at the University of East Anglia, at Regent College and Regent’s University in London, and through the Institute for Biospiritual Research. I am not the best person to say more about these other strands; but I hope that this account will give our friends and colleagues in Japan some sense of the distinctive flavour and contribution of the British Focusing Association.


The story of the development of Focusing in Belgium & Luxembourg and the story of Wholebody Leadership

The Focuser’s Focus, Vol.17, No.3, Autumn Issue 2014

The story of the development of Focusing in Belgium & Luxembourg and
the story of Wholebody Leadership

By Olivier Gourmet
(Certifying Coordinator, Luxembourg)

Olivier Gourmet

Focusing in Belgium

Belgium is a federal country with three official languages: French, Flemish and German. Focusing was first present at the University of Louvain in Flanders, the Flemish speaking part of Belgium, as a part of a course in client centered psychotherapy offered to University students under the responsibility of Mia Leijssen.

Focusing wasn’t present in the French speaking part of Belgium, Wallonia, until 2001 when Olivier Gourmet, introduced Focusing by inviting Marine de Fréminville from Montreal in Canada to come to give the first Level 1 workshop in French. Later on in 2002, Olivier Gourmet developed the
Belux Focusing center (www.focusingcenter.be) within his company Systemic offering Focusing courses to everybody : psychotherapists but also coaches, business people and people looking for an efficient self-development approach. The Belux Focusing Center has regularly been inviting foreign teachers in Focusing and other approaches connected to Focusing to give workshops in French or English.

In 2009, a Focusing workgroup, called “Focussen Vlaanderen”, was created to support the spreading of Focusing in and out the world of experiential client psychotherapy in Flanders. The goal was also to enable the different group of Focusers in Flanders to meet and exchange together. That project was started by Mathias Dekeyser, Erwin Vlerick and Tine Swyngedouw. The web site of Focussen Vlaanderen is www.focussenvlaanderen.be.

In 2013, a group of client centered psychotherapists from Wallonia, Annik Absil, Martine Gilsoul and Dominique Vatelli, trained in France decided to create a group of Action and Experiential Research in Focusing called “Garef”. They are offering meetings and trainings in Focusing, linking it particularly to Roger’s work and client centered psychotherapy. Their web site is www.garef.org.

In Belgium in 2014, there are 5 Certifying Coordinators (by alphabetical order of family names) : Annik Absil, Olivier Gourmet, Mia Leijssen, Claude Missiaen and Tine Swyngedouw. There is one
CC in training : Katrijn Van Loock. There are also 13 Certified Focusing Professional and 14

Focusing in Luxembourg

Luxembourg is a small country bordered by Belgium, Germany and France. It has one national language : Luxembourgish and three administrative languages : Luxembourgish, French and German. In 2014, there is one Certifying Coordinator in Luxembourg : Olivier Gourmet, who was also the first TFI Certified Focusing Trainer there. And, there is one Certified Focusing Professional : Deborah Egan-Klein. There are also a number of Focusing practitioners who have been trained in Germany who are using Focusing for psychotherapy or children work. One of them that is particularly known in the Focusing community for her work with children is Chantal Résibois.

Wholebody Leadership : Wholebody Focusing & Shin Shin Toitsu Aikido, the story of bringing Focusing with Aikido in the business world

Since 1989, Systemic in Belgium, has been offering courses to executives and business leaders.
Those courses were mainly around operation improvement and organizational development. In 2002, courses in Focusing were added to the catalog of trainings. For ten years, several attempts to bring Focusing into the business world have been developed, one of those was the development of a workshop on “Developing your Emotional Intelligence” where Focusing was introduced and taught. Starting from around 2012, Olivier Gourmet, who has been practicing the Aikido martial art for 14 years, has been developing a new concept blending Wholebody Focusing and Shin Shin Toitsu Aikido for leadership development and team coaching named ‘Wholebody Leadership’. In the Focusing world, an introduction to that approach was done in 2013 at the international Focusing conference in Switzerland. That presentation was very well received by the participants as well as the workshop “Confidence under pressure ~ blending the principles of Aikido with Body Centred Listening” offered with colleague René Veugelers and offered in the Netherlands in 2014.

What can Aikido bring to Focusing? The principles of Aikido and the practice of centering and
particularly mind/body coordination brings the following benefits to people doing Focusing :

  • Developing an awareness of bodily signals of stress and your own natural response patterns.
  • Learning how to create and maintain a physically felt centeredness that enables you to operate at your best potential. This physically felt centered presence also acts as a powerful container for solo Focusing or for accompanying somebody in his or her Focusing process.
  • Learning to listen during difficult conversations or when being criticized. And, then learning to find appropriate responses without defensive, critical or aggressive reactions.
  • Learning how to be more resilient and enhance your ability for self-care and empathy.
  • Discovering how the message of the founder of Aikido of “the loving protection of all things” can be applied in everyday life.


More could be said of the use of Aikido in the business world and about Wholebody Leadership but that isn’t the purpose of this article. So, readers interested can contact Olivier Gourmet at
contact@focusing.lu for more information.

Focusing Belgium - Luxembourg

History and Development of Focusing in the Francophone Community in Quebec

The Focuser’s Focus Vol.17 No.2 Summer Issue 2014

History and Development of Focusing in the Francophone Community in Quebec

By Marine de Fréminville(Certifying Coordinator since 1992, Canada)
Edited by Patricia Manessy(Certifying Coordinator since 2002, Canada)


For over 30 years, Focusing has been growing and expanding in French-speaking Quebec, Canada. Some pioneers went to Chicago to meet Gendlin and attend a Focusing training workshop with him, following the discovery of one of his articles, which was circulating in the universities, entitled “A Theory of Personality Change”, published in 1964 and translated by Fernand Roussel in 1975, or as a result of reading the book, Focusing, translated in 1981. Thenceforth, since the 1980s, Gaston Boulanger, passionate about Focusing and Dreams, led groups on the subject and continues to this very day. Marie-Anne Quenneville (now retired) created her own Focusing school and trained many students over the years, including Denis Archambault and Danielle Grégoire who continue with their own training programs. In 1986, motivated by Gendlin’s personal visit to Eastman, QC, Catherine Pichard (who has since returned to France), Thérèse Fortier (now deceased) and I integrated Focusing into our therapeutic practices and taught Focusing together for nearly 15 years. Denise Nöel subsequently specialized in Focusing and Art. Diane Bourbonnais, one of the pioneers, along with her husband, continued to teach Focusing at the University of Ottawa (Ontario) in French. Francine Bergeron, trained by Denise Roussel in 1983, taught Focusing and self-healing in numerous places in Quebec and in New Brunswick, integrating it into her therapeutic and massage practice, and subsequently combined it with yoga, as has Luciemay Therrien (who was trained by Francine). In 2001, Patricia Manessy and I created the Bilingual Focusing Center of Montreal, teaching Focusing workshops extensively (including Dreams, the Interactive Process, and initiating monthly Supervision Days towards certification). Patricia brought Focusing into NHC Institute, a holistic school where Levels 1 & 2 became mandatory for their 3-year diploma program. Over the years, international Focusing teachers were invited to give workshops, translated into French: Kevin McEvenue, Robert Lee, Lucie Bowers, René Veugelers, Nada Lou. Also in 2001, at the International Focusing Conference in Ireland, I met Olivier Gourmet from Belgium, and since that time, a long collaboration (over 12 years) ensued in French and sometimes in English, in Liege, Belgium.

Solange St-Pierre came to join this initial group; she has since become a Certifying Coordinator and is the initiator of a project to create a French association, Diffusion Focusing Québec (DFQ). DFQ was originally formed in 2006 as a non-profit organization to support the holding of the 20th International Focusing Conference in Bromont, (just outside Montreal), Quebec, Canada in 2008. This was an opportunity to provide an ‘Open Door Day’ in the French language, allowing the francophone community accessibility to this international gathering. Following this achievement, it was decided to maintain the Quebec association, Diffusion Focusing Québec and to create, thanks to the considerable efforts of Solange, a new website offering extensive information and documentation accessible to all persons wishing to become a member; it also allowed the consolidation of francophone Focusing Practitioners/Guides, Teachers, Therapists (see website: www.diffusion-focusing.org). A French newsletter, ‘Porte ouverte sur le Focusing’ was published in 2009 and 2010. Also, a mentoring program for Focusing partnerships has been successfully established and is still in force 4 years later.

Some other projects were developed under the auspices of DFQ:  Encounters at the Edge, Restorative Circles (being explored since 2010 following a connection with Dominic Barter, the developer of Restorative Circles), and other community projects. Let us also include, in 2010, within the ‘Community Wellness’ project, an interesting collaborative experience with Ecuador where I have been invited to participate by its ardent representative, William Hernandez (and his team),who has given a new momentum to the Focusing movement through the art of ‘the Pause’ as I could share in a report.

A collective project of teaching Focusing one-on-one and in dyads is currently being explored. There is also a plan to refurbish the website.

The invitation to pay tribute to Gendlin and his work as well as the transitional situation experienced by the Focusing Institute and the projected Coordinators Assembly in May 2014 allowed many of us to come together to express both our expectations and our proposed contributions.  A complete report was penned by Solange St-Pierre and presented at the Coordinators Assembly. It can be found at www.focusing.org on the ‘Forum for Exploring our Future’ under the heading ‘Groupe de Réflexion en français’ (an English translation is also available at that juncture).

Our association favors and promotes operating from the bottom up, in a spirit of equality, making space for local initiatives, with multiple crossings, holding multilingualism dear to its heart (English, French, Spanish). Let me express here my gratitude to my Japanese Colleagues who, through their generous invitation, allowed me to experience a rich partnership with them around the theme of the Background Feeling, in Fukuoka and Tokyo, in 2013. The community values the co-development of skills and the co-evolvement of meaning and values ​​that unite us internationally. In this spirit, DFQ and the francophone Focusing community encouraged and supported my participation to be their representative at the international level within the newly-formed International Leadership Council (ILC), working in conjunction with TFI’s new Board of Directors. I feel honored to have been chosen to be part of this international council to represent the francophone community.

Other areas of Focusing applications are also very active, such as Focusing and Education. Francine Dalcourt, introduced to Focusing in 1996 and certified in 2001, started her own training program for teachers and to this day, she continues to find even more beneficial effects of Focusing on the well-being of teachers. In particular, she notes how teachers, who integrate the Focusing attitudes in the elementary school grades, create a more stimulating and motivating learning environment.

Wholebody Focusing taught in Montreal by Kevin McEvenue since 2006 has expanded with Philippe Hunaut, now certified in this field, and with Patricia Manessy and I who completed the 2-year Advanced WBF Training Program with Kevin McEvenue and Karen Whalen. Very recently, in July 2014, Philippe and Patricia co-taught 3 WBF days in France during IFEF’s (l’Institut de Focusing de l’Europe Francophone, Bernadette and Gérard Lamboy) summer school, strengthening the ties with the European francophone community. Over several years, Francine Bergeron, Gaston Boulanger and I have also contributed and been a part of important collaborations and teachings in France.

To all of this, let us include and acknowledge many other Focusing applications in the francophone community, such as: Focusing and Spirituality, Focusing and Trauma, Focusing and the Background Feeling, Focusing and Philosophy, Focusing and Yoga, Focusing and Taekwondo (Richard Lajeunesse), and the Creation of French Focusing videos by Diane Couture, and more.

We are currently 3 francophone Coordinators in Quebec (Patricia, Solange and I) and more than thirty people have been certified in Focusing in the province of Quebec…

N.B. This simply reflects the situation of Focusing within the francophone community in the province of Quebec, just a part of the extensive presence of Focusing throughout the English-speaking majority in Canada’s 9 other provinces, including Ontario, Manitoba, British Columbia (with the most certified members).


Focusing in Argentina

The Focuser’s Focus Vol.17 No.1 Spring Issue 2014

Focusing in Argentina

By Elena Frezza Argentina
(Certifying Coordinator, Argentina)



How did I get to Focusing?

My body was my guide.

After many years of terrible back pain, having tried all kinds of help including physical as well as emotional treatments and a fruitless disc herniation surgery, my doctors sentenced me by saying: “You have to learn to live with this”.

Given all that pain, I needed to find a loving way with myself; a way in which I could  listen to myself without judgment nor in a disqualifying manner.

I needed to find Elena again. I had lost her somewhere in that pain and loosing her was what hurt the most.

During all those years I was living in the United States. Coming back home to Argentina, through my own suffering I wanted to understand, listen and learn about the great human suffering. My journey started by studying Carl Rogers’ Person Centered Approach. Getting to know Carl Rogers’  gave me back trust in human nature and taught me a way to establish a relationship with myself that could be accepting, respectful, tender and at the same time powerful.

As part of my continuing growth, I deeply wished to attend  the International Forum of the  Person Centered Approach in Brasil during August 1989. I was excited because I was going to meet a lot of interesting people from many different countries working with this approach. My pain and I went together, happy and with great expectation..

Then the miracle ocurred!  By chance I met my dearest friend and teacher, Ann Weiser Cornell, who was introducing a workshop about Focusing. Something in me, maybe the part that always knew that the doctors were wrong, led me to that workshop, where I touched an inner place that I had never visited – certainly not in a loving and tender way. My body said: “I want more of this!”

So in 1990 I started my trainning in New York where Ann taught Focusing levels 1 and 2. I bought all her audio tapes, I translated them to Spanish and started teaching my colleagues. In those times there were no computers, nor cell phones, not even a Focusing book in Spanish. So I would travel, tape, record, take notes, type them and complie the information so I could teach.

It was in that same year that I co-founded “Holos”, the first Argentinean Center of Humanistic Psychology and Counseling, using the Client Centered Approach. I had also been in Chicago and received trainning from Mary Mc Guire and Janet Klein, two wonderful teachers.

Returning home I translated their notes and exercises to Spanish and gradually started teaching it to my Counseling students,  finding a way to introduce  Focusing adapting it to our culture. In the process of creating this trainning program I would integrate the contributions of each of my teachers, as well as great deal from my pupils and their body wisdom.

After adapting and working with Focusing I was  finally able to meet Eugene Gendlin at a “week long” in Chicago in 1992. I was so moved! I was in the presence of a genius; this humble, loving, revolutionary human being and his ground breaking philosophical idea. It was  such an honor.

In 1996 Eugene Gendlin named me  Coordinator for Argentina at the International Conference in Boston. I recall vividly being sooo moved.  My eyes were full of tears, met Gene´s  and asked him: “And now what am I supposed to do? How do I go on, all by myself in Argentina?”. He hugged me and said to me:

“Trust your felt senses, and give yourself time”.

Our next step was to obtain official approval from the Ministry of Education in Argentina. Although I was teaching Focusing openly to professional therapists who had learned the Client Centered Approach (not just at Holos), we were just a few in those days like a family.

Over the next five years we were inspected by the Education Ministery until finally Focusing became official in its first two levels of the Counseling Career program in our country.

I developed a program of five levels and created the first Focusing School in Argentina. In the year 2000 Marion Hendricks Gendlin, director of the Focusing Institute International supported and encouraged me to found “The Focusing Institute Argentina”.

In  2010, Gene invited me to be part of the Board of Directors saying: “I hope you accept”, Isn´t he incredible! How could I not accept such an honour coming from him and the wonderful members whom I know and admire so much!!!

To this day, we have 6 Coordinators in Argentina, a large comunity of Focusing Trainers teaching all over the country developing their own teaching programs, and a countless comunity of students.

Amongst other accomplishments we have organized events such as the First Iberoamerican Conference in 2007 and the First International Conference in South America in 2012.

Focusing has been developing in many areas besides Counseling or Psychoterapy. In low resource communities, poor neighbourhoods, groups of mistreated or abandoned women, children’s dining rooms, small projects, education, hospitals, neurosciences, professions related to the body and alternatives therapies, among others, Focusing is now applied.

There is a lot more to do in this lively and growing community. We are continuing to develop together the implicit and marvelous processes of Focusing.

As for Gene Gendlin, my love and gratitude towards him will transcend my life and my country. One day the world will be ready to listen and understand his creation and then, “something” in the world will change

So, I found Elena again thanks to Focusing! I can find her whenever she gets lost and her body starts to hurt…..

As some of my students say, “Focusing exists in Argentina thanks to Elena’s back pain……..”!


Focusing in the Netherlands

The Focuser’s Focus Vol.16 No.4 Winter Issue 2013

Focusing in the Netherlands

By René Veugelers
(Certifying Coordinator, Children Coordinator, The Netherlands)



The Focusing Oriented Psychotherapy was in the beginning the main stream in the Netherlands, organized in a group for consultation and spreading FOT out. Among them, Ada Herpst, René Maas, Nini de Graaf, Ton Coffeng and Bart Santen.  Since about 1985 Erna de Bruin en Marta Stapert, and a little bit later Christine Langeveld, joined a changes group in Amsterdam, initiated by Ada Herpst. Ada came fresh from Chicago, where she studied for 3 months with Gene Gendlin, Mary Mc Quire and Janet Klein. Later Mary Armstrong from Canada, Reva Bernstein (Focusing and Dreams) and Ann Weiser Cornell came to the Netherlands to give workshops.  In 1993  started Erna and Christine with the first focusing courses. Following a conference in Pforzheim in 1997, Erna de Bruyn, Mia leijssen and Christine Langeveld decided to form a group for the Netherlands and Belgium. After some small steps and group meetings they organized the first Focusing day for 42 people in April 2000, with Focusing colleagues from the Netherlands and Belgium, who were already connected with TFI. This was the start of the Focusing Network in the Netherlands and Belgium.

Over the years they have developed a solid structure for this network with a quarterly news letter containing all kinds of information about trainings possibilities, new subjects, Focusing development in the world and personal interviews with supporting information. The network also organized a yearly Focusing network day starting in November 2000 and so last year we celebrated our 12th anniversary. These meetings are especially important for maintaining a living connection and active sharing possibilities that helps to keep the Focusing attitude and skills base alive.

Since 2003 they also created an up to date website: www.focussen.info  Network members pay a yearly fee and are able to promote their trainings. Over the past few years the CC have trained many new Focusers: about 75 new Focusing Trainers-one-to-one Practioner  and about 35 new Focusing trainers group.  We’re now in a real transition to a younger generation and as a result the network structure has changed with Belgian focusers now having their own network: Focusing Vlaanderen

In the Netherlands there are now 5 CC: Marion van de Boogaard, Aaffien de Vries, Erna de Bruyn, Christine Langeveld and René veugelers. Also 3 CC in training: Ria ten Hage, Aukje Strandstra en Harriet Teeuw. They all have monthly phone meeting and are organize bi-annual supportive training days for professionals and trainees. They are developing new ways to offer Focusing to therapists and professionals and are also in transition.

Children Focusing

Marta Stapert, being a child psychotherapist, started since 1987 to integrate Focusing in her child therapies at a school for children with learning and social-emotional disabilities.  Being in Chicago for the training to become a Focusing trainer, she saw a Japanese video of ‘Clearing a space in the classroom’ in 1993 and subsequently began introducing Focusing to her teacher colleagues in the Netherlands. She developed a program for teachers to use Focusing in the classroom and on how to teach Focusing to children in a group. During the International Focusing Conference in Gloucester (near Boston) in 1996, the first workshop centered on ‘Clearing a space in a group of children through drawing’, took place. During lunchtime in this conference the children focusers came together around a table in the corner of the room. The ‘Children Focusing Corner’ had just been born.

From 1996 till October 2006 Marta Stapert was the coordinator for Children Focusing. After her retirement in 2000, René Veugelers became a new board member. Since 2007 René took over her work in the Netherlands and internationally, and became Coordinator, also for Children Focusing. Look for more information about Children Focusing at: www.focusing.org/children

Working with Harriet Teeuw and Jos van de Brand in 1998 in the Netherlands René also started the Children Focusing Foundation: stichting Kinderfocussen www.kinderfocussen.info

They are developing new programs, writing articles and offering the 60 hour international Children Focusing training developed by Marta and Ynse Stapert. Harriet and René are also offering this training in the Netherlands in English (July/August ) and René travels all over the world to train others in this unique seriously playful attitude including the FISS in August in New York for the past few years.

He will also be teaching at the 8th Children Focusing conference in Ireland / Dublin in 2014.  See our website www.eistchildrenfocusing2014.ie for details. The effort of organizing such a conference is, however, a substantial job as it is an important meeting-point to present and exchange ideas and experiences so that Focusing with children can develop further and gain a more influential role out there with the intention of creating a better world for children.

For more questions about Focusing or Children Focusing in the Netherlands or training possibilities don’t hesitate to contact René or look at his English website: www.ftcz.nl

My Experience from the Focusing Workshops in Japan (August and September 2013)

The Focuser’s Focus Vol.16 No.3 Autumn Issue 2013

My Experience from the Focusing Workshops in Japan
(August and September 2013)

By Pat Omidian (Certifying Coordinator, USA)


Its been a month since I left Japan with its matcha tea, red bean paste sweets, iced coffee, soba and sashimi, temples, castles, forests of bamboo, subways and hot baths. As I sit here in rainy and cold Oregon to write, I miss all of it — but mostly I miss the hot baths. Pause… No, that’s not right. As I check inside I realize that I miss my Japanese friends and all the people I started to get to know and who shared so much of their hearts and lives with me. Yes! That’s what I miss, close connections and so much kindness. Ah, yes… this feels right.

I feel gratitude for having had the chance to share Community Wellness Focusing and the way Nina Joy Lawrence and I collaborated with Afghans to develop Focusing programs in Afghanistan and Pakistan. In the workshops and gatherings with nine different groups from Sendai to Kyoto and back to Tokyo I shared two key aspects of our approach: 1) that one does not have to wait to be “fully trained” in order share what one knows and experiences in Focusing; and 2) ways to design a local program that meets the needs of a community as people make use of their own metaphors to ground Focusing so that it makes sense to them and is easier to learn.

Teach what you already know how to do—Focusing Bits:

It turns out that the best time to start teaching anything is when you are just beginning to learn the new skill. It is at this time that you are most excited, enthusiastic and close to the most basic concepts of the process. Peer teaching and learning is effective as it helps the “teacher” hone new skills/knowledge as you share what you learn. The learner also benefits because the way of sharing relies on the experiential. The longer one waits before sharing what one has learned about Focusing, the harder it becomes. It’s easy to be intimidated by the depth of the philosophy and the intricacies of approach. By the time one has had level 3 or 4, it seems so complicated. How could you possibly teach it without making mistakes? Yet, Nina Joy and I were teaching Focusing to Afghan refugees in Pakistan in 2001 when she had only taken two levels and I had none. The needs of the Afghans were so great that we could not wait to learn all the levels before sharing something that might help them. I learned from Nina Joy as we went, helping lead workshops in an exploration of a concept and then joining in as a participant to practice the technique we had just discussed.

What we discovered is that it does not matter what parts of Focusing you decide to teach first. What matters is that you share what you know whenever you see a place for this knowledge. Focusing fits into our everyday lives with many important skills and attitudes. In the Kyoto workshop, the group listed the following skills (and there are many more that could be added to this list):

  • Pausing
  • Reflection
  • Listening
  • Inviting
  • Feeling a felt sense
  • Giving words to the felt sense


Then they listed the following Focusing attitudes:

  • Welcoming
  • Interested
  • Curious
  • Being gentle
  • Let the felt sense teach you
  • Kindness
  • Non-judgmental (and many others…)


We then noticed that any skill can be matched to any attitude and that any of these can be the entry point into teaching Focusing in a community, classroom or other. In small groups, the participants then explored ways they might do this in their everyday lives. Nina Joy and I call this “Teaching Bits.” One participant said she called it chobitto (tiny bits) in Japanese. This method facilitates the introduction of Focusing into any teaching or sharing context because you don’t have to teach everything. Instead, you use the parts of Focusing, the skill and or attitude, that are needed for that situation. As the group’s abilities and needs develop, you add more bits

Collaboration with the community:

When Nina Joy and I started teaching in Pakistan, we did not know what we were doing. Nina Joy knew that Focusing could be a powerful tool for healing. I knew nothing about it. But, not being skilled Focusing teachers meant that we relied on our Afghans colleagues to help share Focusing in a way that would make sense for them in their daily lives. It was serendipity that we included the Guesthouse imagery in the training, based on the Rumi poem that Nina Joy had on her computer. Little did we know how important that single metaphor would be in our training. As it turned out, the way Afghans view guests (to be treated respectfully and with kindness) is just the way one would want to hold whatever comes inside as we Focus. To be with a guest in the guesthouse with kindness and without judgment fit very well with Ann Weiser Cornell and Barbara McGavin’s notion of “self in presence” of Inner Relationship Focusing. And in Afghanistan the guesthouse is the place where guests can be cared for that is separate from the family’s living space, allowing for a place of privacy that guests would not enter without permission. In the same way, one can sit with the felt sense guest in the inner guesthouse, but move into a safe place away from it if it feels overwhelming (akin to Clearing a Space).

As I introduced this notion to Japanese participants, many said that this was the traditional way guests had been treated in their communities and that the method helped them in their own Focusing. Yet, the purpose of teaching Guesthouse Focusing was to illustrate the value of finding local metaphors and symbols that fit so that people can give voice to their inner “guests” in a way that feels natural and meaningful. For the Afghans, having a “something inside” carried less meaning than to say “I have a guest in me that wants attention.” When checking inside for what comes, the steps in Inner Relationship Focusing include “noticing something”, being with the “something” and describing the “something.” With Guesthouse Focusing, one “says hello to whatever guest comes”, “describes the guest”, “gets to know the guest” and “listens to what the guest wants the Focuser to know.” My challenge to participants in Japan was to think about what would give meaning to that which is inside in a Japanese way. What is the language that works? It’s not about translating this Guesthouse Focusing into Japanese; it is about paying attention to what is happening on the inside and articulating what comes through local metaphors, language and customs. Words came, as well as images that might work— such as evoking the felt sense through haiku poetry, kendo or some types of Buddhist mediation. Each group had their own lists and there may come many different ways to be with what comes that can be articulated in a very Japanese way.

Early in my trip I realized that many Japanese were attracted to Focusing and I asked Hikasa San, why. She told me that the Japanese people already have a sense of the basics of Focusing—it is after all a human process—and this ability only needed a voice, which Focusing gives to it. That makes it easier to share. Many participants came to me after each workshop with ideas of how they want to share Focusing in new ways–friend to friend, colleague to colleague, community to community.

As I take this in, I feel energy and connection. I come back in my body to gratitude for all I learned from participants in the many workshops. I want to thank each and every one who helped on this journey. What I sense underneath this is potential. I can imagine the world filled with people who can stop, listen and pay attention to what comes inside as they reach out to those around them.

Focusing in Switzerland – history and development

The Focuser’s Focus  Vol.16 No.2 Summer Issue 2013

Focusing in Switzerland – history and development

By Christiane Geiser (www.christianegeiser.ch)
and Eveline Moor (www.evelinemoor.ch)
(Certifying Coordinators, Switzerland)

Christiane Geiser and Eveline Moor


When you tell a story, you tell it through your own lenses, and it will be coloured by your own experiencing. We tell the story of Focusing in Switzerland through the eyes of the 2nd (Christiane Geiser) and 3rd (Eveline Moor) generations.


Switzerland has a long history of Focusing: Gene Gendlin came to Zurich to do a presentation as early as 1975. He was invited by Agnes Wild-Missong, who had a shared practice with Urs Wittmer. Soon these two started to give the first Focusing workshops in Switzerland. Agnes translated the little “Focusing” book into German; it appeared in 1983. Cooperation with the German speaking countries then began, and Gene chose the first generation of coordinators: Agnes Wild Missong from Switzerland, Johannes Wiltschko from Austria and Friedhelm Köhne from Germany. In the German-speaking countries, as in Switzerland, Focusing by and by was integrated into person-centred workshops or taught on its own.


1980 Ernst Juchli and Johannes Wiltschko (later joined by Christiane Geiser) started to design a training for therapists and counsellors, in which Focusing was deeply “crossed” with the personcentred approach and person-centred bodypsychotherapy (www.gfk-institut.ch). At the same time a Focusing Network began to offer annual training courses. Important new strands enriched Focusing: bodywork, a cyclic way of thinking and model development, working with structure-bound processes, the social and political relevance of Focusing. Teresa Dawson invited Gene in the 90ies 3 times to Zurich. She became a Coordinator, ran TAE courses in German together with Gene and translated the videos. Eveline Moor is a professional adult educator, and as a Coordinator, she has created the Focusing Centre Casa Civetta (www.focusingausbildung.ch) to teach all levels of Focusing and to build a community. For more than 30 years, there was no “overall association” for Focusing in Switzerland. Today there are different institutes, little schools, and private persons teaching Focusing and TAE, translating relevant texts, training trainers and developing methods for applied Focusing e.g. in psychotherapy, health professions, social work, music therapy and art.


By organizing the 25th International Focusing Conference 2 months ago, Swiss Professionals from different institutes came together for the first time to build a large committee. They got to know each other at the conference and are now creating new ways of connecting: www.focusingswitzerland.ch and www.focusing.ch will be the “home”pages for finding a trainer, formation, development and for research into Focusing in Switzerland.

A dream has come true:
The 25th International Focusing Conference Switzerland 2013


Eveline Moor Züllig, Coordinator in Switzerland

It all started at the International Focusing Conference in 2004 in Costa Rica. What I experienced there was so absolutely beyond anything I had known until then about feeling great in a community that it created in me a strong feeling of: How wonderful it would be to offer such a conference sometime in my home country Switzerland! Thus my dream was born, and I did not forget it anymore although I knew it was just a dream! In 2010 at another International Focusing Conference in Pforzheim there were a group of Swiss Focusing professionals, amongst them Coordinator Christiane Geiser, who all of a sudden , as if out of the blue, decided they were going to propose the invitation for such a big event in Switzerland for 2013. They wanted me to be the leader of the team and said: If you agree, we’ll do it! That particular moment meant a lot to me: My dream was becoming reality…
We set up a deeply committed group of 35 Swiss Focusing Professionals who helped the core
organizing team to welcome 220 people from 28 countries in May 2013 to our homeland. In a one-year process in 2011 we found our theme: Coming Home! We found it by looking at the „Heidi“ in us – what does it mean to us to be born and live in Switzerland. All these processes built the foundation of the conference, which had a huge impact on all participants – as we were later told. Many people said to me how wonderful it was: My dream had come true for me, but also for them.


Organizing Committee of the 25th International Focusing Conference 2013 in Switzerland

Focusing developing in China

The Focuser’s Focus, Vol.16, No.1, Spring Issue 2013

Focusing developing in China

By Xu Jun
(Certifying Coordinator, China)



Through more than ten years efforts to explore, Focusing and Focusing-orientation Therapy is acknowledged by therapists in China.

In 2000, a chapter introducing Focusing was found in the Chinese version of Theories of Psychotherapy and Counseling: Concepts Case (Sharf, 2000). This was the first time for Chinese therapists to know about the word Focusing in Chinese reference. In 2002, Han Yan, a Chinese Australian psychologist, introduced about Focusing-oriented therapy in his thesis Construction of an Integrated Psychotherapy Model. In 2004, Xu Jun compiled Focusing-oriented Therapy Introduction. Through those resources, the therapists from mainland of China gradually approach to Focusing and some of them attempt to use this technique consciously during their therapy process.

In 2006, an American Buddhist psychology Michael PhD and his translator Wang Yifu from China proactively contacted The Focusing Institute (TFI). After the draft translation version of Focusing being finished, they collaborated with Xu Jun to publish its final Chinese version in May of 2009.

Meanwhile, Michael PhD and Xu Jun got in touch with Professor Campbell Purton, an English Focusing coordinator and trainer. They helped to bring about the First Focusing-oriented Therapy Workshop being held in Shanghai of China in April of 2008. After that, Xu Jun discussed with Professor Campbell Purton who came to China for teaching Focusing to establish a systematical and sustainable training system according to the training compendium for English focusing-oriented therapists. They reached an agreement on a Focusing-oriented therapy training project in 20 days in four times (160 class hours in total). In 2010, this project accomplished successfully. 16 participants had passed the examination from Professor Campbell Purton and got the qualification as Focusing-oriented therapist. In the same year, The Focusing-Oriented Counseling Primer written by Professor Campbell Purton has been published in Chinese version.

After the year of 2010, Xu Jun was recommended as international Focusing coordinator by both Professor Campbell Purton and Professor Akira Ikami. Considered in the process of Focusing development in China, the classic Focusing had its own features to develop, besides, it had better connect with the diversity of international Focusing. Therefore, with the help of Professor Campbell Purton, Xu Jun invited Professor Akira Ikami from Japan to teach Art-oriented Focusing, Professor Yasuyuki Kira to teach the Focusing for Therapists, and Professor Masumi Maeda and Professor Mieko Ito to teach Interactive Focusing in China. Especially the Chinese Character Focusing, initiated by Professor Akira Ikami, was developed into various types, such as Chinese Character Focusing Encounter group, Chinese Character Focusing dream interpretation technology and more others. It developed so flourishing under the collaboration of Professor Akira Ikami and Xu Jun, which presents a new combination of Focusing communication in the common cultural background between China and Japan.

So far by January of 2013, in China mainland, there have been 1 trainer and coordinator, 26 Focusing-oriented therapist certificate holders and more than 70 participants being trained for a systematical training, let alone more than 1000 participants being trained at least the basic level. The amount is increasing every year. Meanwhile, there have been 2 trainers and several candidates in Hongkong of China.

Upon the actual condition of therapist development in China mainland, the Focusing therapist system, after the discussion with Professor Campbell Purton from TFI, is set into five levels, which are Focusing trainer candidate, Focusing-oriented therapist, Focusing trainer (Focusing teacher without psychotherapist certificate), Focusing intern trainer, and coordinate. Actually, Focusing was developed earlier in Hongkong than in mainland, but developed relatively slowly. In recent years, it has been developed well. The Focusing training system in Hongkong is different from that in mainland. They only have three levels which are international coordinator, Focusing trainer and candidate.

In October of 2011, the First Summit Forum on Focusing and its Therapy was held in Shanghai of China. Professor Campbell and Professor Akira Ikemi participated in together. In March of 2013, the Second Summit Forum was held in Hangzhou of China. It had larger scale with more than 80 people participating in. Professor Zhang Jiaxing and Mr. Chen Zhichang organized 14 people from Hongkong participated in. Professor Masumi Maeda and Professor Mieko Ito from Japan conducted a workshop on Children’s Focusing during the Forum. The Third Summit Forum was decided to be held in October of 2015 in Shenzhen of China.


Gendlin, E. T. 2009. Focusing Psychology. Shanghai: Orient Press.

Purton, C. 2010. The Focusing-Oriented Counseling Primer. Beijing: China Light Industry Press.

Sharf, R. S., 2000. Theories of Psychotherapy and Counseling: Concepts Case. (6th Edition). Beijing: China Light Industry Press.