Category: health


By , November 27, 2007 7:25 pm

In the example below, taken from the Case Studies area at Creative Edge Focusing (TM), the Focuser goes from unspecified, work-related anxiety and sleeplessness to being able to name the problem and begin problem solving, using Intuitive Focusing:

 1. Focusing — Alone Or With A Creative Edge Coach or Experiential Focusing Therapist

Anyone who knows Intuitive Focusing, as the core of the PRISMS/S Problem Solving Process,  can use it any time to go from confusion and tension to an absolute sureness of a next step of problem resolution.  This will be a physically experienced “Ahah!”, indicated by the whole body nodding and releasing tension, saying “Yes, this is exactly it! I can act now.”

In my example below, first I use Intuitive Focusing on my own, then, at a certain point, I contract for Focused Listening help from another, my husband in this case. I’m lucky enough to have a trained husband (I trained him!), but, with him, eventually I will want to give equal time:

Case Example:

For several weeks I have been stewing about a work-related problem, stymied, tense, sleepless nights, obsessing. I am concerned that I might be sued if I take a certain action, yet I don’t want to back down. I have even taken steps and spent money to try to protect myself legally. Yet the tension, sleeplessness, obsessing continue. I find myself imagining how I would defend myself in court. I forge ahead, but the emotional cost is very high. The whole project has become draining.

Finally, after weeks, I have the sense to sit down quietly and actively use Intuitive Focusing on the issue. I close my eyes and follow my breathing for a while as a way of relaxing and coming to a quiet, “clear space” inside……I sigh, let go of some tension…..I ask myself, “What is this all about, really?”….I wait quietly for something new, an “intuitive feel” or Creative Edge to come…for me, this Creative Edge usually comes in the center of my body (not my head!), around my heart, chest cavity…..

When an “intuitive feel” comes, I quietly look for some words or an image which begin to grasp it:  “I don’t want to give up….I don’t want to be beaten (there is a teary feeling here)….I have a right to do this”…..I breath some more, checking these words against the “intuitive feel”……I sigh, release some tension……

A new “intuitive feel” comes in the center of my body, around the chest area, in response to these words….I pay attention to it, looking for words or an image that might capture it…….”I can’t go on like this. It is too stressful….”….I sit quietly, holding these words against The Creative Edge, the “intuitive feel”…..

I use the Asking Step of Intuitive Focusing and a question comes: “What can I do to make this less stressful?”….I sit with this question, paying attention in the center of my body…instead of answering from my head, the already-known, I wait for an “intuitive feel” of an answer to form …….I carefully look for words or images to capture the intuitive feel……..I sigh, releasing tension…

I get words in answer which feel like a new “Ahah!”: “Oh, it’s really just about this one small part of the project…….I don’t have to give up everything else, but maybe just that one small part, to reduce the tension”….I check these words against the “intuitive feel”….there is an easing there. I am nodding my head: “Yes, that is really it…That would release the tension, the fear…..”

I get sort of excited here. It’s hard to concentrate. I want to get up and walk anxiously around….I’m not good at doing Focusing alone for very long. I ask my husband, who is trained in Focused Listening and available, if he will be a Focused Listener while I continue this Intuitive Focusing process. It will take 10-20 minutes. He is willing to do this……

I close my eyes and sense into this new place, “It’s really only about this small part”…..I sigh, releasing tension….My husband reflects: “So it’s really only that small part  you have to change. You don’t have to give up the whole thing….Just that part.”……

I’m nodding again, my whole body saying, “Yes, I can really do that if it will get rid of this fear, this draining tension”…..I continue checking this possible solution against the “intuitive feel,” and my whole body keeps saying, “Yes, that much is okay with me. I can do that without feeling beaten.” My husband reflects, “So you are checking, and your whole body says, ‘Yes, that would be okay. I could do that…without feeling beaten’”…….I keep nodding, “Yes, that would be okay.”…I sigh, releasing tension….

We go on for a while, me in problem solving mode now, trying out possible different new choices, continuing to check with the “intuitive feel,” The Creative Edge: “Is this really okay?…Will I be able to sleep at night if I do this?” My husband continues using Focused Listening to reflect what I say, letting me check and clarify….

I finally decide a way that I can keep even that small part now, as long as I prepare myself to give it up later if I have to ……..This seems a good solution (I’m nodding and sighing, releasing tension, my body’s way of saying, “Yes, this really fits. You can really do this.”). We end the formal Listening/Focusing turn.

Throughout the next few days, I have less tension. I can sleep at night. New ideas keep popping up: possible replacements for that “one small part,” etc. I have new energy to move ahead with the whole project. This “small change” possibility also gives me a way to let other people in on my project, without raising the whole anxiety and fear issue, which had been keeping me isolated, unable to share my ideas with other people.

If your goal is only to use Focusing by yourself, you can take a Focusing Training class or workshop from a Focusing Professional found in our Free Resources section.

If you want consistent Focused Listening help, without reciprocating as a Listener in a Focusing Partnership as below, then you can  hire a Creative Edge Focusing Coach  or an Experiential Focusing Therapist (See Listings in Free Resources Section) as a consistent Focused Listener.

If you have a Coaching relationship, you can arrange for Focused Listening by phone, but you can often start Focusing simply by starting to write an email to your Coach on the issue or concern, paying attention inside, using Intuitive Focusing…then, the Coach can send an email back, with Focused Listening responses. This will give you instant help at half the cost!

 Email Dr. McGuire to explore Focusing Coaching or Focusing Partnership phone sessions or to set up a free 20-minute Trial Session. You can explore options and prices in The Store

See our website for many descriptions and exercises for learning Intuitive Focusing and Focused Listening, to subscribe to our free e-course/e-newsletter, and to join our online Creative Edge Practice yahoo group for free, supervised practice of actual listening/focusing skills.

Dr. Kathy McGuire

Creative Edge Focusing (TM)


By , November 26, 2007 7:13 pm

While Instant “Ahah!” # 4, Five-Minute Grieving,  specifically addresses what to do if a patient, friend, or co-worker begins to cry, the excerpt below shows how using Intuitive Focusing to “sit with” the “intuitive feel” of a physical symptom can allow that symptom to open into an “Ahah!” of deeper meanings, with a sheen of tears in the eye often the body’s signpost of a place to stop and go deeper into “the feel of the whole thing.”
The excerpt is a tiny portion of a Focusing Partnership session. The Focuser is experienced in using Intuitive Focusing. Early on, as the Focuser talks about waking with the beginnings of a migraine headache and related issues, the Listener notices a faint “shimmer of tears.”

She suggests that the Focuser stop and “sense into” the place of tears. By the end of the session, the Focuser has moved through deep sobbing about the heavy burden of depression she has carried “for soooo long” and experiences the liveliness of a “felt shift,” “being lighter, wanting to dance!” She states that the migraine has abated.
The session begins with Focuser and Listener in chairs facing each other. The Focuser, because of her comfort with the Experiential Focusing process from past practice, chose to keep her eyes closed throughout the session, attending to her inner experiencing. The Listener, Dr. McGuire, begins:
Listener: “So, just feel comfortable closing your eyes and going inside, coming in tune with whatever is there—Let me know if you need some help or when you’re ready to begin speaking—
Focuser: (10 second pause)—“—This morning when I awakened, I  had a headache on the left side of my head, and I thought, ‘Oh, it’s  migraine coming on’— so I’m just sensing into what that was  about, um, like, my body was really full of toxins, like I just wanted to kind of shake the toxins out.”
Listener: “So, even on waking, you noticed there was the beginning of a headache on the left side of your head, and you spent some time with it, just sensing into it, and the feeling was of toxins in your body, and you just wanted to shake them out, shake them out.”
Focuser: (30 second pause) ——- “And I notice that my throat is stopped up this morning, and that’s something I’ve been working on, we’ve been working on together—something deep emotional there in my throat, getting kind of choked up.”  
[The Focuser is doing the first step of Experiential Focusing, “clearing a space,” noticing and naming the various issues she is carrying so she can choose one to work on]
Listener: “Yea, so you’re aware of that now, too, your throat getting choked up, and that’s something we’ve worked on before, and it’s connected to deep emotional things—and it seemed like I even saw a shimmer of tears as you described that—maybe just be with that, sit with that ‘choked up.'”
[The Listener notices the beginnings of tears and gives an Experiential Focusing Instruction, suggesting that the Focuser stop talking and pay attention to the “felt sense.”] 
Focuser: (tears visible under closed eyelids, face reddening, voice thickening) “What bothers me about it is I keep trying to clear my throat, and it doesn’t clear. I keep trying to clear it, and it prevents me from speaking the way I want to speak, and it’s annoying to people, I think.”
Listener: “Uhhuh.”
Focuser: “It somehow prevents me from projecting my voice—” 
Listener: “Umhm.”
Focuser: “I keep trying to get it out, and it just stays there, it’s uh—”
Listener: “Umhm—so what bothers you is you keep trying to clear it out, and it won’t go, and you also think it makes it difficult for other people. You want to project your voice and get it out, and that’s hard for the other people, too, you can’t really speak.”
Focuser: “That really prevents communication.”
You can read the entire excerpt, with commentary, and see the “felt shift” for yourself in Medical Change Events Through Experiential Focusing. You can view the entire 12-minute session in the DVD Listening/Focusing Demonstrations, also part of The Self-Help Package. Download “Being Touched and Being Moved: The Spiritual Value of Tears for many examples of how tears and Focusing interrelate.
Download “Finding The Meaning In Tears” for exercises for using Focusing to find the meaning in your tears. Both articles are packed with real-life examples of how tears “touch us” and “move us” in positive ways.

Dr. Kathy McGuire

Creative Edge Focusing (TM)


By , November 6, 2007 3:55 am


Please check the archive Category: Sex to catch up on some ground rules and previous suggestions for collaborative edge sexuality, untangling desire, negotiating as equals for mutual satisfaction.

Now, let’s say you are aiming at three dates/week. Perhaps once or twice a month, hopefully you can set aside a longer time, free of children and interruptions, to luxuriate in even more novelty and intimacy.

Sex-y board games, bought at a sex store or, I imagine, online, are one way to “do something different.”  The good ones introduce the surprise of novelty, but they also include great “foreplay,” actual question-and-answer games which increase communication and intimacy.

Inexpensive: You can buy “Coupon books” for a few dollars, with coupons your lover can exchange for a massage, a strip tease, a videotaping opportunity, etc., etc.

Medium: The Sex Game

You get a fold-out board which is basically a house plan, with squares labelled Garage, stairwell, front door, living room, bedroom, back door, laundry room, hall, bathroom, kitchen…well, you get the idea. That is novelty.

Then, there is a six-sided die, with the following labels: Solo, 69,Extras, Oral, Massage, Fondle.  Then one person rolls a die, asks more specifically if the other would perform a specified act in a certain way, and, within two minutes, receives whatever comes up in the room the die landed on…

More expensive( $25-55) : ForePlay: A Game For Lovers

This is a good example of a sex-y boardgame. There are pieces to move around a board to a goal by rolling dice. When landing on a space, a player draws either a “Key” card or a “Heart” card.

Key cards consist of questions that each lover will answer, just great questions to increase communication and intimacy: “What was your first sexual experience?”,”How would you like to spend a dream weekend?”, “What stategies do you use to overcome jealousy?”, “Are you proud of your partner? Explain how.” You will find yourselves considering and answering questions about each other that have never come up before.

Heart cards are about carrying out specific sexual activities, from “Sit and stare into each others eyes for 5 minutes” to “Massage your lovers feet” to  — well, most anything you can imagine. Each lover simply collects Heart cards.

At the end of the game, the winner gets to arrange their Heart cards in the order they would like their lover to carry them out.

Well, since we are talking about equality and collaboration, it certainly would be allowed to then switch roles, and even let the loser have their Heart’s desire.

Three more interesting board games :

Kamasutra: A Game for Lovers on Their Journey to Ecstasy.

In this one, instead of saving “Action Cards” until the end, each space on the game board describes actions to be taken, and cards drawn include more intimate and sexy actions to take, including Position cards –these are saved until the end… Anyone has the right of refusal or renegotiation.

A Lover’s Touch: A Romance Game For Your Body, Mind, Spirit

Much the same as Kamasutra.

Wildly Sexy Dares: The Game of Naughty Adventures For Couples Who Think They’ve Done It All

I’d say this is a game for the more Extroverted among us! Competition is the name of the game, with Daring Adventures carried out throughout the week and throughout the world — in restaurants, stores, at friends’ houses, at the movies.

Players accumulate cards, some to be carried out immediately (each player draws as many stick  figures of a couple in different sexual positions as they can– Points to the winner; go through magazines and make a sexy collage, using as many first letters in the alphabet as you can)and some throughout the week (in a restaurant, spill water in your partner’s crotch and then wipe it up; hide a sexy photo of yourself in your partner’s briefcase). Competition and points gathered for a Grand Prize (like a weekend away).

Remember, the every-day ground work for Intimacy/ Sensuality/ Sexuality is laid in the use of the many Listening/Focusing tactics included in the Instant “Ahah!”s Mini-Manual (“Ajas Instantaneos” in the Spanish translation) available from Creative Edge Focusing (TM).

 You get that as a free download for subscribing to our e-newsletter at , in the sidebar. Or, you can just look it up under Articles in the Free Resources section!

I especially recommend, daily, “Ahah!” #8. Sharing Your Day: Instant Intimacy ; “Ahah!” #3. Passive Listening: Stop Arguments with partners, children, coworkers; “Ahah! #2. Active Listening: Short-circuit angry confrontations.

And, I hope you will choose to learn our core self-help skills, Intuitive Focusing at and Focused Listening at and, perhaps, decide to start your own Listening/Focusing Practice and Support Group using our Self-Help Package ( or to take a class or workshop to learn the Focusing Partnership method (

Find links to free articles, personality tests, multi-media Self-Help training, Classes and workshops

Dr. Kathy McGuire, Director

Creative Edge Focusing (TM)

The site of new insights and creative solutions is at the edge of what is already known. This edge, The Creative Edge, holds implicit within it all past and future knowing about the problem, more than could ever be put into words in a linear way 

Five-Minute Grieving: What to do if a patient, friend, coworker starts crying

By , October 29, 2007 4:30 pm

Finding The Meaning Of Tears

“Being Touched” and “Being Moved” : The Spiritual Value of Tears

Download the above articles to learn more about the use of Intuitive Focusing to unravel the meanings signalled by tears.

“Opening Up”, Not “Breaking Down”

Most of the time, we walk around “being” our symptoms instead of “relating” to them. The physician’s office is a place where accidental openings into the “felt senses” underlying symptoms have an increased likelihood of happening. It thus becomes important for physicians, and other health professionals, to capitalize on these moments where the defenses fall, and the preverbal felt experiencing underlying symptoms, becomes available for transformation.

Inter-office conflict or stress at home can also cause a co-worker or employee to “break down” and start crying. Or a friend may become teary while sharing. Instead of being afraid of a “break down,” see it as an “opening up,” an opportunity to unblock and build anew. See Culture of Creativity to understand the Creative Edge Core Principles underlying growth and creativity.

People Are Skilled At “Not Crying”

Five minute grieving is based upon the following premises, drawn from my 25-year experience as a psychotherapist and peer counseling teacher:

  • In general, people do not fall apart and cry and cry without stopping. In general, people do not cry for more than a few minutes at a time.
  • If tears are present, it is healthier for body and mind to allow their expression than to repress them. Tears also are the doorways into The Creative Edge, the possibility for change.
  • In general, people have a life-time of experience in being able to call up their defenses again, and go on as needed after a few moments of crying.
  • In the few cases where crying is uncontrollable, it is better to discover this vulnerability and get help, by referring to a counselor for psychotherapy and/or a psychiatrist for exploration of the appropriateness of anti-depressant medication.
  • In general, spending a few minutes making words for the “intuitive sense” underlying the tears will bring relief to the person, energy to the Listener, and a deep feeling of bonding and care between the two.
  • Allowing the tears also actually releases energy, letting the person go on to next steps of problem solving and action to be taken.

Here follows a first step into the Creative Edge Focusing ™ Core Skills of Intuitive Focusing and Focused Listening which I call “Five Minute Grieving,” especially for health professionals, but also for co-workers and friends in a pinch, if someone tears up or starts crying.  


Example from a physician’s office:

You have just told a patient that tests have shown her to be infertile. Tears well up in her eyes.

  1. Invite her to cry. Say something like the following:
    • “In a minute we can discuss options, but let’s make room for your tears.”
    • “It’s okay with me to let your tears come.”
    • “It’s okay to cry.”
    • “You don’t have to hold back your tears.”
    • “It’s important to let yourself cry.”
    • “Just be gentle with yourself. Put your arms around yourself.”
  2. Empathize with the feeling without trying to “fix” it or take it away:
    • “I know it seems bleak right now.”
    • “I know it’s hard.”
    • “I see your sadness.”
    • “I’m sorry for your sadness.”
  3. Help her to find words or images for the tears. After she has cried for a while or at a natural pause in her tears, say something like:
    • “What are the words for your sadness?”
    • “Are there any words or images with your tears? It helps to get a handle on the feeling.”
    • “Can you say what’s the worst of it?”
    • “Can you say what you’re thinking?”
  4. Just be quiet and give the person some time to grope for words.
    • Empathize again, often by paraphrasing:
    • “So it’s (her words: “the fear that you’ll never be a mother;” “feeling like a dried up stick,” etc.) that’s hard.”
  5. Continue Steps 1-4 as long as makes sense.
    • Establish closure:
    • “We have to stop now.”
    • “We only have a minute before we have to stop.”
    • “I have to go, but you’re welcome to sit here for a minute until you’re ready to go.”
    • Or, if you are now going to continue with other aspects of the visit, “Let’s see if we can put aside the tears for now so that I can give you some more information and we can look for solutions to your situation.”
    • Orient the person, if necessary, by doing a “present time” exercise:
    • “I want to make sure you’re back out in the world before I send you off to drive home (or before we continue talking) . How about if you name all the circular (or orange, or striped, etc.) things in the room?”
    • At the end of the appointment, make a referral to a counselor or support group as appropriate and/or make arrangements for the person to check back with you for a future appointment.

Of course, Five Minute Grieving  is just a first step toward fully incorporating Core Skills of Intuitive Focusing and Focused Listening into your personal and professional life. I hope it will whet your appetite to pursue further training in PRISMS/S and the Creative Edge Pyramid for application of Listening and Focusing at all levels and at home as well as work  at .

You can begin with Free and Purchased resources by clicking on the Icons in the right sidebar on the main page. Helping professionals can order Dr. McGuire’s manual, The Experiential Dimension in Therapy and, in a Free Phone Consult with Dr. McGuire, can explore our Experiential Focusing Professional Training Program.


By , October 27, 2007 5:24 pm

Kathy’s Inner ChildrenKathy’s Favorite Childhood Photo: Undaunted!


Focusing Inner Child Work With Abused Clients 

(download this PDF file to see Dr. McGuire’s approach)

    Yes, if we are to work on healthy sexuality, we will have to look at the wide prevalence of sexual abuse, the wounds of which will crop up all around sexuality.

    What is the statistic? Is it 1 out of 2 women  and 1 out of 3 men report some kind of unwanted touching by age 21? Whatever the factual statistics, the number is huge, huge, enough that everyone needs an awareness of past abuse creeping into present relationships.

   Alice Miller, in her books including For Your Own: Hidden Cruelty In Childhood and the Roots of Violence,, was one of the first to “tear the covers off” the culturally-accepted practices and mythology surrounding the physical and sexual abuse of children.

    I have had women tell me laughingly over lunch, “Oh, I even take my showers with my clothes on!” or “I’ve never had an orgasm. It’s fine with me and fine with my husband.”

    Equally likely, flashbacks to sexual abuse begin when  someone finally finds a loving relationship, enough safety to begin to let down defenses and begin to re-feel — and, bam, memories from the past arise because of this new-found safety.

   In this self-help context, I can only issue a warning to be on the lookout for signs and to seek appropriate help. The official “diagnosis” is often Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), the same kind of intense “flashbacks” and other anxiety-related symptoms that Vietnam vets called to our attention.

   One finding about  PTSD from warfare was that soldiers who had already experienced trauma in childhood had an intensified likelihood of PTSD in wartime.

   Much research also substantiates that a huge percentage of those in prison, men and women, were victims of childhood physical and sexual abuse.

   Intellectual understanding is not sufficient for healing. Nor is it necessary or productive to be “re-traumatized” through the unsafe recall of memories. Therapies are body-centered, helping the client to pay attention to  “present bodily experience,” Gendlin”s “felt sensing,” the crux of Focusing. They also use “anchoring” and other techniques to produce a therapeutic setting where memories can be “re-experienced” within a safety that allows for “carrying forward.”

   There are also approaches to treatment which emphasize supporting couples working through sexual abuse issues. One such is Laura Davis, Allies In Healing: When the Person You Love Was Sexually Abused as a Child. Read inspiring reviews of this book and the comfort it brings at

You’ll find more books here:

   Some therapies that are especially useful in helping people to work through flashbacks and other symptoms, with empathy and support are:

Focusing-Oriented Therapy (FOT): read about Focusing and Trauma at and find additional Certified Professionals who do FOT  at

Peter Levine’s Somatic Experiencing at

Mary Armstrong’s work on Focusing and EMDR at

Hakomi Body-Centered Therapy: description at Hakomi Institute at and  Hakomi Resources at

Find links to free articles, personality tests, multi-media Self-Help training, Classes and workshops

Dr. Kathy McGuire, Director

Creative Edge Focusing (TM)

The site of new insights and creative solutions is at the edge of what is already known. This edge, The Creative Edge, holds implicit within it all past and future knowing about the problem, more than could ever be put into words in a linear way 

Intuitive Eating

By , October 22, 2007 12:27 pm


Oven-Baked “Fries”

Okay, so, for healthy eating, fried foods are simply out. And yellow, red, and orange vegetables are in. So, here is a great alternative:

I buy a large enough sweet potato for the three of us. Preheat oven to 420 degrees, the standard heat for roasting vegetables. Peel and slice the sweet potato in “fry” shape.

Drizzle some olive oil on a cookie sheet. Sprinkle with coarse salt (I buy chunky Sea Salts at discount stores like TJ Maxx and Tuesday Morning). Spread out “fries.” Sprinkle with a seasoning of choice (I usually use Italian Seasoning, but you could try Curry or anything…). Now, toss it all together, coating the fries evenly.

Place on top rack of oven, and bake for 8 minutes. Stir and turn the fries, and bake for 8 minutes more. The goal is to start the carmelization process that turns the starch to sugar. Turn off the oven. If you want the fries softer, let sit in oven a while. Yum!!!


For those who have trouble sticking to an exercise routine and who don’t make it to health clubs, here is all you need to do: buy a treadmill (Nordic Trak from Sears or Vision Fitness T9200 from Your Total Fitness Store are fine for around $1000), unless you can easily walk outside. Walk (You do not need to run. It is not necessary and can lead to more injuries interrupting exercise routine) at speed of 3 miles/hour or less, more is not necessary. Aim for 45 minutes a day five days/week. Advantage of treadmill: If you like to read or watch TV, you can do either as a reward for exercising. Becomes a good excuse for an escape!

For upper body: Bowflex can be good as an at-home machine. The motion is smooth compared to most weight machines. But you can also put together a combination of yoga for flexibility and arm strength, Pilates for core (torso) strength, and arm exercises with or without small weights for upper body strength. Aim to do this routine during some TV program that you watch regularly, like the news or late night talk show, whatever. Just a likely time to fit in 20 minutes of exercise. At least three times a week.

And that is it. If you “fall off the wagon,” it is easy to get started again. Just pick up a book, turn on the TV,  or step outside!

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