Category: self-help skills

LISTENING/FOCUSING SKILLS: STARTING A SELF-HELP PRACTICE GROUP

By , November 5, 2008 7:31 pm

Free Downloads:

Complete Focusing Instructions Manual (17 pages)

Instant “Ahah!” Mini-Manual

“Ajas” Instantaneos Mini-Manual

This month: From Instant “Ahah!” Mini-Manual, p. 7, #2.Active Listening: Short-Circuiting An Angry Confrontation.

Starting A Simple Listening/Focusing Practice Group

So, we have reframed “anger” as “upsetness” and suggested that an “upset” person will respond to empathic, active listening rather than attack-back.

And, last week, I suggested lots of first steps to practice Active Listening so it will be ready-to-hand when a confrontation arises.

This week, I am going to give another nudge toward starting your own Active Listening, or Focused Listening, practice group.

Reading the Focused Listening description at the link, you will find definition and examples of the Four Basic Types of Response:

Pure Reflection: setting aside judgments and advice and just trying to say back the words of the other, with attention to also reflecting the “feeling tone.” Three times more Pure Reflection than anything else!

Asking For More: if the person stops speaking, you can “ask for more” about words/images that seemed to carry more implicit meaning

Focusing Invitations: once in a while, you can also suggest that the speaker stop talking for a moment, go quietly inside, and “sense into” the “intuitive feel,” the “something more” implicit in their words.

Personal Sharings: once in a while, in longer turns, you can, with the speaker’s permission share an intuition or experience or idea of your own, but always immediately returning to Pure Reflection to let the speaker say how your sharing fit or didn’t fit their experiencing, and letting the Speaker go on with explicating their own experiencing.

Below I am copying pages from the Focusing In Community manual which tell you:
(a) How to find a Partner or a Core Group to start practicing with
(b) How to structure a ten-week Listening/Focusing Practice Group.

These suggestions are just a hint of all the examples, demonstrations, and instructions in the manual and on the CDs and DVDs in Self-Help Package. But I am giving them to show you that it is not difficult to start your own practice group, and that the manual will show you how, step-by-step.

You can also download the entire manual Chapter Three, The Listening/Focusing Exchange, in English or Spanish, from the links at the top of that blog, if you haven’t yet, and read many examples of Listening Responses, and of how Focusing by the speaker while talking enriches problem solving.

Finding a Core Group
(From Focusing In Community manual, Chapter Three)

“If you are not reading the manual as part of a classroom or colleague group, here are some suggestions on how to find an initial person or two with whom to read the book and practice the skills involved:

(a) First, choose the people with whom you feel most able to be yourself, most comfortable, most accepted when you are talking about your feelings. At the beginning, you might want to share the book and practice just with your closest friend; then, after a while, each of you might choose to invite one more person, and so on. Four to six people are an ideal size beginning group.

(b) Some people are best approached by offering them the book to read and telling them what you liked about it, what was important to you. But it’s usually best to avoid too much discussion of theory. It’s too easy to argue down a theory. Usually, instead of a lot of discussion, we like to say to someone, “Come on. Let’s try it for a few minutes. I’ll listen to your (using reflection of feelings) for a while, then you can listen to me.”

(c) There might also arise a time when you realize that you are naturally using reflection of feelings as a friend is sharing feelings with you. It might then be appropriate at the end to say something like, “You know how we are with each other when one of us is hurting, how we just try to listen and not be judgmental. Well, I’m learning a lot about how to do that even more effectively, and I’d like to share it with you.”

(d) Lastly, if there are two of you who have practiced Listening and Focusing together, then you can introduce other people to it by demonstrating with them watching.

Once you have started your small group using Chapter Three, the level of intimacy and mutual concern that arises during Listening/Focusing turns will begin to flow out into other aspects of your lives together. You may find your little core group growing as another couple hears that you can help with interpersonal problems and asks for help. Or you may decide to share the idea with interested persons in your church or synagogue group, in a professional organization, or in any number of ways.”

Instructions for Small Group Practice (The Listening Exchange)
(From Focusing In Community manual, Chapter Three ):

Step 1 :Round-Robin Practice: Start with a small group of people (four to six).

“Listening/Focusing Turns: Go around in a circle, one person focusing in and saying something from what she is feeling (an important issue in her life or just how she is feeling right then about being there, doing this sharing), the person to the right of her saying back what she says, the Focuser checking these words inside and saying what comes next, the Listener reflecting that. Go back and forth in this way about three times. If the Focuser seems to have run out of things to say in less than three steps, the Listener can try asking her to “say more” about some part of it that seemed important.

AT THIS EARLY STAGE, STICK WHITH “PURE REFLECTIONS” AND “ASKING FOR MORE”

It’s important not to move on to Focusing Invitations and Personal Sharings until everyone is well-practiced at just hearing what the other is saying and at just holding on to a feeling sense and checking words reflected against it.

Feedback: At the end of the turn (about five minutes), first the Focuser, and then the Listener, say a little about how the experience felt, what felt good, what wasn’t quite right. Other people in the group can comment or give suggestions from the readings, but avoid getting into too much discussion or argument about what happened. The point is to practice, not to get distracted into intellectual conversation (which is all too easy!).

Continue around the circle until everyone has had a turn at both roles. Your group can repeat Step One as often as you like or until you feel ready to move on to Step Two. Step One takes about one-and-one-half hours with four to six people. I would suggest doing it at least three or four times.

Step 2 : Dyads

Pair off in twos and spread out to exchange fifteen minute turns, using just Pure Reflection and Asking For More when the person seems to have run out of things to say. Try out using a Focusing Invitation. Come back together as a group and discuss how it went, where you had trouble, what new things you learned. Consult readings, or memory of things read, for answers to questions. Repeat as often as wanted or needed.

Step 3: Triads

Alternatively, pair off in threes. This is an ideal learning structure, since the third person can act as an observer. Split up the time equally, allowing 10 minute between turns for feedback. Each person takes a turn as Listener, Focuser, and observer. The observer also keeps time, giving a five-minute warning before the end of a turn.

At the end of a turn, each person gives short feedback, First the Focuser says how the turn was for him/her – what was helpful, what could have been different. Then the Listener says how it was to be the Listener – good feelings from following the others journey, anxiety about remembering, etc. Then, the observer gives feedback, using Table 3.4., Feedback Sheet For Listening Turns, as a guide.

Step 4: Focusing Partnerships

When you feel ready or interested, pair off in twos who will get together sometime during the week to exchange one-half hour turns. In these turns, Listeners can try out Focusing Invitations and Personal Sharings as well as Pure Reflection and Asking For More, but always with the emphasis on helping the Focuser to stay with her “intuitive feel,” The Creative Edge, and make words for it. The Focuser needs to be sure to go back to Pure Reflection for several steps after each Personal Sharing or Focusing Invitations. At the end of each Turn, have 5 minutes for feedback, first from the Focuser to the Listener, then from the Listener to the Focuser.

Step 5: Focusing Group Meetings

When you come together to do Listening/Focusing turns in a small group (set aside two hours), split up the time so that each person will have an equal amount for a listening turn, with five to ten minutes additional in between each turn, for feedback and comments from others besides the two. Take turns keeping time, ending people’s turns on schedule, warning them a minute or two before the end, and moving on to the next turn after limited discussion. Chapter 7.2 gives a format for a group meeting.

Don’t get side-tracked into a lot of discussion with no time for doing. Know that a person can stop at the end of her turn, even if she has been working on heavy feelings. During turns, allow no input from others in the group. At the end of each turn, anyone in the group can say what they saw, ask questions, or offer warm support for the work done.

Option: If there are more than four people, or if each person wants a longer turn, you may decide to split into triads and share turns within these, again dividing time equally and making sure that each person who wants to gets a chance both at listening and being listened to. The third person can serve as an observer, giving feedback at the end of the turns. The following page gives a feedback sheet which you can use as a guide when you are observing listening turns (Table 3.4).” 

You really can start your own Listening/Focusing Partnership or Practice Group!

Tell me what you think at [email protected] or comment on this blog below !

Click here to subscribe to our Instant “Ahah!” e-newsletter and get the latest exercises first!!!

Click here for a free Intuitive Focusing Mini-E-course

 See Core Concept: Conflict Resolution to find a complete mini-course on Interpersonal Focusing and Conflict Resolution, including Rosenberg’s Non-Violent Communication, Blanchard’s “One Minute Apology,” Patricia Evan’s books on Verbally Abuse and Controlling Relationships, McMahon’s Beyond The Myth Of Dominance, and much more.

See Core Concept: Intimate Relationship to find a complete mini-course on increasing intimacy and sexuality, including the “Sharing Your Day” exercise, Listening/Focusing Partnerships for The Way of Relationship, untangling and equalizing desire, tantric sexuality, and much more.

Download complete Instant “Ahah!” Mini-Manual, in English and Spanish, from CEF Website, or download from links at top of this blog.

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

Dr. Kathy McGuire, Director

Creative Edge Focusing (TM)

www.cefocusing.com

PRE-FOCUSING PRACTICE: #1 RELAXATION: NOTICING YOUR BREATHING

By , September 6, 2008 1:58 pm

From Creative Edge Focusing: This week’s Relaxation Exercise

Some people find it easy to drop all their stress and enter into an interior Focusing space. But, many people need easy first steps of practice for “going quietly inside.” And even experienced Focusers get caught up in stress and business and welcome a reminder to take a moment to….pause…..(sigh!)…pay attention to their breathing…….(ahhhhhh!)……and…relax…

Print and Practice!!!!!

Here is your relaxation exercise for this week, which we will actually practice for four weeks until it becomes natural to you. Print it out, keep it handy, and take those few moments to relax every day, if you can, or as often as possible. Relaxing is one way to “clear a space” inside for a longer-term Focusing Problem Solving session (see blog  Focusing: Find Out What Is Bothering You  for a complete introduction to Focusing) .

You will also find this in the Complete Focusing Instructions download at Creative Edge Focusing, p.3: Pre-Focusing Practice A. Relaxation Suggestions #1: Noticing. You get it by joining our e-support group for further support in practicing Listening and Focusing.

And, if you order our Self-Help Package, you can listen on audio CD Intuitive Focusing: Disk one, Track 2, with Dr, McGuire’s peaceful voice to keep you company — and help you stay on track!!

PRE-FOCUSING PRACTICE

A. RELAXATION SUGGESTIONS (from Complete Focusing Instructions)

Use a gentle, slowly-paced voice, leaving time as suggested between parts of the instruction (time those 1 minute pauses — they are way longer than you can imagine!). The quiet time between instructions is an important time for just breathing—and relaxing.

You can lie on the floor or, for most exercises, sit in a chair. If you fall asleep, it’s okay! Means you need more rest! But you may also want to practice sitting up to avoid sleeping.

Especially at the beginning, time those “1 minute” pauses for breathing in—and out— You will be amazed at how long a minute is, how seldom we ever pause for a whole minute!!!

I turn to this simple relaxation exercise when I am having trouble sleeping or am otherwise overwhelmed with stress, anxiety, tension. It is a great first step to a more lengthy Complete Focusing session.

1. Noticing-Allow 10-15 minutes

Lie down and make yourself comfortable—Loosen any clothing that is too tight—
Massage your own neck and face, making small circles with your fingertips over small areas at a time—Find at least five different spots on your neck and five on your face to massage in this way— Feel the tension leaving—
1 minute
Stretch your whole body three times, reaching your arms out over your head, arching your back, and pointing your toes— After each stretch, collapse into the floor and breath deeply, relaxing—stretch—and relax—stretch—and relax—stretch—and relax
10 seconds
Now, lie there and notice your breathing. Don’t try to change it,just notice the breath going in and out—in—and out—in—and out—in—and out
10 seconds
Now, begin to notice any thoughts or pictures you are having. JUST NOTICE THEM—and keep breathing, in—and out—in—and out—
1 minute
Just notice your thoughts going by, like a movie—don’t think or problem solve—just notice—and keep breathing, in—and out—in and out—
1 minute
If you realize that you have started thinking about something and are trying to solve a problem or have started worrying about something, just allow yourself to leave that thought and to come back to noticing your breathing, going in—and out—in—and out—
1 minute
If you have started thinking and problem solving, just leave that thought—and come back to noticing your breath, going in—and out—in—and out—
1 minute
Just noticing your thoughts, like a movie, letting them go, returning to noticing your breath, going in—and out—in—and out
3 minutes
Now, massage any parts of your body that seem tense or uncomfortable—
1 minute
Stretch one more time, and get up when you are ready.

Subscribe To E-Course For Weekly Practice Exercises

If you subscribe to our e-newsletter, you will receive three exercises a week by email to help you learn and practice Listening and Focusing at home and work.

Click here to subscribe to our Instant “Ahah!” e-newsletter and get the latest exercises first!!!

Click here for a free Intuitive Focusing Mini-E-course

 See Core Concept: Conflict Resolution to find a complete mini-course on Interpersonal Focusing and Conflict Resolution, including Rosenberg’s Non-Violent Communication, Blanchard’s “One Minute Apology,” Patricia Evan’s books on Verbally Abuse and Controlling Relationships, McMahon’s Beyond The Myth Of Dominance, and much more.

See Core Concept: Intimate Relationship to find a complete mini-course on increasing intimacy and sexuality, including the “Sharing Your Day” exercise, Listening/Focusing Partnerships for The Way of Relationship, untangling and equalizing desire, tantric sexuality, and much more.

Download complete Instant “Ahah!” Mini-Manual, in English and Spanish, from CEF Website, or download from links at top of this blog.

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

Dr. Kathy McGuire, Director

Creative Edge Focusing (TM)

www.cefocusing.com

INTERPERSONAL FOCUSING: THE ONE MINUTE APOLOGY

By , March 20, 2008 12:15 pm

THE ONE MINUTE APOLOGY
 
Ken Blanchard, creator of The One Minute Manager idea, and Margret McBride wrote a lovely short book called The One Minute Apology: A Powerful Way To Make Things Better (William Morrow, 2003). It’s for executives and others (and their employees and friends!) who have made a big mistake.

First, I am going to walk you through Blanchard and McBride’s method. Then I am going to invite you to use The Intuitive Focusing skill to “work” the method in a deeper way. Intuitive Focusing allows you to take any question inside and, instead of answering from the “already known,” to go deeper into making fresh words for the “intuitive feel” of it all that is “more-than-words.”
 
The book tells a parable about an assistant who sees that his boss has made this kind of mistake and is trying to cover it up. Through conversations with a number of helpful people, the assistant finds a way to help his boss “fess up” and fix the problem.
 
It’s a message for everyone, a great holiday gift for everyone you know. Although perhaps the method has a lot in common with the 12-Step approach to recovery from addiction, what is great is that the book sets a new norm. It provides a rationale, it makes it acceptable, it makes it possible for executives and others who find it difficult to acknowledge weakness and error  to — just follow this simple method! Now, they could just walk into a Board Meeting and say, “I need to make a One Minute Apology.” The door has been opened.
 
Here is Blanchard’s summary of The One Minute Apology method:
 
“I ask myself the following questions, and answer truthfully:
 
What mistake did I make?
Did I dismiss another person, their wishes, feelings, or ideas?
Did I take credit when it wasn’t due?

Why did I do this?
Was it an impulsive, thoughtless act? Was it calculated?
Was it a result of my fear, anger, or frustration?
What was my motivation?

How long have I let this go on? Is this the first or repeated time?
Is this behavior becoming a pattern in my life?

What is the truth I am not dealing with?
Am I better than this behavior?
 
Then I do the following:
 
I begin my one minute apology with Surrender
I am truthful and admit to myself that I’ve done something wrong and I need to make up for it.
I take full responsibility for my actions and sincerely recognize the need to apologize to anyone I have harmed, regardless of the outcome
I have a sense of urgency about apologizing – I act as soon as possible
I tell anyone harmed specifically what I did wrong
I share how I feel about what I did with those harmed

I complete my one minute apology with Integrity
I recognize that what I did is inconsistent with who I want to be
I reaffirm I am better than my poor behavior and forgive myself
I recognize how much I have hurt another person by making amends and demonstrate my commitment not to repeat the act by changing my behavior

Use Intuitive Focusing As An Aid In A One Minute Apology?(20 minutes)
 
Intuitive Focusing can help you get to the deeper roots of a problem, to get below the rational thoughts that spin in your mind but don’t help you move forward or find out something new. Intuitive Focusing means pausing, for just a moment, and letting the “whole body feel,” the “right-brain, intuitive information” come as A Creative Edge, a something-more-than-words from which new, non-linear answers can come.
 
If this fits for you in anyway, you can use a modification of Instant “Ahah!” #1, Focusing: Find Out What Is Bothering to spend some time sitting with the “intuitive feel” that comes to Blanchard and McBride’s basic questions, and then use their action suggestions to facilitate an apology:
 
Set aside some uninterrupted time and take a seat in a comfortable chair. Close your eyes if you can be comfortable doing that. Otherwise just stare into space —
 
Notice the feel of your body everywhere that it touches the chair, your feet on the ground, as a beginning step in going inside, becoming aware of your whole-body “intuition” —
 
Now just pay attention to your breath, just noticing the breath going in — and out — in — and out — in — and out —
One minute
Now notice where you have tension in your body. Massage those spots a bit with your hands if you want — your head and face, your neck and shoulders, wherever —
One minute
Now imagine that all that tension becomes a stream of water, running down your arms and legs and out of your body — just letting go —
One minute
Now ask yourself, “What mistake have I made that could benefit from a One Minute Apology? —-
“Is there something I have done which I carry as a weight, a fear, an unresolved tension?” —
“Have I dismissed another person, their wishes, feelings, or ideas?” —
“Have I taken credit when it wasn’t due?” —
These are just possibilities. Ask yourself, “Is there a mistake I have made?” Just wait quietly, as long as a minute, for the “intuitive feel,” the “felt sense” of that “whole thing” to form in the center of your body:
One minute or more
Spend some time going back and forth between the “feel of it all” and words or images or gestures that might capture it, until your body-feel says, “Yes, that’s right. That captures it. That captures my mistake” —
One minute
Now, if it fits for you, ask Blanchard’s next question: “Why did I do this? Some suggestions: impulsivity, thoughtlessness? Calculated? Out of fear, anger, or frustration? But ask yourself, “What was my motivation?” and see what comes inside, the “intuitive feel,” the not-yet words about the motivation for this whole mistake —
One minute
And, again, take some time to go back and forth between the “feel of it all” and words, images, or gestures which capture it —
One minute
And now ask yourself Blanchard’s question, “How long have I let this go on? Is this the first or repeated time? Is this behavior becoming a pattern in my life?” and see what comes — again, not the words you already know but the “intuitive feel” of the answer: “Is this the first and only time? How widespread is this behavior in my life?” —
One minute
And again carefully find words or images to capture “all of that” —
One minute
And Blanchard’s next question: ‘What is the truth I am not dealing with?” or “Is there a truth I am not dealing with?” and see what comes —
One minute
Go back and forth between the “intuitive feel” and words and images until the symbols fit and capture the “feel of it all” and your body says, “Oh, yes. That.” —
One minute
And ask yourself Blanchard’s question: “Am I better than this behavior?” and see what comes — not the known words but the “intuitive feel” —
One minute
And go back and forth until you find words or images to capture that —
One minute
And now spend some time with Blanchard’s action steps as listed above, asking yourself each time, “Am I ready and able to do this?” “What would be needed for me to take this action? What kind of support or help, if needed?” and make a list of how you are going to carry out these action steps. And then start your One Minute Apology!!!

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

Dr. Kathy McGuire, Director

Creative Edge Focusing (TM)

www.cefocusing.com

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 

INTERPERSONAL FOCUSING: THE MYTH OF DOMINANCE

By , March 14, 2008 2:54 pm

Replacing The Myth of Dominance With The  Personal Power of Focusing
 
In his book, Beyond The Myth Of Dominance: An Alternative To A Violent Society, Father Ed McMahon, co-founder of the Biospiritual Focusing approach, makes the same point as Marshall Rosenberg’s Non-Violent Communication: our greatest power in trying to persuade another is, not coercion, but personal power: sharing from our own inner experiencing.
 
McMahon makes the additional point that “personal power” comes from becoming congruent with our own inner Selves. We have to know our own Selves thoroughly in order to communicate honestly with the other and to take responsibility for moral action.
 
Trying To Dominate Ourselves, Our Familiars, Our Global Neighbors
 
McMahon questions the idea of dominance when applied at all levels:
 
Intrapsychically, we try to dominate our own inner selves, telling ourselves what we should feel, instead of turning a Caring Feeling Presence toward all the different aspects of ourselves, our conflicts, and using Focusing to let the “whole” story unfold from our body’s intuitive knowing of the whole situation, being honest with ourselves.
 
Interpersonally, we try to dominate other people by telling them what they should feel, instead of vulnerably sharing our own perspective through Intuitive Focusing and using Focused Listening to hear the perspective of another until a mutually-acceptable solution arises.
 
As whole cultures and communities, we try to force people to conform, tell them what they should feel, invite them to “give their personal power over” to us and our institutions, instead of encouraging and facilitating “inner congruence with one’s own truth,” the root of conscience and personal power.
 
Dominance Erodes The Basis Of Civilization
 
In describing the rise and fall of great previous civilizations, McMahon says:
 
“However, the dark side of such a basically closed system of authority residing not in the people but in the preservation of ritual and in the absolute powers of the leader was that corruption and the abuse of people soon wormed their way into the system. Disintegration of the culture was inevitably not far behind. In all these civilizations, there was really no empowerment given to the ordinary person, and thus no lasting source for continuing growth and health in the society. When the power source became corrupt, the civilization fell to pieces” (p. vi)
 
Dominance Includes Trying To “Fix” Others
 
And in describing even the attempts of “social activists” to “fix” the world by telling people what they “should” do, he quotes a feminist learning about using Focusing to turn a Caring Feeling Presence toward the inner experiencing of herself and others:
 
“I have been active in working for women’s rights for years, and I can see now what a difference it would make in our effectiveness if we were as committed to caring for and listening to our own anger and hurt as we are to this important cause. I think it would change the ‘feel’ people have when they encounter many of us, as well as our tactics in trying to bring justice and peace into the world.” (p. 92)
 
Approaching people with confrontation and antagonism and blaming makes people defensive. Dominance disempowers the other. Sharing from your own “personal power,” your own vulnerability and experience of being-you-in-the-world allows people to listen instead of arguing back. At the same time, it strengthens your own “congruence,” your own capacity to take a stand for your own point of view. And refusing to dominate strengthens the personal power of the other.
 
The Interpersonal Focusing Protocol 
 
You can read the entire Chapter Five: Interpersonal Focusing, in English and in Spanish, from my manual, Focusing in Community (Focusing en Comunidad). Click here for a free download through my blog. It gives explicit instructions and examples. Also, you can read the Interpersonal Focusing Case Studies at www.cefocusing.com .

However, here is the simple Interpersonal Focusing Protocol as summarized in that chapter:
TABLE  5.1
 
HOW  TO  USE INTERPERSONAL FOCUSING
 
ALLOW TWO HOURS
 
FIRST STAGE:  CLARIFICATION OF THE ISSUE
                             (several five or ten minute turns)
 
(a)    Owning instead of blaming:
       “I feel —” instead of “You are —”
 
(b)    Behavioral specificity instead of
       generalizations:
       “When you  —” instead of “You are —”
       “When you do — , I feel —”
 
SECOND STAGE:  GOING DEEPER
   (one or more twenty minute turns for
     each person)
 
(a)     Use Focusing on your own hurt feeling:
       “What’s in this for me?”
 
(b)    Honestly try to discover your own
        part in the interaction:
       “Why does this bother me so much?”
 
(c)  The other person uses Focused Listening to respond
 
AN OPTION:  USING A THIRD PERSON AS A LISTENING FACILITATOR
The Third Person uses Focused Listening to respond to each person in turn
 
                                   (a)  Allows for the expression of angry
                                          feelings in a protected way
 
(c)     Protects against issues of distortion
       And mutual distrust

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

Dr. Kathy McGuire, Director

Creative Edge Focusing (TM)

www.cefocusing.com

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 
 

Learning Focusing, Listening, and Focusing Partnership Exchange

By , March 6, 2008 1:33 pm

Capitulo Tres: El Intercambio de Escucha

Chapter Three: Listening/Focusing Exchange

Click links for free downloads of word file of manual chapter

 

THE LISTENING/FOCUSING EXCHANGE

The basic, core model for interpersonal forms of Gendlin’s Focusing is the Focusing Partnership: the equal exchange of turns between peer counselors. One person uses Focusing to pay attention to the murky “intuitive feel,” the “felt sense” of an issue or problem needing solving. The other person responds with Empathic Listening, simply trying to “say back” or “reflect” the words of the Focuser, with emphasis upon the “feeling tone” and the murky, unclear Edge. The Listener might also give Focusing Invitations to help the Focuser go more deeply into the “felt sense” of the issue. 

Then, after the designated time is up, the two share feedback about being the Focuser and being the Listener in that turn, then switch roles. The first Focuser now becomes the Listener, and the initial Listener becomes the Focuser, for an equal period of time.

 

THE FOCUSING PARTNERSHIP PROGRAM

 

Gendlin’s international Focusing Institute offers a Focusing Partnership program, a way in which people can form Focusing Partnerships for face-to-face or phone Focusing Partnership sessions world-wide. Those with no initial Listening/Focusing training can participate in two paid training sessions in numerous languages and by phone. Then they can join the Focusing Partnership pool. Click here to find all about the Focusing Partnership Program at The Focusing Institute website.

 

SELF-HELP MANUAL TEACHING FOCUSING PARTNERSHIP

I have taught Focusing Partnership, which I have called the Listening/Focusing Exchange for thirty years, since my own initial experience of Focusing Partnership in the original Changes Listening/Focusing Community in Chicago starting in 1968. My manual, Focusing In Community: How To Start A Listening/Focusing Support Group (Focusing En  Comunidad: Como Empezar Un Grupo De Apoyo De Escucha Y Focusing) includes thorough instructions in how to do Focusing Partnerships and how to include them within a Focusing Group/Team/Community. 

Download the complete Chapter Three: The Listening/Focusing Exchange (Capitulo Tres: El Intercambio de Escucha) from the manual to begin exploring these wonderful self-help tools. Use the links at the top of this blog.

 

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

Dr. Kathy McGuire, Director

Creative Edge Focusing (TM)

www.cefocusing.com

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 

VERBAL ABUSE VS. INTERPERSONAL FOCUSING

By , March 5, 2008 1:57 pm

 Verbally-Abusive Patterns of Speech: Dominance The Goal
 
In her remarkable book, The Verbally Abusive Relationship, Patricia Evans walks us “blow-by-blow” through transcripts illustrating how an individual can use verbal abuse to establish dominance over another person.
 
She states that the verbally abusive person sees every interaction as a contest for dominance. There is no equality. One person will be one-up, the other person one-down. Verbalizations are used with this purpose, constantly establishing dominance: “I am better than you. I am more powerful than you. I am saner than you. I am more worthy than you.”
 
Often the abuser is not shouting but presenting a “totally rational” view: “Why are you being so emotional?” “Everyone knows that you are too dramatic.” “Such-and-such expert does it my way,” “You made the same mistakes with your previous husband,” etc., etc.
 
Read the transcripts in the book to see how the other, who may be approaching the conversation with a more egalitarian, vulnerable point of view, cannot understand what is going on and comes to accept the blame, seeing him- or herself as crazy and bad.
 
Evans has a second book, Controlling People: How To Recognize, Understand, and Deal With People Who Try To Control You.
 
Taking a Focusing Turn: Immediately Acknowledging “Ownership”
 
On the contrary, in an interpersonal conflict, as soon as I initiate “taking a Focusing turn to ‘sense into’ ‘How is this whole thing FOR ME?'”, I move from dominance into vulnerability and the use of “personal power,” the congruence of my own inner truth, instead of coercion, convincing YOU what to think/feel. The language of Intuitive Focusing immediately points to the existence of a “felt sense” in me, an “intuitive feel” that I can explore:
 
“Being the kind of person I am, I find this kind of situation controlling. Let me ‘sense into’ how that is for me, where that feeling comes from.”
 
“I don’t know how you are seeing things, but, for me, this is scary and anxiety-provoking. Let me take some time to ‘sit with’ that whole thing in me, and then you can have a turn to say how it is for you.”
 
“Something is going on here, in this group, I don’t know what it is, but I’m finding myself all balled up, unable to think clearly. I’d like to sense into ‘that whole thing’ and see what my body has to say.”
 
Yelling At The Wall: Space for Irrationality Can Lead To Felt Sensing
 
Although I like the power of Marshall Rosenberg’s rubric for Non-Violent Communication in illustrating that we create our own “felt response” out of our interpretations of the behaviors of others, I find that trying to use such a rubric to frame my communications in the actual moment of confusing interaction is too intellectual for me. It takes me away from my “felt-sensing” of the situation, the place for Intuitive Focusing.
 
Sometimes, I actually need to be able to start out screaming in a blaming way: “You — You — You — !”. Once I have stepped into the “owning” position of my own Focusing Turn, I can yell these blaming statements at the wall. I am already owning that they are my own “reaction.” Perhaps a third person Listening Facilitator, using Focused Listening, can reflect them back to me so that I can begin to take the reaction back inside of myself, find the “intuitive feel” of “How this whole thing is for me, being the person I am”:
 
“So, Kathy, you are so furious that you feel that Sally is doing this on purpose.”
 
“So, Kathy, the way you are seeing it, Sally really is trying to steal your husband.”
 
“So, Kathy, I’m hearing that, because of the person you are, you are experiencing this situation as a manipulation. WOULD YOU LIKE TO TAKE A MOMENT TO SENSE INTO HOW THIS IS FOR YOU, WHAT COMES IN THE FOCUSING PLACE INSIDE?”. 
 
And, here, because a Focusing turn points to and assumes each person’s own inner experiencing as a ‘felt sense’ which underlies their way of being-in-a-situation, there is a natural movement into “owning” and the vulnerability of sharing that personal inner truth. Often, as soon as a Focuser turns from blaming the other to “This is how it is for me,” the Focuser’s anger turns into the vulnerability of tears and hurt. Seeing this vulnerability, the other person becomes much more likely to respond with empathy and a willingness to work toward a mutual solution.
 
The Interpersonal Focusing Protocol
 
So, I prefer the use of the Interpersonal Focusing protocol, Listening/Focusing Turns for each participant.
 
 Because this issue of Interpersonal Focusing is so important to me, I have made the entire Chapter Five: Interpersonal Focusing, in English and in Spanish, from my manual, Focusing in Community (Focusing en Comunidad) available as a free download through my blog (see link below). In the chapter, you will find :
 
A perspective for seeing an angry person as a hurting person
 
Martin Buber’s view that the only appropriate “confrontation” has the goal of moving from “I-It” to “I-Thou” relationship
 
Complete presentation of the actual protocol for Interpersonal Focusing
 
Many examples of “felt shifts” in relational difficulties through the exchange of Listening/Focusing Turns.
 
For your exercise today, please read the entire chapter as your best introduction to the actual practice of Interpersonal Focusing, which we will consider in Week Four of this cycle.

Download complete instructions on using Intuitive Focusing and Focused Listening Turns to resolve  interpersonal conflicts, turning conflict into creativity: Chapter Five: Interpersonal Focusing   Capitulo Cinco El Proceso Interpersonal  Order the complete Self-Help Package, multi-media help in learning Listening/Focusing Skills .

  (Read introductory philosophy “This flower is beautiful TO ME” and Rosenberg’s Non-Violent Communication )

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

Dr. Kathy McGuire, Director

Creative Edge Focusing (TM)

www.cefocusing.com

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 

CREATING AT THE EDGE: THE CULTURE OF CREATIVITY

By , February 23, 2008 2:52 pm

  
(To catch up with this topic, see
Week One Empowerment Organization , Week Two Examples of “The One Small Thing”)
 
Motivation is a bottom-up, not top-down thing. Each unique individual must be in touch with their own Creative Edge, their own “felt experience” of aliveness and creativity.
 
Below you find an explanation of why taking the time to “sit with,” pay attention to the “intuitive feel,” the “something more than words” leads to maximum motivation as well as maximum creativity and innovation:


Core Creativity      Cultura De Creatividad

  • Every individual is born with a unique blueprint. Personal growth is the unfolding of this blueprint
  • Every problem holds within itself the exact next steps needed for solution
  • 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
  • The Creative Edge is a right-brain phenomenon and is physically experienced as the murky, intuitive “feel” of the whole issue

Intuitive Focusing

  • Creating at the Edge involves a back-and-forth nonlinear process between left-brain “symbolizations” and right brain “felt experiencing”
  • The  Intuitive Focusing skill teaches specific steps which make problem-solving at The Creative Edge  and  “Ah, hah!” insights a predictable process 
  • Central to Intuitive Focusing is learning to silently “sit with” the murky, intuitive, preverbal “felt sense” underlying an issue before attempting to find words, gestures, or images as “symbolizations

Focused Listening

  • The Focused Listening skill is a powerful tool for helping another person to create symbolizations out of The Creative Edge and especially in finding the “intuitive feel” for each person in interpersonal situations, turning conflict into creativity
  • Focused Listening also allows for empathic understanding of the Other and the possibility for conflict resolution which comes from empathic understanding. 

Creative Edge Organizations

  • The Creative Edge Organization Method ensures maximum creativity and motivation at every level by encouraging Intuitive Focusing by individuals and Coordinated Collaboration in groups and teams
  • Maximum motivation arises when people are encouraged to create their lives and solutions to problems from their own Creative Edge.
  • Individuals are motivated when they are engaged at their Creative Edge. When organizational structures lose touch with The Creative Edge of individuals, apathy is created.
  • True change, at any level, from personal to global, can only happen by engaging The Creative Edge of individual human beings. There is no lasting way to impose change from the outside.
  • Lasting change is empowered from the individual entering into collaborative action with other individuals.

Paradigm Shifts

  • Paradigms are fixed perceptual schemata, or Gestalts,  which determine beliefs, emotional reactions, and behaviors
  • Paradigm shifts are the source of true creativity, innovation,  and change
  • Intuitive Focusing results in shifts at the level of paradigms. The kaleidoscope turns, a new Gestalt is created,  and new thoughts, emotions, and behaviors are able to arise
  • Paradigm shifts at The Creative Edge release blocked energy as well as creating new solutions”

Read on at this link  or en espanol  for the full model of how the use of Listening/Focusing turns within organizations insures motivation rather than apathy and creativity rather than stultification.

 Download Dr. McGuire’s article  Collaborative Edge Decision Making Method  en espanol

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

Dr. Kathy McGuire, Director

Creative Edge Focusing (TM)

www.cefocusing.com

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 

EMPOWERMENT ORGANIZATION : “One Small Thing” Examples — Corporate, Non-Profit, Grass Roots

By , February 19, 2008 5:03 pm

 Kathy’s Experience: “One Small Thing” Focusing Exercise
(see Week One Empowerment Organization for Introduction)
 
    I did the “One Small Thing” Focusing Exercise included below on my own problem/goal: Getting Listening/Focusing Partnership skills incorporated into existing support groups, such as 12-Step, divorce/bereavement, cancer/other medical conditions, etc.
 
     Here’s what came up! Certainly a novel idea I had never thought of before. I’m not sure I will implement, need to talk with others, but here it is:  “Offer a free copy of the Focusing In Community manual to audiences filled with support group facilitators (magazines, e-discussion groups, websites) as a PDF file to support group facilitators signing up for the e-newsletter and/or Creative Edge Practice e-group — or something like that — assume, once they have seen the manual, they will buy the supporting audio/visual materials — or, at least, the word will get out and some will try the skill-training out.
 
    I hope you try out the Exercise on a project important to you. Here are examples for a variety of corporate, non-profit, and grass-roots endeavors, all where “empowerment organization = motivating from the bottom up” was being sought (taken from Instant “Ahah!” #6 in Mini-Manual):
 
Example One: Achieving Corporate Buy-In
 
   At Old Navy (Business Week, June,19, 2006), Innovation Champion Ivy Ross, catching the MySpace-type lifestyle of today, used a Facebook-style CD in an effort to bind old and new employees into one new group. Every employee filmed three minutes of “something so personal it would take years to discover it.” Ross had new and old employees hungrily viewing the CD. They quickly became bonded into one, new group, “infused — with a close tightness essential for innovation.” Ross had found the “One Small Thing.”
 
Example Two: Revitalizing the PTO at a public school
 
     The PTO of a public school was languishing. A handful of parents were doing all the work. A new property tax bill dramatically cut funding to the public schools, wiping out PE teachers, art, music, librarians, nurses — The parents suddenly had to raise a whole lot of money from a population of middle to low income parents.
 
     The small group of committed parents started selling Grocery Store Gift Certificates. The PTO could purchase the “scrip” at a 5% discount, resell it to parents to use to buy groceries, and make a 5% profit on something parents had to buy anyway. Everyone had to buy groceries!  They sold “scrip” in the front hallway before school and at school events and PTO meetings.
 
     Suddenly, everyone was buying “scrip” – grandparents, neighbors, as well as parents and teachers. People were coming into the school to purchase “scrip” and staying to paint walls or help with reading. The only people who were unhappy were parents who were on food stamps – they were furious that they couldn’t contribute!!!! The PTO had found the One Small Thing that allowed everyone to become involved.
 
     Now, parents had a “stake” in how the money would be spent. Attendance at PTO meetings grew to thirty, making decisions about how to distribute the funds, how to enlarge the “scrip” program. Teachers came to present proposals for funding.
 
     In the first year, the PTO raised $11,000 (at the 5% net profit, gross sales of $220,000!) to hire a part-time PE teacher who would teach the other teachers how to run PE classes. The “scrip” program spread to other public schools and, ten years later, a large banner in front of the town high school reads “Buy Grocery Scrip”.
 
     But, more importantly, the entire school was revitalized.  The parents had to establish a “volunteer lounge” at the school to accommodate all the volunteers!
 
Hypothetical Example: Global Warming
 
     You are Al Gore.  You want to get every day citizens involved in the issue of Global Warming. But most people feel apathetic: “Oh, there is nothing that one person can do — it is up to governments.”
 
     Well, maybe it is up to governments — but non-apathetic, engaged citizens are the ones to put pressure on governments.  So, you are looking for that “one small thing.” “What is one small thing that masses of people would be willing to do and which would act as a first step toward full engagement?”
 
     Here’s a possibility:  Purportedly, “idling” your car greatly increases the output of pollutants. Yet, everyone, without giving it a thought, “idles” at drive-up banks, fast food take-outs, school pick ups. What about a “Stop Idling! Stop Greenhouse Gases” campaign? With bumper stickers, flyers on car windows or handed out at drive-up locations — the double-entendre “Don’t idle and don’t be idle!” —
 
   If you can get people, all over the world, to “Stop Idling!”, you will have them engaged in thinking about global warming every day — and primed to engage in other actions which you initiate.
 
Empowerment Organization = Motivating From The Bottom Up

You want to find “One Small Thing” that every person in the community or organization can become involved in with minimal effort but maximum sense of satisfaction in contributing something to the larger mission.  If the first step of involvement is too big, too difficult, then most people won’t be willing to do it.

So, you have to keep looking until you find something so small that everyone can do it, easily, willingly, yet so important that it will feel like a real contribution, a first step of commitment to the larger cause. Then, you can invite these involved, engaged people into further Collaborative Decision Making about the project.
If your “One Small Thing” project is not having the desired effect, then the step is too big, requires too much motivation or commitment. If that is the case, then you need to look for a smaller step until you find the one that works.

INTUITIVE FOCUSING ON “WHAT IS THE ONE SMALL THING—?”
Your Turn
So, let’s use the Intuitive Focusing skill to find the “one small thing” to engage and motivate your target audience, be it consumers, citizens, volunteers, or employees.
Click here for the full Focusing Exercise

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

Dr. Kathy McGuire, Director

Creative Edge Focusing (TM)

www.cefocusing.com

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 

COMPLETE FOCUSING EXERCISE: INTERPERSONAL SITUATION

By , February 17, 2008 5:55 pm

 PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT
 
This is the beginning of a new four week cycle. For four weeks, we practice an actual exercise in three different categories: An Instant “Ahah!” to integrate into your every day life at work and at home, a Felt Sensing exercise to practice this step of Focusing, and a Complete Focusing Session. Actually doing the exercise which  arrives in each e-newsletter insures that you can call upon these new skills when needed!
COMPLETE FOCUSING SESSION: SITTING WITH THE CREATIVE EDGE OF AN INTERPERSONAL SITUATION
 
Earlier this week you received Interpersonal Focusing : “This flower is beautiful To ME”, showing how owning our own reactions, instead of blaming them on the other, actually empowers us to begin to change interpersonal situations, and Interpersonal Felt Sensing Exercise, inviting you to find the bodily, “intuitive feel” of five unresolved interpersonal situations (that blog also contains links to downloads of Chapter Five: Interpersonal Focusing (Capitulo Cinco: El Proceso Interpersonal) from Dr. McGuire’s manual, Focusing In Community (Focusing en Comunidad).
 
In the Complete Focusing Session for each of the next four weeks, you will be invited to take one of these interpersonal situations and sense into, “sit with” it in a Focusing way, seeing what new information about yourself-in-this-situation can unfold. 
 
Throughout the month, we will also explore methods for communicating and using Listening/Focusing turns with the actual other person as a way of resolving interpersonal conflict. The “felt sense” in each person in an interpersonal situation contains a Creative Edge which, when shared,  can carry both problem solving and relationship forward.
 
But, in Complete Focusing, you are going more deeply into “owning” the personal dimension of the interaction for yourself, given the person that you are.
 
Focusing On A Specific Interpersonal Situation (20 minutes) Click the link to find the actual Complete Focusing exercise in our e-newsletter archive.

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

Dr. Kathy McGuire, Director

Creative Edge Focusing (TM)

www.cefocusing.com

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 

INTERPERSONAL FOCUSING: THE “INTUITIVE FEEL” OF CONFLICTS

By , February 12, 2008 6:18 pm

Download complete instructions on using Intuitive Focusing and Focused Listening Turns to resolve  interpersonal conflicts, turning conflict into creativity: Chapter Five: Interpersonal Focusing   Capitulo Cinco El Proceso Interpersonal  Order the complete Self-Help Package .

  INTERPERSONAL FELT SENSING EXERCISE !!!!!  (Read introductory philosophy “This flower is beautiful TO ME” )


Exercise: The “Felt Sense” of Various Interpersonal Situations
 
In the Complete Focusing exercise for these four weeks, we will do an Intuitive Focusing process with a variety of Interpersonal Situations, hoping to experience a “felt shift,” a true “paradigm shift” in our experiencing of ourselves and the Other in such situations.
 
But, for today, I’m asking you just to make a map, or a list, of unresolved Interpersonal Situations you are carrying and to try to find a bodily “felt sense,” the “intuitive feel” and a “handle” word or image which can help you go back to each of these Interpersonal Situations during later Complete Focusing Sessions. I’m suggesting that you take some notes for later reference, on The Specific Situation/Person, the “whole body feel” of being in that situation/with that person, and some words/images/gestures which capture “the feel of it all.”
 
Initially, we will work internally, using Felt Sensing and Complete Focusing to clarify the interpersonal dimension of situations for ourselves. As we proceed, we will also study and practice procedures for resolving such situations with the other person, if necessary. However, you will not be asked or forced to speak about any of your material to another person if you choose not to!!!! A lot of “resolution” can be done internally. Sharing Interpersonal Focusing with another is for the purpose of increased bonding and support for change. It is not required.
 
Felt Sense of Interpersonal Situations Exercise (at least 20 minutes) Find and practice the exercise, with five unresolved interpersonal situations at this e-newsletter archive link.

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

Dr. Kathy McGuire, Director

Creative Edge Focusing (TM)

www.cefocusing.com

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 

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