Category: support groups

HARD-WIRED FOR COLLABORATION: PHYSICAL TOUCH INCREASES PERFORMANCE

By , March 1, 2010 1:23 pm

In Born To Be Good: The Science of a Meaningful Life (Norton, 2009),  Dacher Keltner of UC/Berkeley discusses the relationship between physical touch and performance: a supportive touch on the shoulder can increase participation in classrooms, and new research by Michael Kraus and co-authors Cassy Huang and Keltner, soon to appear in the journal Emotion, shows that basketball teams where players touched each other, in a supportive way, performed better than those with less touch. Highest performing players were also those giving the highest number of supportive touches. As summarized in a recent article by Benedict Carey of  The New York Times, “Touchy-feely sports teams have edge, evidence suggests,”:

“A warm touch seems to set off the release of oxytocin, a hormone that helps create a sensation of trust, and to reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol. In the brain, prefrontal areas that help regulate emotion can relax, freeing them for another of their primary purposes: problem solving. In effect, the body interprets a supportive touch as ‘I’ll share the load.’

‘We think that humans build relationships precisely for this reason, to distribute problem solving across brains,’ says James A. Coan, a psychologist at the University of Virginia. ‘We are wired to literally share the processing load, and this is the signal we’re getting when we receive support through touch.’ ”

More evidence for the assumptions of Creative Edge Focusing (TM)’s model for Creative Edge Organizations, where more “feminine” values of support, empathy, listening, colleagiality, and attention to relationships feed the bottom line, encouraging creative problem solving through collaboration.

Free Downloads: 

Complete Focusing Instructions Manual (17 pages)

“Ajas” Instantaneos Mini-Manual

Creative Edge Focusing (TM) (www.cefocusing.com ) teaches two basic self-help skills, Intuitive Focusing and Focused Listening, which can be applied at home and at work through The Creative Edge Focusing Pyramid.

Based upon Gendlin’s Experiential Focusing (www.focusing.org ) and Rogers’ Empathic Listening, our website is packed with Free Resources and instructions in these basic self-help skills. Learn how to build Support Groups, Conscious Relationships, and Creative Edge Organizations based upon these basic skills of emotional intelligence.

Resources: Free Articles, Training, Classes

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

TRANSITION TOWNS: LOCAL SUSTAINABILITY FOR GLOBAL CHANGE

By , May 15, 2009 6:57 pm

In the Transition Towns movement, www.transitiontowns.org,  political action is thoroughly integrated at the local level, building local sustainability and community as a basis for the “resiliency” needed to affect long-term, global change. But even more importantly, skill training for emotional and personal growth and conflict resolution is built right into hands-on, political action. 

Here is a short definition of  Transition Towns from a Facebook Event page announcing an Introductory Workshop and the 2009 Transition Towns Conference in the UK:
           “The Transition movement is a fast-growing, bottom-up response to peak oil and climate change. There are now thousands of communities around the world using this model, and it is being widely acknowledged as a positive, solutions focused approach, ‘more like a party than a protest march’.”
        
From the Transition Towns website, www.transitiontowns.org :

…A Transition Initiative is a community (lots of examples here) working together to look Peak Oil and Climate Change squarely in the eye and address this BIG question:

“for all those aspects of life that this community needs in order to sustain itself and thrive, how do we significantly increase resilience (to mitigate the effects of Peak Oil) and drastically reduce carbon emissions (to mitigate the effects of Climate Change)?”

After going through a comprehensive and creative process of:

  • awareness raising around peak oil, climate change and the need to undertake a community lead process to rebuild resilience and reduce carbon
  • connecting with existing groups in the community
  • building bridges to local government
  • connecting with other transition initiatives
  • forming groups to look at all the key areas of life (food, energy, transport, health, heart & soul, economics & livelihoods, etc)
  • kicking off projects aimed at building people’s understanding of resilience and carbon issues and community engagement
  • eventually launching a community defined, community implemented “Energy Descent Action Plan” over a 15 to 20 year timescale

This results in a coordinated range of projects across all these areas of life that strives to rebuild the resilience we’ve lost as a result of cheap oil and reduce the community’s carbon emissions drastically.”

I like the actual example of a transition town which you can experience at Transition Town Westcliff. You’ll get a taste for all the fun and educational and hands-on gatherings, meetings, celebrations as a town works together for local sustainability affecting global change. “More like a party than a protest march,” indeed! I can’t wait to build or to join such a community.

I like the emphasis upon personal and emotional growth, mutual support, and conflict resolution skill training added into the more specific political goals of building local resilience as part of changing global problems of peak oil and climate change.

I have offered copies of my manual, Focusing in Community: How To Start A Listening/Focusing Support Group, as one model of peer-based support which teaches core skills, Intuitive Focusing and Focused Listening,  that can be applied to  emotional, personal, interpersonal, and group-level growth and community building.

There is a handbook for starting a transition town, The Transition Town Handbook: from oil dependence to local resilience,written by founder Rob Hopkins. You can order the book at the link.

Find out all about Transition Towns, and the 2009 Conference in London, UK, May 22-24, 2009 at www.transitiontowns.org . The conference itself sold out immediately, but you can still sign up for evening Introductory events and pre- and post-conference workshops.

The Creative Edge Focusing(TM) Approach To Community Building

Creative Edge Focusing (TM)’s Culture of Creativity  fights apathy by engaging every person  at the Creative Edge of individual experiencing. Whether in Creative Edge Education or Creative Edge Organizations, Listening/Focusing Turns are used as a basic method for helping people to find and articulate their own Creative Edge.

Creative Edge Focusing and Creative Edge Listening can be used for problem solving at home and at work, alone, in parenting and relationships, during interpersonal conflict, and in group or community decision making situations. The Creative Edge Pyramid describes applications from Focusing Alone to Creative Edge Organizations.

For application in business settings, see my article, “Creative Edge Organizations: Businesses and Organizations As A ‘Kind’ Of Focusing Community” from The Folio: Thirtieth Anniversity Tribute edition at The Focusing Institute, www.focusing.org .

CREATIVE EDGE FOCUSING(tm):  SELF-HELP SKILLS FOR HOME AND WORK

Free Downloads:

Complete Focusing Instructions Manual (17 pages)

“Ajas” Instantaneos Mini-Manual

Creative Edge Focusing (www.cefocusing.com ) teaches two basic self-help skills, Intuitive Focusing and Focused Listening, which can be applied at home and at work through The Creative Edge Focusing Pyramid.

Based upon Gendlin’s Experiential Focusing (www.focusing.org ) and Rogers’ Empathic Listening, our website is packed with Free Resources and instructions in these basic self-help skills. Learn how to build Support Groups, Conscious Relationships, and Creative Edge Organizations based upon these basic skills of emotional intelligence.

You can try out    “Focusing: Find Out What Is Bothering You.”

Click here to subscribe to Creative Edge Focusing(TM)’s  Instant “Ahah!” e-newsletter and get the latest exercises first!!! 

Click here for a free Intuitive Focusing Mini-Course

Click here for a free Focused Listening Mini-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

INTUITIVE FOCUSING: “FELT SENSE’ OF A SITUATION DISCLOSES LIFE MEANING AND DIRECTION

By , January 12, 2009 3:14 pm
 
SITUATION DISCLOSES LIFE DIRECTION: FELT SENSE OF A POSITIVE SITUATION
 
It’s so easy to see using Intuitive Focusing to unravel the “felt residue” of a situation only when the feelings are negative, unsettling, confusing. However, Focusing can be used just as fruitfully to make words for, to articulate positive experiences.
Free Downloads:

Complete Focusing Instructions Manual (17 pages)

“Ajas” Instantaneos Mini-Manual

If we live in a Focusing/Felt-Sensing way, we will be able to use our “intuitive feel” of situations that touch us or matter to us to uncover, to unfold our most important life meanings and directions. Here is an experience I had and how, taking time later to “sense into” and make words for “the whole intuitive feel” left by the situation guided and enriched me.
 
Context of the day: I went to a Women-In-Networking (WIN) holiday luncheon. This is a gathering of small business owners and other “Women in Business.” I had fallen just before needing to leave and severely bruised several boney parts. I iced them a little, but had to rush off — I am turning 62 on Dec. 24, and this enters into “feeling more fragile.”
 
At the meeting, the Emcee, one of few men involved in the organization, told a story about how his single-mother mom had worked and sacrificed to make a home, a living, a life for her children. Throughout the entire telling, he kept completely choking up, being almost unable to speak, tearing up, but he continued on. Noone freaked out. Many people teared up along with him. Occasionally he would make a joke or articulate a point. It did not seem to phase him at all. His main point: (and this made him cry/choke up a lot!) That we here at WIN were supporting each other in a way that his mother did not have support, and how precious and important that was.
 
Then a woman minister spoke about her ministry, about “women who live dangerously,” meaning “women who are willing to ‘lose’ their life in order to ‘find’ it” (I tear up a little here right now). She told stories of her own widowhood at age 45, about women in third world countries struggling to raise, not only their own, but children orphaned by AIDS. She told stories of how women seem to have a special talent for rising to the occasion in the midst of adversity, being able to pick up the pieces and go on, helping themselves and others. Again, many people were wiping their eyes and sniffling.
 
And I am sitting there thinking/feeling: this is what I am working on.
 
And, later, at home, I took time to relax into my body by paying attention to my body, then asked myself in a Focusing way, “What was it about that meeting that is so ‘crux’ to me?” and waited for “the feel of it all” to form in the center of my body. And these are the words that came as I went back-and-forth between words and “the intuitive feel” until the words were “just right”:
 
This calling of mine about integrating masculine and feminine, work and home, about the way in which “tears of being touched and moved” are our body’s “signposts that we are on the path to profound meaning—and I wondered how I could remind these people of this teary and heartfelt experience they all went through, happily, in a holiday mood, when I proposed (which I was getting clarity on doing as a next step) that we add real Listening/Focusing Support Groups (for creative thinking, problem solving, and emotional clarity — that these two things are not separate but go hand in hand) to the networking meetings that we have and to creating Creative Edge Organizations.
 
And, in there, is the crux of my work (at least in this area — that leaves parenting support groups, relationship support groups, etc., etc.) — but this thing right here is the crux about bringing work and home, masculine and feminine, thinking and feeling together in a business setting—
 
Moral of The Story: Living In a Self-Reflective Way Enriches Meaning
 
So here we see that simply paying attention to what is happening in our “bodily felt sense” or “intuitive feel” while we live our life situations, and taking a few moments to give Focusing attention to make words for “the feel of it all” enriches our life with meaning. Not just for difficulties and problem solving, but in terms of positive, profound indications that we are on the “right track” in terms of life directions.

Pre-Focusing Practice B. Getting A Felt Sense #4: “Finding the Felt Senses of A Situation”
 
(from Complete Focusing Instructions, free download link at top of this blog) Week Four of four weeks of practice
 
Remember, especially at the beginning, time those “1 minute” pauses. You will be amazed at how long a minute is, how seldom we ever pause for a whole minute!!! And it is exactly in the PAUSE that the Creative Edge comes.

 4.  The “Felt Sense,” The “Intuitive Feel” of a Situation-Allow 15 to 20 minutes
 
In this exercise, you are going through a first round of Intuitive Focusing, looking for The Creative Edge, the something-new-that-is-more-than-words about an actual situation during the week that felt unfinished.

Although you may have gone around and around in your head, trying to find a solution, to figure out what happened that was strange, now you will set aside that left-brain problem solving and consult your “right-brain wisdom, the bodily “intuitive feel” of “that whole thing.” First, we use a Relaxation exercise as a way of clearing some space inside for Focusing:
 
Let’s start with The Counting Meditation for initial Relaxation:
 
—First, stretch—and relax, stretch—and relax, stretch—and relax—-30 sec.
 
—Now, begin noticing your breathing, just noticing the breath going in—and out—in—and out—30 sec.
 
—Now, on each exhale, count starting with “1” and continuing, on each exhale, until you reach “9”—1—2—3—4—5—6—7—8—9
2 minutes
—If you lose track, just start counting over again with “1”. When you get to “9,” start over and count to “9” one more time—
                                                                2 minutes
—Spend a few minutes coming to a peaceful place inside, noticing your breathing—
2 minutes
—Now, bring to mind an incident or a situation from the past week which feels unfinished, left behind an uncomfortable or confusing feeling or even a positve feeling—
2 minutes
—Set aside all your ready-made words or images, and try to get a fresh “intuitive feel” for how you felt in that situation, paying attention to the center of your body, around the heart/chest area—
1 minute
—Try to find some words or an image to describe the “intuitive feel” of it, The Creative Edge before words—
1 minute
—Keep checking until the words or image are just right.
1 minute
—Ask yourself, “What’s that about for me?” and wait for a felt sense, an “intuitive feel” that is more than words, to form—
1 minute
—Find some words or an image to capture that “intuitive sense”. You are letting your body’s Wisdom tell you about the situation, instead of answering with everything you already know.
1 minute
—When you are ready, come slowly back into the room.
 
If you wanted to continue with another round of Focusing, you would simply ask again, “And why is this important to me?”, wait to see what comes as an “intuitive feel,” look for words or an image that are “just right,” checking and resonating until something shifts inside. You can find full Focusing Instructions in Complete Focusing Instructions, p.12-17, download from the link at the top of this blog.

CREATIVE EDGE FOCUSING(tm):  SELF-HELP SKILLS FOR HOME AND WORK

Creative Edge Focusing (www.cefocusing.com ) teaches two basic self-help skills, Intuitive Focusing and Focused Listening, which can be applied at home and at work through The Creative Edge Focusing Pyramid.

Based upon Gendlin’s Experiential Focusing (www.focusing.org ) and Rogers’ Empathic Listening, our website is packed with Free Resources and instructions in these basic self-help skills. Learn how to build Support Groups, Conscious Relationships, and Creative Edge Organizations based upon these basic skills of emotional intelligence.

You can try out “Focusing: Find Out What Is Bothering You.”

Click here to subscribe to Creative Edge Focusing(TM)’s  Instant “Ahah!” e-newsletter and get the latest exercises first!!! Today’s blog is part of the year-long e-course offered through the Instant “Ahah!” e-newsletter.

Click here for a free Intuitive Focusing Mini-Course

Click here for a free Focused Listening Mini-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

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

INTEREST AREA: BUILDING COMMUNITY — SUPPORT GROUPS EVERYWHERE!!!

By , June 16, 2008 2:10 pm

Interest Areas: Seven Places To Start Practice Groups !!!

The Interest Areas under “Is This You” at The Creative Edge Focusing website (www.cefocusing.com ) give the First Ten Steps you might take to bring the model of Listening/Focusing into seven whole different areas of living: Organizations, Support Groups and Communities, Relationships, Parenting, Education, Spiritual Communities, and Helping Professions (psychotherapy, counselling, medicine, body work, etc.).

In the next e-newsletters, I will introduce you to each of these Interest Areas and possible First Steps so that you might start a Listening/Focusing practice group in any of these areas.

INTEREST AREA: BUILDING SUPPORTIVE COMMUNITY AT HOME, IN THE COMMUNITY, AND AT WORK

The Building Supportive Community Project brings the Creative Edge Focusing TM Model, with its two Core Skills, Intuitive Focusing and Focused Listening, and seven Applied Methods of The Creative Edge Pyramid, into existing support groups and communities, as well as starting new Focusing Communities.

Some applications are 12-Step Groups, Support Groups, Community Mental Health , Religious and Spiritual Communities, Hospitals , Prisons , Schools , Conflict Resolution, Participatory Democracy , and Collaborative Work Groups and Collectives. See (PDF file) Focusing and Twelve Step by Steve Crawford and Focusing Recovery by Suzanne Noel for an integration of Gendlin’s Focusing theory and the 12-Steps.

What Is Community?

Community means a felt-experience of interconnection and mutual support as well as the capacity to work together toward a common cause. In a community everyone can belong, respected for their uniqueness or their role but working toward the common good. For community to work, people need ways to respect and to capitalize on differences and to resolve interpersonal conflicts.

Community can be built starting with people who initially come together for mutual emotional support, as in a support group. That experience of sharing can build outward into an actual community which can organize toward a common goal, for instance, advocacy.

Or, community can be built starting with people who initially come together to accomplish a shared goal, as in a grass-roots campaign or a non-profit or for-profit organization. The good feelings created through collaboration can end up having also created feelings of mutual care and supportive community.

Dr. McGuire’s manual (download a Sample Chapter, English or Spanish,  in our Store) , Focusing In Community: How To Start A Listening/Focusing Support Group (in Spanish, Focusing en Comunidad: Como Empezar un Grupo de Apoyo de Escocha Y Focusing) teaches the basic skills needed. Audio and video tapes and phone sessions and workshops enhance this learning. The Creative Edge e-discussion/support group connects you with other people throughout the world who belong to Focusing Communities. Find contact links below.

See the free article The Focusing Community for a full description of the model.

Support Groups/ Twelve-Step Groups

The Listening/Focusing peer counseling model for building community starts at the emotional support end. The exchange of Listening/Focusing turns in Focusing Partnerships provides the empathic glue that bonds people together and motivates them to want to take care of each other, individually and in terms of uniting around a shared goal.

In a support group, usually around a particular topic like divorce, cancer, adoption, addiction, grief, we have the opportunity of discovering that we are not alone. Others have had similar experiences. They are interested, also, in hearing our own unique story, in all of its detail. Pooling all that we have learned, we can solve our problems. Support groups are places for powerful bonding because of this shared experience.

The Listening/Focusing exchange in Focusing Groups/Teams and Focusing Communities can be as powerful as psychotherapy in terms of healing and moving forward, yet it is safe, self-empowering, and inexpensive. These are bonuses to support group participation too good to pass up!( See More on Focusing in Support Groups.)

Community Mental Health

The Focusing in Community model can also be applied as a grass-roots method for integrating mental health care, as a peer counseling method, into communities.
See APPLICATION: Community Mental Health

Creative Edge Organizations Are Communities

In addition to incorporating Creative Edge Focusing into emotional support groups , building supportive community can start with groups who come together to accomplish a common task. The Creative Edge Organization model can be used for motivation from the bottom up. The Collaborative Edge Decision Making Method (PDF file to download, English or Spanish), with components of Shared Leadership, Coordinated Collaboration, and Creative Edge Impasse Resolution, grounds power and responsibility for decision making in each individual. See More on Task-Oriented Community Building.

Starting either with emotional support groups or collaborative work situations, by teaching the two simple skills of Intuitive Focusing and Focused Listening, and the seven applied methods of The Creative Edge Pyramid, you can strengthen community through
—the personal, creative, and spiritual growth of each member
—the relational aspects of mutual care and conflict resolution
—the task-oriented level of problem-solving, group decision-making, and concerted action toward a goal.

Click here to visit the Building Supportive Community Interest Area and scroll down to find the Ten First Steps For Bringing Listening/Focusing into Support Groups, Community Mental Health, and Task-Oriented Settings

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!!!

 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.

Download complete Instant “Ahah!” Mini-Manual, in English and Spanish, from CEF Website

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

STARTING A LISTENING/FOCUSING SUPPORT GROUP

By , June 3, 2008 10:44 am

FOCUSING PARTNERSHIP: WHAT THE LISTENER DOES

Below, from the manual, Focusing In Community: How To Start A Listening/Focusing Support Group, Chapter Three, is a simple introduction to the Focused Listening skills used by the Listener while the other person in a Partnership Turn is using Intuitive Focusing. The complete Chapter Three download gives very specific instructions for trying out the Four Basic Kinds of Response outlined below:

The following are the most “simple” instructions I could come up with to help people start trying the new way of relating I call “Focused Listening”. The list of Suggested Readings at the end of the Chapter directs you to some other people’s attempts at explaining empathic, or reflective, listening. The exercises at the end of the Chapter enable you to start practicing Listening with a few other people. You will want to come back to the instructions below many times after you start practicing Listening. You may also want to arrange to attend a Listening/Focusing workshop or to have a Listening/ Focusing teacher come to work with your group. Resources are listed in Chapter Eight.

Focused Listening is based on a philosophy which says that, when a person is being unclear on what to do next, or needing help, the best possible thing you can do is to help her find words for the “intuitive feel” of the issue-that being able to symbolize The Creative Edge of confusion or trouble leads to change in that trouble and the possibility for new actions and decisions. Once the person has been able to symbolize in words what is going on inside, solutions and next steps will come from within the person herself. So Focused Listening is used to help the person to find words. The best way to do this is mainly by (In 2007, see the multimedia examples in the Self-Help Package):

1) Helping the person to talk and saying back, either in her own words or in a paraphrase of your own, what you have heard her say.
2) Then she can check these words against the feelings inside, and
3) Try talking again, trying to find better words for those feelings.

Again, you help just by saying back what you have heard her say. It is the process of saying back, and not any advice or opinions or suggestions of your own, which is most powerful as a way of helping the person to find her own words for the experience she is having (as of 2007, see DVD: Listening/Focusing Demonstrations for many examples).

When Listening is successful in helping a person to get words connected with “felt meanings,” the person being listened to has the experience of getting “unstuck”, releasing tension (often tears or anger), and forming some concept for the situations, past and present, which are involved in this feeling in her. She also has the experience of saying feelings which she has been taught to be ashamed of or to fear and of having them received with warm understanding by another person.

 The Listener has the experience of seeing and understanding the other person without distortion and sharing intimately in his or her inner world. This “seeing” can be a powerful almost magical experience which may bring tears of recognition, or empathy.

Listening is best done as a sharing between equals, an exchange of Listening/Focusing turns. Each person has a chance at helping and a chance at finding words for her own troubled place. Two people set aside some time (usually from twenty minutes to an hour for each of them), and sit facing each other and close enough to touch if that kind of support arises in the interaction. First, one person talks while the other listens. Then, for the second hour, it’s done the other way around. Listening turns should feel, not like a dreaded “psychotherapy hour”, but a looked-forward-to chance to get some time for yourself, to go inside and get in touch with yourself.

Here are the four basic types of response a Focused Listener can use:

FOUR BASIC TYPES OF RESPONSE

Pure Reflection (Basic Reflective Listening):

Saying back or paraphrasing what the person has said, with an emphasis
on reflecting the feeling tone: “It sounds like you’re saying —” or
“You are saying — ” or “The important part in there seems to be —”

Asking for more:

Asking the person to say more about words she has already used;
inviting her to go further: “Can you say more about — ” or “What did
you mean by the word ‘jealousy’?”

3. Intuitive Focusing Invitation:

Inviting the listenee to be quiet and “sense into” the “intuitive feel”:
“Can you just sit quietly and pay attention to The Creative Edge?”
“Would it be okay to ‘sit with’ that sense of ‘sadness’ and see what comes?”

4. Personal sharings:

Any responses which are your own thoughts, feelings, or intuitions (to
be used only in turns longer that twenty minutes and to be used
sparingly, followed by a return to reflection of feelings).

Please go to this blog with links at the top for the complete Chapter Three Download , in English and Spanish, for exact instructions in the Four Basic Response, find your first person to practice with, and give Focused Listening a try!

 Order the Self-Help Package to watch actual Focused Listening sessions on DVD. There, you will also find links to free downloads of the Introduction to the manual, in English and Spanish, telling how to find one or more people with whom to start a practice Partnership or Group.

Remember, Intuitive Focusing is often learned more easily in the company of a Focused Listener. Go to Creative Edge Focusing TM at www.cefocusing.com  to find many resources, from self-help groups to Creative Edge Focusing Consultants for individual Coaching or Classes and Workshops.

Tell me what you think at [email protected] or comment on this blog below ! Or email your findings to The Creative Edge Collaborators’ Group. Join at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/creativeedgecollab 

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

 See blogs under Category: Conflict Resolution in the sidebar 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.

Download complete Instant “Ahah!” Mini-Manual, in English and Spanish, from CEF Website

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 

STARTING A LISTENING/FOCUSING SUPPORT GROUP

By , May 27, 2008 5:02 pm

What The Focuser Does: Focusing While Being Listened To

Focusing Partnerships/Groups/Teams can work as a self-help, peer-based model precisely because the Focuser is “in charge” of their own Focusing Turn. The Focuser is the boss, saying what is and isn’t working for them. The Listener is just a helper, not a “therapist,” a “Coach,” a “Consultant.” The Focuser is in charge of getting what he or she needs out of the Focusing Turn, be it emotional support, exploration of an idea, or another kind of right-brain, creative problem solving. Read below from Chapter Three in Focusing in Community:

“Listening is a two-way process-it involves certain skills of the Focuser as well as the Listener. It is also a process between peers-the Listener will use special skills to help the Focuser find “the intuitive feel,” but there is no assumption that she is an “expert” who can do all the fixing. In fact, the Focuser is in the best position to do the work of finding words for the “intuitive feel” since she is the one experiencing The Creative Edge, she has much more information to go on than the most skilled Listener.

A responsible Focuser does most of the work of staying focused on the “intuitive feel”-the Listener helps where she is able. The Focuser will even tell the Listener how to help: “I need you to say that back”, or “No, I’m getting off on a tangent. Let’s go back to —, “or “There is a crying place here somewhere. Let me be quiet for a minute and get hold of it”. The Focuser is responsible-she doesn’t just sit and talk and expect the Listener to do the work of finding and articulating The Creative Edge.

The main responsibility of the Focuser is Intuitive Focusing-constantly staying in touch with the vague, bodily feeling which is the referent for all the words that are coming, knowing when the words are connecting with the “intuitive feel” and when they are just words. There’s no way that the Listener can do this better than the Focuser-the Listener has no “intuitive feel” of “rightness” to go on (See Chapter Four on “Focusing”)

Finding words for the “intuitive feel” is a mysterious process-at the same time that you know what you are sensing very precisely, because you can feel it, you also don’t have the vaguest notion of what you are sensing, because you have no words for it. A Focusing session is like a precarious kind of search in the dark-holding on to this murky “intuitive sense” at all cost, you carefully try to make words for it, testing the words constantly against the “intuitive feel” until you find the ones that “fit”, that make a difference that you can feel, that allow a “stuck” pattern to release and change.

You can’t engage in this process unless you have an “intuitive feel” to work from, so the Focuser’s most important task is sitting quietly and letting an “intuitive feel” form, or coming in touch with, or becoming aware of, one that is there. You have to start out with The Creative Edge, the “something-that-is-more-than-words”-starting straight into words without pausing to let the “intuitive feel” come doesn’t work.

How do you Focus? Mainly, by sitting quietly, stopping all the externally-directed activity and thinking that goes with being out in the world, and just being still. It is as if the “intuitive sensing” is there all the time and will emerge if you can just get quiet enough to become aware of it. Focusing means asking yourself, quietly, “How am I now?” and listening and waiting for a “right-brain” answer to come, as an “intuitive feel.”

It is the opposite of looking out at the Listener and saying, “Tell me what to do”. It is also the opposite of the inner dialogue which we all have most of the time-a critical stream of messages telling us what we should do or feel. It is simply asking yourself, “How do I feel?” and accepting, without censorship, whatever comes before words.

Focusing is difficult and isn’t learned all at once. Partly you learn how to focus by being listened to, by having the Listener say back what she has heard you say and checking those words against your inner sensing (“No, it’s not quite that. It’s more like —“), and by trying out her suggestions to sense into certain words that seemed important. The following are some additional aspects of being a responsible Focuser (Table 3.3):

TABLE 3.3

HOW TO FOCUS WHILE BEING LISTENED TO

1. Start your turn by sitting quietly for one to three
minutes, turning inwards and finding the “intuitive
feel,” the “something-that-is-more-than-words,”
The Creative Edge of right-brain information

2. When you have an “intuitive feel” for an issue, then
carefully try out some tentative words for it.
Check the Listener’s reflection of your words
against the “intuitive feel” again, and make more
words until you have it just right.

3. When you find words that “fit” the “intuitive sense,”
receive whatever comes, non-judgmentally.
If tears come, be welcoming.
4. If you get lost, just stop talking and Focus again,
looking for the “intuitive feel”

5. When you get to ending places, go back to the
original felt sense and check with it: “Is this
all? Or is there more there to be discovered?”

Now, click here to go to my blog where, at the top, you will find the links to download the complete “Chapter Three: LIstening/Focusing Partnership Exchange” in English or Spanish if you haven’t already done this or order the complete manual or multi-media Self-Help Package in our Store.

In the Chapter, you will find complete detailed instructions for being the Focuser and being the Listener in a Focusing Partnership Exchange and for starting a Focusing Practice Group or Team.

 Finding Your First Person Or Core Group

And just an easy reminder from last week’s lesson, if you haven’t yet taken that first step of finding one person or a small group to start practicing with:

Beginning your Listening/Focusing Practice Group can be as easy as finding one other person to share the Self-Help Package (or with Spanish manual) with. You will have a manual download in English or Spanish giving explicit instructions, two 2-CD sets explaining the basic philosophy and including many Focusing Exercises you can use to begin your meetings, and a two-hour DVD with four different demonstrations of being a Focused Listener while someone else is using Intuitive Focusing. All for the introductory price of $39 US!!!

Not ready to commit to a purchase? You can start by downloading the free PDF file of the Introduction to the manual, in English or Spanish, from the link in the Store, which gives many suggestions for finding people for your practice group.

Tell me what you think at [email protected] or comment on this blog below ! Or email your findings to The Creative Edge Collaborators’ Group. Join at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/creativeedgecollab 

 See blogs under Category: Conflict Resolution in the sidebar 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.

Download complete Instant “Ahah!” Mini-Manual, in English and Spanish, from CEF Website

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 

LISTENING/FOCUSING PRACTICE PARTNERSHIP OR GROUP: BASIC INSTRUCTIONS

By , May 12, 2008 5:23 pm

Starting Your Own Listening/Focusing Partnership or Group

In these weekly Felt Sensing newsletters of this four-week cycle, I will give instruction (including free Chapter downloads from the manual Focusing In Community: Starting A Listening/Focusing Support Group (Focusing en Comunidad) and encouragement for starting your own, local Listening/Focusing Practice Partnership or Group. Click here to read Week One: Starting A Listening/Focusing Practice Group, including links to Free Downloads of “Introduction” from the manual, Focusing in Community, in English and Spanish. This “Introduction” gives many suggestions for finding that one first person to exchange Focusing Partnership and/or how to start a core practice group.

FIRST TEN PRACTICE GROUP SESSIONS

I promised that this week I would give free download of Chapter Three of the manual, Focusing in Community (Focusing en Comunidad), telling you exactly how to do the actual exchange of Listening/Focusing Partnership Exchange: exactly what the Focuser does, and exactly what the Listener does. And here it comes! But, first, I want to present an outline for the First Ten Sessions of a practice group, in case you want to go beyond exchanging turns with one person and build a small group. These appear at the end of Chapter Three, but I wanted to highlight them here so that you could see that this is really, really simple, really possible.

You can do this, start your own self-help group. And, of course, if you want more formal help, you can take a Listening/Focusing Level 1 and 2 Class, learning the basic skills from a Certified Focusing Professional. Links to finding those classes internationally are at the end of this e-newsletter. So, from the end of Chapter Three (after this, you’ll get the link that completely explains the four types of response eluded to here: Pure Reflection, Asking For More, Focusing Invitations, and Personal Sharings):

Instructions for Small Group Practice (The Listening Exchange)

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 listenee 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 listenee 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 listenee, 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, listenee, 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 listenee 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 listenee to stay with her “felt sense,” and make words for it. The listenee needs to be sure to go back to Pure Reflection for several steps after each Personal Sharing or Focusing Invitations.

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).

It is also a good idea to begin turns with some short, group Focusing Instructions (Chapter Four gives a thorough introduction to Focusing). The instructions can be read to the whole group by one person. In general, they give everyone a chance to step out of the tensions of the day and to choose an issue or a feeling they would like to work on. Table 3.5 gives some short, pre-listening turn Focusing Instructions.

IF YOU HAVE THE SELF-HELP PACKAGE CDS, INTUITIVE FOCUSING INSTRUCTIONS, YOU CAN ALSO PLAY AN EXERCISE FROM THESE EACH WEEK FOR THE GROUP TO TRY.

AND YOU COULD ALSO USE MY WEEKLY BLOGS OR E-NEWSLETTERS (YOU CAN ALWAYS GO TO THE ARCHIVES FROM WWW.CEFOCUSING.COM, CATEGORY “FREE RESOURCES,” THEN CHOOSE E-NEWSLETTER ARCHIVE OR SIMPLY SUBSCRIBE FROM THE WEBSITE SIDEBAR) AS “LESSONS” FOR PRACTICE OR DISCUSSION AT MEETINGS, IF YOU WANT MORE STRUCTURE.

Once you have established your listening exchanges you should meet to exchange turns once a week for at least ten weeks. Since you will be continuing to read the manual and to learn new skills, you might want to schedule in one-half to one hour of time at your listening exchange for discussion of additional chapters of the manual.

Now, click here to go to my blog where, at the top, you will find the links to download the complete “Chapter Three: Listening/Focusing Partnership Exchange” in English or Spanish if you haven’t already done this or ordered the complete manual or multi-media Self-Help Package in our Store.

Finding Your First Person Or Core Group

And just an easy reminder from last week’s lesson, if you haven’t yet taken that first step of finding one person or a small group to start practicing with:

Beginning your Listening/Focusing Practice Group can be as easy as finding one other person to share the Self-Help Package with. You will have a manual download in English or Spanish giving explicit instructions, two 2-CD sets explaining the basic philosophy and including many Focusing Exercises you can use to begin your meetings, and a two-hour DVD with four different demonstrations of being a Focused Listener while someone else is using Intuitive Focusing. All for the introductory price of $39 US!!!

You can get online support and answers to your questions as you try to proceed in the Creative Edge Practice e-group at http://yahoogroups.com/group/creativeedgepractice  .

Tell me what you think at [email protected] or comment on this blog below ! Or email your findings to The Creative Edge Collaborators’ Group. Join at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/creativeedgecollab 

 See blogs under Category: Conflict Resolution in the sidebar 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.

Download complete Instant “Ahah!” Mini-Manual, in English and Spanish, from CEF Website

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 

STARTING A LISTENING/FOCUSING SUPPORT GROUP

By , May 7, 2008 5:16 pm

Starting Your Own Listening/Focusing Partnership or Group

In these weekly Felt Sensing newsletters of this four-week cycle, I will give instruction (including free Chapter downloads from the manual Focusing In Community: Starting A Listening/Focusing Support Group (Focusing en Comunidad) and encouragement for starting your own, local Listening/Focusing Practice Group.

Most people learn Intuitive Focusing more easily in the presence of a Focused Listener, an outside, non-judgemental “witness.” The Listener can use Pure Reflection to help you hear and resonate/check your own words against your “felt sense,” and Focusing Invitations to remind you to slow down, be quiet, and sense into the “bodily feel,” the Creative Edge. Only then can you let new words and images arise from that wealth of non-linear, right-brain information.The Listener can help you spot the many voices of your Inner Critic, Wounded Child, and other aspects of your experiencing.

I can think of no better way than a weekly group meeting to support you in developing “the habit of felt sensing,” a life style of paying attention to and spending time articulating the wealth of mind/body wisdom that comes every day as The Creative Edge. This “intuitive feel” of your situations, relationships, and creative problem solving contains the possibility of the Paradigm Shifts leading to the most innovative problem solving, the most lasting personal change.Not only will your group learn Listening and Focusing skills, but also you will reap the benefits of “bonding” that come from sharing your inner journey with another.

Finding Your First Person Or Core Group

Beginning your Listening/Focusing Practice Group can be as easy as finding one other person to share the Self-Help Package with. You will have a manual download in English or Spanish giving explicit instructions, two 2-CD sets explaining the basic philosophy and including many Focusing Exercises you can use to begin your meetings, and a two-hour DVD with four different demonstrations of being a Focused Listener while someone else is using Intuitive Focusing. All for the introductory price of $39 US!!!  Click here to explore this option in our Store.

Not ready to commit to a purchase? You can start by downloading the free PDF files, in English or Spanish of the Introduction to the manual which you will also find at the link above.  The Introductory Chapter gives many suggestions for finding people for your practice group. And next week you can download Chapter Three, explicit instructions for the first ten meetings of your Listening/Focusing exchange, here at this blog.

You can start just with one best friend or colleague who is already a great listener.
You can take the skills into an existing support group or work team.
You can do a presentation to the kind of people you would like in your group (counselors, church members, business colleagues, couples, parents, artists — your own peer group!). Or
You can take a Listening/Focusing Class from a Certified Focusing Professional and then carry on as a self-help practice group.

Here are the first pages of the Introduction to inspire you to action! You really can start your own group:

FOCUSING IN COMMUNITY: Introduction

Free sample excerpt of manual by Dr. Kathy McGuire, Creative Edge Focusing TM, www.cefocusing.com  , part of The Self-Help Package available in The Store :

INTRODUCTION

1. How to Use the Manual

The manual has been written so that any individual can

· sit down and read the manual;
· find a friend or two who will also read it and practice the skills in Part Two; and
· build a supportive community for himself.

However, the manual can also be used by professionals:

as the basis for a course in community mental health or counseling skills
as an aid in beginning supportive communities in a variety of settings.

It can be used by professionals and non-professionals alike who want to build non-hierarchical and emotionally supportive work environments for themselves.

The peer counseling model for community offered here also insures a further step toward intimacy to groups who are already meeting some needs through mutual support.The manual is based on thirty years of experience with groups in many contexts and is the best solution I have found to the difficulties of living, meeting and working collectively.

The manual teaches peer counseling skills of empathic listening and experiential focusing and tells how to use these skills to provide emotional support, to work through interpersonal conflicts, and to arrive at consensual, cooperative decisions. It tells how to build a peer counseling community, be it as small as four close friends or one open to anyone in a larger community who wants to come.

In a peer counseling community, there is no distinction made between helper and helpee. Everyone learns the core skills, Focused Listening and Intuitive Focusing. Participants exchange counseling turns as equals: I listen to you while you use Focusing on some concern of yours; then you listen to me while I use Focusing on my concern.

The depth of intimacy generated during the exchange of empathic listening turns grows into a feeling of connectedness and mutual regard which soon blossoms into a supportive community: a throughout the week network of friendships and mutually supporting relationships extending into all aspects of participants” life and work.

The manual should be useful to:

· helping professionals who bring people together for mutual support in a variety of settings, including churches, schools, prisons, halfway houses, community mental health centers, senior citizen centers, 12-Step organizations, hospitals;
· paraprofessionals who offer peer counseling through hotlines, crisis centers, student centers;
· self-help and support groups who want to deepen their level of sharing and commitment;
· businesses, non-profit organizations, and political groups who want to incorporate “the intuitive feel,” The Creative Edge, for innovative problem solving;
· those living in spiritual and other residential communities;
· individuals who are looking for their own solution to isolation and loneliness.

The skills described in the manual, and the theory behind them, can be easily comprehended and practiced by any individual or group of individuals who want to create a more intimate and healing environment for themselves.

Every person should have the skills to respond to emotional crisis, to be in touch with and to share his own inner experiencing, to resolve interpersonal conflicts, and to make decisions without conflict. The need for such skills arises constantly in everyday life: in marriage, friendship, the relationship between employer and employee, any attempt of people to meet or work together.

When such skills remain the province of mental health professionals alone, there is a general mystification which leads individuals to feel dependent upon mental health practitioners and, in the most damaging way, to perceive themselves as not responsible for their feelings and actions and their effects upon other people.

I hope through this manual to give confidence and skills to those wishing to understand the psychological and interpersonal phenomena which arise in everyday friendship and work and thereby to empower individuals.I have received some of my own best mental health care and mental health training in support groups and peer counseling groups. I have come to see the core skills of Intuitive Focusing and Focused Listening as the basis of “human literacy,” skills of “emotional and social intelligence.”

CLICK HERE FOR A LINK AT CREATIVE EDGE FOCUSING WHERE YOU CAN DOWNLOAD THE ENTIRE “INTRODUCTION,” IN ENGLISH OR SPANISH, AS A FREE PDF FILE.

AND/OR CLICK HERE TO VIEW A COMPLETE DESCRIPTION AND TO CONSIDER PURCHASING THE ENTIRE SELF-HELP PACKAGE FOR $39 (OR MANUAL DOWNLOAD ALONE FOR $5), WITH MULTI-MEDIA SUPPORT.

It is my hope that, before the end of this four-week cycle, you will have found at least one other person to practice Intuitive Focusing and Focused Listening with as the beginning of your own local practice group. The manual chapter gives many suggestions about how to find your first one or more people, how to present the idea, how to demonstrate the skills.

BUT ONLY YOU CAN TAKE THAT FIRST STEP OF FINDING SOMEONE, JUST THAT ONE, FIRST PERSON. From then on, you and your partner can support each other in enlarging the group, if you want.

You can get online support and answers to your questions as you try to proceed in the Creative Edge Practice e-group at http://yahoogroups.com/group/creativeedgepractice  . 

Tell me what you think at [email protected] or comment on this blog below ! Or email your findings to The Creative Edge Collaborators’ Group. Join at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/creativeedgecollab 

 See blogs under Category: Conflict Resolution in the sidebar 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.

Download complete Instant “Ahah!” Mini-Manual, in English and Spanish, from CEF Website

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 

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