CREATIVE EDGE FOCUSING NEWS AND GOODS: Creativity, 12-Step, Art Therapy, Enneagram, Focusing Partnerships

By , October 6, 2008 4:14 pm

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NEWS AND GOODS BELOW: The Many Applications of Intuitive Focusing and Focused Listening!!!

On Creativity: Writing From The “Felt Sense”

Here is a quote from an author about being guided, not from the logical “all-ready known,” but from the “felt sense,” the “intuitive feel.” The Creative Edge can carry implicit in it “the whole thing,” just waiting to be articulated into words and images that capture and grow forward from it:

“From that point on, the tale ran on its own legs, and turned into something I didn’t expect. It turned into the book it always should have been, a real book, where plot, character, and theme all worked together to make a whole greater than the sum of the parts. It turned out to be about something, beyond itself. It’s a bizarre but wonderful feeling, to arrive dead center of a target you didn’t even know you were aiming for.”

Lois Bujold, Cordelia’s Honor, NY: Baen Publishing, 1996, Afterword, p.479

Focusing-Oriented Art Therapy: Accessing The Body’s Wisdom

There is a wonderful new book in the works which combines Focusing with Art Therapy for the professional therapist, and with artistic creation for the rest of us. Focusing-Oriented Art Therapy :Accessing the Body’s Wisdom and Creative Intelligence by Laury Rappaport, long-time Focusing teacher and professor.

To learn more and pre-order this book visit:  
(reviewed by Cornell, The Focusing Connection Newsletter, Aug. 2008)

Bringing Focusing Into The Enneagram

Mary Bast, long-time executive and life coach and expert on using The Enneagram (link to free tests) in coaching, has written an article on using Creative Edge Focusing with various personality types in her August, 2008, e-newsletter:  

The Creative Edge by Mary Bast
Out of the Box Coaching Newsletter
Volume 8, Issue 8 August 1, 2008

In our chapter on Fours in Out of the Box: Coaching with the Enneagram, Clarence and I wrote “You’ll establishmore rapport when you witness their pain, show yourempathy, honor their unique way of seeing things, andfocus your questions on how they feel.” We alsosuggested that “Twos respond better to feelback than tofeedback.”

Nonetheless, when concrete results aren’t obvious whilecoaching someone with heightened emotions, I sometimeswonder if I’ve been helpful by simply listeningdeeply, though my clients have assured me suchlistening feels right.
I try not to be too pushy about moving to solutions (otherwise I can become very Three-ish, wanting both results and evidence of my success), but I have often used Focusing as a way to help clients move through their kinesthetic experience of emotional pain and into imagery that has the potential to heal symbolically.

So I’m especially pleased to be in contact with Dr. Kathy McGuire and to learn more about her Creative Edge Focusing —
Among the many free articles at The Creative Edge website, those on grieving have been especially helpful to me when coaching Fours, Twos, and other clients experiencing strong feelings—

I’m also intrigued with her Focused Listening, which combines Gendlin’s Focusing with Carl Roger’s Reflective Listening. In previous newsletters I’ve written about Symbolic Modeling, a right-brain technique where the coach stays within a client’s metaphor landscape without leading the client, by using “clean language”-responses that elicit the client’s own resources to generate healing at a symbolic level. Now that I’ve had almost a full year of practice with Symbolic Modeling, however, I find the methodology somewhat difficult in contrast to the clarity and simplicity of the four basic responses in Focused Listening —

Finally, I am touched by her discussion of “The Focusing Attitude.” After summarizing this attitude as one of empathy, respect, and non-judgmental acceptance, she shares the metaphor used by Fathers Pete Campbell and
Ed McMahon, creators of Bio-Spiritual Focusing, to convey the “Caring, Feeling Presence”:

“Imagine you have found an abandoned infant on the steps of your hospital.
Imagine how you would, through your bodily attention, convey complete
acceptance and love and safety to this infant: “You are totally wanted in this
world and safe with me.” Now, turn this same kind of loving attention toward
your inner experiencing.”

I’m convinced the creative edge of change involves working with metaphors and-lovingly and with trust in our clients’ innate healing capacity-following the trail through kinesthetic, auditory, and visual imagery to those metaphors.

Find the entire article, archives of her monthly e-newsletters, and a wealth of actual examples of applying Coaching to the nine different personality styles of the Enneagram, all at Mary Bast’s wonderful website.

Recovery Focusing: Using Focusing To Work The 12 Steps

Here, as she continues to apply her model for Recovery Focusing in an actual addiction rehab center, Suzanne Noel gives us more wonderful examples of the power of Focusing in reaching even those in the early stages of recovery from addiction.

Suzanne describes the difference between teaching/learning the 12-Steps through an intellectualized “head” approach, vs. using Focusing to take the words of each step deeply down into “bodily felt experiencing,” where experiential “Ahah!”s arise as Focusers make words and images freshly from their own unique inner experiencing. Here is learning at a deep, body/mind level. Suzanne says:

I am continuing to “Focus Into” the Steps at the Rehab and am also putting it into practice by Focusing with a specific partner in Recovery Focusing. In my Recovery Focusing partnership I “hold” the Step in a Focusing way to sense it rather than “think it”. Amazingly powerful!

I will offer you a short glimpse into how I worked Step Two at the rehab last week. (We had already done readings and discussions on this Step in the past, as well as spent time with their sense of Sanity in a session several weeks ago.) This was a new, fresh visit to Step Two. Though I cannot recall much since it was last week, here is a brief description of what I did with the group of Spanish Narcotics Anonymous –most of whom are 18-20 years old (sadly):

Session Title: Our Bottom & Step 2

(First we ground ourselves.)

Here are the invitations I offered them:

Take some time to remember how you were the last few months before coming here. Just be with that a while. Recall a memory, a moment in time, an image of yourself, as how you were during “the worst of all that”.

(Share with Group.)

E. Crying and dirty in the rain, after spending all night on a terrible cocaine high, in which he stole from someone, beat up his friend, etc.

I. The horror of mixing so many drugs at one time — heroin, cocaine, pills — and the paralyzing result of all that, the epileptic-like seizure that resulted.

R. Seeing his two buddies injecting heroine in the back seat of his car, and realizing that this is where he was heading, from snorting heroin to injecting it.

P. A rage in which he destroyed a lot of things in his house.

(There were more people there, but these are the ones I have most clearly in mind.)

Now, remember that though we do have a disease, there is a solution. We can live a better life through the 12 Step Program & Fellowship.


2 Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

Now, take some time to think of a Higher Power.
How is that Higher Power, for you?
Go inside yourself and wait for an image or metaphor or feeling that may come that captures your inside sense of that Power Greater than yourself.
If nothing comes to you, that is normal, and just fine.
(Sometimes one or two may say, “Nothing is coming” but as they stay with it, something suddenly comes and they say: “Oh, I got it!” and are anxious to share.)

(Share with group).

E. Arms opening up the clouds, as if pushing them aside and saying “come to me”.

P. An image of the planet. Earth. And “Nature”.

I. (I can’t recall now, but remember something about a light. This person’s higher power is, in general, a light.)

R. Did not get anything. (He is new and highly distracted.)

Now, think about all that is implied by the word “sanity”.
Invite your body to feel into all that about “sanity”.
How would it feel to be a “sane” person.
How does it feel in your body, especially in your chest and central body area?
Invite an image or metaphor or gesture or a phrase to come to you that captures that. Take your time.

They each had a very meaningful sense of what “sanity” meant to them in that moment.
I can recall how their faces looked, the dignity they were feeling.
Unfortunately, I did not take notes.
The only one I do recall is E. who saw himself on a beach, with a girlfriend, with a diploma from having studied.

(Note: A few have gotten unmistakable “in the body” felt senses, but often they get images. I allow whatever comes to come. I plan on furthering their Focusing by inviting them to check that image with their middle area, to feel it inside, but right now I do not wish to “pressure” or add too much more to what they are already getting.)

I sometimes Clear a Space with the group, especially asking “What is in the way of working this Step?”. Then, we pick one and hold that.

I have asked them to “recall a happy time in their past” so they re-experience a body sense of that memory before going into the “Powerlessness” of Step One.

As a matter of fact, I am glad I followed my sense that it was best to precede work on Step One with a positive sober experience (some of them had to look way back in their past). This allowed me to compare and contrast and to bring them closer to that positive experience at the end of the session.

Focusing into their Powerlessness and unmanageability gave them a disturbing body sense of that — which is actually a good thing in recovery. We do not wish to forget where we came from, but we do wish to have courage to change and hope & faith that there is a “solution”.

It’s exciting work.

Focusing appears to calm them down. There is an intimacy and quietness and sense of wellness when we come together for Focusing. Most of the other classes jangle, are full of distractions.

It is very challenging, especially when new people arrive.
There are many difficulties involved with the environment itself. For my last class, I locked us all into the small kitchen. 🙂

Yes, challenging and difficult, but I feel blessed to be able to share with them my — and their — “experience”, strength, and hope, all of which seem more — hmm — FELT through Focusing!

Thanks again.

Blessings to all.

Suzanne Noel  

Read Suzanne’s article on “Recovery Focusing” at The Creative Edge Focusing (TM) website.

The Power of Focusing Partnership Exchange

At Creative Edge Focusing TM, I place an emphasis upon the power of Focusing Partnerships, Focusing Groups/Teams, and Focusing Communities to transform, not only the Self, but relationships, the workplace, and the local, national, and international community. Here are two articles from Ann Weiser Cornell’s The Focusing Connection newsletter, Sept., 2008) (subscribe here and also find back issues), where people report on the surprising gifts they received when they went from Focusing Alone to Focusing Partnership Exchange:

Some Insight and Reflection on the Role of Companion in Focusing by John Sabbage

I have noticed that Focusing with a companion is not just easier, it is richer, it offers a treasure that is different and seems more whole than Focusing alone. And it is this sense of wholeness that I want to explore —

There is a ceasing of ‘I’ or ‘you’ in this perspective, a kind of acceptance that something is Focusing and something is listening and there is a wondering in me about that whole thing. What is happening here? Two sparks of humanity finding ways to hold within themselves often apparently polar opposites of parts. All the parts of ourselves seek to live forward, to protect and make safe the precious aliveness. Often these seem at the outset to present opposite and sometimes quite painful and conflicting answers to the how of living forward. Yet through the patient questioning and accepting of what a something is not
wanting and what it is wanting, so its desire to live forward into all that Life implies is revealed and felt. As companion, there is a truly wonder-full sense of gratitude and awe to be witness. As though another’s shift in felt sense towards self-acceptance is also my own, and by implication Life’s own.
John Sabbage may be reached at

The Power of a Focusing Partnership by Jo Hainsworth

— Focusing is being with someone while they process. In sitting with someone in this way, I’m experiencing how powerful it can be, and it’s proving to be an invitation to me to find within me the ability to be with my own feelings in the same way. As I sat on Skype, simply listening and reflecting back the key content of what my partner was saying, initially I felt disempowered, and wondered how on earth he could possibly resolve the issues he was facing in his life. I just kept on listening and reflecting back, and by the end of the 25 minute session, I had tears come to my eyes as I listened to my partner enthuse about how amazed he was at what he had learned about himself, how the process had unfolded, as someone simply listened to him and reflected back some of what he was saying —

I believe that the Focusing Partnership model is one of the most sustainable
models that can help us to move forward in our lives. After completing a simple
course and learning how to Focus and how to be a Focusing Partner, you can form a partnership with someone that doesn’t cost a cent, and gives you ongoing support to go within and find your own answers for the rest of your life. In this world of high tech, fast moving specialization, it’s a relief to find that we all have the ability to help each other to move forward, not by offering advice or trying to help them to resolve their issues, but by doing something any human can learn to do – shut up and listen!!!! —

Quoting her teacher Suzanne Noel:

“Keeping someone company as they learn Focusing is such an honor for me – it’s like following someone as they journey into their deepest self, a space of not only aliveness, but creativity as well. I only hope more and more people are able to fully experience the power of focusing partnership, this unique relationship with ourselves and with another that redefines authentic intimacy and may be the next evolutionary “carrying forward” of human beingness.”

Jo Hainsworth established the Self Healing Portal last year to get free information out to people to assist them on their healing journey. You can find the SelfHealing Portal at

The Self-Help Package from Creative Edge Focusing TM, with manual, CDs, and DVD, gives you everything you need to start your own Focusing Partnership and, perhaps, build from there to a Focusing Group or Focusing Community.

The Creative Edge Practice e-group provides active support and advise.

Of course, taking a Level One Listening/Focusing class or workshop from a Certified Focusing Professional in your local area can speed you on your way and also perhaps provide the core group for carrying on as a self-help group.

Subscribe to Cornell’s Focusing Connection newsletter at her website.  . Ann has been publishing it for well over twenty years, for a very reasonable cost, and always with the cutting edge in short articles on Focusing and Listening.

A Poem on The Power of Focusing Partnership Exchange

I have written about the experiences of “agape,” love for the unique Otherness of another person, which arise frequently during Focusing Partnership Exchanges. The boundary between the Focuser and Listener seems to drop as they enter into a space of “We and Something Greater”:

Empathy and Agape: The Creation of Love

Intense spiritual experiences of the love known as Agape also happen regularly through the experience of exchanging Listening/Focusing turns in a Focusing Partnership or Focusing Community. Through the use of Focused Listening,I am able to set aside my own stereotypes and prejudices and really enter into the world of the other person. In these moments of empathy, when the Focuser touches upon her deepest values and most profound truths, as the Listener, I am often moved and touched by the absolute uniqueness, yet universal humanness, of the Other.

In these moments, often with a sheen of tears in our eyes, it seems that the boundaries separating one person from the other drop, and we stand together in a shared, sacred space. I believe this is what is meant by experiencing The Christ Within The Other or Universal Oneness. For me, there is no more sacred experience. (from Creative Edge Website: Spirituality)

In closing for this month, a beautiful poem, again from Suzanne Noel, created out of her “felt sense” as she tries to articulate this sense of participation in Focusing Partnerships:


Be quiet for me.
Behold me.

As the quivering sea beholds the silent moon
and transforms her
into dancing rivulets of color.

Move me like that. Just like that.

I will sway
until I sing myself
into my song.

I have been calling for you
since long ago,
long before the fog embraced my shores,
before day and night
were squeezed rigid with noise,
long before
my silence fell into its own silence.

As I behold you now,
I have finally heard you.

Sing your song.

I will sway with you
as you sing yourself into it.

You see,

It really is all about me.
It really is all about you.

We are
luminous and liquid,
together. Falling from Heaven.
The vast space between us
is insignificant
in this clear cool air.

Be quiet for me.
Behold me.

Suzanne Noel  

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Dr. Kathy McGuire, Director

Creative Edge Focusing (TM)

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