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):



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 or comment on this blog below ! Or email your findings to The Creative Edge Collaborators’ Group. Join at 

 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)

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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