Posts tagged: Carl Rogers

EMPATHIC OR REFLECTIVE LISTENING: BIOGRAPHY OF CARL ROGERS, CREATOR

By , December 4, 2008 11:27 am

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Complete Focusing Instructions Manual (17 pages)

Instant “Ahah!” Mini-Manual

“Ajas” Instantaneos Mini-Manual

WHAT IS CREATIVE EDGE FOCUSING ™?

Dr. McGuire’s Creative Edge Focusing (TM), with her core skills Intuitive Focusing and Focused Listening, is her offshoot after over 30 years as a Listening/Focusing Teacher and Focusing-Oriented Therapist. She places special emphasis on learning through self-help and peer counseling communities and also upon application to daily life, through her Interest Areas, including Creative Edge Organizations, Conscious Relationships, Building Supportive Community, Positive Parenting, Creative Edge Education, Experiencing The Sacred, and Experiential Focusing Therapy. Here she offers the biography of Carl Rogers, first to develop the idea of empathic or reflective listening as the core human response facilitating growth, change, and creativity.

BIOGRAPHY: CARL ROGERS, CREATOR OF EMPATHIC LISTENING (1902-1987)

Empathic Listening

Carl Rogers, creator of Client-Centered Psychotherapy, was the first to develop a theory about how every person has within an “acorn” able to grow into a certain kind of tree, a “blueprint” for a unique life (On Becoming A Person, Houghton Mifflin, 1961). As a therapist in Rochester, NY, in the 1930’s, Rogers followed up on the suggestion from a female co-worker that, if instead of telling clients what to do, the therapist simply reflected back to them what they were saying and encouraged them to continue to look more deeply into their own answers, clients became empowered to find their own solutions and their own unique, personally meaningful path through life. Rogers called this technique “reflective listening” or “empathic listening.”  Learn Dr. McGuire’s simple, self-help version, Focused Listening.

From the 1940’s until his death in 1987, Rogers worked with many others in developing the idea that clients could heal themselves, if only the therapist provided “facilitative conditions” of “empathy,” “congruence,” and “unconditional positive regard.” Like a plant given water, soil, sun, and fertilizer, the person would unfold along his or her own unique path in facilitative conditions. While negative outward situations could stunt the person, like the potato left in a dark cellar, the person would always find a way, through what might look like torturous turns and twists, to reach toward the light. Read Dr. McGuire’s description of this unique, personal, unfolding through Intuitive Focusing and Focused Listening, Creating At The Edge.

Invention Of Peer Counseling

Rogers was so effective in defining the “therapeutic conditions” for growth that he and his followers became able to teach these skills, especially “empathic reflection,” to non-therapists as well: to physicians, ministers, parents, really anyone at all. Client-Centered Psychotherapy gave birth to the peer counseling movement, the idea that every day people could help each other, as equals, with their personal growth. The Changes model for building supportive community, written up in Dr. McGuire’s manual, Focusing In Community: How To Start A Listening/Focusing Support Group, grew out of this perspective toward peer self-help. Read Dr. McGuire’s applications for home, community, and work, Building Supportive Community and Creative Edge Organizations.

Rogers, Gendlin, and the Discovery of “Focusing”

In the early 1960’s, Rogers and his then-student Eugene Gendlin and others at the University of Chicago undertook a huge and highly regarded research project on therapy with schizophrenics, trying to show that the Rogerian conditions could be as powerful in healing inpatients in a mental hospital as students in university counseling centers. It was during this research that Gendlin fully developed his concept of “experiencing” and the definition of the client’s ability to “focus” upon present experiencing as the crux determining factor in success of psychotherapy, more than any therapist conditions. Gendlin went on to write the self-help book, Focusing (Bantam, 1981, 1984) in order to make this self-help skill of “inner reference” available to everyone. Find many books and articles, teachers and workshops on Focusing at The Focusing Institute website. Learn Dr. McGuire’s version, Intuitive Focusing.

International Conflict Resolution

Rogers went on to extend his methods of “empathic listening” to couples, groups, and global conflicts. Using the simple empathic listening model, during the 1950’s in the United States, he had blacks and whites meet in groups and simply “listen to” each other, getting below stereotypes and prejudices and into their shared humanity. He used the same methods to bring individuals from North and South Ireland together, and for international conflict resolution in Latin America, Europe, Japan, South Africa, and the Soviet Union until his death in 1987. He was a man with a total dedication to working for world peace. See Dr. McGuire’s mini-course on Conflict Resolution.

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-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

EXPERIENTIAL FOCUSING: BIOGRAPHY OF CREATOR, EUGENE GENDLIN

By , December 3, 2008 4:06 pm

Free Downloads:

Complete Focusing Instructions Manual (17 pages)

Instant “Ahah!” Mini-Manual

“Ajas” Instantaneos Mini-Manual

WHAT IS FOCUSING?

Experiential Focusing, or Intuitive Focusing, is a self-help skill for setting aside already-known, left-brain intellectualizations and paying attention to the right-brain, “the bodily felt sense,” the full “intuitive feel” of issues or ideas. Through a series of steps, the Focuser can find exactly the right words/images for capturing this “intuitive knowledge,” this “gut felt-experiencing,” and have an “Ahah!” experience, a moment of paradigm shift when new ideas, solutions, and actions suddenly become clear. Intuitive Focusing can be facilitated by the presence of a Focused Listener. You can learn all about Focusing and Listening/Focusing Partnerships/ Groups/ Teams/ Communities/ Organizations at Creative Edge Focusing (TM). Here I am giving a biography of the Creator of Experiential Focusing, Eugene T. Gendlin.

Existentialism and Phenomenology

Dr. Eugene Gendlin, retired after life-time career at the University of Chicago, now of The Focusing Institute in New York, is the philosopher/psychologist who has most explicitly described the implicit background of human living from which all meaning arises.

While everyone knows about and makes use of this level of “gut feeling” or “intuition” every day, it was the existential and phenomenological philosophers and psychologists who explicitly turned their attention to thoroughly studying this phenomenon – the subtle background of “experiencing” which gives meaning to human living and, from which, new meanings, creative solutions, and personality change can arise. Some of these are Rollo May, Martin Buber, Heidegger, Husserl, Kant, Merleau-Ponty, Nietzsche, Camus.

One story of how Gendlin became interested in “felt experiencing” says that a young Gendlin, while tending to his duties aboard ship in the Navy, realized that he was pondering on the “background feeling” that was left in his body from a dream he had had the night before – at least, as he pondered on this vague feeling, he decided this was where this unclear, vague, but totally present “feeling” had come from. He discovered that, as he continued to ponder upon this feeling, eventually, the whole dream came back to him. So, he thought, the content of the dream was implicit, somehow, in the vague body-sense that was left over. So, we as human beings, could discover or rediscover information by paying attention to this subtle, bodily “intuitive feel” of our life experiences.

It was exactly this kind of experience that intrigued him and which became the basis of his career both as an existential/phenomenological psychologist and a philosopher. In one book, for instance, called Experiencing and the Creation of Meaning( 1962), he outlined seven different ways in which symbols (intellectualizations, behaviors, images, words) and felt meanings (felt experiencing, the felt sense, the “intuitive feel”) interact with each other. These are actual phenomenological events that can be observed if you pay attention to your own inner experiencing of how you find the “meaning” of things. Read them carefully and see if you can find an example of each in your own experience:

Direct reference to felt experiencing: focusing, or directly paying attention to the vague, preverbal, “felt sense” of something; silent pondering;

Recognition: having a, usually speedy and unconscious, bodily-response of “Oh, yes, I know what that means” to a word or other symbol;

Explication: being able to make new words out of the bodily-feel of something, like “the meaning, to me, of that movie I just saw”;

Metaphor: the creation of a new meaning by juxtaposing known symbols in a new way, e.g., saying “The sunset was like a dandelion-puff exploding” creates a completely new meaning in the reader of a poem;

Comprehension: the creation of exactly the right metaphor to capture one’s own immediate felt experiencing, “Ah, that’s exactly it! The feeling I am having is comfortable/comforting, like macaroni and cheese”;

Relevance: the accumulation of previous felt meanings give special meaning to a present event, e.g., an experienced gardener sees a wilted leaf from a different perspective than an inexperienced gardener;

Circumlocution: two people using words to point to an experience that can’t really completely be put into words in such a way that they both know what they are talking about and can get closer by continuing to “circle” the actual phenomenon, which can never be fully described: “It’s like democracy, but not quite…more like citizen participation…” “I know what you mean…it’s like each person being active, not just representatives….” “It’s like a community….”

Whoever would have thought that such distinctions could be made in our inner experiencing, perhaps in the same way that we can name hundreds of colors that we can distinguish between in the outer world?! It was this careful study of inner experiencing, and inner actions, that allowed Gendlin to define the very helpful process called Focusing, which allows everyone to learn to sit at The Creative Edge of felt experiencing, Gendlin’s “felt sense,” and find new meanings and creative solutions.

Client-Centered and Experiential Psychotherapy

In the 1950’s, Gendlin studied psychology at the University of Chicago with Dr. Carl Rogers, creator of Empathic Listening and Client-Centered Therapy. Gendlin also took a degree in Philosophy. Staying on as a faculty member in the Department of Psychology, he created his theory of changes in felt experiencing as the basis of personality change. He was the founder and long-time editor of the journal Psychotherapy: Theory, Research, and Practice.

Gendlin helped to create The Experiencing Scale, a research measure which could accurately predict success in therapy from looking at the client’s own capacity to speak from fresh, ongoing experiencing instead of intellectualizations.

In a large research project, he and others zeroed in on client Focusing as the most important factor in successful therapy. In 1970 he received the “Distinguished Professional Psychologist of the Year” award from the American Psychological Association for his study of client Focusing.

Focusing As A Self-Help Skill

Gendlin went on to define the Focusing skill (Focusing, Bantam, 1981, 1984) as a way of teaching, not only clients, but everyone how to get in touch with the creativity found in felt experiencing. He founded Focusing-Oriented Therapy (Focusing-Oriented Therapy: A Manual of the Experiential Method, Guilford, 1996) as a specific approach for using Focusing to increase client experiencing and thus change in many methods of therapy, regardless of theoretical orientation. You can purchase these and many other books in The Store at www.focusing.org .

Thinking At The Edge (TAE)

In his 80s, Gendlin is still creating new theory and practice. With his Process Model and Philosophy of the Implicit, he has contributed to Post-Modern philosophy. He has created another self-help skill, called Thinking At The Edge (TAE). TAE is a precise method for creating new theory and philosophy out of one’s own “gut sensing” or felt experiencing of something that is meaningful, universal, and profound. Now, everyone can learn to build theory and philosophy by “focusing” upon their own inner experiencing. See The Focusing Institute website, www.focusing.org and the complete Gendlin Online Library for free access to many of Gendlin’s articles.

 As well as a huge Store of books, CDs, and DVDs by a variety of authors, at the Focusing Institute website, under Category: Learning Focusing, you can find Teachers and Classes throughout the world for learning Gendlin’s Focusing skill and its companion, Empathic Listening. You can also join e-discussion groups under Category: Felt Community.

WHAT IS CREATIVE EDGE FOCUSING ™?

Dr. McGuire’s Creative Edge Focusing (TM), with her core skills Intuitive Focusing and Focused Listening, is her offshoot after over 30 years as a Listening/Focusing Teacher and Focusing-Oriented Therapist. She places special emphasis on learning through self-help and peer counseling communities and also upon application to daily life, through her Interest Areas, including Creative Edge Organizations, Conscious Relationships, Building Supportive Community, Positive Parenting, Creative Edge Education, Experiencing The Sacred, and Experiential Focusing Therapy.

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

FOCUSING INSTANT “AHAH!” #2: Active Listening — Short-circuit an angry confrontation

By , October 9, 2008 11:54 am

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. (You can find it here in English and in Spanish at links at top of this blog)

When someone comes at you with anger, it is a natural response to feel attacked and to defend yourself, to fight back without a moment’s thought.

However, it may help to reframe this anger as “upsetness.” The person is feeling attacked or undermined or frustrated in some way, so they are attacking back. We can break this cycle of attack and defense if we can reframe the anger as “upsetness” and, stepping aside from reacting, simply reflect in an active listening way: “Wow! You are really upset!” “Wow! Something is really bothering you.” “Wow! Something I’m doing is upsetting you.”

And, you can add, “Would you like to tell me more about that?”, but, if that doesn’t allow the person to calm down, just keep reflecting (maybe we can think of it as “deflecting” as well — trying to get the anger off of yourself so that you feel less threatened, less need to react with attack yourself).

The person who is angry, who is upset, is knocked off balance. As you know yourself, this kind of angry response doesn’t feel good. It is not centered, but a reaction to the helplessness of feeling attacked or frustrated. So, by reflecting the person’s words, you can help the person to get grounded again, to get centered.

Read the instructions and the examples and try to keep this immediate response of Active Listening in your back pocket, for emergency confrontations.

Active Listening: Short-circuit angry confrontations

Reflect, Don’t React

Someone comes at you, seemingly out of the blue, absolutely furious. You are stunned and want to fight back. Instead, you can diffuse the other person’s anger by simply responding in an Active Listening way:

“Wow, something is really upsetting you —”
“You’re saying you are absolutely furious that I forgot to show up for lunch”
“You are really upset because you are not getting the service you expected”
“You are really mad that you’ve had to go through four other departments just to reach me”
“It really bothers you when you have to go through all those mechanical phone responses just to get to a human being”

Yes, this is the behavior which I wish customer service representatives had all been taught so that, when I call them, furious, they would just respond,” I’m sorry that you are so upset. Tell me more about what is bothering you so we can fix it,” instead of adopting that rigid, “I’m just following the rules,” “We never make mistakes,” “There’s really not anything I can do for you” attitude that just makes me more and more angry!

Bottom Line: deflect and diffuse anger by simply responding with empathy: “Boy, I can see how this is hard for you,” “I’m really hearing how frustrating this has been for you.”

Reflect the Words — and the Feeling Tone —

As opposed to Passive Listening, where you simply give your silent attention to the other, at the most saying “Ummmhmmm” or “Ah, hah!” or “Wow!”, in Active Listening, you set aside all your typical responses (advice, argument, opinions, problem-solving, judgments) and simply try to say back what the other person is saying, with an emphasis on the feeling tone, if you pick up any:

Example One: Customer

Customer: “I’ve just had to wade through 16 phone messages to get to you, and I was cut off and had to start all over. It’s taken me ten minutes already.”
Customer Service: ” Wow! I’m so sorry! You’ve already been through ten minutes of frustration, and I’m the first person you’ve gotten to talk to.”
Customer: “Why can’t there just be a simple way to talk to a human being?!! I hate these phone messages!!”
Customer Service: “It is so frustrating to you to have to go through this waiting and confusion everywhere you go.”
Customer: “Damn right! Okay, let’s get on with it. This is the problem. I changed my mailing address for my bills, and they are still going to the wrong address, and then I end up getting late fees.”
Customer Service: “Okay, let me take a look at your account right now and see what we can do.”

Example Two: Spouse

Wife: “How could you have forgotten that we had a dinner engagement at 6PM with the Smiths???!!!!!!!!
Husband: “Wow! You are really angry. I must have slipped up somewhere. You’re saying I forgot a dinner engagement with the Smiths?”
Wife: “Yes, you idiot! It was at 6PM, and I’ve been trying to reach you on your cell phone. How humiliating!!!!! Where were you?!!!!!”
Husband: “So you’ve been trying to reach me ever since 6PM, and it’s been embarrassing for you, having to make excuses to the Smiths. And you’re wondering where I was.”
Wife: “How could you not answer your cell phone!!!! That is what they are for, emergencies like this one!!!!!
Husband: “So, to you, this really was an emergency, and no way to get through to me. You’re wondering why I didn’t answer my cell phone and where was I anyway!!!!!!”
Wife: “Yes, that is exactly right! So, where were you?”
Husband: “Okay, I am so sorry. Let’s try to figure out how this happened. I got held up at an emergency meeting with my boss, and I couldn’t answer my cell phone. He would have gotten even madder at me — I guess I was so upset by this confrontation with him that I just absolutely forgot about the Smiths — I should have had the dinner in my Palm Pilot, but I guess I didn’t hear that either — I was just driving and thinking about what to do with the work situation. What can I do to make this better now? Do you want me to call the Smiths and make another plan?”
Wife: “Oh, that’s okay. It’s over now. Why don’t you tell me what happened at work while I find you something to eat — ”

Example Three: Child

Child: “I hate school, and I’m never going again. Teachers are all idiots!!!!”
Parent: “Wow, something is really upsetting you today. Sounds like a teacher did something stupid that bothered you”
Child: “No, it didn’t bother me!!!! I’m not going to get bothered by fools like that. I don’t care what they think!!!!! I’m just not going anymore!!!!!!”
Parent: “So, it didn’t bother you. You’re not going to be bothered by fools like that. You don’t even care what they think. And, right now, you’re saying you are never going again.”
Child: (tears of hurt coming) “She said I’ll never be a writer — that I don’t even know punctuation (crying).”
Parent: “So your teacher said, ‘You’ll never be a writer — you can’t even do punctuation,” and that is really hurting you. Writing is very important to you.’
Child: (more tears) “There is more to writing than punctuation — what I’m saying is way more important — I’m pouring my heart out.”
Parent: “So, for you, writing is not about punctuation but about what you are saying, that you can really pour your heart out. That’s what’s important.”
Child: “Yes (fewer tears) — that’s what matters to me. Next time, will you help me with the punctuation so that she can’t make fun of me?”

Believe it or not, this diffusion of anger, usually to hurt, will happen. And what have you got to lose by trying? There really isn’t any other miracle way in these situations!

Perhaps the idea of just “reflecting” the other person seems silly to you, like a parrot. However, when you are on the receiving end, just hearing your own words back without judgment or “fixing,” you will be amazed at what a rare blessing and relief it is just to be heard.

The Focused Listening Core Skill of the PRISMS/S Focusing Process is more than just reflecting. Through Phone Coaching or classes with Creative Edge Consultants or trainers of The Focusing Institute, or through the manual, CD, and DVD of our Self-Help Package, you will learn many nuances:

how to “ask for more” about words with “neon lights” around them,
how to use Focusing Invitations to help the speaker sit quietly and “sense into” the “feel of it all,”
facilitating a Paradigm Shift,
and how, sometimes, you can offer your own Personal Sharings (advice, information, own similar experiences), as long as you go back to Active Listening, reflecting the impact of your words on the other person.

However, always, simple Active Listening, saying back, reflecting the words of the other, remains the core – the one, simple, most powerful thing you can do to increase communication with another person, while, at the same time, helping them to find their own solutions to their problems.

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

CREATIVITY = THINKING OUTSIDE THE BOX = PARADIGM SHIFTS

By , April 23, 2008 4:38 pm

PRISMS/S PROBLEM SOLVING PROCESS AND PARADIGM SHIFTS

Creative genius includes thinking “outside the box,” setting aside preconceived concepts and ideas and being able to “look at” a problem from a totally new angle. Actually, this “looking at” is really the “sitting with” the “intuitive feel,” the fresh, present “felt experiencing” that underlies existing concepts and can lead to the articulation of new, non-linear, creative ideas. Gendlin’s Focusing (Bantam, 1981, 1984), and Dr. McGuire’s Intuitive Focusing, are the pre-eminent approaches for setting aside existing preconceptions, and finding and “sitting with” fresh, preverbal experiencing, the hotbed of new ideas and creative solutions. Below I review some traditional methods for “shaking up” old structures to allow new ideas to become available, then I add the Intuitive Focusing skill into the mix.

In his e-newsletter, The Simple Truth’s Newsletter,Mac Anderson reviews cutting-edge models for increasing creativity and innovation. In the newsletter quoted below, he leads to a link to a beautiful, three-minute video clip which exactly captures the essence of “the paradigm shift”:

“Dear Kathy,
Tom Peters gets it. He said…
“I’ve spent a good part of my life studying economic successes and failures. Above all, I’ve learned that everything takes a back seat to innovation.”
Tomorrow comes at us with lightning speed, and your competitive advantage is a fleeting thing. As leaders, we must create an environment that puts innovation front and center. Your people must know it is the key to your company’s survival.
You must create a climate that rewards risk and creative effort. Your people must not fear mistakes, but understand that honest mistakes can be life’s main source for learning.
SO TEACH THEM TO FAIL QUICKLY, AND OFTEN, TO ENABLE THEM TO REACH THE NEXT PLATEAU.
Every now and then a simple book comes along that deals with a profound subject in an unforgettable way. Paper Airplane is that book; and it teaches a valuable lesson about courage and creativity for people of all ages. It takes less than 30 minutes to read, but the “a-ha moments” are priceless. It’s one of my all time favorites.
So, if you haven’t seen Michael McMillan’s 3 minute inspirational movie titled Paper Airplane, you’re in for a treat! Just click on the link below and share it with friends and co-workers.
http://www.paperairplanemovie.com/ “

Usually, consultants coming in to help corporations with “creativity and innovation” provide a variety of games and other experiences which allow participants to “drop” or “step out of” existing schemata and access the fresh, new pre-verbal experiencing from which new paradigms can be articulated. Here is an introduction to one such “package” of “shake up” exercises:

“WHAT THE CATERPILLAR CALLS THE END OF THE WORLD, GOD CALLS A BUTTERFLY
If you always think the way you’ve always thought, you’ll always get what you always got. The same old, same old ideas over and over again. The future belongs to those thinkers who embrace change, break new ground, forge new paths, and transform the way they think. Discover how to look at the same information as everyone else and see something different by using the creative thinking techniques and strategies that creative geniuses have used throughout history.
Internationally acclaimed creativity expert Michael Michalko’s Thinkertoys: A Handbook of Creative Thinking Techniques have inspired business thinkers around the world to create the innovative ideas and creative strategies they need to achieve unimaginable success in today’s changing business environment of complexity and uncertainty. Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change.
[Available at www.amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, and most major bookstores. Visit www.creativethinking.net for more detailed information on these inexpensive workbooks.]”

DeBono’s Six Thinking Hats, and Parallel and Lateral Thinking (description of trainings and books to purchase) approaches are at the cutting-edge of creavity as breaking out of old structures, accessing the new.

Mind Mapping Techniques (http://www.mindmapper.com/?gclid=CMHz54C975ICFQJtlgodQT-75w for a complete description) are another method for breaking out of linear thought structures and allowing the presentation of facets of problem/solution from the non-linear, “intuitive feel” of “the whole thing.” Intuitive Focusing: “Direct Access” to Paradigm ShiftingAs I presented last week, Flavia Cymbalista has helped George Soros and others dealing with the complexity and uncertainty of financial markets to use Gendlin’s Focusing to articulate from the “intuitive feel” in her Market Focusing  approach at www.marketfocusing.com .

While games and exercises can “shake up” thinking from the outside in, at some point, the “new” answer emerges because someone in the group becomes free of old concepts and able to access The Creative Edge, the preverbal “felt sensing” of new possibilities. Intuitive Focusing allows anyone to access the Creative Edge of new, non-linear problem solving at any time.Rather than looking to the outside for new ideas, the Focuser goes inside, getting in touch with the raw, new, “preverbal” complexity of situations from which new solutions, Paradigm Shifts, emerge.

Reflecting Before Acting or Reacting

The radical contribution of Gendlin’s Focusing (Bantam, 1981) and McGuire’s Creative Edge Focusing ™ is that the problem solver makes the explicit choice to pause and take some moments for silent reflecting before acting or reacting. Instead of simply repeating past reactions, the Focuser can create new, completely innovative solutions and behaviors from the “intuitive feel” of the whole situation.A quiet pause is needed in order to sense into the “intuitive feel,” The Creative Edge, of problems. Whether in private or in group decision making settings, these opportunities for pauses to contact and articulate the Creative Edge are what allow the creation of totally new ideas and solutions. No pauses, no creation of the new!!!!!Using the PRISMS/S Problem Solving Process is like passing light through a prism. A few moments of pondering, and The Creative Edge opens into a whole spectrum of new possibilities and action steps.

Pausing To Ponder: From Problems To Possibilities

The PRISMS/S Problem Solving Process includes seven ingredients of predictable “Ahah!” experiences using Creative Edge Focusing ™. With its Core Skills of Intuitive Focusing and Focused Listening , PRISMS/S is based upon Eugene Gendlin‘s “A Theory of Personality Change” (link to Gendlin Online Library at www.focusing.org, where you will find all of Gendlin’s articles for free download) and his Focusing self-help book (Bantam, 1981), as well as Dr. McGuire’s thirty years of  experience integrating Listening/Focusing skills into task-oriented groups and supportive communities.

PRISMS/S is Dr. McGuire’s attempt to create an easily teachable rubric, especially applicable to business settings,  combining Gendlin’s 6-Step Focusing Process with the unfolding steps of change, the “felt shift,” or “paradigm” shift facilitated by Focusing.

PRISMS/S can be used on one’s own or with the help of Focused Listening in a Creative Edge Focusing Partnership, Focusing Group or Team, or Focusing Community. In any case, problem solving goes through the following steps:

Pausing :  Clearing A Space for Problem Identification
Reflecting: Listening To Oneself or
Focused Listening from Another 
Intuitive Focusing:  Back-and-Forth Between Symbols and Intuition
Shifting:  The Kaleidoscope Turns And A New Paradigm Arises
Movement:  Innovative Solutions and Action Steps Arise Spontaneously
Satisfaction:  Tension Releases in the Sureness of “Ahah! That’s It!”
Support: Listening/Focusing Partnerships Build Empathy and Community

Click here to read and download the complete description of the steps of PRISMS/S from www.cefocusing.com. You will find there a link to the Spanish translation as well.

Focusing Partnerships, Groups/Teams, Communities

While anyone can learn to use PRISMS/S for creative problem solving on one’s own, the process can be greatly facilitated by having an outside Focused Listening Partner. Read about all the options for Focusing Alone, Focusing Partnership, Focusing Groups/Teams, etc. under Case Studies at www.cefocusing.com .

If you do not have a Listening/Focusing Partnership, consider whether there is a colleague at work, a friend or family member who is already an excellent listener and might be interested in learning the formal Listening/Focusing Partnership method with you. Then, use the multi-media materials in our Self-Help Package or the free download of Chapter Three: The Listening/Focusing Exchange (a link at the top of this blog entry ). You can also enroll in Listening/Focusing Classes/Workshops internationally  with Certified Focusing Professionals or bring in Creative Edge Consulting for onsite training.

The Blurry, Vague, “Feel of the Whole Thing” Holds The Next Steps

   

I invite you to use Intuitive Focusing again below to find next steps on a “creative project”: an article, a book, a poem, a song, a dance, a marketing campaign, an engineering breakthrough, some project needing creative ideas.

If you need to work more specifically on “blocks” to creativity, you could use Cornell and McGavin’s technique from last week, using Focusing to give a gentle hearing to the “part” that wants to “hold back,” as well as the “part” that wants to “go forward,” until steps toward resolution arise (Week Two Treasures In Blocks).

Focusing On A Creative Problem or Project

Click here to find the complete Intuitive Focusing exercise in e-newsletter archives

Remember, it is often easier to learn Intuitive Focusing with the company of a Focusing Listener. See links below to find many resources, including self-help groups, and Creative Edge Focusing Consultants for individual Coaching or Classes and Workshops.

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 

CREATIVITY, INTUITION, AND GLADWELL’S “BLINK THINKING”

By , April 18, 2008 2:54 pm

INTUITIONS GUIDE CREATIVE DECISION MAKING

 

“Blink Thinking”

 

In his best-selling book, Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking(Little Brown, 2005), Malcolm Gladwell justified the importance of intuitive, “gut” thinking in decision making. In fact, he pointed out that, contrary to our assumptions about our rationality, many high-level decisions are based more upon a “gut sense” or a “blink of an eye” impression than upon rational, logical thinking.

 

When they believe they are using objective indicators for choices, people are often influenced by subjective, peripheral factors “outside of awareness.” For instance, for generations, classical music orchestras believed that women could not master the instruments or the nuance of the music. Women were seldom hired.

Then, orchestras started having performers audition behind a screen, cutting out visual cues in making hiring decisions. To everyone’s surprise, chosen through “listening” alone, women were actually chosen a majority of the time, even for instruments “presumed” to be more “masculine,” like French Horn and other brass instruments.

 

Gladwell distinguished between two kinds of intuitive decision making:

·        In the one case, a person has a “gut sensing,” an unclear, preverbal “feel” about something, which is very real and substantial and resilient, impossible to put aside or ignore, even though words for it can’t be found. An example: some museum curators have a “sense” that there is something wrong about an antique statue. They don’t know what it is, but their “body-sense” tells them there is something. Eventually, following this “intuition,” they discover concrete evidence that it is a facsimile.

 

·        In the second case, a person makes a decision in “the blink of an eye,” without even awareness of an “intuitive feel” but out of an immediate, precognitive assessment of a situation. An example: a fireman deciding where to step, which way to go, what to do in a split-second emergency situation.

 

Gladwell says that we can’t really “unpack” our “gut senses.” However, although this is true about the split-second decisions in emergency situations, it is not true for the more common situations in his first case, where there is a gnawing, long-lasting “gut sensing,” an “intuitive feel,” for which words HAVE NOT YET been found. In these latter situations, Intuiti Focusing, “sitting with” the “intuitive feel” of “the whole thing,” and carefully looking for words and images which are exactly “right” in capturing this preverbal “intuition,” is a premiere way for increasing the usefulness of “intuitive” or “gut” information.

 

Using Intuitive Focusing In Situations Of Uncertainty

 

In her Market Focusing approach (www.marketfocusing.com ), Flavia Cymbalista  taught Gendlin’s Focusing to people like George Soros, financier, and others needing to make decisions in situations of “uncertainty”, like the ever-changing stock market. Traders often had to follow their “intuition” and wished for something more substantial to base decisions upon.

 

Soros thought he used logical, rational indicators for decisions. Through work with Cymbalista, he realized that, actually, he got a “pain in his back” when his portfolio needed adjusting, and the pain disappeared when he got it “right.” He was following an “intuition,” a “bodily feel” without words. He and others learned that consciously using Gendlin’s Focusing to find words and images for “gut intuition” allowed even greater access to the “intuitive feel” for market decisions.

 

“Gut Sensing” Is Everywhere In Creative Decision Making

 

Here are just a few situations where pausing for some minutes of Intuitive Focusing can provide a way forward:

 

·        You have a “gut feeling” of exactly what problem you want to work on, but you don’t have any words or images to describe it.

·        Your boss hands you a problem to solve out of the blue, and you have no idea where to begin, how to approach it.

·        You are “stuck” on a creative project, “blocked,” no inspiration about where to go next.

·        You know that something is bothering you, your whole body is tense, you can’t sleep, but you have no idea what the problem is.

·        You have an”inkling,” an “intuition,” but you can’t put it into words.

·        You have a “hunch” about what to do, an action you want to take, but you can’t verbalize any reasons to justify it.

·        You wake up with the “feel” of a forgotten night-time dream.

·        You have a wonderful feeling of well-being, a “spiritual” feeling, and you would like to spend more time with it, finding a way to describe it.

·        You have an uncomfortable feeling after an interaction with someone, but you don’t know exactly what it is about, so you don’t know what to do about it.

·        You know exactly what you want to do but find yourself blocked, unable to move forward.

·        You might have no feelings, no creative ideas. You feel like a flat piece of concrete.

·        You feel totally stressed out, confused, overwhelmed —

 

Focused Listening To Aid In Creative Problem Solving

 

While a person can use Intuitive Focusing on their own to find words for “gut sensing,” having the help of a Focused Listener, in aFocusing Partnership or Focusing Group/Team, can make this process of “finding words” easier. Here is a hypothetical example.

 

The Focuser sits with The Creative Edge, the murky, intuitive “feel” of the whole Gestalt, and attempts to make new words and images using the Intuitive Focusing skill. The Listener uses Pure Reflection, simply saying back the words and images of the Focuser, without judgment or advice, and with emphasis upon reflecting “the unclear edge,” the “bodily, intuitive feel.”  The Focused Listener can reflect back the Focuser’s actual words as well as the less-clear nuances, until the Focuser finds exactly the right new symbolizations to capture The Creative Edge.

 

 Example:

 

The Focuser starts out with a “gut sense” about a problem. He knows there is something wrong, but he can’t put his finger on what that is nor on a solution:

     

 Focuser: “There is something about the mechanical execution of this model that is not going to work — I don’t know what it is, but I can sense it. I’m uneasy about it —“

       Listener: “So there’s an uneasiness there — something not right about the

    mechanical execution —“

Focuser: (sitting quietly, pondering at the Creative Edge — ) “All I get so far is an image of red intertwining with white, two triangles intersecting — “

Listener: “So there’s an image — two triangles intersecting — red and white intertwining —“

Focuser: (some excitement in voice, opens eyes) Let me draw that (starts drawing with pen and paper, grabs red and white chalk — soon, a gear-like drawing emerges) —(evident excitement) Yes, it’s something there , in that gear box!!!

Listener: “So, you can see clearly now — it’s something in that particular gear box — “

Focuser: (closes eyes) “Let me sense into that some more (sits quietly, pondering at The Creative Edge — over a minute — ) — something, something twisty there —“

Listener: “Twisty —“

Focuser: (more closed-eyed Focusing, pondering at The Creative Edge — minute or more — sighs, shifts in seat — more pondering —)”Hmmmm — I think I’m getting it — something about the ratios there, the red too dominant over the white — “

Listener: “The ratios — red over white —“

Focuser: “I’ve got it — needs to be 8:6!”

 

Clearly, the Listener doesn’t even have to understand what the Focuser is talking about, but, still, having that outside person offering Reflection can carry forward the process of creating new symbolizations out of The Creative Edge.

 

Even though Focused Listening allows the Listener to occasionally use other kinds of responses (Asking For More, Focusing Invitations, and Personal Sharings), pure reflection is still the most powerful form of response to someone using Intuitive Focusing at The Creative Edge.

If you do not have a Listening/Focusing Partnership, consider whether there is a colleague at work, a friend or family member who is already an excellent listener and might be interested in learning the formal Listening/Focusing Partnership method with you. Then, use the multi-media materials in our Self-Help Package or the free download of Chapter Three: The Listening/Focusing Exchange (a link at the top of this blog entry )

The Blurry, Vague, “Feel of the Whole Thing” Holds The Next Steps

   

I invite you to use Intuitive Focusing again below to find next steps on a “creative project”: an article, a book, a poem, a song, a dance, a marketing campaign, an engineering breakthrough, some project needing creative ideas.

If you need to work more specifically on “blocks” to creativity, you could use Cornell and McGavin’s technique from last week, using Focusing to give a gentle hearing to the “part” that wants to “hold back,” as well as the “part” that wants to “go forward,” until steps toward resolution arise (Week Two Treasures In Blocks).

Focusing On A Creative Problem or Project Click here to find the exercise

Remember, it is often easier to learn Intuitive Focusing with the company of a Focusing Listener. See links below to find many resources, including self-help groups, and Creative Edge Focusing Consultants for individual Coaching or Classes and Workshops.

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 

REFLECTIVE LISTENING: WHEN IS A REFLECTION “RIGHT”?

By , December 6, 2007 3:01 pm

This is my favorite question ever!  What is “right” in terms of a Listening Response, a Reflection? I’d love it if everyone would jump in with their answer to this question, regardless of teaching experience or just experience! 
 
For me, the only “right” that really matters is when the client/Focuser says, “Yes. That is exactly right. That fits” with sighs, tension release, other signs that this is the body’s response: “Yes. That is right. It captures the ‘feel of it all’ completely.” 
 
The point or goal of Focusing Turns, or Focusing-Oriented Therapy (FOT) IS to empower the Focuser to gain confidence and skill in allowing answers and next steps to come from within their own experiencing of their own unique situation. 

IT IS MORE IMPORTANT TO EMPOWER THE CLIENT TO TRUST THEIR OWN JUDGMENT THAN TO CONVINCE THEM OF SOMETHING THAT MAY BE THEORETICALLY “CORRECT.”
 
Carl Rogers was so emphatic about this empowering that he would do NOTHING but reflect, not wanting to give the client any temptation to rely upon him as “expert” rather than their own inner experiencing and problem solving.
 
So, if a reflection/interpretation/evocative technique does not “fit” in the moment, does not touch the Focuser’s present felt experiencing in a way that allows carrying-forward, new next steps from inside, to unfold, draws the Focuser out into discussion, disagreement, or argument with the Listener — then, it is not “right” in this moment — although it may become “right” at a later point when the Focuser has moved forward to a new felt Edge that can take it in in a resonating way—
 
Most everything else, I guess, is helpful or unhelpful!  Helpful can be getting it “wrong” in a way that helps the Focuser say more what “it” is like: “No, it’s not that. It’s more like this—” (This can happen even when the Listener says back exactly the Focuser’s words, seemingly perfectly “right”!).
 
Helpful is always going back, after any intervention, especially one that seemed “wrong” in terms of getting the Focuser off the track of felt-sensing, into confusion or arguing or theorizing with the Listener instead of continuing to pay attention to finding words or images for, the present “felt sense.”
 
My articles Caring Confrontation and Focusing Inner Child Work With Abused Clients (free PDF downloads from www.cefocusing.com )trace my attempts to grapple with this issue, of how hard to press, how often to come back to, a “felt experiencing” I have in relation to the client which I think is “Correct” in some way but they say is not “Right.”
 
This is such a great question, I would invite everyone to jump in with their own answer, their own way of saying what is “right” in terms of a Listening Response.

Learn more about Intuitive Focusing and Focused Listening and Experiential Focusing Therapy at Creative Edge Focusing’s website, filled with free downloads on creativity, spirituality, collaborative thinking, parenting, innovation in business, and many other aspects of application of Focusing and Listening skills at home, at work, in your community, and globally.

See actual demonstrations of Listening/Focusing in our Self-Help package, a manual in English or Spanish, four CDs of Focusing Instructions, and a DVD with four demonstrations of actual listening/focusing sessions — everything you need to start your own Listening/Focusing Partnership or Support Group or to incorporate these basic self-help skills into existing support groups.

In the side bar at Creative Edge Focusing, subscribe to our free e-newsletter for weekly reminders to practice Relaxation and Focusing exercises and join our free yahoo group, Creative Edge Practice, for ongoing demonstrations, practice, and support.

Find classes/workshops/phone coaching in our Listings section or Coaching/Classes/Consulting with Dr. McGuire

Dr. Kathy McGuire

Creative Edge Focusing

www.cefocusing.com

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