Posts tagged: Focused Listening

INTUITIVE FOCUSING: GRIEVING AS GROWTH

By , December 19, 2008 7:07 pm

At Creative Edge Focusing(TM), we teach a wide variety of applications of two core self-help skills, Intuitive Focusing and Focused Listening, for use at home and at work, for personal growth, creativity, spirituality, conflict resolution, and innovative problem solving.

A “Sheen of Tears” Signals An Opening

From Instant “Ahah!” #4, Mini-Manual p. 13:

Opening Up”, Not “Breaking Down”

Most of the time, we walk around “being” our symptoms instead of “relating” to them. The physician’s office is a place where accidental openings into the “felt senses” underlying symptoms have an increased likelihood of happening. It thus becomes important for physicians, and other health professionals, to capitalize on these moments where the defenses fall, and the preverbal felt experiencing underlying symptoms, becomes available for transformation.

Inter-office conflict or stress at home can also cause a co-worker or employee to “break down” and start crying. Or a friend may become teary while sharing. Instead of being afraid of a “break down,” see it as an “opening up,” an opportunity to unblock and build anew. See Creative Edge Focusing at www.cefocusing.com  to understand the Core Concepts underlying growth and creativity.

People Are Skilled At “Not Crying”

Five minute grieving is based upon the following premises, drawn from my 25-year experience as a psychotherapist and peer counseling teacher:

1. In general, people do not fall apart and cry and cry without stopping. In general, people do not cry for more than a few minutes at a time.

2. If tears are present, it is healthier for body and mind to allow their expression than to repress them. Tears also are the doorways into The Creative Edge, the possibility for change.

3. In general, people have a life-time of experience in being able to call up their defenses again, and go on as needed after a few moments of crying.

4. In the few cases where crying is uncontrollable, it is better to discover this vulnerability and get help, by referring to a counselor for psychotherapy and/or a psychiatrist for exploration of the appropriateness of anti-depressant medication.

5. In general, spending a few minutes making words for the “intuitive sense” underlying the tears will bring relief to the person, energy to the Listener, and a deep feeling of bonding and care between the two.

6. Allowing the tears also actually releases energy, letting the person go on to next steps of problem solving and action to be taken.”

Five-Minute Grieving Protocol

Here follows a first step into the Creative Edge Core Skills of Intuitive Focusing and Focused Listening which I call “Five Minute Grieving,” especially for health professionals, but also for co-workers and friends in a pinch, if someone tears up or starts crying.

FIVE MINUTE GRIEVING

Example from a physician’s office:

You have just told a patient that tests have shown her to be infertile. Tears well up in her eyes.

l. Invite her to cry. Say something like the following:
· “In a minute we can discuss options, but let’s make room for your tears.”
· “It’s okay with me to let your tears come.”
· “It’s okay to cry.”
· “You don’t have to hold back your tears.”
· “It’s important to let yourself cry.”
· “Just be gentle with yourself. Put your arms around yourself.”

2. Empathize with the feeling without trying to “fix” it or take it away:
· “I know it seems bleak right now.”
· “I know it’s hard.”
· “I see your sadness.”
· “I’m sorry for your sadness.”

3. Help her to find words or images for the tears. After she has cried for a while or at a natural pause in her tears, say something like:
· “What are the words for your sadness?”
· “Are there any words or images with your tears? It helps to get a handle on the feeling.”
· “Can you say what’s the worst of it?”
· “Can you say what you’re thinking?”

Just be quiet and give the person some time to grope for words.

4. Empathize again, often by paraphrasing:
· “So it’s (her words: “the fear that you’ll never be a mother;” “feeling like a dried up stick,” etc.) that’s hard.”

5. Continue Steps 1-4 as long as makes sense.

6. Establish closure:
· “We have to stop now.”
· “We only have a minute before we have to stop.”
· “I have to go, but you’re welcome to sit here for a minute until you’re ready to go.”
· Or, if you are now going to continue with other aspects of the visit, “Let’s see if we can put aside the tears for now so that I can give you some more information and we can look for solutions to your situation.”

7. Orient the person, if necessary, by doing a “present time” exercise:
· “I want to make sure you’re back out in the world before I send you off to drive home (or before we continue talking) . How about if you name all the circular (or orange, or striped, etc.) things in the room?”

8. At the end of the appointment, make a referral to a counselor or support group as appropriate and/or make arrangements for the person to check back with you for a future appointment.

Of course, Five Minute Grieving is just a first step toward fully incorporating Core Skills of Intuitive Focusing and Focused Listening into your personal and professional life. I hope it will whet your appetite to pursue further training in PRISMS/S and the Creative Edge Pyramid for application ofListening and Focusing at all levels and at home as well as work .

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

EMPATHIC OR REFLECTIVE LISTENING: BIOGRAPHY OF CARL ROGERS, CREATOR

By , December 4, 2008 11:27 am

Free Downloads:

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

CEF NEWS AND GOODS: APPLICATIONS OF FOCUSING IN BUSINESS, EDUCATION, 12-STEP PROGRAMS, AND MORE!

By , August 20, 2008 2:17 pm

“Ajas” Instantaneos       Instant “Ahah!” Mini-Manual

 Focusing-Oriented Children’s Book

The Little Bird Who Found Herself, by Ed McMahon (Co-Founder of BioSpiritual Focusing, http://www.biospiritual.org/ ) a truly Focusing-Oriented children’s book (although adults will find comfort, too). Instead of being told what to do or what to feel, Little Bird is encouraged to stop and “sit with” her feelings, seeing what message and action steps unfold from inside of herself. Whimsical and colorful illustrations. See Amazon link  for reviews and to order.

Business and Education Applications of Focusing!

Here’s a copy of an email I sent to the Focusing-And Coaching e-discussion list (join this and other Focusing-Oriented Discussion Lists at Focusing Institute website :

If you haven’t, get Staying In Focus: The Focusing Institute Newsletter, Vol. Viii, No.2, Applications of Focusing, May, 2008 (you get it by being a member of The Focusing Institute, http://www.focusing.org/ ) .

Catherine Johnson, almost lone Focusing Teacher in South Africa,  writes an experience of bringing Focusing to business people through a business school, what she learned about presenting Focusing to more Sensing people, and also how she learned that, in business settings, you had better “own” your materials or someone else will claim them (hence the rampant use of Trademarking in Business settings). 

Edgardo Riveros, Coordinator, Chile writes about his 30-year long career of teaching Focusing and Focusing-Oriented Therapy in respected university programs, and the many books he has written over that career. And he describes his newest endeavor, “Well, Adolfo Ibanez University is known as the top business school in Chile, although it offers other courses as well. Beginning in August, I will teach a course for engineers and entrepreneurs called “Organizational Focusing.” Already 40 people have enrolled, so there will be two sections: Organizational and Clinical Focusing…In Clinical Focusing….I plan to stress how the felt sense, by experiencing new meaning, crosses the ‘frozen wholes’ where issues get stuck, and creates a mutation of content.” 

“In Organizational Focusing, we will cover the contextual felt sense, or the felt sense in a current situation. We will teach Focusing with another person, such as selecting or firing employees (This leads to a different kind of interview); Focusing on a vision for the future, or goal-setting for leaders; decision making of all kinds; how to select issues when clearing a space; coaching with the experiential dimension of Focusing; and TAE.”

Satoko Tokumaru, Focuser, Japan, writes “Applying TAE to University Composition Classes.” She has taught over 1500 college compostion students using Focusing and TAE in Japan. She has broken TAE steps down into totally user-friendly short exercises that students majoring in Physical Education can use to create from TAE experiences. Physical Education majors writing poems out of their unique TAE experiences, learning a new way of “being with” their whole-body sensing, instead of only their physical body. A complete TAE course that could be used in any high school or college composition setting. Hopefully, Satoko will give us a complete translation of the course in English.

Social Media, Businesses As “Communities,” The Next Step

Well, I’m writing an article on businesses/organizations as a “kind of” Focusing Community, and have this as a heavy emphasis on my website: that bringing in elements of mutual support and even “bonding” and “love” (call it “buy in,” “loyalty”, etc.) through Focusing Partnerships/Groups/Teams and Interpersonal Focusing for conflict resolution is compatible with business/organizational needs of increasing motivation and creativity/innovation and decreasing turnover and absenteeism.

I got a lot of my impetus from Conlin, M. (2006) Champions of innovation. Business Week, June 19, 2006, special IN insert, pp. 17-26.  A great article about “VPs of Innovation,” many of them women, breaking down barriers, increasing collaboration within companies and between companies and outside experts and consumers  — in huge, famous companies.

 And, in the June 2, 2008, Business Week, another confirmation. The Cover Story “Beyond Blogs: What Business Needs To Know,” showed that, in the three years since a Cover Story on blogs as basic tools for businesses, emphasis had moved from blogs to “social media” like MySpace, FaceBook, Twitter, LinkedIn — interactive internet communities where consumers can interact directly with companies.

Now, for me as an Introvert, the idea of joining a “social network” is appalling. One of my acquaintances added me to her Linked In network, and suddenly I was receiving daily requests for “your favorite recipe,” etc. I was horrified!!!!

However, the marketing guru/website planner for many of us, Robert Middleton (http://www.actionplan.com/  ), recently invited all his customers to join his “social networks,” because HIS marketing guru had recommended he get involved (I’m thinking SHE read the Business Week article, which likely will become a “self-fulfilling prophecy” , e.g., social media, if not on their way alone, will get a boost from the article/cover story saying they are the next step!!!

And, the next step, even more exciting for me. Asked for his response to this new article, blogging-giant Jeff Jarvis, BuzzMachine, states:

“Next, I think, Business Week’s readers will see that social media are changing their fundamental relationship with customers to be less about serving and more about collaborating. No, I don’t mean that every product will be the product of a committee. But customers who want to talk will, and smart companaies will not just listen but will engage them in decisions. This will have an impact not just on PR and image but on product design, marketing, sales, customer service — the whole company. Three years from now, I predict Business Week’s Cover won’t be about blogs or tools but about companies as communities.” (p.50)”

And there it is, folks, the title of my article: Businesses as Communities, and, for us, Businesses as “a kind of” Focusing Community. See Interest Area: Creative Edge Organizations at Creative Edge Focusing (TM) website. 

Focusing Recovery for 12-Step Programs

With her permission, I copy Suzanne Noel’s email to the Focusing Discussion List about her recent applications of her new method, Recovery Focusing, in an actual Addiction Rehabilitation Center in Costa Rica. The examples are rich and sacred:

Hi everyone.

As some of you may know, I have been working at a Rehab here in Costa Rica for three weeks. I am doing a class titled “Recovery Focusing” as well as integrating Focusing into my Step groups (as well as doing Relapse Prevention and a few other courses).

I wish to say that the power of Focusing is working in early recovery.:-) Ta TA!!

People are getting both in-the-body Felt Senses as well as “images” that capture their experience. My sense of it is that they are really getting a personal, private, experiential knowing of the Steps (or what’s in the way). I sense their “respect” of the process by their eagerness to DO Focusing.

Examples:

A few days ago, R. got an image of his addict self smoking crack on a bench, crying. Smoking and crying at the same time. He noticed his “recovered” self was bigger and stronger and that what the addict self on the bench needed was “support”. He was pleased that they were looking at each other. Today, he got a felt sense of a very deep, deep,deep hole near his heart. Not big he said, but very deep. The worst of it was how deep it was. He noticed that there was a lot of dirt around it, but nothing with which to move the dirt into the hole. He said he needed a shovel. Some kind of shovel to fill up the Hole. The shovel for him was a sponsor and a willingness to work the Program.

I., a Heroin addict, got a sense of the Third Step (Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to our Higher Power) as lights flickering on and off in a room, until finally the light remained on. (He has previously had a felt sense of falling, falling into the black hole in the middle of his chest, a great emptiness.) He got the insight that though he may lose contact with his Higher Power (lights out at times) that eventually the light would remain on.

These are only two examples.

I also think the listening is very powerful for them. The reflective listening is quite special to them and one can palpably feel their…contentment…with being  “heard”. Addiction is a disease of isolation and disconnection, so Focusing is really appropriate to its “healing”.  They are connecting to themselves as well as to each other (and, as I wrote in another list, their Higher Self/Higher Power) and one can almost see the awe in their faces as we share “what came”.

Truly sacred space. I am so pleased.

Today, one of them came up to me at the end of the day and said how they had been discussing my peacefulness among themselves last night, and how they all felt that they could FEEL IT,  my serenity, and how much they wanted to have what I have. I was so touched. (The Program is all about one person wanting what the others have — “sobriety” — and then going to “any lengths” to get it. No promotion, just attraction.)

I myself have been quite in touch with my inner sense of serenity lately– a type of grounded serenity. I  know this serenity is the DIRECT RESULT of all the Focusing I have been doing these last two years. The processing I have done in a Focusing way has unblocked the blocked energies inside me so to speak, so that now there is primarily a sense of well-being inside. I know what he means when he says they can sense my peacefulness. I sense it as well. 🙂

[Oh, yes, I still get “restless, irritable, and discontent” (as we say in the Program). But, through Focusing, I am now able to be with these in a way that leads back to serenity and contentment.]

I feel so, so very honored to be able to “pass it on” to others.

The staff now is curious, and the director mentioned my doing something with the staff as well. 🙂 I must say, the bottom-up way this is happening is quite satisfying to me.

Someday, Recovery Focusing may be part of what is offered in Alcohol and Drug Addiction treatment centers. The ripples are spreading out, as I now have a  Recovery Focusing partnership with someone who runs a rehab in another part of the planet. The Twelve Steps and Focusing are indeed meeting and liking each other. Very Powerful.

Love and blessings to all,

Suzanne L. Noël, CFT

Insight & Recovery Focusing

http://www.innerwisdoms.com

Apdo 154-6100

Colón, San Jose, Costa Rica

Tel. 2-249-4038; Mobile 8-372-0347

Read Suzanne’s article, “Recovery Focusing”  and another by Steve Crawford on “Experiential Focusing and 12-Step Programs” .

Alice Miller Website and Reader Response

Learn about, or revisit, Alice Miller’s revolutionary work breaking the culture silence around acknowledging the physical, emotional, and sexual abuse of children and adults. Visit Miller’s website at http://www.alice-miller.com/ and note the Reader Response link. There, you can see how reader’s respond to Miller’s groundbreaking work (first broken in the 1980’s!), and how Miller responds to these Readers.

More on Focusing, Finding The Gems Inside Ourselves and Others

A friend sent me this parable. It came at a time when I was finding it hard to accept the behavior of a family member.  I know not where it came from, but I pass it on to you:

“A man was exploring caves by the Seashore.  In one of the caves he found a canvas bag with a bunch of hardened clay balls. It was like someone had rolled clay balls and left them out in the sun to bake. They didn’t look like much, but they intrigued the man, so he took the bag out of the cave with him.  

As he strolled along the beach, he would throw the clay balls one at a time out into the ocean as far as he could. He thought little about it, until he dropped one of the clay balls and it cracked open on a rock — Inside was a beautiful, precious stone!

Excited, the man started breaking open the remaining clay balls.  Each contained a similar treasure.  He found thousands of dollars worth of jewels in the 20 or so clay balls he had left. 

Then it struck him. He had been on the beach a long time. He had thrown maybe 50 or 60 of the clay balls with their hidden treasure into the ocean waves.  Instead of thousands of dollars in treasure, he could have taken home tens of thousands, but he had just thrown it away!

It’s like that with people.   We look at someone, maybe even ourselves, and we see the external clay vessel.  It doesn’t look like much from the outside.  It isn’t always beautiful or sparkling, so we discount it. We see that person as less important than someone more beautiful or stylish or well known or wealthy.  But we have not taken the time to find the treasure hidden inside that person.

There is a treasure in each and every one of us.  If we take the time to get to  know that person, and if we ask God to show us that person the way He sees  them, then the clay begins to peel away and the brilliant gem begins to shine  forth.

May we not come to the end of our lives and find out that we have thrown away a fortune in friendships because the gems were hidden in bits of clay. May we see the people in our world as God sees them.

I am so blessed by the gems of friendship I have with you. Thank you for looking beyond my clay  vessel.”

Listening and Focusing are a way to find our own gems inside our clay vessels and to find these gems in others, valuing our intuitions, “gut feelings,” stuckness and depression, negative feelings like jealousy, anger, our creative and spiritual “inklings” and ideas, our co-workers, family, friends, even when they irritate us — rather than throwing them out without opening the shells.

INVITE OTHERS TO JOIN US!!!
 
Please forward this e-newsletter to any friends, family, trainees, colleagues who might benefit from either the e-course or CEF News and Goods e-newsletter. This Fall is a great time for newcomers to join. They can subscribe at  http://cefocusing.com/subscribe.php   and immediately download our Instant “Ahah!”s Mini-Manual. Just hit “Forward” down near your “Send” option, then choose anyone you want from your email address book! Take this small step to help bring Listening/Focusing into the world!

FREE RESOURCES

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 !

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

BEST OF EVERYTHING: NATIONAL PARKS SENIOR PASS

By , August 18, 2008 3:06 pm

“Ajas” Instantaneos    Instant “Ahah!”s Mini-ManualKing Stag, Yellowstone, by Kathy

Drove up to gate at Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, USA, expecting to pay the $25 per day entrance fee, $50 for our two-day stay. My husband saw on the prices sign: “Interagency Senior Pass.” “What’s that?” “For US citizens over age 65, $10 one time fee for LIFETIME ADMISSION TO ALL NATIONAL PARKS IN THE USA.” Now, that is a deal!

INVITE OTHERS TO JOIN US!!!
 
Please forward this e-newsletter to any friends, family, trainees, colleagues who might benefit from either the e-course or CEF News and Goods e-newsletter. This Fall is a great time for newcomers to join. They can subscribe at  http://cefocusing.com/subscribe.php   and immediately download our Instant “Ahah!”s Mini-Manual. Just hit “Forward” down near your “Send” option, then choose anyone you want from your email address book! Take this small step to help bring Listening/Focusing into the world!

FREE RESOURCES

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 !

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 click the links above the stag photo for Word file downloads here.

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

MINI-FOCUSED LISTENING E-COURSE

By , July 15, 2008 10:02 pm

Reviewing/Previewing A Variety of Exercises to Strengthen Your Focused Listening Practice
 
And, here, for old timers and newcomers alike, I will give you a suggested Mini-Course of Focused Listening exercises. The exercises are taken from the Creative Edge Focusing website , the “Instant Ahah!s” Mini-Manual (download in English or Spanish from links below) and the e-newsletter archives:
 
1. Focused Listening Described: Four Basic Responses

2. Active Listening examples: Short-Circuit Angry Confrontations
 
3. Passive Listening exercise: Stop Arguments with Partners, Children, Co- workers

4. An Angry Person Is A Hurting Person

 5. Can Passive Listening Save the World?

6. Five-Minute Grieving: What To Do When Someone Starts Crying

7. Listening/Focusing-Oriented Group Decision Making Meetings

8. Verbal Abuse vs. Interpersonal Focusing Protocol
 
Starting Your Own Listening/Focusing Partnership or Group
 
In the weekly Felt Sensing newsletters of the last four-week cycle, I  gave 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.
 
See Week One: Starting A Listening/Focusing Practice Group if you haven’t already downloaded the free Introduction to the Self-Help manual, Focusing In Community, which tells you many ways to find a first person for a Listening/Focusing Partnership and to expand into a core self-help practice group.
 
Week Two: Basic Listening/Focusing Partnership Exchange to find links to download Chapter Three, complete instructions for the first ten sessions of your practice groups (English and Spanish versions).
 
Week Three: The Focuser Is In Charge
 to learn exactly what the Focuser does while being Listening To
 
Week Four: What The Listener Does to see the Four Basic Types of Response used by the Listener in a Focusing Partnership turn.
 
Spend the summer finding a Focusing Partner and building up a Focusing Practice Group!!!!!

ADDITIONAL HELP IN TAKING THAT FIRST STEP TO START YOUR LISTENING/FOCUSING PRACTICE PARTNERSHIP OR GROUP
 
CLICK HERE TO VIEW A COMPLETE DESCRIPTION AND TO CONSIDER PURCHASING THE ENTIRE SELF-HELP PACKAGE ,WITH MULTI-MEDIA SUPPORT.
 
It is my hope that, before the end of the summer, 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 gives many suggestions about how to find your first one or more people, how to present the idea, how to demonstrate the skills. It also includes Chapters on Why Supportive Community?, The Meaning of Feelings, Focusing Partnership Exchange, Focusing Alone, Interpersonal Focusing, and Collaborative Decision Making.
 
An additional 2 two-CD sets describe applications to Personal Transformation, Relationships, and Parenting, Men and Tears, and a two-hour DVD shows four actual demonstration Listening/Focusing Sessions.
 
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 .

 comment on this blog below !

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

FOCUSING AND SPIRITUALITY: EXPERIENCING THE SACRED

By , July 2, 2008 3:53 pm

INTEREST AREA: Experiencing the Sacred

Immanent Spirituality: The Experience of God in The World

Intuitive Focusing and Focused Listening can be used purposefully to “attend to,” “sit with,” “articulate” the “intuitive feel” of spiritual experiences. But more importantly, the practice of Listening/Focusing opens our eyes to seeing the Sacred around us by encouraging attention to those moments when the Sacred enters our lives.

It’s called Immanent Spirituality, God as experienced in the world, moments when the Sacred underpinning of the world “breaks through” and becomes visible, palpable, feel-able. Experiential spirituality is separate from any particular sect or creed. You can incorporate it into any religion and into every day living without organized religion.

Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat call it Spiritual Literacy: Reading the Sacred in Everyday Life (Scribner, 1996), and their book jacket reads:

“These remarkable readings tutor us in the art of lingering with our experiences and seeing the world with fresh eyes — Life’s meaning and the presence of Spirit are found in the shape of a child’s foot, in an encounter with a wild animal, in the memories evoked by a rocking chair, in the process of doing a hobby, or in the messages on a computer screen.”

Spirituality Is More than Religion

Elfie Hinterkopf, in her book Integrating Spirituality into Counseling: Using the Experiential Focusing Method (available in The Store at www.focusing.org ), makes the following distinction:

“It is important to distinguish spirituality from religiousness — in this book religiousness will be used to mean adherence to the beliefs and practices of an organized church or religious institution (Shafranske and Malony, 1990). Spirituality will be used to refer to a unique, personally meaningful experience (Shafranske and Gorsuch, 1984). Although spirituality may be positively related to specific forms of religiousness, spirituality is not necessarily reliant upon any given form or appearance of religion.”

And:

“The spiritual experience is one of bodily felt release, more life energy, feeling more fully present, a sense of feeling larger and being able to reach out to more parts of oneself, to more people, and to more of life (Campbell and McMahon, 1985).”

Bio-Spirituality

Jesuit Fathers Pete Campbell and Ed McMahon have made a life’s work out of looking at the specifically spiritual aspect which can be present in any use of Focusing. They call their approach Biospirituality (Bio-Spirituality: Focusing As A Way To Grow ,Loyola Press,1985, 1997, www.biospiritual.org  )

In any Focusing process, the Focuser will often experience a Felt Shift, an opening of tension release into forward movement and new energy. Pete and Ed tell us to pay more attention to the “bodily-feel” surrounding these felt shifts in experiencing. They show us that, if we attend fully to the feelings surrounding the felt shift, we will find feelings of gratitude, of awe, of being “graced” by the presence of the Almighty.

They elaborate upon Gendlin’s sixth step of Focusing, called Receiving: thanking and acknowledging your Body’s Wisdom for the new steps of healing that have emerged. They have taken the further step of noticing the presence of grace and awe and thanking the Greater Source from which felt shifts, spiritual and emotional growth, emerge.

Being Touched and Being Moved

Using Gendlin’s Focusing process, we will refer to “bodily-felt experiencing,” “bodily-felt spirituality.” Whether experienced through nature or inspiring music or religious rituals in church or through watching the kindness of one person toward another, these spiritual experiences will be “felt.” The existence of Something Greater or Something More will be fully and unquestionably known, experientially, rather than being only an intellectual theory.

I call it “being touched and being moved” (PDF article) and find it often marked by at least a sheen of tears in the eyes, along with an expansive feeling of one’s own boundaries and limits dissolving for at least a moment of merging into a feeling of Oneness – with nature, with another person or other people, with music, or with the religious ritual in church.

As with personal growth and creativity, spiritual experiences can also be reached more predictably through the conscious use of the Intuitive Focusing process. If you “accidently” find yourself in the midst of a transformative, spiritual moment, you can enrich and enlarge that opening by consciously turning attention toward the “feel of it all” and making words and images for the power and meaning of it.

These words and images can stay with you after that magical moment ends and can be a road back to that spiritual experience, again by consciously turning one’s attention to them in a Focusing way.

See Focusing and Spirituality: The Still, Small Voice for several ways to use Focusing to invite and to explore spiritual experiences.

Agape: Experiencing God in The Other

For me, 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 a Listening/Focusing Community (see Creative Edge Pyramid for explanations of these and other applications).

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 or Martin Buber’s “I-Thou” vs. “I-It” experience. For me, there is no more sacred experience.

Click here to go to Interest Area: Experiencing The Sacred and scroll down to find The Ten First Steps You Can Take To Bring Listening/Focusing into your spiritual experience and community.

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

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

INTEREST AREA: CREATIVE EDGE ORGANIZATIONS

By , June 12, 2008 12:40 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: CREATIVE EDGE ORGANIZATIONS

Below you will find the Introduction to bringing Creative Edge Focusing into businesses, corporations, non-profits, volunteer organizations, any place that has meetings. From www.cefocusing.com  with active links to website descriptions of core concepts:

Core Principles of Creating At The Edge

The Creative Edge Organization Method ensures maximum creativity and motivation at every level by encouraging Intuitive Focusing by individuals and Coordinated Collaboration in groups and teams

Maximum motivation arises when people are encouraged to create their lives and solutions to problems from their own Creative Edge.

When organizational structures lose touch with The Creative Edge of individuals, apathy is created.

True change, at any level, from personal to global, happens by engaging The Creative Edge El Borde Creativo of individual human beings. There is no lasting way to impose change from the outside. Lasting change is empowered from the individual entering into collaborative action with other individuals.

The Core Skills of Focused Listening and Intuitive Focusing provide the basic method for individuals, alone, in pairs, or in groups, to access The Creative Edge of thinking and experiencing from which totally new ideas and solutions can arise. They increase creativity and deepen communication and support in any volunteer organization or for-profit corporation.

The Creative Edge Pyramid

The seven methods of The Creative Edge Pyramid insure the application of the Core Skills at every level of organization:

Focusing Alone allows an individual to access the Creative Edge, anytime, anywhere.
Focusing Partnership provides a structure where pairs of individuals can help each other to articulate from The Creative Edge.
Interpersonal Focusing can be used to find The Creative Edge inherent in interpersonal conflicts.
Focusing Groups/Teams support continued Creative Edge exploration.
Collaborative Edge Decision Making provides structures for access to the Creative Edge during group and team meetings, creating innovative, win/win decisions.
Focusing Communities use Listening/Focusing skills to welcome diversity and overcome conflict.
Creative Edge Organization, including The One Small Thing component, insures motivation and “buy-in” from the bottom up, The Creative Edge of each individual.

Focusing and Group Decision Making

The fast-paced, argumentative, competitive nature of much group decision making discussion makes it impossible for anyone to pay attention to and speak from The Creative Edge, the right-brain, “intuitive feel” which can contain the newest, freshest, most innovative solutions. Given the energy expended on simply trying to interrupt and get a turn, participants cannot really listen to the contributions of others.

Under Instant “Ahah!” Collaborative Thinking, you’ll find the simple “How To’s” for groups which Dr. McGuire discovered when she undertook research to describe the difference between aggressive, competitive, and “listening” task-oriented groups. More on Focusing and Group Decision Making.

Win/Win Decision-Making

The most creative solutions, either in individual or in group decision-making, arise when the individual or the group is able to sit with polarized oppositions and wait until a newly-created “third way” can arise. We call this a “win/win” decision : instead of a painful compromise where each side really gives up more than they are willing to, and, later, finds reasons not to carry out the decision, a “win/win” decision, a totally new option, really does contain enough aspects from both sides to produce satisfaction, and thus motivation.

Pure consensual decision making can be extremely time-consuming, since no action can be taken until every member agrees to go along with it. The Collaborative Edge Decision Making (CEDM) method includes the use of Coordinated Collaboration as a method for brainstorming from the bottom/up without having decision-making bog down. More on Win/Win Decision Making.

Bite-sized Projects

The Creative Edge Organization method, with The One Small Thing component, continually breaks down projects to the level where as many individuals as possible can be actively involved in problem solving and decision-making from The Creative Edge and in carrying out projects.

This gives participants a feeling of “ownership” of the group’s work and also the benefits to community building of working together on a joint goal. Although top/down hierarchical structures can also be used for aspects of the work, The One Small Thing component works from the bottom/up to involve every person actively in action and decision-making where that is possible. More on Bite-Sized Projects.

See Instant “Ahah!” Empowerment Organization for a Focusing exercise to find “The One Small Thing.”

CLICK HERE AND SCROLL DOWN TO CONTINUE WITH “THE FIRST TEN STEPS FOR BRINGING LISTENING/FOCUSING INTO AN ORGANIZATIONS YOU BELONG TO”   

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 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

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