Posts tagged: Focusing Communities


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 ( ) 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.


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

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 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)

Learning Focusing, Listening, and Focusing Partnership Exchange

By , March 6, 2008 1:33 pm

Capitulo Tres: El Intercambio de Escucha

Chapter Three: Listening/Focusing Exchange

Click links for free downloads of word file of manual chapter



The basic, core model for interpersonal forms of Gendlin’s Focusing is the Focusing Partnership: the equal exchange of turns between peer counselors. One person uses Focusing to pay attention to the murky “intuitive feel,” the “felt sense” of an issue or problem needing solving. The other person responds with Empathic Listening, simply trying to “say back” or “reflect” the words of the Focuser, with emphasis upon the “feeling tone” and the murky, unclear Edge. The Listener might also give Focusing Invitations to help the Focuser go more deeply into the “felt sense” of the issue. 

Then, after the designated time is up, the two share feedback about being the Focuser and being the Listener in that turn, then switch roles. The first Focuser now becomes the Listener, and the initial Listener becomes the Focuser, for an equal period of time.




Gendlin’s international Focusing Institute offers a Focusing Partnership program, a way in which people can form Focusing Partnerships for face-to-face or phone Focusing Partnership sessions world-wide. Those with no initial Listening/Focusing training can participate in two paid training sessions in numerous languages and by phone. Then they can join the Focusing Partnership pool. Click here to find all about the Focusing Partnership Program at The Focusing Institute website.



I have taught Focusing Partnership, which I have called the Listening/Focusing Exchange for thirty years, since my own initial experience of Focusing Partnership in the original Changes Listening/Focusing Community in Chicago starting in 1968. My manual, Focusing In Community: How To Start A Listening/Focusing Support Group (Focusing En  Comunidad: Como Empezar Un Grupo De Apoyo De Escucha Y Focusing) includes thorough instructions in how to do Focusing Partnerships and how to include them within a Focusing Group/Team/Community. 

Download the complete Chapter Three: The Listening/Focusing Exchange (Capitulo Tres: El Intercambio de Escucha) from the manual to begin exploring these wonderful self-help tools. Use the links at the top of this blog.


Find links to free articles, personality tests, multi-media Self-Help training, Classes and workshops

Dr. Kathy McGuire, Director

Creative Edge Focusing (TM)

The site of new insights and creative solutions is at the edge of what is already known. This edge, The Creative Edge, holds implicit within it all past and future knowing about the problem, more than could ever be put into words in a linear way 

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