Posts tagged: gender


By , February 23, 2009 4:11 pm

In “Why Cry?” Part One, “Are Women Better At Crying Than Men?”, I pointed to a gender difference, but I also found a better descriptor in the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator distinction between Thinkers and Feelers, allowing for a goodly percentage of male Feelers and women Thinkers who do not fit the gender mold on this distinction.

Here, I will compare two videos, one of Eugene Gendlin describing Focusing as a Thinker on the MBTI, a second of Kelly Corrigan describing Women’s Strength and Connection as a Feeler on the MBTI, becoming “touched” and “moved” to tears during her presentation.

Gene Gendlin on YouTube
First, let’s take a look at Gene Gendlin, creator of Focusing,  in person on YouTube, through the wonderful efforts of Simon d’Ortega and Nada Lou. You will see Gendlin, now in his 80s, in his gentleness, his intelligence, his great wisdom, and his wonderful humor. However, you will not see him “being touched” or “being moved” to tears (I have, however, seen Gendlin with tears. So I include these videos just as a contrast in these moments)
Short but sweet, less than two minutes:
“That Place That Knows”
“Theory, TAE, and Democracy 

Thinking At The Edge Part One: Mary Hendricks-Gendlin Introduction
For more, go to and Search Eugene Gendlin.
Being Touched: Kelly Corrigan on Transcending: Words on Women and Strength
I got this message by email from my “Women Relatives” group:
“I wonder if you’ve seen this ~ it’s perfect and so are all of you ~
friends, sisters, moms.” And the following link:
Transcending: Words on Women and Strength 
If you can’t open this, go to  and search for Kelly Corrigan and watch Transcending: Words on Women and Strength. You will see Corrigan “being touched” and “being moved” to tears as she speaks, and you may well find yourself having a corresponding emotional response. My women friends and relatives communicate between each other in this way as a matter of course, sending each other “touching” emails, as well as humorous ones. Corrigan and the women experiencing their tears with her are also being “bonded together” by their shared empathetic response. Feelings are inherently relational and draw people into contact.
Okay, in case you thing this topic of tears is “too heavy,” here are two more humorous YouTubes to check out, totally for fun and having nothing to do with Focusing:
“The Mom Song,” this is hysterical. Sung to William Tell Overture, about 3 minutes.   
“The Mean Kitty Song”
Tears As Harbingers Of Deep Meaning
I have collected countless paragraphs from works of fiction which mention the “coming of tears” as harbingers of deep meaning — profound love, relief, connection, millions of things. We all know that people cry at births and weddings, beautiful, moving music, sunsets, moments of compassion seen between people, etc. Even grieving, if looked at without prejudice, contains many warm, joyful memories and re-connections with the beloved. Etc., etc. 
What matters to me in terms of Focusing is that, noticing even the tiniest sheen of tears in the eyes, or sometimes just the softening of the skin around the eyes, or the quivering of a cheek muscle, or a slight wiping gesture toward the eyes — if the person or the Listener/therapist notices these “openings,” and suggests spending some Focusing time with “Whatever brings the tears,” huge wealth of personal, profound, meaning/carrying forward usually arises, as well as life-giving moments of I-Thou connection between the participants (even a whole group of “witnesses”) that is Sacred/soul-building.

In “Why Cry?” Part Three, I will explore phenomenological research on the kind of crying called “Tears of Wonder/Joy,” a positive experience of awe and transcendence.


Free Downloads:

Complete Focusing Instructions Manual (17 pages)

“Ajas” Instantaneos Mini-Manual

Creative Edge Focusing ( ) 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 ( ) 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)


Can the MBTI save your marriage and family?

By , October 14, 2007 3:18 pm

I first came upon the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator when my adopted son entered public school as a first grader. Immediately, he was diagnosed as Attention Deficit Disorder With Hyperactivity (ADHD).

 Here I had been living with this vastly entertaining, golden boy for seven years (from birth) and, suddenly, because he could not sit still at a desk and listen to a teacher talk, there was something really wrong with him, something needing medication.

Although I am a clinical psychologist, I am not a big fan of medication as the first choice for everything (absolutely, there are times when it is life-saving, can save lives with depression or bopolar and help greatly with ADHD). And, being a client-centered (based upon the work of Carl Rogers) therapist, I believe that every person has a unique path, unique talents, a unique acorn that will grow into a unique tree.

So I started looking for a way to describe all of my child’s positive strengths to his teachers, e.g., no, he didn’t sit still, but, yes, he could do puzzles way better than most children. No, he didn’t sit still, but, yes, he could put objects together and fix machinery. No, he didn’t sit still, but, yes, he was an amazing athlete, always friendly and happy, etc.

The best tool I found was Keirsey & Bates, Please Understand Me (Prometheus Nemesis Book Co.,1984), still my favorite inexpensive, user-friendly introduction to personality differences. There is a modified version of the MBTI in the front with scoring sheet and explanations of the sixteen personality types generated.

I identified my son as an EST(F)P, an “artisan,” an “active, hands-on learner.” (see the tables included at the end of  my short article, “Jung, MBTI, and Experiential Theory”,, for Thumbnail descriptions of each of 16 MBTI “types”). I then could use the classroom-oriented work of Thomas Armstrong (ADD/ADHD Alternatives in the Classroom, ASCD, 1999) and Howard Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences theory and many other tools to fight for active, hands-on learning options for my child at school.

As a single mom, I also started to apply the MBTI to my understanding of relationships. At one point, thinking I had honed in on the problem, I posted newspaper “personal ads” saying I was looking for an “NF” (iNtuitive Feeler) partner. I found one, and it didn’t work out! Maybe we were too similar!

Instead, I found an ISTJ partner, a wonderful compliment to my INFJ  type. Right from the beginning, I shared MBTI understandings with him.  We knew we shared an Introverted (I)love of quiet alone time and a Judging (J) love of organization and structure. His Sensing (S), reality-oriented common sense balances my iNtuitive (N) “sixth sense” global  imagination. His Thinking (T) ability to be objective and analytical actually complements and balances my Feeling (F) ability to be subjective, relational, and empathic.

However, without the MBTI understanding of our difference, we might have floundered, him finding me “overly emotional, ” me finding him “overly intellectualized,” him finding me “unrealistic,” me finding him “boring and mundane.” 

As a “mature” couple (he on his third marriage, I my second), perhaps we had also realized that compromise, appreciation, and mutual respect for difference were key to continuing relationship. We discussed how our former spouses, both P’s, had brought spontaneity and fun, but also lateness and disorganization that we couldn’t tolerate.

What does the MBTI understanding do for you? When your child or partner does something that makes you think, “This person must be from a different planet,” or “This person is crazy,” or “This person is evil,” looking at MBTI differences can help you see that, yes, this person is radically different from you, but he is like a whole lot of other people, a whole “type” of people with unique talents and unique “gifts” to bring to the table.

A few examples:

I am rushing to get my son to the bus for a winter retreat with his church group, up on a mountain. Arriving early (which, as a J, I like to do), I look down and see that, on his feet, he has no socks and flipflops, his only shoes for the trip. I am screaming at him as I rush home for “appropriate shoes,” “How could you……?!!!!!” Then, I realize, for someone who is “spontaneous, lives-in-the-moment, is the life of the party,” thinking ahead to a snow-covered mountain was just not in his repertoire.

One of my husband’s former wives gave him this reason when, after 15 years, announcing “out of the blue” that she was leaving him: “Remember that time we were moving, and I wanted to stop to say goodbye to friends (F) and you said we couldn’t, we had to stay on schedule so we could return the van on time(TJ) ? That’s why.”

When I am caught up in too much feeling (F), my husband can steady the ship with an “objective analysis” of what is happening (T).

Enough for today. Main point: people really are different and, rather than hate them for it, embrace these many “gifts” by using tools like the MBTI.

Panorama Theme by Themocracy