Posts tagged: Philosophy of the Implicit


By , November 24, 2008 5:10 pm

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Focusing Out In The World: Interpersonal, Group, Community, AND Organizational models
There is an explosion of interest within those practicing Focusing as an inner problem solving technique toward bringing Focusing, and its companion, Listening, out into the world. How does Gendlin’s Focusing look when it moves from a largely internal practice to an interpersonal, group, community, organizational model?
This e-newsletter addresses some models developing directly out of Focusing and Gendlin’s Philosophy of the Implicit,, as well as other models that integrate well with and are enriched by a Focusing-Oriented perspective.
Central to my own Creative Edge Focusing ™ model for innovation, Creative Edge Organizations, is the awareness that, through the careful integration of Intuitive Focusing and Focused Listening at all levels, every individual can be engaged at the Creative Edge of their personal passion while contributing to the overall goals of the organization. Read all about it 
“Motivation = Engagement : Apathy Is The Enemy!
Central to the Creative Edge Focusing ™ model is finding the “One Small Thing” which will allow every individual to take that first step toward involvement in civil action or corporate “buy in.” Find several examples from business and social action and try the “One Small Thing” exercise.
“If you view an angry person as a hurting person, you are well on the way toward an empathic, or Listening, way of dealing with interpersonal conflict.  When a person is screaming with anger, she is saying “I perceive you as treading on one of my essential needs, and I am hurting”. 
If, through Focused Listening, you are able to help the person to a more direct expression of her vulnerability and need, it is likely that your own defensive reaction will change to what is called “relational empathy”:  even though you are in conflict with the person because she is keeping you from getting your basic needs met, you will be able to see it as it looks to her, to acknowledge the legitimacy of her need, and to care deeply for her in that. 
Then a resolution of the conflict can arise as an attempt to find a way in which both of you can get your needs met, rather than as a defensive competition to see who can “win” or be proven “right”—
So begins  my own Chapter on Interpersonal Focusing in the Focusing In Community manual, available as an immediate download in English and Spanish, and as part of the multi-media Self-Help Package at Creative Edge Focusing(TM). 
You can also find the Interpersonal Focusing Chapter as a free download, using links at the top of the page of the linked blog.
Also, for a thorough introduction to internal and external conflict resolution, see my section on Conflict Resolution at the Creative Edge Focusing website.
“What is the purpose or intention of Interactive Focusing?
Most simply said, the purpose or intention of Interactive Focusing is to allow you to touch into your direct experience in the presence of another person and through your direct experience in the safe, empathic, accepting and compassionate environment which you create together to become aware of and to share your inner truths thereby building bonds of intimacy.”
So states Janet Klein’s introduction to the website for the self-help skill called Interactive Focusing, created by Janet and Mary McGuire.
See the website for free downloads of manuals for using their protocol.
On the Focusing Discussion List of The Focusing Institute,  (subscribe under category “Felt Community,” then “Discussion Lists”, and access the recent archives), there has been an outpouring of collaborative thinking about the “crossing” between Focusing and Marshall Rosenberg’s Non-Violent Communication methods. Many Focusers have also been involved with Rosenburg’s model since the 1970’s and 80’s, and they are writing passionately about their experiences of contrast, comparison, and complementarity between the two models.
There seems to be agreement that, while Gendlin’s Focusers have been the masters of articulating the inner landscape for the last 30 years, Rosenberg and his followers have been masters of articulating the interpersonal communication styles which either alienate us from each other or maximize true “meeting” and understanding.
Here is a quote from The Center For Non-Violent Communication website:
“The Center for Nonviolent Communication
A global organization helping people connect compassionately with themselves and one another through Nonviolent Communication language, created by Marshall B. Rosenberg, Ph.D.

What is Nonviolent Communication?
Imagine connecting with the human spirit, in each person, in any situation.
Imagine interacting with others in a way that allows everyone’s needs to be equally valued.
Imagine creating organizations and life-serving systems responsive to our needs and the needs of our environment.

Nonviolent Communication (NVC) helps connect us with what is alive in ourselves and in others moment-to-moment, with what we or others could do to make life more wonderful, and with an awareness of what gets in the way of natural giving and receiving.
NVC language strengthens our ability to inspire compassion from others and respond compassionately to others and ourselves. NVC guides us to reframe how we express ourselves, how we hear others and resolve conflicts by focusing our consciousness on what we are observing, feeling, needing, and requesting.
Nonviolent Communication Language: It awakens empathy and honesty, and is sometimes described as “the language of the heart.”
You will find many instructional materials and resources at the website, including lists of words capturing Feelings and Needs. Print out these two lists to expand your communication capacity greatly!
To join the Focusing and NVC collaboration group, sign up for a free Google account, log in, and then request to join the Online NVC and Focusing group .
My own method for Collaborative Decision Making Meetings uses structures which prohibit interruptions, moderate turn-taking, and encourage Focused Listening and Intuitive Focusing to resolve interpersonal conflict and group-level polarization. Leadership tasks are rotated so that all group members learn to run efficient, creative meetings. Here is a description from The Creative Edge Focusing website:
Coordinated Collaboration: The Best of Consensus and Hierarchy 
“Here are some Task-Roles  and Impasse Resolution Procedures , for use when a group has a limited time to make decisions. This model can also be used, as Coordinated Collaboration, as a way of gathering information and input, in work groups where there is a boss, a Project Manager, or a Coordinator who will make the final decisions.

As with all the Applied Methods of Creative Edge Focusing ™, the procedures create quiet, protected moments where participants can pay attention to the “intuitive feel,” The Creative Edge, and create innovative ideas and solutions.
The tasks can be rotated in a “shared leadership” model, where appropriate, each person on the team learning the various skills. Or, for instance, on the Board of a Corporation or Non-Profit Organization, the formal Chairperson might serve as the agenda keeper more regularly.”
Find the entire Collaborative Edge protocol for immediate use in decision making groups, and download a longer article explaining the model, with handouts for groups in English  and in Spanish .
Rosa Zubizaretta, , combines her knowledge of Listening and Focusing with Jim Rough’s Dynamic Facilitation and other models for encouraging group participants to contribute from their Creative Edge with trust in the “self-organizing” capacity of groups. Her website is packed with Resources for a variety of transformational methods both for “At Work” and “In The Community.”
In facilitating creativity and conflict resolution in groups and organizations, the DF facilitator uses a form of active listening to draw out every group participant, encouraging speaking from the “felt sense” or “intuitive feel” as well as fully expressing emotions and divergent thinking. Miraculously, when participants are enabled to express themselves fully and really listen to each other, convergent solutions eventually arise.
Here is a quote from her introduction to the role and skills of the DF facilitator:
In Dynamic Facilitation, the main role of the facilitator is to listen deeply, and to create a space where each participant can be deeply heard. To do so, he or she takes a very active and consistent role in supporting the emotional safety, unique perspective, and creative contribution of each participant.
As mentioned earlier, the facilitator is NOT leading the group through any prescribed series of steps. Instead, he or she is very involved on the “micro-level,” providing empathy, respect, and support for each participant’s contribution.”
You can find many links to resources and  Rosa’s  free manual for the DF procedure, in English and Spanish.
Motivation, Passion, Creativity, “Buy In,” Esprit De Corps
Open-Space Technology, , is another modality which encourages maximum possibility and responsibility for each participant in group problem solving and creativity/innovation situations. Learn all about the approach at this extensive website. It combines well with Focusing in that each person is encouraged to act out of their alive, present “felt sense” of their creativity.  Here is a quote from the website: 
Rarely, if ever, have the Peoples of this planet had greater need for Peace and High Performance. Peace so that we may freely pursue the fulfillment of our potential. And High Performance for ourselves and our organizations so that our pursuit may be accomplished with energy and finesse.
The twenty year natural experiment with Open Space Technology has demonstrated that both Peace and High Performance are attainable. Hugely conflicted groups have found ways to respectfully deal with each other as they discovered workable solutions for their issues. Complex projects have been brought to fruition in breathtakingly short times, a clear example of High Performance.
Many people have viewed the results as counterintuitive, unbelievable, even magic. The results continue, however, in thousands of instances and 135 countries. But the “magic” is not Open Space Technology, but rather the force that underlies it — the power of self organization. You are invited to explore that primal power for purposes of peace making and enabling High Performance.”
And thanks to Simon for a quote from Harrison Owen (attributed as the developer of OST):
“We know that when Spirit is present in a group of people, wonderful things can happen. We also know that when Spirit is somehow absent or flagging, no amount of money in the bank, technology in the backroom, or executive talent on the roster makes much difference – nothing really seems to go right.
Of course there are times when precise statements about the quality and
nature of Spirit are important, but in the work-a-day world, it is usually
sufficient to acknowledge the presence of Spirit, by whatever name. Call it
what you like – team spirit, esprit de corps, Great Spirit of the Cosmos – sooner or later they all connect. I think. But the critical thing is to acknowledge Spirit  when we meet, and somehow summon it again when it is absent.”
Read the whole article.
Francesca Castaldi has written an article which grew out her experience at the first Movement At The Edge Event and other experiences about how the “felt-sense” of each participant can be kept alive in creating “person-centered democracy” in group settings. She states:
” Most professional gatherings are organized around content and leave little creativity for process-structure. Professional conferences also tend to foster our caution in presenting new ideas: we privilege what we know well and what we have tested with our experience, knowing that our reputation is at stake and a solid knowing “needs” to be upheld. Often it is only well-recognized celebrities in the profession who can afford the risk of presenting their work-in-process–the edge of their knowing, the exciting new hints and ideas that they are nurturing.
We as a community of Focusers have developed the ability to follow the edge of our knowing, to let it emerge in the actual moment and be responsive to our living: we have learned to support a subtle process of explicating that which is still incipient, tentative at first, still forming, and still vulnerable to overwriting by stronger impulses and habits.
Recognizing the power of the Focusing process and of Focusing partnership for protecting this incipient process of creation and explication can help us make room for Focusing in larger meetings and gatherings.
An understanding of the creative/creating process involved in any project can further help us see the place of Focusing in professional gatherings. Below I present what I consider essential phases in the realization of any project, and the ways in which our use or understanding of the Focusing process can help us in choosing process-structures that best support such phases.”
Read the whole article .
MEETING AT THE EDGE: FOCUSING AND BODY-WORK/MOVEMENT EVENT, Sept 22-26, 2009   Boldern Center, Maennedorf, near Zurich, Switzerland.
This will be the second MAE event. The first was celebrated as a model for collaboration, community building, and warm sharing among those interested in the intersection, or “crossing,” of Focusing with Body-Work and Movement. 
Here is the MAE website’s description of the structure of this workshop:
“Workshop structure

Our main objective in this residential workshop is to create an environment that is explorative, creative, and collaborative.  Rather than privileging presentations of already well established techniques, attitudes, concepts, or methods we are wanting to foster an encounter that supports the exploration of what is at the edge of your knowing, rich in fecundity and possibilities even when tentative and subtle.
The atmosphere of deep listening and open support that we will create as a group of diverse professionals generates its own creative energy.  We have found that when the program of the workshop is set well ahead of time, this creative energy does not have a chance to bring its fruits, as it remains “squished” into an already set structure and at most can leak out in breaks between presentations.

We intend to give central stage to the excitement and inspiration that takes place at the moment of our actual meeting and that is fully responsive to our living.  We have thus created a process-structure that can support a full spectrum of interactions and be responsive to the different needs we may have as individuals in our professional journeys.

We invite you to nurture a sense of a project-something meaningful to you in your work-before coming to Boldern, noticing what in you wants to be shared in the setting we are providing.  By not formally sending in a presentation proposal you will be able to be responsive to the transformation that may occur before our meeting, and then sense freshly into the whole as we meet.”
Follow the link to the website for all information and an introduction to the special format and “culture” of these events.

I hope the above methods contribute to a dialogue on “How can we structure groups and organizations such that each individual can stay connected with their internal passion and creativity while collaborating toward a common goal?”

Tell me what you think at or comment on this blog below !

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Dr. Kathy McGuire, Director

Creative Edge Focusing (TM)

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