Posts tagged: Reflective Listening

FOCUSED LISTENING: WHY PRACTICE REFLECTIVE, EMPATHIC, ACTIVE LISTENING

By , December 13, 2008 1:08 pm

Free Downloads:

Complete Focusing Instructions Manual (17 pages)

Instant “Ahah!” Mini-Manual

“Ajas” Instantaneos Mini-Manual

WHY PRACTICE FOCUSED LISTENING?

So, yesterday I asked myself, “Why do I practice Intuitive Focusing?” and I answered from my “felt sense,” the “intuitive feel” that came in the center of my body in response to that question. Using Intuitive Focusing, I carefully went back and forth between any words/images that came and my body’s “felt response,” until I found symbols that were “exactly right” in capturing the “feel of it all.”

Today, I am asking myself, “Why do I practice Focused Listening?” and, as I use Intuitive Focusing to articulate the intuitive feel,” we will see what comes in answer — not from my “head,” the already-known I have said many times in the last thirty years of teaching Listening/Focusing, but from today’s fresh, bodily experiencing.

So, “Why do I practice Focused Listening?” (closing my eyes, going inside quietly, waiting for the “felt sense” to arise in the area of my solar plexis, and only then looking for symbols to describe it) —- Big sigh.

(long pause) — Well, without Listening, the whole world would fall apart! There is nothing more powerful, no better human response, than just showing another that you have heard them by simply saying back, or “reflecting” their own words to them.

And immediately people will want to scoff and laugh and say, “How silly — just stupid parroting.” But, when it actually happens to you, when you feel yourself completely understood, encompassed by your own words coming back to you — well, this is a Sacred experience (stopping to get “out of my head” and to wait again for the fresh, intuitive “bodily-felt sense” to arise so that my words come freshly from that “felt experience” — (big sigh). (long pause)

I am asking myself the Focusing Question, “What do I mean by the word Sacred?” — (pause for Focusing inward). Big sigh. —

I don’t want to “scare people away” by using the word “Sacred.” I could just say “It feels really good to be understood.” But, it really is more than that. Martin Buber, in his book I and Thou, spoke of those moments when we step out of I-It relating, seeing the other as an object to be manipulated and used, into I-Thou relating, where we meet each other without veils, in our essential humanness.

And I guess “essential humanness” is the same, somehow, as what many of us mean by The Divine, The Sacred within each person.

(pausing to “check in” with the “intuitive feel” — “something in me” is saying, “Yikes! Now you are really going to scare people away. You want BUSINESS PEOPLE to use Focused Listening among themselves!” So, now, I am going to pause and “sense into” this aspect, the “business application” of Focused Listening —- (Big sigh. Pause for “felt sensing” before speaking) —

What comes is that “Businesses need to be more friendly places, places where people can feel understood, can feel ‘seen’ for who they are, not just what they do.” (there is something tearful here, I am afraid to admit while I am trying to be business-like!) (pause to check with this teary feeling, “What is that about? What touches me about this?”)

People LIVE in their business settings! They spend more time there than anywhere else. They suffer stress and interpersonal conflict. They stay home rather than face another day. They change jobs too often to get away from a hostile situation.

Certainly we can stand to infuse a little Listening, a simple bit of empathic understanding, the small gesture of Active Listening to show a colleague that we value what they are expressing, even if we disagree with it.

And other days I will blog about how Intuitive Focusing, partnered with Focused Listening, can be used to articulate creative ideas and innovative solutions and to create a Culture of Creativity. But, for today, what comes is that people do want simple human kindness in the workplace.

 

Learn Focused Listening, Active Listening, and Passive Listening for conflict resolution at Creative Edge Focusing (TM)

 

 

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

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Complete Focusing Instructions Manual (17 pages)

Instant “Ahah!” Mini-Manual

“Ajas” Instantaneos Mini-Manual

WHAT IS CREATIVE EDGE FOCUSING ™?

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

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

Empathic Listening

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

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

Invention Of Peer Counseling

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

Rogers, Gendlin, and the Discovery of “Focusing”

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

International Conflict Resolution

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

Click here to subscribe to Creative Edge Focusing(TM)’s  Instant “Ahah!” e-newsletter and get the latest exercises first!!!

Click here for a free Intuitive Focusing Mini-E-course

 See Core Concept: Conflict Resolution to find a complete mini-course on Interpersonal Focusing and Conflict Resolution, including Rosenberg’s Non-Violent Communication, Blanchard’s “One Minute Apology,” Patricia Evan’s books on Verbally Abuse and Controlling Relationships, McMahon’s Beyond The Myth Of Dominance, and much more.

See Core Concept: Intimate Relationship to find a complete mini-course on increasing intimacy and sexuality, including the “Sharing Your Day” exercise, Listening/Focusing Partnerships for The Way of Relationship, untangling and equalizing desire, tantric sexuality, and much more.

Download complete Instant “Ahah!” Mini-Manual, in English and Spanish, from CEF Website, or download from links at top of this blog.

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

Dr. Kathy McGuire, Director

Creative Edge Focusing (TM)

www.cefocusing.com

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

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

POSITIVE PARENTING: PARENTS MUST BE MIRRORS FOR THEIR CHILDREN

By , December 31, 2007 3:57 pm

Narcissism = Lack of Self-Esteem

We all know the story of Narcissus, the youth so taken with his own reflection that he could not tear himself away from it and so starved beside the pool. 
We know a lot of narcissistic people. They talk and talk about themselves, unable to listen to another. Or they are so busy beautifying their own body or house or car that they have little attention for anyone else. Or they dress up their child as an image of what they themselves wish they had become. They exhaust us with their selfishness.

We think of narcissists as being “full of themselves,” but actually they are empty shells, desperately trying to fill a void inside. The psychological term is “narcissistically wounded.” At the time in childhood when they were supposed to be the center of attention, much admired, they did not get “filled up” with reflected images of their wonderfulness. Throughout their lives, they then seek this affirmation from outside, having no positive self-image inside.

Youngsters need lots of praise and encouragement to develop a good image of themselves. Contrary to popular thought, it is too little positive attention in childhood, not too much, which leaves behind the emptiness of the narcissistic wound. 
Forming Your Child’s “Self-Image”
Especially from birth to 3, and actually extending through age 6 or 7, children are incapable of seeing something fromthe point of view of another. Simple experiments show that if you ask such children to draw a picture as it would be seen by someone standing at another viewpoint, they are unable to do so. They are “ego-centered.”
Actually, it’s not accurate to say a child is self-centered at the earliest ages. The infant is not aware of being a self at all. Self and other are all mixed up in one soup. “Mother’s milk is my milk; mother’s anxiety is my anxiety.”

A separate self arises only as children are mirrored back to themselves by the surrounding environment.  Mother does not come when called, and the infant begins to see her as a separate person. The crawler bumps into an immovable object and learns, “Oh, this is not me.” But much of our mirroring comes from the words of our parents: “Oh, you’re such a good walker. I see you’re really trying! …What a good idea! …You’re so nice to share. ..What a helpful boy. ..I’m so glad you’re here. .. You’re such a sweetie. ..I love you how you keep trying.”

 I remember my child toddling into view, filled with pride in some small accomplishment, and I would simply say, much to his delight, “I see you!”

Filling Your Child’s Self-Esteem To The Brim

What you put into a child is exactly what you get back. Reflect to your child. “Oh, you’re so cooperative. ..You’re being so gentle with kitty …What a good plan. .. You’re really thinking!” and you get a cooperative, gentle child, confident in his or her ability to think and plan. Reflect to your child, “You’re so stupid…How could you do that?…You’re ugly. ..Who would want you? …What a dumb thing to do,” and you’ll get a child who feels stupid and ugly,  with no confidence, sure to fail and behave inappropriately.

The child filled to the brim with admiration in the early years has self-esteem over- flowing and therefore is able to give to others. Self-confident, he or she can share the limelight. The child who was not admired spends a lifetime seeking attention, good or bad.

The Reflection Must Be Accurate

Reflective feedback needs to relate specifically to the behavior of your child. Be on the lookout for positive behavior and congratulate it. The reflection needs to be an accurate mirror, evidence that you see your child’s uniqueness. Saying “You look like a model” to an ordinary child or “You’re a great athlete” to one better at math than sports will never fool the child, who will realize, “You don’t see me. You only see what you want to see,” the parent’s own narcissistic reflection.

Trying to make your child a mirror of yourself creates the narcissistic wound. You are trying to fill the child up with your own image, not his or her own. Trying to make your child a great ballerina or a great football player to fulfill your own dream, when the child’s talents and interests lie in a different direction, is an attempt to use your child as a reflection of yourself and leaves your child empty inside.

Healing Your Own Wounded Inner Child

What gets in the way of giving reflective attention to your children? Your own wounded child inside who says jealously, “I never got any attention. Why should she or he? Pay attention to me! Me!”

Almost all of us have a narcissistically wounded child inside. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. Our parents or grandparents grew up in large families, pools of farm la- borers, extensions of their parents. It’s only as families have gotten smaller that parents
have had time to give attention to each unique child. None of us is filled up. We don’t have to berate ourselves for being needy. But we can take steps to nurture ourselves so that we can turn our mirroring attention toward our children and break the cycle of narcissism.

Here are some steps you can take to “fill up” yourself:

  1. Spend time each day doing something that lets you feel competent and good about yourself. Spend time nurturing yourself. Work toward having a minimum of four hours a day separate from your child, time to give attention to yourself and to have your competence reflected by friends or co-workers. Use extended family, start a baby-sitting
    cooperative, use the various relief nurseries, get a part-time job, and use preschool or day care. Even folding laundry or going grocery shopping by yourself can feel like luxurious time alone.
  2. Couples arrange time to be together without your children, mirroring yourselves to each other.
  3. Read books about the inner child (John Bradshaw’s Homecoming and Margaret Paul’s Healing Your Aloneness are a good start) and do some of the exercises for nurturing your own inner child. Go to an inner child workshop. Learn to play.
  4. Join a support group (Adult Children of Alcoholics, Birth To Three, a divorce or single parenting support group,  etc.) where you can share your feelings and ideas with adults who can mirror you.
  5. Get yourself reflected by other adults who can really see and appreciate you so that you can turn your parenting attention to reflecting the positive behavior of your child. It’s never too late. I’m over 40 and would be delighted to have my parents say “I see you!”
  6. Visit Interest Area: Positive Parenting at Creative Edge Focusing ™ , www.cefocusing.com to join our e-discussion/ support group and find other projects.
  7. Purchase The Self-Help Package at www.cefocusing.com so you can create your own Listening/Focusing Partnerships and Support groups.

Read more about Positive Parenting

Download Dr. McGuire’s article, “Don’t Fight ‘Em, Join ‘Em: Community-Wide Intervention for ADHD, School Failure, and Juvenile Delinquency” .

Spend some fun time taking some of the Personality Tests and discovering your “differing gifts,” your Temperaments, your varying Multiple Intelligences, your Shadow Side in the Enneagram.

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

Download our Instant “Ahah!”s Mini-Manual (”Ajas” Instantaneos en espanol) for ten exercises bringing Listening and Focusing into your everyday life starting today.

Download our complete Intuitive Focusing Instructions to start practicing Relaxation, Getting a Felt Sense, and Intuitive Focusing today!

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

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

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

Dr. Kathy McGuire, Director

Creative Edge Focusing (TM)

www.cefocusing.com

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

REFLECTIVE LISTENING: WHEN IS A REFLECTION “RIGHT”?

By , December 6, 2007 3:01 pm

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dr. Kathy McGuire

Creative Edge Focusing

www.cefocusing.com

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