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October 2015  

Note from Catherine

Dear Focusing community,

If you weren't able to be with us in Seattle for the International Conference, or if you had to miss our annual Summer School (FISS), the many articles in this newsletter will surely help you feel as though you were there! The group poem from the International and Alex's experience of "melting" at FISS are just two of the treats that await you as you scroll down these pages.

I hope you'll enjoy reading what is shared here, and that you'll take to heart a special request from the Board of Trustees, the International Leadership Council and me, asking for more of your wisdom as we continue our strategic planning process.

Here in North America, we are entering our autumn, when the air is colder, the sky is starker, and the days are shorter. It is a time for coming inside; a time for introspection; a time for "hunkering down." It seems during this season as though nature itself invites a Focusing attitude, bidding us to find within our own bodies the warmth and the nourishment that we need. I am grateful during dark times that I have a way to access within myself so much of what I need and once though I had to seek outside myself. And yet, somehow, this capacity has enhanced and not diminished my appreciation and joy when warmth and nurture is offered to me from outside myself.

At the Institute, we seek always to do our part in helping you increase your capacity to find what you need within and without -- "connected and free at the same time." Keep connecting!


- Catherine Torpey, Executive Director, The Focusing Institute


Help shape the goals and strategies of the Institute — your feedback requested

Dear Focusing community,

As you may know, the Focusing Institute is in a strategic planning process, which began in April with the creation of a mission statement. At that time, we sent out a draft of the statement and requested your feedback, then revised it based on your ideas.

Now we are asking for your input once again. Prior to the 2015 International Focusing Conference in Seattle, the Board of Trustees, the International Leadership Council (ILC) and the Executive Director met for two full days to discern the goals and strategies for The Focusing Institute. We then presented these to the Coordinators who were in Seattle and to all those who attended this 26th International. We received wonderful feedback and ideas from them.

Now we would like to hear from you. Please look over the draft of our goals and strategies. We ask that for each goal and its set of strategies, you tell us:

  1. What resonates for you?
  2. What did we miss?
  3. What ideas do you have for projects? (Be as specific as possible.)
  4. What concerns do you have?
  5. Whose role is it to make this happen (TFI staff, its Board, the ILC, Coordinators, Trainers, or everyone) and are you personally willing/able to be part of it?

We really want to know your reaction, so if this request doesn't seem relevant to you, then give us feedback about what The Focusing Institute might do to be more relevant to you.

Please send your feedback and ideas to us at by October 16, 2015. If you know you”ll need more time than this (if, for instance, you have a group which wants to meet to create one response), please let us know by contacting us at the same e-mail address, telling us when you can send us your feedback.

We will update whenever there is important new information about the Strategic Planning process.

Thank you very much for helping carry The Focusing Institute forward!

In gratitude and service,

Your Board of Trustees, International Leadership Council and Executive Director

TFI logo  

In this issue:

Note from Catherine
Shape Our Goals and Strategies
Old Phone Retired
FOLIO 2015 Potpourri
Finding a Right Way to Connect - International Leadership Council
Focusing Conversations
Focusing Institute Summer School (FISS)
New Resources

Support Universal Felt Sense Literacy


New Crossings at the 2015 Focusing Weeklong

November 6-12, 2015 at Garrison Institute in Garrison, New York.

“By crossing we create in each other what neither of us was before.”
—Eugene Gendlin

The Focusing Institute and the Facilitation Team are pleased to let the community know that four Coordinators will be coming to share the week with their students, help facilitate Home Groups, present a workshop, and act as support persons to make sure all goes well.

This year Peter Cheung from Hong Kong and Jan Winhall from Canada will be facilitating Home Groups along with the Facilitation Team. The Home Groups meet daily to process a Focusing interest or a personal, work, or creative project. Weeklong participants will have an opportunity to cross with different Coordinators as well as with each other as they explore their Focusing edges.

Furthermore, Peter Cheung will be presenting an Introduction to Inner Relationship Focusing, and Beth Mahler, Coordinator-in-Training from the USA, will offer a Creative Movement Workshop. Beatrice Blake will be helping us with the nightly Focusing Cafe, where we can share our music, poetry, fun skits, or cultural traditions with each other.

All in all, the 2015 Connections and Crossings Weeklong will have seven International Certifying Coordinators present to deepen the experience of connecting and crossing across cultures and Focusing styles!

Our Daily Activities include:

  • Morning Awakening (Meditation, Yoga, Tai Chi, Quiet Walk, etc.)
  • Experiential Morning Workshop with the whole group:
    • Cross Cultural Focusing
    • Whole Body Empathy
    • H.O.W. To Facilitate Wellness Circles
    • Connecting and Crossing Beyond Cultures
    • The Philosophy of the Implicit
    • Learning From Our Elders and Finding Our Own Way
  • Afternoon Home Groups

  • Several options for afternoon Workshops (or Focusing Partnership).
    • (Choose one) Introduction to Classic Six Step Focusing, Inner Relationship Focusing, Domain Focusing, and Bio Spiritual Focusing
    • Thinking At the Edge
    • Recovery Focusing
    • Walking the Talk
    • Creative Movement
  • Open Space: Participants can present their Focusing interest
  • The Focusing Cafe in the evening

Come celebrate diversity with us this November in this intimate gathering of advanced Focusers from all over the world!

Catherine Torpey, TFI
Aaffien de Vries, The Netherlands
Suzanne Noel, Costa Rica
Tomeu Barceló, Spain

Click here for more information on the Connections and Crossings Weeklong


Give us a call — but only on our new number!

Our old phone number is retired — please be sure to change your saved phone number file to 845-480-5111. Our previous number will no longer be forwarded. Thank you!


Together as whole people: the Board and ILC in Seattle

Jane Quayle is a member of the Board of Trustees


Jane QuayleAs a member of the Focusing Institute's Board of Trustees, I would like to introduce myself to the Focusing community. I'll start with a little about myself, then say a few words about the experience of working with my fellow board members and the International Leadership Council (ILC) at our meeting which preceded the Focusing International conference in Seattle.

My journey with Focusing began in 1998 when I was introduced to Focusing by a fellow student during my studies to become a psychotherapist. I immediately felt I had found “home” and Focusing has been the heart of my practice both in my professional and person life since then. I was greatly honoured and somewhat overwhelmed when I was invited to be a member of the current board of trustees. I said yes because I have a deep commitment to helping people to re-connect to their bodily felt knowing. I also know from my experience as a teacher of Focusing in Australia, where our community is still small, that connection into and support of a larger community is essential.

I have had the pleasure to work with my fellow board members for over a year now as we meet together in our virtual meeting room. It was with a sense of excitement (and trepidation at the length of the journey) that I set off for our joint Board and ILC meeting in Seattle. I was about to meet the people with whom I have been working for over a year and getting to know the members of the ILC.

I had formed some impressions of my fellow board members from our time together in the virtual meeting room. We had the opportunity to see each other as little squares on a computer screen. From this I got to have some sense of each of them as people, to see the room they were sitting in and get a sense of their surroundings, to hear their voices and get a sense of the quality of our discussions together. Over the past year and a bit, we have formed into a very cohesive and warm working group. This has been helped by our knowledge of Focusing and the monthly felt sensing meetings (in addition to our “regular” monthly meetings). These have given us a much stronger sense of the whole person and the field we create together than we could have got from just discussion about the issues we are grappling with.

I was fascinated to see how my impressions were now filled out, as if the person I thought I knew actually took shape in front of me. It filled me with a sense of delight to have each of fellow board members now as whole people. To be in the same room with them in person was so different to the virtual meeting room. We had time for the small informalities of saying hello before the meeting starts and walking to the meeting together; of getting lost and finding our way and having cups tea at break times. The highlight of my week was to share dinner with the board and ILC at Kevin Krycka's house. Kevin and his family made a wonderful dinner for us and welcomed us into their home. It was a wonderful evening with many stories about knowing and working with Gene in the old days, the beginnings of the Focusing movement. It is a great privilege to be a part of a community which is finding its way forward and clarifying its directions, whilst holding the essence of the wonderful gift Gene has given to the world and the many creative forward movements which has come from there.

Our joint board and ILC strategic planning meeting, lead by Joe Colletti, was a very intense couple of days with an early start at 8am and a packed schedule. We had set ourselves a big task of creating the beginnings of a strategic plan which would support our mission statement. We had all individually and collectively prepared an analysis of the Institute's Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (called a SWOT analysis for short) which we had already discussed and sensed our way through. Now it was time to make some structure from the thinking and discussion which had preceded this meeting. The outcome of these two days was presented to the people at the Coordinators' Assembly and the International for their feedback and discussion. My impression of the feedback was that it resonated with our own sense of the issues and ways forward. There was great enthusiasm and commitment to the ongoing process of building our community. We will be sending out the information for your feedback in the coming days and we look forward to feeling our way forward together.


FOLIO 2015 Potpourri

The 2015 Folio is a diverse and exciting collection of applications and integrations of Focusing. Articles delve into bodywork, restorative process, Focusing-Oriented Psychotherapy, spirituality, community wellness and more! You'll want to carry it with you everywhere you go -- and now, you can have either the traditional paperback bound Folio or a Kindle edition so that you are never without your copy. Enjoy the reflections, the learnings and the wisdom of your fellow Focusers and read what everyone is talking about. Order yours here. Here is a sample of some of the articles:

Maria Emanuela Galanti

MAKING FOCUSING MORE POWERFUL: How Focusing-Oriented Realities Help Us Experience the Larger System
Elfie Hinterkopf, Ph.D. and David C. Young, LCSW

MAKING PEACE WITH OUR BODIES: A Paradigm Shift - Katherine M. Kehoe


THE EDGE - Suzanne L. Noel





Finding a Right Way to Connect

Hejo Feuerstein is a member of the International Leadership Council

Dear Focusing fellows out there,

Hejo FeuersteinNow it's my turn to present myself, Hejo Feuerstein from Germany, to the Focusing public as a member of the International Leadership Council (ILC). I am glad to have a chance to connect with you, those who I would like to work for on the level of governance of TFI. Important things about the whys and hows of the new Board and ILC have been already reported by colleagues, so that I can concentrate on some special concerns I do have personally as a member of the ILC.

Just some short information about my background from which I am speaking/writing. I studied Psychology in Heidelberg, then was trained as a psychotherapist in Behavior Therapy, Systemic Family Therapy and Client-Centered Therapy. I got connected to the work of Gene Gendlin during my work as a trainer for Client-Centered Therapist in 1979. The combination of philosophy and psychotherapy was one issue which fascinated me at once, including the epistemologically founded approach of the first person.

After visiting the weeklongs in Chicago from 1983 my colleague Dieter Müller and I got certified as Certifying Coordinators in 1987, and together we founded the Focusing Zentrum Karlsruhe (FZK). There we offered Focusing training, combined with client-centered training, and developed Experiential approaches to Coaching, Supervision, Decision-Making and Coping with Bodily Discomfort. From 1994 till 2010 we organized five International Focusing Conferences in Germany.

Working at a University for Applied Sciences, I developed approaches to organizational development, especially on team-based organization, shared leadership and cross-cultural communication. Since 2010 I am also cooperating on developing a European Focusing Network (or Academy) to develop Training Programs on a European level, where Focusing professionals from European countries can contribute modules to shared programs like European Focusing-oriented Coaching/Counseling/Supervision. We are investigating the possibility of getting grants from the European Union for such programs (though they are hard to apply for!).

Some of the concepts and experiences out of this I am bringing into the ILC. Let me sketch some issues for the further development of TFI from my point of view: Since its founding Mary and Gene were those to whom most people felt committed when they became member of TFI; if Gene had not been there, TFI would not have grown as it has. Now that Gene and Mary are no longer at TFI, there might develop a gap of relevance: being seen as just “a Focusing Institute in New York." New Focusers may ask, "Why become connected to this?" The big task will be to keep the reputation of Gene & Mary alive by reorganizing TFI, interconnecting the great wisdom of Focusers all around the world, enriching personal ties to the founders through professional cooperation and interconnectedness. This is just part of the process of the organizational development we are exploring these days.

In addition, the Focusing world outside TFI has also developed a lot. Many Coordinators are training Focusing in diverse domains and applications, and trainers all over the world are offering their concepts in their own language. There are local and national organizations where people organize themselves on their regional or national level. As for many Focusers who are not native English speakers, the American way of communicating feels strange, not at home and safe (see the discussion list, where only very few colleagues from non-English speaking countries take part). In addition, there might be a little bit of self-reassurance which was expressed in the American Psychological Association for the American reception of non English publications: “If it is important, it is published in English — and if it's not in English, it is not important…”

So we are also challenged to find ways to connect with these colleagues all over the world to support them where they are. This brings up models of self-organization, in which TFI could serve as a hub for world-wide networking. Then, leadership would not be meant in the classic way: creating smart ideas and then convincing others to agree with my goals, my concepts. Rather, it would mean supporting people to create their own concepts, set their own goals, fitting to their culture. For me, this would be an approach to organizing which is congruent with the process concept of Focusing: not to fix and commit on the content level but facilitating the creation of concepts. “To lead people to lead themselves”, the credo of the Superleadership approach seems to be close to the concept of Focusing relationship.

Following this way, we might understand ourselves not only as an “international”, but as a “multinational” organization. To make the needs of TFI as an ownership- organization compatible with this multinational, pluricultural concept is not trivial. Maybe we can develop a two component concept: the Board as a responsible unit along US law, the ILC as a kind of umbrella/association for the multinational networking, thoughtfully interconnected and nominated/sent by the worldwide Focusing community.

Finally, for me the question of “how can we support and develop TFI” is embedded in the bigger question: ”how can we promote Focusing in various countries, cultures, domains in the world?"


Focusing Conversations - Hosted by Serge Prengel

August 2015:
Mary Hendricks Gendlin and The Revolutionary Pause

Listen to podcast

In the August Focusing Conversation Bruce Gibbs, Jocelyn Jacks Khan, Susan Rudnick, Catherine Torpey and Serge Prengel pay tribute to Mary Hendricks-Gendlin.

Andrew MacDonald

These conversations are part of the "Conversations" series hosted by Serge Prengel.


Glimpses of the 26th International Focusing Conference

Nina Joy Lawrence was one of the organizers of this conference, which took place in Seattle, Washington, USA this summer.

Dear Focusing Friends,

Poem written during Focusing Fun at the International Conference

(a shared field poem by the 2015 International Focusing Conference)

The sun rises, greeting the brand new day.
Trepidation, delight, trepidation again, more delight.
Soul connections
Holding the space together, creating a collective quilt.

Sitting here waiting for something to come.
A pause.
Buzzing interactive waves.
Beyond my wildest dreams.

Welcomed, appreciated,
Blurred tapestry of bright and greyed colors,
Seattle University is a very funny place.
Comfort in knowing.

Enjoyable, interesting, curious.

Ripe…bursting, having waited so long for this perfect moment,
Heart-opening healing.

Discovering isolation.

Stretched crowd,
I'm trying to make myself articulate.
Flow of experiences — 80% lightness, 20% darkness.
Relieved. I am at home.

Connection, openness,
Sculpting the light of "we" — happy body, happy mind.

Surfing the rapids,
Silver words connected by gossamer threads of emotions.
Una mezcla de alegria, de pertenencia y algo de esfuerzo.

Delightful, thought-provoking sessions and people
Sitting by a pond with leaping frogs and silent turtles.
I feel like a little and insignificant start in this great galaxy called "Focusing Community,"
Inside out where you turn me upside down and round around.
Being connected and free at the same time,
Swaying in the same spring wind.
Something silly dancing inside — not wanting to be seen.

Focus deeply and then yield to the magic of the shared field.
Our free spirit flows in and out.
How four-dimensional to be with so many, known for so long, in body at last.
Love  confusion — risk — connection. Tears flow.
Ups and down and forward flowing.
Something about butterscotch pudding.
Mysteriously, magnanimously, wearily, wondrously…yes!

A winding, rocky trail,
A changing continuity of experience.
Otters rafting on the sea, like-spirited, multi-minded.
Mellow meetings,
Held, connected, affirmed, supported.
All over the map.

Love alive.
Dancing possibilities, now elusive, now bursting alive, now elusive again,
Floating downstream, gently rushing around the rocks and downed branches.
Rowing as fast as I can.

It's fun to swim with my fishbowl friends sharing the same water.
Pausing to be curious.

I am a magnificent being radiating vast light out into the universe.
This I believe.
A warm, complicated shared field.
A sweet bite of bliss.
A sparkling web.
Hope and fun.

Large connectedness,
The sun climbing into the sky with sweaty wrinkled corners,

Warm outside and inside with all these wonderful people.
Fruits and cereals make a wonderful Muesli.
Heart-juicy, arms wide, allowing the crowd of details to buzz harmlessly…
Held in a gracious space.

Longing for more
Dancing with the stars
Warm…warm…open to all.

Something…I love!

Nina Joy LawrenceThese glimpses of the 26th International Focusing Conference themed “The Future of Focusing" come through my experiencing. They are not an objective view from outside the situation. I have been so much in the midst that this is my first try to say a few words to other Focusers.

The Conference took shape over two years, planned by 10 Northwest Focusers who were assisted in the last few months by more than 30 other great volunteers. We also recognize that everyone at the conference was a volunteer, of their money, time and energy as we shared knowledge and learned from each other.

We gathered 178 people from Canada, US, Mexico, Argentina, Chile, Australia, Great Britain, Ireland, Germany, The Netherlands, Switzerland, Sweden, Israel, Japan and probably other places I have missed.

The Certifying Coordinators' Assembly met for 3 days before the Conference and was attended by 32 coordinators who took part in focusing, discussing, felt-sensing and decision-making about what we will do to support the future of focusing. Everyone attending had an opportunity to give input into the strategic planning process for The Focusing Institute.

Brilliant wake-me-up presentations, experiential workshops and discussion explorations were offered by over 70 presenters, many arranged in advance and a good number spontaneously scheduled during the conference. The conference concluded with the clear-sighted panel of Ann Weiser Cornell, Beatrice Blake, David Rome and Akira Ikemi each giving us their view on The Future of Focusing. This was informally video taped and we hope to make it available soon.

Here are a few of the presentation topics: Integrating Focusing and Bodywork; Focusing and the Labyrinth; Blue Sky Focusing; Expanding our Awareness of Shared Fields in Focusing; Focusing on What You Love; Group Felt Sensing; Spiritual Experiences in Focusing; Untangling; Community Wellness Focusing in Gaza; Focusing and Mindfulness; How We in Different Areas Put on Regional Gatherings; Children Focusing for All; Tango and Focusing! And there was so much more!

Next year in Cambridge…

Nina Joy Lawrence


And from Jeffrey Morrison...

Jeffrey was another of the conference organizers.

Thank you to all who attended the International Conference in Seattle! It was wonderful for me to see so many of you working hard, enjoying each others' company and shaking your bodies out on the dance floor. I was talking with a friend about the conference and he said, “it's a utopian society.” How lovely is it that we came together and shared so much wisdom, humor and life forward energy!

I look forward to hearing stories from all of you about your experiences and our shared field of crossings and inter-affecting! I feel changed by the process in ways I am just beginning to sense into. How about you?



You Are Needed!

We know there is an abundance of talents in the Focusing community. Please let us know if you have time and talent that you would like to give to The Focusing Institute toward making our organization more effective.

Some things in particular we could use your skills with are Fundraising, Public Relations, and ways to make smart use of social media for marketing and getting the word out about Focusing.

Please let our Executive Director Catherine ( know what you would like to contribute!


Summer School

A message from Nada Lou

Comments from Focusing Institute Summer School (FISS) participants

"FISS is a surprise, like a Focusing session. I ended in a place different from where I expected to."

"The diversity of points of view among the instructors - the comfort with that divergence was stunningly inspiring."

"…The presence of master focusing teachers who have spent decades cultivating presence and the art of teaching focusing."

"…The safe container provided in all activities from Yoga to morning attunements, to daily classes and too reflected in conversations as we explored each other socially.

"Deep appreciation to all the teachers and staff who have designed and so generously deliver this rich experience."

"Biggest surprise I didn't know that FISS would be a big enough creative safe container to hold all of me and the 'even more' that came."

"The space, teachers & teaching, Garrison Institute, [and] participants has become spiritual, emotional, psychological home to the authentic."

I've found community that I can sink into - that brings up so much positive for me, and to which I believe I can also contribute. It has been very rich, very rewarding."

"Ann is the teacher I am interested in right now - I like her method. Would love to have a workshop in California."

"I just want to express deep gratitude for the Body's Search for Spirit class; it was rich and spirit filled and exceeded expectation. I also greatly appreciate all that the The Focusing Institute staff did all week to keep things running smoothly. They were gracious & helpful & kind."

"I am grateful for the abundance of offerings. There were so many things to do. And I loved having the space not to do too much. I needed some solitude this week and I got it."

"Elizabeth, Catherine and Rita thank you for everything. I appreciate the effort and love you out in this."

"Were there to be another summer school, I would be drawn to Kevin's class and definitely would take another course with Greg."

"I'd like to express full hearted gratitude for one experience as a whole, but in particular the remarkable experience with Nada and our group."

"Rene was wonderful - his use of a Focusing attitude reminded me 'less is more.' People can get in touch with their felt sense & implicit knowing just through experiencing. With children in particular, movement & gesture & art & symbols are extremely powerful. The possibilities are endless."

Dear friends,

Nada LouIt was wonderful to be together face-to-face with the FISS team after meeting virtually for so many months. We received 58 participants from many countries, including 36 new to Focusing or to TFI. The enthusiasm to have a great Summer School was immediately palpable.

It was very gratifying for us teachers to witness exponential learning and meaningful deepening in each of our students. Year after year, we deepen and enjoy the fruits of our labor.

The time after lunch which used to be for Partnership Focusing was expanded to include any activity participants wanted to arrange — alone, in partnership or in groups. It was encouraging to see rich inventive ideas coming from participants… cooling off from extreme heat in the air-conditioned areas, discussing what they learned in classes, Focusing, and even swimming in the mighty Hudson River!

I was pleased to experience participants' excitement about my short TAE introduction and dramatic dream interpretations. My fellow teachers Greg Madison, Ann Weiser Cornell, René Veugelers and Kevin McEvenue had similarly valuable optional course experiences. And during our "Agora" afternoon, participants had the opportunity to share their Focusing related activities with one another.

Two evenings were dedicated to meeting Gene Gendlin - not in person, but through through DVD clips and through teaching a bit about his philosophy. Ann and I familiarized participants with several of Gendlin’s basic philosophical concepts and shared how the important ethic of diversity in teaching has allowed the development of many “Worlds of Focusing”.

The week ended, of course, with our talent show, the “Focusing Follies.”

We were grateful to Donna Nisha Cohen and Donna Blank for offering meditation, yoga and Feldenkreis to us all week. Finally, we were not only privileged to have TFI staff execute a huge amount of administrative workload throughout the whole year, but also to experience them as participants in all activities including learning with others in our programs. A heartfelt thank you to Executive Director Catherine Torpey, Administrators Elizabeth Cantor and Rita Hirsch and Conference Assistant Scott Will for all your efforts.

As you are probably aware, FISS is also fundraiser for the Focusing Institute and our thanks goes to all those who contributed towards it through their work and money.

And I personally want to thank Ann, Greg, Kevin, René and to all my colleagues and collaborators for 10 years of important mission we have put into the world.

We'll see you in Joshua Tree, California for FISS 2016!

For FISS team
Nada Lou


Melting Down

—Alexander Lyadov was a participant in
the 2015 Summer School

Its a well-known fact that water can exist in various states — liquid, gaseous and solid. Though its chemical essense stays the same (H20), in each state water posesses so strikingly different qualities, that almost makes one think those substances are unrelated and alien to each other.

It was probably the third or fourth day at FISS 2015 when I felt that something in me was slowly “melting down”. The feeling was very light and vague, but unmistakably clear to me — some rough edges of what I consider “Me” started to lose their sharpness. Funnily enough the very fact of “melting” illuminated me about how ice-like I usually am.

Once I read a metaphor of lighting a campfire in a deep forest and inviting some secretive wild animal to come and join you. The process is very slow and delicate. At first you just feel its presence in the surrounding darkness. Then you notice his eyes. Gradually if you are patient, safe and kind enough, he may start making tiny steps towards you. That is exactly how my “melting down” felt like. Something new was hesitantly showing itself from the forest in me. This was something very new and yet something deeply known to me. As if you met a stranger, but then start recognizing the dear face of a good childhood friend whom you haven’t seen for ages.

Then I started noticing that what seemed impossible for “usual Me” somehow became quite natural and even eagerly wanted. Many things, which in everyday life I would avoid for reasons like “don’t look stupid”, “you are serious man”, “it’s a shame”, suddenly released their jaws and gave in to curiosity and frivolous fun of doing whatever felt right at concrete situational moments. As if a baby tortoise finally dived into the ocean after exhausting crawling through the sand. Asking controversial questions, expressing vulnerable ideas, making weird singing excercises, allowing my body’s strange moves, performing on stage — all that is not Me I know… and yet it’s Me I always knew. Surely in usual life I could force myself into doing those same things, but here at FISS I felt very different while doing — a feeling of deep joy and body smiling.

But why? What was unusual here that brought such difference in me?

Gene Gendlin, the founder of Focusing, once said: “I noticed that when I walked into the room (with other person), I was already different. The interaction affects you, long before you can think about it”. Maybe I came to FISS already pregnant with implicit need to melt down. That inevitably affected everyone I met there and brought something in them that allowed some more of me to click and move.

Care. It felt like all people who arrived at school left their armors and weapons at the entrance and stepped inside slowly and carefully, knowing that everyone is equally vulnerable as she/he is.

Attention. Usually in interaction we don’t feel truly listened to, but rather waiting for the turn to dump something out to the other. One can hardly recall a moment when she/he gets the entire attention of the companion, when nothing else matters but the process inside of her/him. Well, here this thirst could be quenched as people tried really hard to listen and understand each other as if nothing else matters.

Embracement. Being open to whatever may come in you and the other person is paradoxically both tough and easy. When a woman you just met in exercise shyly asks if she can share with you her recent trauma, it’s almost like a screaming alarm in you urging to run and hide away. But once you stay present to your and her feelings, there is such a profound super-human connection being built between two of you, which is a joy and a reward by itself. And the rewards are many as soon you notice that something has shifted in her as a result of those few minutes together. Suddenly you are not strangers anymore, but deeply related humans beyond the surface personality’s facts.

Pausing. I am always amazed by people, who are able and willing to put the entire world on hold. They pay attention inward and sense how the body carries situation-at-moment and what their genuine response should be. Such people are extremely rare to meet in everyday life and their scarcity explains my delight of being surrounded by many of such people for the entire week. That their quality is contagious and soon you are puzzled: “How else can I think-speak-move otherwise?”.

Space to be. We often hear about need for unconditional love, but in my view “mere” unconditional attention is enough for good things to happen. It is surprisingly liberating and deeply healing experience when ANY of your feelings is met with equally accepting regard. I can’t find such attitude within me (yet), and hardly meet it in everyday life. But once I encounter such welcoming attention, I am overfilled with recognition how much something in me was missing it. At first you can’t believe that nobody is demanding, asking or expecting from you. You can be sad or funny, reserved or dancing, keep quiet or express what is yet unclear. Borrowing from physics such experience is alike gaining more degrees of freedom or when a particle is suddenly behaving like a wave.

This was my second time at FISS. When people asked me “Why you are here?”, I honestly replied, “Damn, I don’t know” and that was true. However now I feel like at least one of reasons was my need to know that I am not alone in longing to be exist-essentially understood… as well as to understand the others and my unknown-known self.


From the TFI Office

Translation and Interpretation

It is important to us to have as many of our communications as possible translated into as many languages as possible.  If you are willing to translate written materials from English into your native language, please contact us at and let us know your language, and how much time you can volunteer for this valuable task.

It is also important to us to be able to offer interpretation (spoken) when we have events such as the Summer School (FISS) and the Advanced and Certification Weeklong.  When we have four or more people needing interpretation, we pay for an interpreter.  Please contact us if you would be willing to be an interpreter, or if you know of someone who you believe would do this well.


Air Miles

We are a very international organization and it is extremely meaningful when we can be together.  Frequently, however, members of our community cannot attend Focusing Institute events because in addition to the cost of the event, they have very high air fares.  If you have air miles that you are willing to donate, please contact us.  Your airmiles could be used to help members of the Board of Trustees and the International Leadership Council to attend their face-to-face meeting, or to help someone being certified to attend the Weeklong, or for any Focuser to attend FISS (the Focusing Institute Summer School).  Please help give someone the chance for these meaningful connections! 


Upcoming Conferences, Retreats and Workshops

The 2015 Northeast Regional Focusing-Oriented Therapy Gathering
The 2015 Northeast Regional Focusing-Oriented Therapy Gathering will take place on October 9-11, 2015 at Mercy Retreat Center by the Sea in Madison, CT.

The Advanced and Certification Focusing Weeklong
November 6-12, 2015 at Garrison Institute in Garrison, New York.

The 27th International Focusing Conference
The 27th International Focusing Conference in 2016 will be held in England in the beautiful old university town of Cambridge. The dates are Wednesday 20th to Sunday 24th July 2016, with a coordinators meeting starting the day before on Tuesday 19th July.

The Advanced and Certification Focusing Weeklong
October 1-7, 2016 at Garrison Institute in Garrison, New York.

4th International Conference on Focusing-Oriented Psychotherapies
June 22-25, 2017 at The Garrison Institute, Garrison NY. Tentative Coordinators Assembly prior.



9/2015 Busque a Profesionales Certificados en Focusing en la Base de Datos (Search the Certified Focusing Professional Database - Spanish version)

9/2015 Strategic Planning: Introduction and Strategic Matrix for Feedback English (PDF) | Español (XLS) | French (PDF) | Greek (XLS) | Italiano (XLS)

9/2015 New DVD in TFI store: Fostering Focusing with Derek McDonnell

9/2015 Strategic Planning: New Mission Statement in French Français

9/2015 Strategic Planning: New Mission Statement in Japanese

8/2015 August 2015: The August conversation is about the Revolutionary Pause. This conversation is a staged reading of the beginning of an article that Mary Hendricks-Gendlin wrote. Bruce Gibbs, Jocelyn Jacks Khan, Susan Rudnick, Catherine Torpey and Serge Prengel participate in the reading. This is part of the "conversations" series hosted by Serge Prengel which you can access from the "Felt Community" menu or from to audio file

8/2015 Três Regras de Segurança nas Parcerias de Focusing por Ann Weiser Cornell. Traduzido e adaptado por João da Fonseca.


7/2015 Wholebody Focusing Neuroscience Brain Scans on Client "X" after 2 Years By Alex Maunder (June 2014) [PDF]

7/2015 Strategic Planning: New Mission Statement and Document Archive.

7/2015 Minutes from The Focusing Institute Board Meeting May 6, 2015

7/2015 July 2015 In Focus Newsletter is now on the website.

7/2015 Our homepage has a new look.



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The International Focusing Institute  |  15 N. Mill St., Nyack, NY 10960, USA  |  Tel: +1 (845) 480-5111  |  Fax: +1 (845) 704-0461
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