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Person-Centred and Focusing-Oriented Counselling and Psychotherapy
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Is This Funny: Can We Develop Non-Violent Humour?

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What is considered funny is always premised on the underlying worldview. For example, for a racist joke to be seen as funny, racism has to be an underlying worldview, we have to have an inner racist within us. The joke about the difference between a blonde and a shopping trolley (a shopping trolley has a mind of its own) is only funny if we still have some elements of sexism within us (as most of us, raised and living in patriarchal societies almost inevitably do).
If on the other hand, the underlying worldview is the desire to negotiate – to work things out – with the other you become sensitive about what you can say, when and where about such group. You are also careful about what type of behaviours you choose to engage in, preferring those that dont reaffirm various forms of direct, structural, cultural, epistemological and ecological violence.
Non-violent communication and humour
If jokes that deal in bigotry, sexism, racism, ageism and all the other politically incorrect isms are the quintessential expression of bigoted, sexist, racist, orientalist, ageist and politically incorrect/hierarchically structured and (using Riane Eislers term) dominator society, what type of jokes would a fundamentally different society with a fundamentally different underlying worldview produce? For example, what would humour be like in a society in which cultures of peace, compassion and non-violent communication are firmly embedded?
Perhaps:
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Chatting with Kevin McEvenue Exploring the Aging Experience Together

Chatting with Kevin McEvenue Exploring the Aging Experience Together | focusing_gr | Scoop.it
We spoke to Kevin at his home in the Cabbagetown neighborhood of Toronto, Ontario.  
 
This year at the Summer School you're a key part of the new track on aging. What interested you in that topic?

Kevin: It's because I AM aging! I'm 72 going on 73... so I'm right in the middle of it.

Aging brings another dimension to my consciousness that I didn't have growing up, and that is about being aware. If I am aware of what's happening in me - and I can make room for it - my experience of what's happening is contained in a way that it becomes OK for me to be with it. That is huge. I can feel into the situation, and it may be depressing... like the fear that I will end my life alone... but I can feel myself feeling it. Then the whole way I carry it changes. Then I'm no longer caught in it. I can even, in a gentle way, laugh at it.

I don't take myself nearly as seriously as I used to!

So in this period of my life I am more reflective, more conscious of what's going on, and I'm more able to appreciate what is rather than how I would like it to be. More and more I appreciate what is. I've discovered that the energy, the pleasure, of how I would want life to be, pales in comparison to being with how it is. The reality of the situation has much more energy, because it's grounded in something real.

What are you offering in the track on aging at FISS?
   
There are three teachers presenting on the subject of aging. Mine will be called "Exploring the Aging Experience Together," where we hear each others' stories of our experience with aging right now. There is something about hearing the direct experience of others that touches all of us. People are moved and supported by hearing that some have similar experiences to ours and others may have completely different experiences but they're complementary to ours.

My role is to create the safe space for the stories, and I am the active listener.

What kind of responses have people had in the past?

Kevin: When I listen directly to people's stories of aging, they are very touched... and they're also very surprised at what comes in them that they didn't know was there. The experience of being listened to taps into what they have that they didn't know they have.

One of the stories that came last year, was something that helped me with my own experience. This was a woman, now in her mid 70s, who has always been a busy person. She can't do all she used to do, and is upset that maybe she'll have to cut down and do less. When she went inside in a Focusing way she found a feeling of "frustrated"... and she sat with it in an open, allowing way... What came in her was a very kind voice that said, "All you have to do, dear, is pace it." Suddenly the whole way of carrying the frustration shifted.
 
I was so struck by this, I could feel it in myself as well. The experience for me was, everything I want to do is do-able. That was exciting... and I never forgot it! It changed my life, I'm still practicing it.

It was her Focusing process, and it changed YOU.

Kevin: That's right. I think everyone in the room listening was changed by that. That's part of what I love so much about creating a group space for these stories. 

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Wholebody Focusing

Fiona Parr
The Development of Wholebody Focusing

Kevin McEvenue, from Canada, has brought together his skills both as a Focusing teacher and an Alexander teacher, and developed Wholebody Focusing. He discovered that within the body is contained the possibilities of its own healing. In this article, I describe the Wholebody Focusing process, giving some examples of its uniqueness and usefulness. I also explore the process in relation to healing trauma, and to spirituality. I have found Wholebody Focusing to be an enjoyable and effective development of Focusing.

What is Different about Wholebody Focusing?

What is Wholebody Focusing, and how does it differ from normal Focusing, and from other bodywork and movement practices? Many of the essential elements of Focusing are present in Wholebody Focusing: the sensing into the body, becoming aware of how it feels, and noticing parts of us that may be coming up for special attention. As in normal Focusing, I find some way of symbolising what is experienced in the body. This may come as descriptive words, images or sounds, and would include life story; how does this connect to my life in some way.
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Community Wellness Focusing: A Resiliency Approach

Community Wellness Focusing: A Resiliency Approach | focusing_gr | Scoop.it
June 5 – 7, 2011
with Patricia Omidian and Nina Joy Lawrence
and The Community Focusing Lab
Asilomar Conference Grounds, Pacific Grove, CA, USA
Following The 23rd International Focusing Conference

In places such as Haiti, Canada, Afghanistan, USA, Pakistan, El Salvador, Kenya, Japan, Ecuador, South Africa, and Costa Rica, ways of Focusing are being developed in collaboration with local communities, to support resiliency and wellness. Everywhere in the world ordinary people can learn and immediately teach bits of Focusing to family and neighbors. Fitting local metaphors can be found that can bring effective shifts.

Many people tell us that the violence in their lives lessens, and they can listen to each other better. They become more effective problem solvers, and find positive directions in lives that have been wrenched with trauma, pain and grief. Focusing has been incorporated into training sponsored by government and non-governmental organizations so that tens of thousands of people have learned at least some beginning skills.

In this 16 hour collaborative workshop we will come together to share ideas developed in already ongoing projects and support each other in developing new ones. We will explore Focusing as a community wellness tool and look at ways of fitting Focusing into ongoing community groups so it strengthens resiliency. Participants will have a chance to find a working partner and begin on a community project, or share about what they are already doing in their communities. We want to learn from each other, and are eager to include all you Focusers with interest in community wellness. Whether you want to share Focusing with your family and friends, or with some large community, you are welcome!

Sunday June 5, 2011, 4 PM (Registration begins at 2 PM) - Tuesday June 7, 2010, 2 PM
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Lecture of Prof. Thomas Metzinger - Being No-one, 27 - 5 - 2011

Lecture of Prof. Thomas Metzinger - Being No-one, 27 - 5 - 2011 | focusing_gr | Scoop.it
Ο Thomas Metzinger είναι διευθυντής της Ομάδας Θεωρητικής Φιλοσοφίας στο Τμήμα Φιλοσοφίας του Πανεπιστημίου Johannes Gutenberg του Mainz και αντεπιστέλλων Εταίρος στο Ινστιτούτο Ανωτέρων Σπουδών της Φρανκφούρτης. Υπήρξε πρόεδρος της Γερμανικής Εταιρείας Γνωσιακών Επιστημών και πρόεδρος της Ένωσης για την Επιστημονική Μελέτη της Συνείδησης - μελέτης που συνδυάζει την νευρολογία με τη φιλοσοφία του νου.
 
Για τον Thomas Metzinger, ο συνειδητός εαυτός δεν είναι παρά το περιεχόμενο ενός «διαφανούς προτύπου εαυτού»: μια εικόνα των εαυτών μας στον εγκέφαλο, μια εικόνα που δεν είμαστε σε θέση να αναγνωρίσουμε ως πρότυπο. Από την εικόνα αυτή αναδύεται το Εγώ. Το Εγώ, ο «φαινόμενος Εαυτός» δημιουργείται από τον συνειδητό νου-εγκέφαλο ώστε να κατανοήσουμε τον κόσμο γύρω μας. Αυτό που υποστηρίζει συνεπώς είναι ότι το μόνο που υπάρχει είναι φαινόμενοι εαυτοί καθώς εμφανίζονται στην συνειδητή εμπειρία. Ο φαινόμενος εαυτός ωστόσο δεν είναι αντικείμενο αλλά μια συνεχής διαδικασία.
 
Η θεωρία του δημοσιεύτηκε (2003) στο βιβλίο του Being No One: The Self-Model Theory of Subjectivity.
 
Με το εκλαϊκευμένο βιβλίο του The Ego Tunnel: The Science of the Mind and the Myth of the Self (2009), απευθύνεται στο ευρύ κοινό θέτοντας επιπλέον ζητήματα που αφορούν στις ηθικές και κοινωνικές επιπτώσεις της έρευνας για τη συνείδηση. Με δυο λόγια, παρουσιάζει τη συνειδητή εμπειρία σαν μια σήραγγα, εξαιρετικά επιλεκτική, και ό,τι βλέπουμε, ακούμε, αισθανόμαστε, οσφραινόμαστε σαν μόλις ένα κλάσμα όσων υπάρχουν στον κόσμο.
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INSIDE OUT: Focusing as a Therapeutic Modality Katje Wagner, PhDc, DiplPW

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Focusing-oriented counselling: what's that?

Focusing-oriented counselling: what's that? | focusing_gr | Scoop.it
Clive Perraton Mountford
August 14, 2010
1. More hybrid than union
On first acquaintance, "focusing-oriented counselling" simply seems to mean "whatever-else-is-in-the-tin plus focusing". As the name of a way of doing therapy it dates to Gene Gendlin’s Focusing-Oriented Psychotherapy: A Manual of the Experiential Method (1996) where he describes how experiential focusing can be allied to any of the main counselling approaches.
Maybe. I'm sure that focusing can be allied as Gene suggests, but I anticipate that any counselling approach which is allied to focusing will be so changed by the partnership that what the tin says will no longer satisfy trade descriptions law.
Maybe, too, this power to change is partly why focusing remains an object of suspicion to many person-centered counsellors. Person-centered counsellors do tend to be allergic to being co-opted, and we are too familiar with being misunderstood. Even so—in my experience, at least—the tradition is particularly well placed to benefit from alliance with experiential focusing and to deepen rather than lose its authenticity.
It isn't just a matter of shared historical roots, or even that the way of being sometimes characterized as "core conditional" is essential to focusing accompaniment. Focusing takes person-centered practice in a direction natural to and consistent with its history and development while making a hitherto largely implicit aspect of that practice visible and explicit. At the same time, person-centered practice is changed by relationship with focusing to an extent such that I no longer think of what I do and teach as "person-centered counselling and focusing". In place of a double-barrelled marriage of separable individuals they have become one thing.
So, what does that one thing look like?
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Begin Your Inner Journey… | INWARD BOUND: North Vancouver Therapy

Begin Your Inner Journey… | INWARD BOUND: North Vancouver Therapy | focusing_gr | Scoop.it
Focusing-oriented therapy is about looking inside — slowing down enough to listen to that 'still small voice' inside of yourself that really knows, from a very deep place, what is best for you right now.
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indictment, Foucault Tribunal

 THE CASE AGAINST PSYCHIATRIC COERCION*

by Thomas Szasz**

     * Address to be presented at the Foucault Tribunal, University of Berlin, May 1-2, 1998.
     ** Professor of Psychiatry Emeritus, SUNY Health Science Center, 750 East Adams Street, Syracuse, New York 13210.

To commit violent and unjust acts, it is not enough for a government to have the will or even the power; the habits, ideas, and passions of the time must lend themselves to their committal.
Alexis de Tocqueville  

1
Political history is largely the story of the holders of power committing violent and unjust acts against their own people. Examples abound: Oriental despotism, the Inquisition, the Soviet Gulag, and the Nazi death camps come quickly to mind. Involuntary psychiatric interventions belong on this list.
When Tocqueville spoke of "unjust acts," he was speaking as a detached observer, viewing state-sanctioned violence as an outsider. From the insider's point of view, state-sanctioned violence is, by definition, just. The Constitution of the United States recognized  involuntary servitude as a just and humane economic policy. Throughout the civilized world people now recognize involuntary psychiatry as a just and humane therapeutic policy. Making use of the fashionable rhetoric of rights, a prominent psychiatrist describes adding the „right to treatment" -- a euphemism for coercive drugging and so-called "outpatient commitment" -- to civil commitment as a "policy more realistically and humanely balancing  the right to be sick with the right to be rescued."
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Relieve Distress with Extra-Ordinary Focusing

Posted on May 13, 2011 by Jerry Sheridan
There’s more than one way to focus. When you learn Eugene Gendlin’s Focusing techniques you gain a new way to experience distress and, in the process, relieve it, in a big way.

Gendlin’s Focusing

Ordinary focusing is a matter of blocking out “distractions,” which makes things sharp and crisp. We think of ordinary focusing as shutting out distractions. We may physically tense up as we try to hunker down and focus in. Gendlin’s Focusing technique is different. Gendlin’s Focusing:

Relies very heavily on feelings and sensations in your body.
Involves calm, accepting attention to what you are experiencing in your body.
Invites a respectful inquiry from the thinking part of your brain about what is going on in the sensing and feeling parts.
Asks your body what the experiences are about.
Requires patient waiting for answers to come to mind.
Assesses the accuracy of the words that come to mind, not with more thoughts, but with shifts in your bodily sense. ....
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Eugene Gendlin - Psychology Wiki

Eugene T. Gendlin is an American philosopher and psychotherapist who has developed ways of thinking about and working with the implicit. Gendlin received his Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Chicago where he also taught for many years.
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Self-compassion: The most important life skill? - CBS News

Self-compassion: The most important life skill? - CBS News | focusing_gr | Scoop.it
Psychologists find that self-compassion may be an important life skill, imparting resilience, courage, energy and creativity...
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May 17 2011 - Tip #280

May 17 2011 - Tip #280 | focusing_gr | Scoop.it
"How do I describe it when a part of me is reacting to a part in the other?
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Distorted Thinking

Distorted Thinking | focusing_gr | Scoop.it
Styles of thinking or as they are called in psychology cognitive distortions, come from the work of Albert Ellis, Aaron Beck, and others. They are thought patterns that lead us down twisted paths in our thinking processes.
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THE WHOLEBODY FOCUSING STOrY

Kevin McEvenue and Glenn Fleisch

This article is in two parts. The first part is the story of my (Kevin's) experience of combining two disciplines: the Alexander technique and Focusing. This integration, that I call Wholebody Focusing, has been unfolding and continually reinventing itself over the last twenty-eight years. In this article I want to demonstrate how the key elements of Focusing have transformed my experience of the Alexander technique and how the Alexander tech- nique principles—how postural use affects body functioning—have enriched my Focusing experience in very specific ways.
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May 24 2011 - Tip #281 "Are positive feelings better than negative feelings?"

May 24 2011 - Tip #281 "Are positive feelings better than negative feelings?" | focusing_gr | Scoop.it
Paul writes: "Is a feeling of positivity a part, just like a feeling of negativity is considered a part? (As in: Part of me is happy and part of me is sad about that.) It seems I never see in your writing where positive or 'good' feelings are looked at in terms of partiality, and something about this is confusing to me.
 
"I say to myself: 'But aren't all inner experiences parts? What does it matter if they are 'positive' or 'negative'?" And when I feel both positive and negative feelings (As in: I am happy about that, and part of me is sad about that.) it seems like I'm doing an injustice to the negative (sad) feelings if I merge with the happiness. It just doesn't feel right to say 'I am happy about that, and part of me is sad about that.' If I say that, it doesn't seem true because when part of me is sad about that, I'm not ready to be happy about that."

Dear Paul,
Right, I do see your point! Clearly, we haven't made a full enough distinction, when we have said something like "It's OK to merge with positive feelings, but negative feelings are a part that we want to disidentify from (but be compassionate toward)."
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The Myth of Benevolent Authority

The Myth of Benevolent Authority | focusing_gr | Scoop.it
After looking at the four kinds of authority and after exploring why being authoritative does not equal being authoritarian, I’d like to dedicate one more edition of the Family Connection to briefly clarify some myths and facts about authority.

The different kinds of adult authority and their uses are a central pillar of Parent Effectiveness Training. P.E.T. teaches parents how to use Authority E (expertise), Authority J (Job), and Authority C (commitments/contracts) most effectively and constructively to influence children. It also teaches how Authority P (power) is a means to control children and why this often is so ineffective. The critical difference between influence and control is recognized in P.E.T. and is one of the underlying premises the Gordon Model skills are based on.
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Focusing-oriented dream work Mia Leijssen

Focusing-oriented dream work

Mia Leijssen

This article is published: Leijssen, M. (2004). In R. I. Rosner, W. J. Lyddon, & A. Freeman (Eds.), Cognitive therapy and dreams (pp. 137-160). New York: Springer Publishing Company.

1. Introduction

This chapter illustrates how working with dreams therapeutically can be enhanced if the cognitive
approach is complemented with the experiential approach. More specifically, the chapter will
introduce to cognitive therapists the technique of Focusing for use in cognitive dream work.
Focusing has been a major innovation and advancement in both client-centered therapy and
experiential psychotherapy (Gendlin, 1973, 1981). The person most responsible for introducing
and championing Focusing is Eugene Gendlin, and this chapter draws extensively on Gendlin's
work1.
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Clive's Articles

Clive's Articles | focusing_gr | Scoop.it
Articles
Here are some articles about the theory, practice, and experience of counselling which may interest both 'clients' and 'professionals'.
 
Focusing
Focusing and the person-centred way (2011)
Focusing and the person-centred way PDF
A brief and, I hope, accessible statement of a theoretical metaphor encompassing both person-centred practice and experiential focusing which appeared in Therapy Today. It is a kind of coda to the Dr Rogers articles listed below. I cannot believe it took me ten years: sometimes, the obvious isn't.
Focusing-oriented counselling: what's that? (2010)
A version of the same ideas written for Canada. This will be appearing in Insights into Clinical Counselling sometime soon.
Dr Rogers...
The 'Dr Rogers trilogy' offers my evolving understanding of (what I am coming to think of as) the reintegration of client centered therapy and experiential focusing. Thank you to Self and Society for publishing all three in the same journal.
The first of them (The Moral Umbrella) has a lot to say about environmental ethics. The other two are about counselling alone.
Dr Rogers and the moral umbrella (2006)
Dr Rogers and the moral umbrella (2006) PDF
Dr Rogers and the rebellious right arm (2006)
Dr Rogers and the lego spaceship (2009)

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What is Focusing?

Someone who recently has taken up the study of focusing remarked that if everyone knew focusing, the world would be a better place. These words ring true because whenever one makes a decision out of a focusing attitude, the answers tend to come from our wisest and best impulses. Focusing is more inclusive than mere thought, more respectful of the big picture.
Truly the best way to appreciate focusing is to experience it. Trying to describe it is like trying to tell someone about a beautiful vista or how to ride a bicycle -- words really don’t do it justice, yet when you see or feel it, you get it right away.
Focusing is a technique for getting in touch with deep inner wisdom that includes, but is much more than our thoughts and feelings. We are all too familiar with the thoughts we have about issues in our lives and can go round and round the same circles without coming up with anything new. Focusing starts with the body and through our felt sense about an issue, we can tap into not only our thoughts, but also our feelings, our intuition and our unconscious knowledge about something. This is where we can find out something new, something that moves us forward.
Focusing can feel like it leads us on a tenuous, faint path at first, especially if we are not accustomed to sitting still and checking inside. People who meditate or do yoga might find it more natural. In fact, some people do it instinctively without any instruction at all. Those who don’t focus naturally can learn by doing and suddenly have access to so much more information from inside themselves. It can make the difference between going around the same circle to the familiar dead end or seeing another path off to the side that you never noticed before, a new avenue to consider.
For therapists, Focusing is an invaluable tool to help clients get in touch with their own experiencing and move forward in the places in their lives where they feel stuck. Focusing is used in Focusing-Oriented Therapy, a generic technique that can be used within the context of most therapeutic methods. In fact, it was first developed and named focusing by Dr. Eugene Gendlin in the early 70’s when he was trying to isolate the key ingredient that makes therapy successful. He studied thousands of session of various types of therapy and discovered that it was not the skill of the therapist nor the type of therapy that determined a successful outcome. Rather it was the ability of the client to do focusing (Gendlin,1981).
Gendlin wondered if this was a skill unique to some people, or one that could be learned by anyone. He broke the process down into steps and it is now being taught worldwide, not just as a therapy technique, but also as a self-help tool and life skill for anyone to learn. Gendlin, and many other focusers, believe in the power of focusing to make the world a better place.
 
Gendlin, E.T. (1981). Focusing, (2nd edition). New York: Bantam Books, 3-5.
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Focusing | INWARD BOUND: North Vancouver Therapy FOCUSING: A WAY TO DEEPEN EXPERIENCING FOR MORE EFFECTIVE PSYCHOTHERAPY

Focusing | INWARD BOUND: North Vancouver Therapy FOCUSING: A WAY TO DEEPEN EXPERIENCING FOR MORE EFFECTIVE PSYCHOTHERAPY | focusing_gr | Scoop.it
From BCACC Insights Magazine, April 2010
By Leslie Ellis, MA, RCC

In the mid 1960s, a philosophy student named Eugene Gendlin started asking some hard questions about the process of psychotherapy: “Why doesn’t therapy succeed more often?… When it does succeed, what is it that those patients and therapists do? What is it that the majority fail to do?” (1978/1981, p. 3). Over the next 15 years, he and his colleagues at the University of Chicago conducted a series of studies that concluded something surprising about psychotherapy: the key element to success is not the skill of the therapist, nor their methodology, but the therapy client’s own inner process.
Gendlin and his colleagues studied thousands of therapy sessions and soon were able to tell by watching just a few minutes of the first session or two whether or not the therapy was going to be successful. They could tell by the way the client spoke: a groping, tentative, but forward-moving sort of dialogue clients had with themselves that ultimately led to a easing or tangible shift in their whole sense of what had been a troubling situation. Gendlin was intrigued by the experiential process these rare, successful clients were engaged in and wondered whether it was something that could be replicated and taught. He broke it down into steps and called it ‘focusing.’ It is now being practiced and taught worldwide.
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Carl Rogers and Viktor Frankl on values | Viktor Frankl's Logotherapy

Today I had an epiphany. I have been asking the wrong question and juxtaposing the wrong texts.

Before I asked the question: What are values?

To answer this I juxtaposed Carl Rogers saying values are a matter of personal preference with Frankl saying values are a mission or meaningful task. The following two quotes can illustrate this:

“[Values are] the tendency of any living beings to show preference, in their actions, for one kind of object or objective rather than another…” [The infant] prefers some things and experiences, and rejects others. We can infer from studying his behavior that he prefers those experiences which maintain, enhance or actualize his organism, and rejects those which do not serve this end…(Freedom to Learn, Carl Rogers)
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EXPERIENTIAL FOCUSING: BIOGRAPHY OF CREATOR, EUGENE GENDLIN

WHAT IS FOCUSING?

Experiential Focusing, or Intuitive Focusing, is a self-help skill for setting aside already-known, left-brain intellectualizations and paying attention to the right-brain, ”the bodily felt sense,” the full “intuitive feel” of issues or ideas. Through a series of steps, the Focuser can find exactly the right words/images for capturing this “intuitive knowledge,” this “gut felt-experiencing,” and have an “Ahah!” experience, a moment of paradigm shift when new ideas, solutions, and actions suddenly become clear. Intuitive Focusing can be facilitated by the presence of a Focused Listener. You can learn all about Focusing and Listening/Focusing Partnerships/ Groups/ Teams/ Communities/ Organizations at Creative Edge Focusing (TM). Here I am giving a biography of the Creator of Experiential Focusing, Eugene T. Gendlin.
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Communicating With Your Child Using Compassionate Communication

Communicating With Your Child Using Compassionate Communication | focusing_gr | Scoop.it
by Lori Grace Star, M.A. (Psych)

Compassionate Communication, based on Nonviolent Communication(TM), a system of communication developed over the last 30 years by Marshall Rosenberg, Ph.D., is a way of communicating that has made a tremendous contribution to my life and the lives of many others, helping us to empathize more fully, to feel more empathic with ourselves, and to feel deeper connections with others.

The intention of Compassionate Communication is to support true understanding and deep connection. Part of this process happens non-verbally through tone of voice and facial expression. The other part is supported tremendously by a form of verbal communication that helps one get one's needs met by expressing needs directly and making requests, Often people try to motivate others to meet their needs by using judgments, criticisms and analyses.
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Amazon.com: Teaching Children Self Discipline: At Home and At School eBook: Thomas Gordon: Kindle Store

Amazon.com: Teaching Children Self Discipline: At Home and At School eBook: Thomas Gordon: Kindle Store...
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