While I have been travelling in South America I have been able to stay connected with the Focusing community by attending the Weeklong in Chile and the International Conference in Mexico. I have also been active in two very different focusing groups. One is as a mentor on Charlotte Howorth’s new two-year online training programme. I act as a mentor for groups of three or four students who meet monthly online for training. Training in Focusing requires gaining a ‘felt sense’ of your own experience, your felt-experience of someone else experience and a ‘felt sense’ of the relationship. Tracking both what is being said and feeling into the implicit, emerging, changing reality which is always in the process of being carried forward. While each person’s experience is unique the types of difficulties are common to our society and psychology, the fear of starting something new and the desire to rush ahead. Learning the value of a pause, of following with curiosity and openness and a desire not to ‘fix’, but remain fluid are skills which can be described but mean nothing until they are experienced. Being with a group of new students has been a valuable experience for me because as a guide and mentor keeping the right distance from one’s inner critic is a special challenge; always close enough to be aware of but at a sufficient distance to have some breathing room.
The second group is for Focusing Professionals who meet with Lynn Preston and Charlotte Howarth to examine Focusing as applied to their lives and often their therapeutic work. This group is a great encouragement to keep reading and applying Gendlin’s principles beyond the basic training and to consider how attitudes of improvisation and engagement continue to reverberate inside ourselves and in relationship with others.