Learning Community as a Path to Certification

Once you have been accepted to the Learning Community for Mastery in Guiding Change, you are eligible to proceed with your mentoring process to obtain certification as a Focusing Professional, Guide or Trainer with The International Focusing Institute (TIFI). This can happen early on, even before your Learning Community co-hort has started, or a year or two down the line where you’ve been involved with the Community. Everyone’s journey is unique.

Find two Mentors

To move toward certification, your first step is to secure two Mentors. Your primary Mentor must be a Coordinator with TIFI. I (Sandy Jahmi Burg) will be this person for many people who use the Learning Community for certification; however, other Coordinators familiar with this program may also feel comfortable being your primary mentor. Your Co-Mentor can be either a Coordinator or someone at a Certified Focusing Professional level. Please take your time with this process. I want you to develop enough of a relationship with this person to really grasp how they have crossed Focusing into their life. Choose mentors that bring a sense of life forward flow within you to all this about getting certified. The three of us follow your process through a series of 3 Focusing sessions. You determine the timing of these, essentially at the beginning, middle and when you sense you are complete. We all follow your body and it is also a co-creative venture. The fulfillment of your training is determined by a consensus process with both mentors. In this case consensus will mean that the felt senses of each of us are heard, and trusted, until a shared result emerges.

The mentoring process is an honor for both mentee and mentor. We all have relational and self-empowerment skills that allow authentic heart connections to form.

Here, Kelly and I chose to meet at a park halfway between our homes to celebrate the completion of her journey.

This Certification is given by The International Focusing Institute

Your journey begins and continues with TIFI in this way:

  1. Soon after you are accepted by your mentor (generally me or possibly someone in a close relationship with this program), you will join TIFI as a Trainer-in-Training. There is a 3 tier fee structure for the period while you are training. US residents pay $75/yr, Europe & Canada $55/yr, Developing Countries $35/yr.
  2.  Once you have had your final self-assessment session and both of your mentors agree you are ready, your primary mentor notifies the Institute. You will pay a $500 fee to the Institute. From here, your certificate will be prepared and mailed to your mentor(s) for their signature(s). You have a choice in your title for the certificate. With the Learning Community certification path, you can choose between Certified Focusing Professional or Focusing Trainer, or choose to have both titles on your certificate.
  3. Congratulations! You are encouraged to set up your own webpage at focusing.org. You are also encouraged to attend the next Advanced and Certification Weeklong, generally held each summer, either in New York or online. You will receive a $300 discount on the weeklong if you attend in the first 3 yrs after you are certified.
  4. To maintain your certification on an annual basis, you will need to maintain high standards of honesty and confidentiality at all times. We hope that you will continue your professional development and remain active in the Focusing community by attending workshops or other events where Focusers gather (minimum of one every 3 yrs). There is such an incredible range of applications and diversity to explore within our worldwide community. There is also a $165/year annual fee to TIFI.

Three Felt Sensing Applications

Certification via the Learning Community involves these three applications of Felt Sensing:

1 – Our Relationship with Self

2- Our Relationship 1:1 with Another Person

3- Our Relationship with Community and the Greater World Beyond

Our Relationship with Self

I describe this as being able to access Self-in-Presence as a state of being in daily life moments = living the power of the pause. This develops over time with consistent practice. It includes all of the skills developed by Mary Hendricks-Gendlin in the document available HERE from The Focusing Institute’s website.

How we show up for ourselves, the qualities we bring to our inner space will directly influence our interactions with others. We start here and it is often our relationships with others that bring growth here that we might not otherwise have discovered on our own. Thus, there is this continuous sense of reaching out beyond self and bringing it back to your center.

We develop a stronger sense of our own I AM as we consistently drop within, living the power of the pause and creating inner space to be with.

The primary way this is evaluated for certification is via the 3 self-assessment sessions which you do with both of your mentors. The timing of each self-assessment is determined by you. When you are ready to start your training, when you feel about halfway through and when you are ready to complete your training, you schedule a session with your two mentors.

The self-assessment is not an evaluation by your Mentors. It is tuning in to how your felt sense is guiding your training process. This is a radically different educational form. People have found that they experience their growing readiness to guide other or teach Focusing in a bodily way, from the inside. Rather than being told from the outside that you are ready, this process allows you to feel it from the inside. We will also experience social Focusing here in that a sense of completion comes via a felt sense consensus process with both mentors. In this case consensus will mean that the felt senses of each of us are heard, and trusted, until a shared result emerges.


Three Self-Assessment Sessions with both Mentors. Truly revolutionary: these guide your journey.

At least three more Focusing/Mentoring Sessions with each Mentor. You can bring whatever is relevant for you to these sessions.

Other Suggestions (all optional)

  • Self-Led Retreat – this is a real challenge for many of us and one worth taking on as a growth opportunity. Can I design a retreat of 24-72 hours for myself and find my way back to Self-in-Presence as a state of being enough to feel like this time was a success for the whole of me? You might go somewhere or stay home.
  • List daily habits you’ve developed that support you in practicing the power of the pause. Possibly you add a new one every few months during your certification journey. Possibly you keep this as a Focusing topic you return to every month or so to check in on.
  • Use art to document a visual of what it is like to be you for your three self-assessment sessions. One suggestion is to create a mandala each time.
  • Create Soul Collage cards as part of your journey to certification. These could be helpful to have as visuals later if/when you start teaching.
  • Develop Self-Focusing as a practice.
  • Write a love letter or poem to yourself.
  • Explore ‘Trust’ or “Authenticity’ as part of your Certification journey. Do this in whatever ways come to you freshly.
  • You might choose to write a paper or develop an exercise on any of these (or find another way) to share the richness of one of these experiences with your Mentors, the Learning Community or with others you teach.

Our Relationship 1:1 with others

This has two aspects.

  1. Maintaining a Focusing partnership as a priority in your life.
  2. Guiding Clients in a Felt Sense Experience

Focusing Partnership

Creating Space for Lasting Change, Levels 1-4 (or the equivalent experience you had before you joined the Learning Community) will have prepped you to be able to maintain a Focusing partnership. This will look somewhat different for each of us. What is important is that you are showing up regularly for your process on this deeper relational level where two are together in Presence. I anticipate the Learning Community as a rich place to explore new partnerships over time.

Guiding Clients in a Felt Sense Experience

This is the core of what we will explore in your first year in the Learning Community for Mastery in Guiding Change. Refer HERE to the Learning Community webpage for more details on the skills we will develop during our journey together.

Guiding Practice Requirements

  1. Share a 20min zoom video recording in gallery view with the consent of your volunteer. This is a first-time session for someone who may have exposure to Focusing concepts but has not experienced a Guided Session. You will share this video in the Learning Community. We will share appreciations and process any transitional moments with curiosity.
  2. Participate in ongoing monthly meetings by sharing 3 or more case studies of your experiences guiding others for appreciations and open discussion. This will most likely happen during small group time. Invite Sandy to your group as needed for questions.
  3. Complete a minimum of 30 Guided Sessions with clients, at least 10 are first-time sessions. Share a sampling of these with your Co-Mentor either written via email or via mentoring discussion.
  4. Record the dates you complete these on your Certification Worksheet.

*Allow yourself spaciousness in completing these, most likely beyond the 1st year.

Other Suggestions (all optional)

* I am developing the content for this page and expect to have it complete by the end of September.*