Learning Community for Mastery in Guiding Change

What does it mean to GUIDE someone else in ways that bring life forward movement?

In our Focusing partnerships, we learn and practice relational skills that support being a Companion to someone else on their inner journey. Professional guiding is different from being a Focusing partner. It is fun and sometimes bewildering because each person we encounter is unique!

Maybe you are a coach, therapist, social worker, yoga therapist, spiritual director, health professional, body worker, wellness enthusiast or educator…

Essentially, you have, or want, a vocational path that brings you together one-to-one with others in situations of facilitating change for this other person .

You would like to help them access their natural Focusing skills in these moments.

Or maybe you have access to groups that you would like to explore these relational and essence of change skills with.

Possibly you recognize some of the above as the direction you are heading toward…

WELCOME! We’d love for you to join us here!

“The Learning Community was the perfect next step for me after completing Level 4. The community is so warm and welcoming and was supportive for me to learn and grow in my personal and professional practice. Sandy holds such a safe and open space to explore what feels alive for us. This paved the way for very rich discussions as a group. I really enjoyed learning from the guest teachers that Sandy brought in, it expanded my horizons and opened the doors to different modalities and practices. I would highly recommend the Learning Community to anyone looking to take the next steps in their Focusing journey.”
~ Ash Hall, Inner Wisdom Yoga Instructor

“I cannot express enough how this community has supported me through the pandemic – From the time I started my focusing level 1 which coincided with the beginning of the pandemic and lockdowns, to now when we are in covid recovery. The regular meet ups of the learning community has been a structure, support and groundedness which I really needed throughout the chaos and the fluidity of the pandemic, lockdowns and the erratic ever changing environment. 

Besides the structure of attending the classes every week / fortnight, the content of the learning community helped to support me personally through the challenging past 2 years. Learning to slow down, listen with curiosity, listening from within and creating  relationship with different parts of myself has been a real gift during this time. I love that with focusing we are encouraged to focus with a partner regularly. I have had several different partners and did various focusing sessions with as many experienced focusers as I could. Learning from others (focusers and teachers) helped me to not feel isolated during the period of isolation as I was able to focus with people across the world on zoom. It really made my world a smaller and less scary place by knowing that someone across the world was experiencing exactly the same thing I was as well. The focusing partnerships also helped me to really connect with myself whilst being supported by a companion, and it helped me to practice my companioning skills to become a better coach.”

~ Jeanne Tan (Life and Career Transitions Coach, PCC certified) 

*Beginning in 2021, we are building an Ongoing Learning Community for Mastery in Guiding Change.*

IMPORTANT NOTE: If your goal is to offer and market ‘Guided Focusing Sessions’ to clients as a Certified Focusing Professional or to teach Focusing as a Focusing trainer, this is a potential route to certification. You are also welcome here if you are already certified or if you just want to use these skills with clients you already have.

Although not everyone in this community is geared toward Focusing certification, we understand and believe in the transformational power of our one-to-one relationships. The Learning Community for Mastery in Guiding Change course has a pre-requisite of at least one year of skill training classes and regular partnership practice. This could be via my Creating Space for Lasting Change Parts 1-4 or equivalent classes or possibly a previous mentor relationship with me. We are excited about the variety of backgrounds coming together here and if you have trained in another Focusing modality other than Inner Relationship Focusing, let’s chat to be sure this will be a match for you. The first 10 classes will be grounding in guiding from an Inner Relationship Focusing view as a common experience and language from which to share and grow.

Grounded in our own experience as Focuser and Companion, we will: 

– Utilize Gendlin’s philosophy to expand our understanding of ourselves and others as interaction first.

– Empower confidence to TRUST Presence calisthenics. The Focusing process is resilient. Our body is on our side here.

– Learn more about how to tell where we are in our brain and the myriad of ways we can exercise our neural system toward a sense of flexibility, integration and resilience.

– Expand our ability to tell when someone would be open to Focusing invitations.

– Learn and/or deepen the practice of landing in the “we-space”, and finding a fresh rhythm from there, together. 

– Explore saying “yes” with equanimity to all that is here in our own and our client/friend/partner’s experience. Everything is welcome as it arrives and given a space to feel safe for however it is now.  

– Develop experience in how mindfulness practices can help identify and transform core emotional patterns that create anxiety/depression or other interpersonal conflicts.

– Explore the power of silence and our speech as music. How does sound contribute to a healing environment?

– Explore the benefits of metaprocessing, pausing to reflect and highlight anything new as soon as it arises in small ways.

– Deepen the practice of letting the Focuser’s words “land” in your body, then let that place speak naturally, rather than remembering or conjuring things to say back.

– Explore why sometimes listening to others becomes difficult and what we can do.

– Explore the subtle difference between “putting your own stuff away to be fully there for the other person” and the idea of “being there, just as you are, however you are” – i.e. Gendlin’s being a human being with another human being.

-Trust that our client has the capacity to heal and helping them see their choice points.

– Continue to gather and grow as a learning community. We can return here to make connections, celebrate our successes, ask questions, share challenging experiences and learn new modalities emerging.

Learning Community for Mastery in Guiding Change

Learning Community begins as a year long program meeting twenty times for 1.5 hours and continues with regular 1.5 hr meetings as long as you wish to join us.

There will be reading between classes. Our first ten classes, we will be utilizing the deep wisdom in Ann Weiser Cornell’s curriculum Working with Focusing Clients One to One.

The classes will be a mix of discussing new content, demos and experiential exploration via small groups or paired practice. 

Maintaining a Focusing partnership outside of class during this time will be valuable and supportive of what you take from our time together. If you are currently training for certification, an active partnership is required.

You are encouraged to find practice clients. This will happen at the timing that feels ripe for you. These might be people you already work with and maybe not. Practice clients can be new to Focusing or have had minimal exposure. Sessions you offer can be 20-50 min. Our classes will often have small group time where we share our client practice experiences with each other.

Four of our classes will be led by Guest Teaching Mentors who have experience facilitating change one to one with clients. I am excited about the diversity they will bring to our learning.

I will start a new group every fall, and possibly again in January, alternating Sunday daytime or Thursday evenings Eastern or New York USA time zone. Please plan to attend all sessions for the full time. If you miss more than a few, we will work out something between us for you to make them up the following year. Since we will often be in small groups, there may not be much that I can record for you. For anyone on a certification path, these experiential classes especially, we will want to make up. This may involve additional fees beyond the $245 for your 2nd year.

The course fee will include a digital copy of Ann Weiser Cornell’s curriculum she uses with Certification students. We will be working just with her Teachers Manual Part One related to Guiding One to One.

There will be a limit on class size of 8 – 10 participants. Please register early if the dates/times work well for you. If these fees are difficult for you, I do offer options to pay over time. Please reach out and contact me about your situation.

Learning Community for Mastery in Guiding Change Online Class – 2022-23 Sunday mornings

20 Sundays – Starting January 15, 2022
11 am-12:30 pm Eastern New York Time, 10-11:30 am CT, 9-10:30 am MT, 8-9:30 am PT
 or your equivalent

Jan 15, Jan 29, Feb 12, Feb 26, March 12, March 26, April 2, April 23, May 7, May 21, June 4, June 18, July 2, July 16, Sept 10, Sept 24, Oct 12, Oct 22, Nov 5, Nov 19

Beginning in June, very other Sunday will be small group reading of selections of Gendlin’s philosophy. Once I get you going, I will not generally be present for the small groups. I moved April 9 to April 2 to avoid Easter holiday in the USA.

Prerequisite: Creating Space For Lasting Change Levels 1-4 OR 1+ years equivalent Focusing skills training

Course Fee: $485

**Note Daylight savings time changes March 12 and Nov 5 for me. If you are not on the same time shift, take this into account. In spring, time will shift forward 1 hour on March 12, 2023. The Nov 5 class will shift backward 1 hour for that day and those after.

Learning Community for Mastery in Guiding Change Online Class – 2023-24 Thursday evenings

20 Thursdays – Starting September 7, 2023
7:30 – 9 pm Eastern New York Time, 6:30 – 8 pm CT, 5:30 – 7 pm MT, 4:30 – 6 pm PT
 or your equivalent

Sept 7, Sept 21, Oct 5, Oct 19, Nov 2, Nov 16, Jan 11, Jan 25, Feb 8, Feb 22, March 7, March 21, April 4, April 18, May 2, May 16, May 30, June 13, June 27, July 11

Beginning in March, every other Thursday will be small group reading of selections of Gendlin’s philosophy. Once I get you going, I will not generally be present for the small groups.

Prerequisite: Creating Space For Lasting Change Levels 1-4 OR 1+ years of equivalent Focusing skills training

Course Fee: $485

**Note Daylight savings time changes November 5 for me. The Nov 16 class will shift backward 1 hour for that day and those after. If you are not on the same time shift, take this into account. In spring, time will shift forward 1 hour on March 10, 2024.

Additional Learning Community Teaching Mentors

David Bell, LCSW-C is a clinical social worker in the central Maryland region. David specializes in experiential approaches to psychotherapy which means to bring the focus, goal or edge of growth into the here and now. He will share his favorite practices for metaprocessing, where we help our client develop an eye for the small steps of fresh air in life processes. Later in the second year, David may also introduce us to two powerful neuro-therapy practices: Brainspotting and Eye Movement Integration.

Helene Brenner, Ph.D is a Psychologist, Focusing Orientated Therapist & Author of I Know I’m in There Somewhere: A Woman’s Guide to Finding Her Inner Voice and Living a Life of Authenticity. Helene has developed an Inner Voice App. These brief step-by-step Innercizes help people learn self-compassion, reduce anxiety and to trust what they know, feel and want inside.

Beth Mahler, LCSW, FOT is a Certifying Coordinator for The International Focusing Institute, and a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Private Practice providing Individual, Marital and Family Therapy both in person (NJ, USA) and by Telehealth services via Zoom platform.  Through her own intuitive and curious engagement with contemplative and therapeutic practices, the supportive, engaging process of Change, Healing, and Growth potential has energized her work and life.

Peter Strong, PhD is a Professional Psychotherapist, Spiritual Teacher and Author, based in Boulder, Colorado. Peter developed a system of psychotherapy called Mindfulness Therapy for healing the root cause of Anxiety, Panic Attacks, OCD, Depression, PTSD and Emotional Suffering.

Learning Community for Mastery in Guiding Change – First year

Learn 1:1 Relational Focusing Skills to facilitate change for clients or communities you serve. This course serves as group support for individuals who wish to pursue certification as a Focusing Professional, Guide or Trainer. This course meets 1.5 hours every other week for 10 months each year (skipping Dec and Aug). A total of 30 hours.



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