Creative Edge Focusing E-Newsletter


Noticing Critics and Conflicts Inside

Dr. Kathy McGuire, Director                                Week Three 


Caring Feeling Presence Inside
This four weeks, while practicing a Complete Focusing Session, we are learning about turning a Caring Feeling Presence, the Focusing Attitude of friendly, curious, non-judgmental, gentle attention to whatever arises inside. We practiced finding
Inner Nurturers and Inner Woundedness (Week 1), Reestablishing Trust With Exiled, "Unpleasant" Inner Aspects (Week 2), and Dealing With Critical Voices and Conflicts (Week 3).
Just Acknowledge Critical Voices, Say "I'll be back later to spend time with you"
Today, when you practice the Complete Focusing Session #1: "How Am I Today?", pay special attention to any Critical Voices which arise. In general, seeing a Critical Voice as an Inner Worrier or Inner Protector, you can simply notice it :" Okay, there is something saying 'You're no good at this; nothing is happening; Focusing is stupid" and, simply by noticing it, acknowledging it (saying "Hello," Ann Weiser Cornell says), you can often just set it aside for the moment and go back to your steps of Focusing.
At a later point, you might go back to that Critical Voice as part of your Focusing process: "Okay, now I would like to spend some time with the part that says "This is ridiculous; you are failing like always," etc., and ask yourself, "Okay, what is that all about?", and wait for the "feel of that whole thing" to form, and continue with the Focusing Steps:looking for words, images, symbols that capture the "intuitive feel," resonating and checking until you find symbols that are "just right" and experience a release, a small or large "felt shift" or "paradigm shift."
Articulate "Conflicts" Into "Two Sides" and Spend Time With Each
Similarly, if you notice a conflict coming up, two conflicting "felt sense" about the same issue, allow yourself to just acknowledge both sides of it: "So there is this...and there is this other side." Then, choose to spending Focusing time with one side, letting the other side know you will come back later. Just continuing hearing from the different "aspects" until something shifts inside, some new understanding arises.
Ann Weiser Cornell, in her Inner Relationship approach, has a specific protocol for dealing with such inner conflicts. She suggests that you ask each side specific questions, like "What is it that you are wanting me to experience?" and "What are you trying to keep me from experiencing?" Learn more about her methods at Focusing Resources .
Put Inner Abusers "In Their Place" Until You Are Ready To Deal With Them
And, remember, if you find a particularly forceful, self-hating Abuser inside, you may need to take firmer action, including getting help from Inner Allies, to tell it, in no uncertain terms, "No. You will not talk to me like that. Go sit over there and be quiet until I am ready and able to spend time listening to you."

      In Intuitive Focusing, first, you relax and find a felt sense, an "intuitive feel" that is before words and more than words. Then, you go back and forth between open-ended questions ("Why is this hard for me?", "What's the meaning for me?", "How is this related to that other decision?") and the "intuitive feel," looking for words or images that exactly capture "the feel of the whole thing," until you find a sense of resolution, of knowing the meaning.


     At this moment of "Ahah!" you are experiencing a "felt shift," a Paradigm shift. The kaleidoscope turns, and the whole situation is new. New ideas, emotions, and action steps suddenly become possible.


Be Gentle With Yourself

      At all times, please remember the Focusing Attitude, the Caring Feeling Presence inside which we are also practicing these four weeks! Having a Caring Feeling attitude toward whatever arises inside is the best insurance for a wonderful quiet time with your own inner experiencing.

      Try these long instructions only as long as you feel comfortable. Don't be judgmental of yourself if nothing huge seems to be happening. It can take a long time to learn to recognize a felt sense, the "intuitive feel," amidst all of the other things going on inside of your body (thoughts, images, muscular sensations, etc.).


      If any tears arise during Intuitive Focusing, let them come.  Be very gentle and curious with the place the tears come from, asking "What are these tears all about?", "Why does this move me?", "What's the meaning of these tears?"

There are many different "protocols" for Complete Focusing Sessions.For this four weeks, we are practicing:


     1. "How am I today?"-Allow 20-30 minutes


---Lie down and get comfortable---loosen any clothing that is too tight---

1 minute

---Now, stretch your arms up over your head, point your toes, and stretch as long as you can---and relax---10 seconds


---Let your body relax into the floor---10 seconds


---Now, tense your feet, hold for a second---and relax---and breathe, in and out---10 seconds


---Now, tense your calf muscles--- hold---and relax---and breathe---in and out---10 seconds


---And, now, your thighs---tense---hold---and relax---and breathe---10 seconds


---And now your pelvis and buttocks---tense---and relax---and breathe---10 seconds


---Now, your stomach and lower back---tense---and relax---and breathe---10 seconds


---Your arms---tense---relax---and breathe---10 seconds


---Now, your face and neck---tense them up---wiggle your face all around---and relax---10 seconds


---Notice your thought process---and gently set it aside---10 seconds


--- Find a peaceful place inside of yourself, a place of Caring Feeling Presence. Bring to mind the Anchoring images, your inner Nurturers, from this week's Caring Feeling Presence exercise---30 seconds


---Now, ask yourself, "How am I today?" and just wait and see what comes---30 seconds


---Now, ask yourself, "And what's the feel of that whole thing?" and, again, wait as long as a minute for the "intuitive feel," the more-than-words,  of the whole thing to form, probably in the center of your chest/heart area.

1 minute

---Again, find some words or an image that are just right for the feeling.

1 minute

---And ask yourself, "And why does that matter to me?" and see what comes---

1 minute

---Find some words or an image to capture it just right, going back-and-forth between intuition and symbols until there is a sense of fit: "Yes, that's it."

1 minute

---Now, ask yourself, "What would this be like if it were all okay?" and see if you can get some words or an image for that.

1 minute

---Now, ask yourself gently, "What's in the way of that being okay?" and just wait and see what comes as a bodily sense, an "intuitive feel" around your heart center.

1 minute

---And find words or an image to capture that, going back-and-forth until the sense of "fit."

1 minute

---Now, hold those two intuitive senses next to each other: the way it would be if it were okay, and the way it is now, and see if you experience any change or shift in how it is.

1 minute

---See if you can find any small step that would bring you closer to how you'd like it to be.

1 minute

---Now, just spend another minute receiving what has come---

1 minute

--- If you feel like you want some more steps of problem solving on this issue, you can do more rounds of Focusing: ask yourself an open-ended question, wait for a felt sense, the "intuitive feel," then look for words or images to capture it---

5-10 minutes---

--- When you're ready, end the Focusing for today and slowly come back into the room.

You should feel relaxed, refreshed, less stressed, after a Focusing Session. If, however, you don't feel better, but perhaps feel disoriented or sunk in an unpleasant feeling, you can try the "Present Time" procedure, borrowed from Re-Evaluation Co-Counseling to bring you back "into real time":
Look around the room and name every one of a certain color(all black, all white, or all yellow -- whatever!) or shape (round, square, rectangular, or whatever!) of object in the room. Look around very carefully at this outer world. Continue with variations of this exercise until you feel grounded in "present time" again.
Some people are "natural focusers" and, once trying a Focusing Session, say, "Oh! I've been doing this all my life. Now I can do it better!"
But most people have a harder time learning this special kind of inner attention. "Inner actions," Gendlin, creator of Focusing, called it: Clearing a Space Inside, Getting A Felt Sense, Finding a Handle (words/images/gesture) that capture the "feel of it all," Resonating and Checking (going back-and-forth between symbols and "felt sense" until there is an exact "fit" ---- "Ahhh! That's exactly it!"), Experiencing A Felt Shift, Receiving What Has Come.  These are a lot of specific inner "moves" to learn to make/recognize.
And then there is a matter of The Focusing Attitude, turning a Caring Feeling Presence toward whatever comes inside. And, as part of that, learning to deal with critical inner voices, various forms of the Critic who try to stop Focusing, stop change.
So, for further self-help instruction in Focusing:
  • order the Self-Help Package with manual, audio CDs of exercises, and DVD of people practicing Focusing with a Focused Listener as helper
  • visit the Store at The Focusing Institute to find many books and audio and visual materials to help you learn Focusing


There is also a wide array of Classes and Workshops you can take, by phone or locally in many regions and languages, one-to-one or in less expensive class situations.

Ruth Hirsch, Creative Edge Associate and Certifying Focusing Coordinator, starts new Level One Teleclasses frequently. Read all about her Levels classes and register under Teleclasses. Ruth combines her training with Ann Weiser Cornell as an InnerRelationship teacher with the Caring Feeling Presence and Focusing Inner Child work of Dr. McGuire, as well as 17 years experience working with Focusing and Body Work.

Agnes Rodriguez, Creative Edge Associate and Certified Focusing Professional, offers 1-on-1 Sessions by phone in English and Spanish.

Barbara Rolsma, Creative Edge Associate and Certifying Focusing Coordinator offers 1-on-1 sessions by phone in English and Dutch. Email Barbara for information.
You can study directly with Dr. McGuire by phone.
Ann Weiser Cornell of Focusing Resources teaches ongoing teleclasses in her particular Inner Relationship method of Focusing.
And you can find classes and workshops worldwide at The Focusing Institute website where you can find a listing of Certified Focusing Professionals.
Two E-Groups, Creative Edge Practice and Creative Edge Collaboration, for Ongoing Support and Learning
There are now two separate Yahoo e-groups.
Creative Edge Practice is a closed group, where people can feel safe for the vulnerability of sharing Focusing experiences and responding to others with Focused Listening responses. The only requirement: a willingness to introduce yourself upon entry into the group, so everyone knows who is in the group. Further active participation is welcomed but not required. This is a very warm, sharing place, as well as a great opportunity for learning the actual skills.
Creative Edge Collaboration is an open group for discussion and networking around projects related to the spread of listening/focusing to various audiences and throughout the world.This is a great place to brain-storm ideas for bringing Listening/Focusing into parenting, education, support groups, psychotherapy and other helping professions, business, non-profit organizations like Peace Corps or Heifer International, spiritual communities, or whatever project moves you!
You can visit the homepage of each by clicking on the link and join from there as well. You can choose "emails only" and do not have to start a yahoo account, although accounts are free.However, access to message archives and other web-based features requires the free Yahoo ID. In creating an account, make sure to choose your regular email address to receive messages directly to your usual inbox.
If you order the Self-Help Package, now with the rock-bottom reduced price of $49, including US shipping, you can use the Intuitive Focusing CD to follow Dr. McGuire as she speaks these exercises and view actual demonstrations of Listening/Focusing turns on the DVD.
Click here to access Dr. McGuire's blog, Ultimate Self_Help: Sex, Food, and Focusing, or find it in the right upper corner at Creative Edge Focusing
About Creative Edge Focusing (TM) 
Mission: bring Core Skills of Intuitive Focusing and Focused Listening, and The Creative Edge Pyramid of applications from individual to interpersonal to organizational, to all audiences throughout the world.
Dr. Kathy McGuire, Director
Location: Beaver Lake in Rogers, AR
These materials are offered purely as self-help skills. In providing them, Dr. McGuire is not engaged in rendering psychological, financial, legal, or other professional services. If expert assistance or counseling is needed, the services of a competent professional should be sought.
Creative Edge Focusing (TM)
Dr. Kathy McGuire