This is a space for experienced Focusers to continue learning.

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 in Year 1 will ground us in guiding from an Inner Relationship Focusing view as a common experience and language from which to share and grow. You will
receive Ann Weiser Cornell's Teachers Manual for Creating a Focusing Practice Working 1:1 and other supplemental reading materials. 

Guest Teaching Mentors for Year 1

Three 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.

Peter Strong, Ph.D. leads our 4th class titled: Mindfulness Therapy - The application of mindfulness and experiential imagery for healing anxiety, depression and emotional trauma. Peter is the author of "The Path for Mindfulness Meditation", a 271 page book that he offers us free as a pdf. 

Helene Brenner, Ph.D. leads our 8th class specifically to look closer at emotional blocks and pattern difficulties that arise in working with clients. Helene, along with her husband, Larry Letich (also a Focusing Orientated Therapist), have created loads of resources including books, audio 'innercizes' for our phones, the Art of Feeling blog and a YouTube channel. 

Beth Mahler is a Certified FOT and Coordinator who also offers a hybrid certification program in New Jersey. Beth helps us close out our year with an incredible experience in Self Care for Holding Space. 

I feel incredibly blessed to have each of these people in our program. 

Together During Our First Year We Will...

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.
  • In addition to our large group activities, we will be invited to dyads and triads to experience each other's Focusing styles and to share what is alive for us around
    bringing Focusing into the world.
  • Continue to gather and grow as an ongoing learning community. Each year new members will merge in from their first year of training. We can return here to make connections, celebrate our successes, ask questions, share challenging experiences
    and learn new modalities emerging.

“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 meets ups of the learning community has been a structure, support and groundedness which I really needed through the chaos and the fluidity of the pandemic, lockdowns and the erratic ever changing environment. Besides the structure of attending the classes every 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)

Learning Community Agreements we bring to this space:

  • Bring all of yourself to this gathering, not just the “shiny parts”.
  • Presume welcome and extend welcome.  We all learn most effectively in spaces that welcome us.
  • Attend to your own inner teacher.  Pay close to attention to your own reactions and responses.
  • No fixing, no saving, no advising, no setting each other straight!  Each of us is here to discover our own truths, listen to our own inner teacher and take our own journey.
  • You may be extended an invitation to share in pairs, small groups and in the large group.  You choose, if and when. 
  • Speak your truth.  Respond from your center to the center of the circle, not to another speaker’s center.
  • Listen deeply without judgment.  By creating a space between judgments and reactions we can listen to others and ourselves more fully.
  • Identify assumptions.  Over time our assumptions of how the world works become invisible to us. 
  • Use honest open questions.  These are questions that we cannot possibly know the answers to.  They are free of opinions and agendas.
  • Maintain deep confidentiality.  Allow what is said in Learning Community to stay here.  
  • Respect silence.  After someone has spoken, take time to reflect and honor the words that were shared.  This concept applies to the speaker as well – be comfortable leaving your words to resound in silence, without refining or elaborating them.

When the going gets rough within, turn to wonder.

Ongoing Learning Community

Oh my, what a joy to be here! Here we will continue our journey in facilitating change. This space is for those cohorts that have completed the first year in the Learning Community for Mastery in Guiding Change or join when you are already certified. My goal is for this to be a touchstone community for your journey toward holding space for change whether you are here as part of your certification path with TIFI or crossing these skills with something else you are already doing like coaching, therapy, body or energy work, etc.

We’ll meet 10 times a year on Thursday evenings 7:30-9pm ET and 10 times a year on Sunday mornings 11am - 12:30pm ET New York time. When you register, you are welcome to attend meetings at either time for the year you've paid for. All meetings are recorded if both times are not convenient for you. If you begin in September, then registration extends through August of the following year, all dates within that time frame. If you begin in January, then registration extends through December, all dates within that time frame. The exact schedule will vary with registrations each year. 

If you are certifying with me, you will take Year 1 and at least one additional year here.

Our 1.5 hour gatherings will generally have one of these structures:

  • Two 40-45 min segments (with a 5 min break).
  • A 30 min small group felt sense conversation around a relevant topic and a 60 min segment for a workshop, case study discussions or a client video. 
  • A 1.5 hr presentation from a paid facilitator we have invited. These will often be Focusing related and not always. We may also explore related modalities that facilitate change in ourselves, others, organizations, etc.
  • A Changes Meeting format designed to help you feel comfortable leading these yourself.

The Learning Community is a particularly rich place to explore edges as we are all advanced Focusers. Topics that you bring can be something outside of Focusing that you are crossing freshly with us. Those on certification paths will be bringing a 20 min first-time client video at some point. We’ll share appreciations and explore potentials together.

What we do each year will vary with the interests of the particular cohort. We will record classes if you miss and most of what happens here will lean heavily on being here in person for an experience. For those on certification paths, missing more than 2/10 classes at a particular time classes will need to be made up in some way.

Registration is for a year and includes both Thursday and Sunday dates. Even if you cannot attend at both times, you will have access to recordings. 

One year starting January 2024 and ending December 2024 

Thursdays 7:30 – 9 pm ET.

Thursdays: Jan 18, Feb 15, March 14, April 11, May 9, June 6, Sept 19, Oct 24, Nov 21, Dec 12

Sundays 11am – 12:30 pm ET.

Sundays: Jan 28, Feb 25, March 24, April 21, May 19, June 23, Sept 8, Oct 6, Nov 3, Dec 1

One year starting September 2024 and ending June 2025 

Thursdays 7:30 – 9 pm ET.

Sept 19, Oct 24, Nov 21, Dec 12, Jan 30, Feb 27, March 27, April 24, May 22, June 19

Sundays 11am – 12:30 pm ET.

Sundays: Sept 8, Oct 6, Nov 3, Dec 1, Jan 12, Feb 9, March 9, April 6, May 4, June 1

Similar to Year 1, Ongoing Learning Community members will be invited to:

  • Monthly Dyad Partnerships to explore guiding and being guided by other experienced Focusers. Also, an opportunity to chat and learn more about each other. These meet just one time and rotate each month. 
  • Bi-Monthly Triads - a group of three that meets all year long for 1.5 hrs to focus and provide each other support in bringing Focusing into the world. 
  • Assist in Sandy's Creating Space for Lasting Change Parts 1-2, each course has six classes. This is dropping in for one date as I schedule a different assistant for each of the six classes. We will keep track and you can over time, assist with them all. 
  • Co-teach with me in my Creating Space for Community free webinars. 
  • Opportunities to assist in Barbara Dickinson's Exploring Interaction Changes Meetings will begin sometime in 2024.