“Focusing Belongs in Schools” Project

We are embarking on a project to introduce “Focusing”, as developed by Dr. Eugene T. Gendlin, to Educators. Our vision starts with presenting Focusing as a useful tool for Educators of all types to become their own best friends, and to help them improve relationships wherever needed. Our vision grows with our belief that “Focusing” can become a tool in classrooms, both as a foundation for self care and a means to advance social and emotional learning goals. 

From 2011-2012, Barbara Dickinson had the unique opportunity to work directly with the creator of Focusing, Dr. Eugene T. Gendlin (“Gene”). One of Gene’s favorite topics was “Focusing belongs in Schools!” In the ensuing years, Barbara has met several professional educators in different countries who use Focusing in schools, and she has been inspired by their experiences to launch this project. 

The primary goal of the project is to create a “template” showing how Focusing can be introduced to educators at the State level, starting in the US. With this template, Focusing professionals in any state, and in many other regions, can introduce Focusing, first, as a skill that educators can use for their own benefit, and then, once a comfort level has been achieved, introduce Focusing concepts and practices in their classrooms and lesson plans. 


What is Focusing?

From our About page: “Focusing is a natural skill and has been with us since the beginning of time. Because of cultural tendencies over the past few centuries, most of us have lost touch with this skill and need retraining. The term “Focusing” came out of research Eugene Gendlin began in 1953 at the University of Chicago.  He did 15 yrs of research analyzing what made psychotherapy either successful or unsuccessful.  His conclusion was that it was not something the therapist did, rather something the clients did inside themselves during the session. He began to study the behavior and how to teach it. He wrote a little book called "Focusing" that you may have run into. It’s a wonderful book, a great place to start and what is known about Focusing has come a long way since then.”



The “Focusing Belongs in Schools” Team includes two Certified Focusing Professionals and one professional Educator, and will grow in time.

  • Barbara Dickinson - Co-Founder and Certified Focusing Professional (New Jersey, USA)
  • Sandy Jahmi Burg - Co-Founder, Certified Focusing Professional, Coordinator, and Creator of the “Learn Focusing” Program (Virginia, USA)
  • Cindy Anderson, Retired Reading Teacher (Maryland, USA)

Sandy and Cindy are co-authoring a Facilitator Guide for Parents, Teachers, Therapists, Coaches and Other Group Leaders to go with Smartview Stories books. The following professionals are involved as Contributors providing feedback along the way. 

  • Diane Stadnichuk, Indigenous Family Social Worker in Manitoba, Canada.
  • Don Langrehr, Retired Professor Education, Radford University, currently working part-time as a Reading Teacher in Roanoke, VA inner city schools.
  • Kelly French, Family and Children's Therapist, North Carolina
  • Tajali Tolan, Family Therapist and Youth Educator, Be Brilliant program



1. For several years, Barbara has been attending the New Jersey Education Association Convention to gather observations in order to offer a successful Social and Emotional Learning exhibit to educators from all over the state. 

In 2024, Barbara and Sandy will present an exhibit at the NJEA Convention in November.

2.  Sandy and Cindy are co-authoring a Facilitator Guide for Parents, Teachers, Therapists, Coaches and Other Group Leaders to go with Smartview Stories books. We anticipate testing in a wide variety of educational settings. This material is suggested for ages 9 and up, including adults. 



If you are interested in learning more about the “Focusing Belongs in Schools” Project, please contact us. We have numerous ways to get involved including volunteer opportunities. 


Coming Soon!

For Parents, Therapists, Teachers, Coaches, anyone mentoring others in relational skill development. 

A Facilitator Guide with 90+ exercises to further develop skills covered in Smartview Stories Books 1-3.

Examples of exercises: 

Asking for Help with Big Emotions

Pause that Interruption

Come Back to Your Breath

Expanding Awareness of our Senses

Finding Something Annoyed, Worried and Excited 

Finding Ways to Nurture our Positive Growth Moments

How I Made a Mistake Better