Social and Emotional Learning Standards

Eugene Gendlin, the philosopher who named Focusing, would remind us that he did not discover Focusing. He discovered how to teach the steps or skills involved.

"Gendlin's basic concept is experiencing. Persons are experiencing processes. We apprehend the world moment-to-moment through our experiencing of it."


Our experiencing relies heavily on our skills of interoception. Interoception includes the processes by which we sense, interpret, integrate and regulate signals from within ourselves. 

Let's look at how Focusing, grounded in experiencing, meets Standards of Learning, particularly SEL's, Social and Emotional Learning. The common ground is astounding!

SEL's standards are developed at the state level in the USA. CASEL is an independent organization formed in 1994 that states can use as a reference point. We are using their model to correlate standards with the exercises in our Facilitator Guide for Educators coming out in 2024. 


CASEL framework
For reference, this diagram and a pdf you can access HERE, are from CASEL.
Quotations that follow are from this pdf. 

CASEL stands for "Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning. They envision all children and adults as self-aware, caring, responsible, engaged, and lifelong learners who work together to achieve their goals and create a more inclusive, just world. How? Through a commitment to SEL."

"The CASEL 5 addresses five broad, interrelated areas of competence and examples for each: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making. The CASEL 5 can be taught and applied at various developmental stages from childhood to adulthood and across diverse cultural contexts to articulate what students should know and be able to do for academic success, school and civic engagement, health and wellness, and fulfilling careers."

"SELF-AWARENESS: The abilities to understand one’s own emotions, thoughts, and values and how they influence behavior across contexts."

"SELF-MANAGEMENT: The abilities to manage one’s emotions, thoughts, and behaviors effectively in different situations and to achieve goals and aspirations."

"SOCIAL AWARENESS: The abilities to understand the perspectives of and empathize with others, including those from diverse backgrounds, cultures, & contexts."

"RELATIONSHIP SKILLS: The abilities to establish and maintain healthy and supportive relationships and to effectively navigate settings with diverse individuals and groups."

"RESPONSIBLE DECISION-MAKING: The abilities to make caring and constructive choices about personal behavior and social interactions across diverse situations."

In learning Focusing skills, we begin by unlearning traditional ways of relating that come from an underlying assumption that life is about doing and to be valued we need to fix, save or set ourselves or others straight. 

Instead, we learn to slow down, step back from and hold space with interested curiosity for our own emotions, thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors. Our body is our best teacher here. Gradually, by listening within ourselves, we come to understand that our mind/body/brain function best when WE pay attention to what is being communicated to US. We are not our emotions, thoughts, beliefs or behaviors. All of those are open to change. WE are the one responsible for listening and BEING WITH what is needing our attention.  




BEING WITH is not as hard as it might sound. Our mind/body/brain functions quite well on its own for much of what it takes to be a human being. And yet, as we begin to tune in, there are numerous communications that, when responded to in the moment, can function better for us. 

In our Smartview Stories book series, our three Inner Companions developed from neuroscience concepts make learning social emotional skills easy!