Focusing Self-Help Manual Excerpt


The following chapter has been written by both Zack Boukydis and Kathy McGuire.  In its essence, it represents the learning they came upon in the collaborative endeavor of starting several Listening/Focusing communities.  It was important to them to be able to work as a team, as “co-founders”, able to support each other and to discuss issues and problems which arise in building community.  We strongly suggest that you also find a trusted friend or colleague to work with you as you attempt to build community.

1.   Incorporating   New   Members

There is now an international network of certified Listening/Focusing Trainers who can offer introductory, or Level One, training in the Listening and Focusing skills needed for Focusing Partnerships, Focusing Groups, and Focusing Communities. Listings of certified Trainers can be found at and

Many established Changes Focusing Groups now require that new members take the Level 1 20-hour course in Focusing Partnership to learn the skills needed in the self-help Focusing Group, and I recommend this supervised foundation as a great basis for the beginning of a new Listening/Focusing Group.

Secondly, in the 2000s, support groups are often started and facilitated by a helping professional, often under the auspices of a hospital or other organization. Support group facilitators can take at least Level 1 Listening/Focusing Partnership training from a certified Focusing Trainer of or Ideally, they might continue with Levels 2-4, perhaps becoming certified Focusing Trainers themselves. Then, they can first incorporate Focused Listening and Intuitive Focusing into the group by modeling these skills themselves. Then, when the group is ready, they can teach group members the Focusing Partnership method to increase skills and self-reliance.

Thirdly, whether support groups then go on to become free-standing peer-lead Focusing Groups or Focusing Communities will depend upon the comfort level of the sponsoring helping professionals or organizations.

It would be wonderful if every community had at least one free-standing Focusing Community where people who had finished with a particular support group or therapeutic experience could go on to continue Listening/Focusing partnerships within the supportive structure of a Focusing Group or Focusing Community

And, last but certainly not least, while in the 1970s the emphasis was upon communes, community, collectives, collaboratives as an alternative to bureaucratic, hierarchical structures, now the ideas of collaboration and team work have entered the mainstream culture. For emotional support, we have myriads of support groups such as the 12-step programs. And, in the corporate and organizational world, we have a greater understanding of the need for collaboration and team work in the creation of flexible, innovative, highly-responsive organizations that can constantly respond at The Creative Edge.

So, now the workplace must also function as a community, able to incorporate a diversity of skills and talents into creative teams. My latest work at Creative Edge Focusing ™ (  also incorporates Focusing Partnership, Focusing Group/Team and Focusing Community concepts into businesses and organizations, for creative thinking and problem solving as well as for emotional support.)

If you have been practicing listening with several others for ten or so weeks, you now have a core Focusing Group from which you can build to a larger Focusing Community, if you wish.  If you have made the decision to open your doors to “anyone who wants to come” or to the members of some larger organization to which you belong, you can move to acquiring new members through advertising.  As new members join the group, they can be given the manual to read, if appropriate, and can be taught basic Focused Listening and Intuitive Focusing skills by old members. 

If a larger number of new members arrive at once, you might do a ten-week Listening/Focusing Class with them, pretty much in the way that you first started your own core group, mixing in old members with the new as the old are willing.  If only one or two new members arrive at a time, you might simply incorporate them into existing triads or small groups and teach them as you go along.  Some old members will want to spend time and energy teaching new members; others may not want to do so, preferring to come to meetings and exchange Focusing Partnership turns with practiced partners.  Through consensual decision-making, your group will develop its own most comfortable way of incorporating new members.  The essential thing is that newcomers be given the opportunity to learn the Listening and Focusing skills adequately.

2.   What   A   Meeting   Might   Look   Like     



Purchase Self-Help Package

Back to Services and Programs

Want to learn more about Focused Listening and Intuitive Focusing?

Home | Core Concepts | Free Resources | Is This You? | How We Work | Services/Programs | Case Studies | About Us | Store
Back to top

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.