Focusing Self-Help Manual Excerpt


  • How to Use the Manual

The manual has been written so that any individual can

  • sit down and read the manual;
  • find a friend or two who will also read it and practice the skills in Part Two; and
  • build a supportive community for himself. 


However, the manual can also be used by professionals:

  • as the basis for a course in community mental health or counseling skills
  • as an aid in beginning supportive communities in a variety of settings.


It can be used by professionals and non-professionals alike who want to build non-hierarchical and emotionally supportive work environments for themselves.

The peer counseling model for community offered here also insures a further step toward intimacy to groups who are already meeting some needs through mutual support. The manual is based on thirty years of experience with groups in many contexts and is the best solution I have found to the difficulties of living, meeting and working collectively.

The manual teaches peer counseling skills of Focused Listening and Intuitive Focusing and tells how to use these skills to provide emotional support, to work through interpersonal conflicts, and to arrive at consensual, cooperative decisions. It tells how to build a peer counseling community, be it as small as four close friends, as an adjunct to existing groups, such as 12-Step programs, or one open to anyone in a larger community who wants to come.


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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.