These notes by Rob Foxcroft were written on 28/08/2000 and 27/07/2001.
I have simply tried to make clear the outlines of my own adaptation of
the Interactive Focusing form developed by Janet Klein. I've used a slightly
different name for the form, simply to emphasize that any revision of Janet's
form is my own responsibility, and should not be ascribed to her.
There are 3 key points:-
- two phases
- the relationship cycle
The Focusing Attitude It is essential to approach whatever
arises in Focusing (in either person) with gentleness, openness, and interest,
free from judgment and intrusiveness, and if possible with warmth and
Listening Responses only It is crucial in Focusing
Interactively for the Listener to give listening responses only. Focusing
instructions, guiding suggestions, and other responses may confuse the
interpersonal field, and tend to make the interactive process complex and
unsafe. So the Listener just takes in the Focuser and all that the Focuser is
saying, and says back just so much as seems central or helpful, especially but
not only in terms of feeling.
Time Out Because the process is interactive, one person's
content or manner is likely to bring up feelings in the other person,
strikingly more than in the usual Focusing. It is helpful to agree that either
person may call for time out at any point, to allow feelings which have come up
to be put down (to find necessary distance from what is suddenly too close).
By"time out", we just mean a minute or two of silence, during which each person
does whatever they need to.
Time Boundaries As with all forms of Focusing Partnership, it
is important to share the time equally. At first, this form may feel artificial
and somewhat arbitrary, but soon the carefully planned sequence will make
sense, and it will be easy to feel safe within the given structure, and within
the time-frame that you agree with your partner before starting.
2 TWO PHASES
Let us call the two people A and B.
A1 Story Aspect [for example, 6 minutes]
A is Focusing (usually Story-Style, ie telling the Listener
about a life-issue, and sensing into it in the course of the narrative; rather
than Direct- Style, in which the Focuser may say little or nothing about the
B is Listening (taking in and forming a felt sense of what is
said, and saying back some of it)
A2 Double Empathic Moment [eg 8 minutes, 2 for each bit]
1. B responds to A (a single sentence, summing up the whole
2. A responds to B's sentence (one sentence)
3. Silent empathic moment together (this is the heart of the
- A is sensing A's felt sense of A's issue ["how all this is for
- B is sensing B's felt sense of A's issue) ["how all this is for
4. Change of roles: what was touched in B (this bit is
crucial, and needs great care:
- A must carefully put down what A has been working on, and be
ready to listen from a clear space
- B must carefully put down B's sense of A's stuff, and carefully
distinguish between A's stuff as it is for A, and B's own stuff which has been
stirred up in response to A ["what your stuff stirs up in ME"])
[for example, 14 minutes, to balance the A-PHASE]
The B-Phase simply reverses the A-Phase (B1 Story Aspect; B2 Double
Empathic Moment) :
- B is Focusing
- A is Listening
NB - Bear in mind throughout that the whole process of Focusing
Interactively is intended to be for both people EQUALLY. In this form of
Focusing, Listening is seen as being for both people, and Focusing is seen as
being for both people. It is wonderful to be listened to, and just as wonderful
to be trusted and allowed to listen to another person. Try to avoid any sense
that "now it's my turn to get some time".
3 THE RELATIONSHIP CYCLE
[eg 12 minutes, 3 for each bit]
In any order:-
- How does A now FEEL about B?
- How does B now FEEL about A?
- How does A now FEEL about A?
- How does B now FEEL about B?
This third part of Focusing Interactively is not just an ending step
(which you might leave out), but is integral to the form. Here we leave
specific content behind, and pay attention to whole people, and the whole
relationship. Sometimes, at this point, a deep and healing sense of connection
arises between the two people, and a depth of silence together. Sometimes, too,
a depth of self- acceptance may well up in one or the other person.
NOTES ABOUT TIMING
- The timings which I have given by way of example vividly point to the
interactive nature of the process: out of a 40 minute session, each person gets
only 6 minutes for their own issue.
- I would strongly urge you not to over-lengthen the A-Phase, which
tends to undermine the interactivity;
- and I would urge you instead to give enough time to each of the
separate pieces of the B-Phase and the Relationship Cycle;
- and especially to take time over the Change of Roles, which protects
the safety of the process. To avoid confusion, I should mention that, yes,
there is a change of roles at the end of the B-Phase too, as each person lets
go of the specific content, and brings their attention to persons as a whole.
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