Focusing Part 1 for Sensitive People: a six-week course
Focusing is a way of being with yourself that allows you to hold even your most intense emotions so you can access your deepest knowing. It restores your inner peace and connects you to your sense of internal rightness, which in turn leads to external right action. It is practical and simple, subtle and profound—and it is useful in every area of life, from relationships to decisions to creativity.
In Focusing partnership, two trained Focusers take turns supporting each other in the Focusing process. In my work with clients, I have found that Focusing partnership is particularly powerful and helpful for sensitive people (see “Note” below for more article links.) I’ve discovered that a tangible sense of safety and intimacy arises when we bring our sensitivity to explore Focusing partnership together. This environment is like a playground for sensitive kindred spirits, and I’ve designed the class to include key information about sensitivity, to deepen that connection.
Note: You can read more about this in my articles, 12 Reasons Sensitive People Love Focusing and Focusing Partnership Helps Sensitive People With Our Two Essential Life Tasks. Here’s How.)
Meet your teacher…
Emily Agnew serves creative, sensitive people who struggle with anxiety, shame, and perfectionism. As a certified Focusing Trainer and a certified Inner Bonding facilitator, she offers 1:1 sessions, the six-month 1:1 Inner Listening Intensive program, online classes, and teleseminars.
Emily writes a bi-weekly newsletter for introverts and sensitive people, The Listening Post, and contributes articles to the Inner Bonding website. She teaches “teaches teachers” for the Focusing certification program at Focusing Resources. She’s a professional oboist/oboe teacher/partner/mother/ friend/bookworm/ flower-grower/meditator/yoga practitioner…and an “HSP” (a highly sensitive person.)
In Part 1, we’ll cover all the skills found in a typical Focusing Level 1 course, but we’ll do it in such a way that you’ll also learn more about the trait of sensitivity and how it affects you and your relationships. We’ll meet weekly for two hours of class and you’ll pair up between classes to practice with a partner.
There’s a powerful synergy in this combination, because I’ve observed that Focusing partnership is uniquely effective at addressing four key challenges sensitive people face:
- You easily “lose track” of yourself around other people because you get overwhelmed or overstimulated trying to monitor all that is going on.
- You yearn to be heard and understood and to get support with all that goes on in you. But too many times you’ve had the painful experience of trying to express yourself to others and being told you are “too emotional,” “too sensitive,” “too serious,” or “too intense.”
- As a result, you hold back from expressing your thoughts, feelings, and reactions for fear of upsetting others. (You may even hide your feelings from yourself. If you do, you are not alone: many sensitive people put their needs aside rather than face conflict.)
- If this has gone on for years, you may suffer from a chronic feeling of not belonging and a chronic unmet need to be deeply heard, accepted, and understood.
We’ll address all this directly so that by the end of the class, you will—
…understand the facts of sensitivity and how the trait affects you
…know how to re-ground yourself when you get overstimulated
…use basic Focusing skills to connect with your authentic present-moment experience…and use Focusing companion skills to support others doing the same
…have trusted Focusing partners with whom you can exchange Focusing to process important issues: relationship stuff, decisions, emotional reactions, hopes, dreams, or that subtle feeling of something “tugging on your sleeve”
Class graduates are saying…
I have really enjoyed getting reacquainted with Focusing and learning to immerse myself in it once again. What I really liked about Focusing is that it allows my mind to wander, to be curious, wondering what will come up, what wants to be seen heard, felt? It feels great to stay present with an intense feeling, observing it as it changes into something that in the end leaves me feeling much lighter and not so bogged down with my HSP tendency to be processing just about everything. And when I feel lighter, there is a sense of movement towards feeling more alive and creative in all aspects of my life. I highly recommend Focusing as a great tool for we highly sensitive people to explore and honor our depth of processing abilities and tendencies.
∼Jacquelyn Strickland, LPC- Co Founder with Dr. Elaine Aron of the HSP Gathering Retreats, Fort Collins, Colorado
The overwhelming feeling is that I’ve gained superpower: kind of like an inner tool that is mine to use at my own discretion… I feel empowered by it, and I’d say one of the key things I’ve noticed is more comfort with hearing the truth within, and acknowledging that truth, and acting on it…
∼Brent S, strategic guide, Waterloo, Ontario
I have so much in my past that needs to be healed. Some very big overwhelming emotions and sensations. So much that I’ve generally coped by pushing away the sensation, which as you can guess, only serves to build up in my body. So then I reach a point where I say “OK, I’m willing to feel this”, at which point I tend to “become the feeling” and get overwhelmed in it and lose my grounding and sense of focus. I have been really practicing this idea of rephrasing all of my internal thoughts, sensations, etc as “a part of me” and it has already been amazing! I’ve been able to acknowledge and feel some pretty big emotions and support myself without being overwhelmed. I am getting SO much out of this class. I am so glad I decided to do this.
∼Michelle T, high-tech entrepreneur, Superior Township, MI
What we’ll cover…
- What Focusing is, where it came from, and the basic skills of Focusing and Focusing Companioning
- The four characteristics all sensitive people share, and why they are important
- What Presence is, and why it is the key to true happiness
- How to create welcome spaciousness around your thoughts, emotions, and reactions by using Presence Language
- The elegantly effective words you can use to disarm self-criticism and expand your self-acceptance
- How to ask for what you want as a Focuser (a key skill for sensitive people)
- The sensitive Focusing companion’s most common pitfall, and how to avoid it
Emily set a warm and welcoming tone for the class..she had a light touch with the material and made it very approachable. The pace of the class was mellow, with lots of time to ask questions. I especially appreciated the in-class exercises that enabled us to practice and get lots of feedback on new skills.
∼K.M., technical writer, Halifax, Nova Scotia
What’s special about this class?
Small class size means flexibility, personal attention, and solid learning: I’ve deliberately limited class size to 12 people so we have plenty of time to ponder, discuss, and practice. What lights me up most as a teacher is seeing the lightbulb go off for you when you “get it,” and it’s fun for me to find creative ways to make sure that happens.
The right pacing: Our format for this six-week class will be one two-hour meeting a week: long enough to cover things thoroughly, but not so long that your eyes glaze over. In each class, you’ll get an engaging mix of new information, group or paired exercises to build your skills, and Q & A.
Key information about sensitivity: If you are built sensitive, it affects every area of your life. I’ve addressed this directly by creating interactive exercises, guided reflections, and written materials and videos that directly address the ways the trait shows up in Focusing.
Time between classes to practice your new skills and process your new learning: in each class, we’ll build new inner relationship skills on what we’ve learned before. When you meet between each class for a short partnership practice session, you’ll reinforce these skills.
Effortless connection with new Focusing partners: Each week, you’ll Focus with a different partner from the class. It’s a lovely, easy, respectful way to meet other Focusers. And moving on is built in to the structure, so you don’t have to worry about hurting anyone’s feelings. You will naturally feel more compatible with some people than others, and this is a great time to sense with whom you might like to continue Focusing on the longer term.
And you’ll also receive…
A 1:1 session with Emily: Before the class starts, I’ll meet with you for a 1:1 guided Focusing session. It’s like going up in a tandem hang glider: you can have the experience of Focusing without “knowing how” yet. This is a wonderful way to “prime” your learning in the class (Value: $125)
A digital copy of the superb Focusing Student and Companion’s Manual, Part 1 by Ann Weiser Cornell and Barbara McGavin: Filled with lucid explanations, examples, and evocative drawings, the Manual is the definitive teaching text for Inner Relationship Focusing. Special printable Focusing session “crib sheets” are included. (Value: $28)
…and my commitment to you: I want you to be happy with your class experience. Please let me know right away if you are not satisfied for any reason and I will work with you to make it right.
Putting it all together
First, a word about price.
A small class is unquestionably the best way to learn Focusing, for three reasons: You benefit from the group learning process centered around an organized curriculum, yet the group is small enough to get individual attention when you need it. You get many invaluable practice opportunities. And you receive the gift of Focusing partnerships for a lifetime of support.
And there’s a fourth major advantage of learning Focusing in a class setting: affordability. Individual sessions with me (at $525 for five), or my six-month 1:1 program ($3600) are powerful forms of support but may be out of reach for many people. That’s why I’ve tried to offer so much value in this course that you can’t afford NOT to take it!
You will receive all this for $425 (or save even more by taking advantage of the “early bird” special through September 1, 2016):
- Six classes: Tuesdays, September 13, 20, 27, October 4, 11, 18, 2016, 1 pm to 3 pm Eastern (10 am – 12 noon PST)
Note: Though class recordings will be available, the success of the class depends on live attendance to take advantage of hands-on practice. Participants can miss one class and still go on to Focusing 2 for Sensitive People. If you have scheduling conflicts, check with Emily before enrolling.
- Access to the class from anywhere in the world via the Zoom videoconference platform: participate by internet or by phone
- A 1:1 session with me (value: $125)
- The Focusing Manual and printable “crib sheets” (value: $28) and supporting materials
- Focusing partnership skills and sensitivity awareness to last a lifetime (value: priceless)
- Early bird discount
Early Bird tuition: $395 through Thursday September 1 (pay in full):
Regular tuition: $425 through Wednesday, September 7 (last day to register is September 7!)
LAST DAY TO REGISTER: SEPTEMBER 7, 2016
Just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll be happy to answer your questions….and I hope to see you in the course!
I’ve had a lot of anxiety that would spring up when I’m under stress, and would keep me from going inside. But in each class and partnership, I was able to calm myself down.The partnering has a very leveling effect. The structure enables both people to do deep work and not lose that in a social relationship. It’s very intentional work, and you don’t have to sacrifice the work you want to do, to any social expectations…even though we are all just beginning, we can get to places we never thought we could get to…the fact that nobody is judging, and we don’t make any comments or suggestions to the other person…it builds up a trust, and a safety.
∼H.S., Rochester, NY
I am beginning to notice when I feel anxious because I need to pause and process something that just happened and also anxiety is becoming a sign to slow down and turn toward, very helpful.
∼Julia B, yoga instructor, East Falmouth, MA