I help people sense their calling in the next chapter of their lives. Then session by session we flesh out next steps, and work with obstacles to realizing that vision. In finding next steps we also pay close attention to the qualities of being each person wants to embody in their life and work.
In times of trouble, I encourage my clients to keep asking questions like, “How do I live with integrity here and now, in this situation, as myself? What shining thing, bigger than just me, keeps me going?”
Through our work at these times, people discover ways forward which meet the situation and which make sense to their hearts. I help them tap into spiritual and other resources and regain resilience and peace of mind.
I spent the first years of my working life as a computer consultant. My clients would call when business software they were relying on had broken down, and I would find the bug and fix the code. Nearly thirty years ago I shifted my focus to debugging people- troubles instead. Some of these ‘bugs’ have been individual, others organizational. The work has been wonderfully varied. My clients have included artists, musicians, academics and educators, as well as nonprofit leaders and others involved in social change.
Along the way, Focusing became an important dimension of my work with clients. Besides my consulting practice, I’m a Certifying Coordinator for The Focusing Institute, and have taught in the U.S., Canada, the UK, Europe, and Japan.
In my student days I studied programming, printmaking, and philosophy. Taken together, programming and printmaking raised questions which philosophy gave me tools to think about. The experience of beautiful logic–as well as the debugging and coding skills I learned as a programmer–became especially relevant during the years of my collaboration with Eugene Gendlin.
Gendlin was the University of Chicago philosopher and psychologist who originated the concept of the ‘felt sense’ as well as the Focusing process. The best-known product of our collaboration was a formal methodology (in a sense, a ‘program’) called Thinking At the Edge (TAE). TAE is a way of forming concepts and formal theories, in any field, grounded in a felt sense.
TAE helps a person articulate something which they know implicitly from years of experience in their particular field, so that it can be communicated to colleagues or taught to students of the discipline. People also use the methodology much more informally, to help themselves see something more clearly which is central to them, and to think systematically about that thing.
My best-known contribution to TAE was 'step 0', which helps a person pinpoint what would matter most to open up and think about right now. I also contributed to the revision of the steps, so that each step would unmistakably convey what a person needed to be working on at that point in the process. This work of correction was driven by what Gendlin and I were learning as we taught TAE workshops in those years.
After TAE was complete, I created the Focusing In Contemplation (FIC) program. Participants from a variety of traditions, including Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, and more, learned how to use Focusing to help support spiritual development within their particular tradition, both personally and also as teachers and leaders within their tradition. They learned the art of listening deeply, from the heart, as a contemplative practice in its own right. And they gained a deeper understanding and respect for other traditions through this process of listening deeply to their fellow participants.
From 2011 through 2013 I served as Director of the Focusing Institute as Gendlin and his wife, Mary Hendricks-Gendlin, started to step back and the organization took its first steps beyond being a founder-led organization. Once the transition was well launched I handed off to a transitional board.
These days I lead a quieter life and no longer teach groups, but I continue to work with clients from around the world by phone, and I teach TAE and Focusing to private students. In off hours I take photos and work in my studio, spend time with family, and tend the garden.