Focusing with Children: The art of communicating with children at school and at home
ISBN 978 1 906254 08 7 (2008)
Listening to children is a skill which parents, teachers, caretakers and school counselors need to employ every day. From a deep respect for the already existing attitude of these adults, the authors offer an extra dimension to the art of communicating with children. This book is about listening in many ways, both to your deepest self and to others. It is listening to what children say, feel, and think, but also to what is deeper than thoughts and feelings. Change in behaviour arises when children learn to listen inwardly, sensing what is bodily felt inside them. This process of change, called “Focusing”, is explained with many examples from the personal experiences of the authors, from their workshops, training and child-therapy sessions. The authors give a structured approach for use in schools and other group situations, but much of it can also be used at home by parents. With this book you can, quite independently, start to accompany children more consciously in their development, and by doing so, you will watch their confidence grow.
In April of 2008, Knight’s Cross of Merit was awarded to the Staperts by the Hungarian Government, for bringing this work of Focusing with children to the professional community in Hungary.
PROLOGUE WHAT IS FOCUSING?
Your body’s wisdom; Inner meaning; Inner dialogue
Chapter 1 THE IMPORTANCE OF FOCUSING
Introduction; The self begins with the body; Advantages to teachers; Advantages to children
Chapter 2 CHILDREN’S RELATIONSHIP TO FOCUSING
The adult’s role; What children learn through Focusing; Focusing at different ages: Babies, Children from 2 to 6, Children from 6 to 12, Adolescents from 12 to 16
Chapter 3 TEACHING FOCUSING TO THE INDIVIDUAL CHILD
Describing Focusing; Being a child’s companion; An outline of the companion’s steps; Complete example
Chapter 4 TEACHING FOCUSING TO GROUPS
An outline of the learning step; Preparation; The learning steps in a complete group program
Chapter 5 IMPORTANT REFINEMENTS
Clearing a space, step by step; The effect of clearing a space; Teaching children to mirror each other; Teaching tips
Chapter 6 SPECIFIC APPLICATIONS
Micro-processes; Affirming boundaries; Aggression and bullying; A social skills workshop
Chapter 7 FOCUSING VARIATIONS
Focusing on special sopics; Preparing for tests; Going to the hospital; Focusing with dreams and nightmares;
Chapter 8 LISTENING AND MIRRORING
Keys to good listening; Mirroring
Chapter 9 THE FOCUSING ATTITUDE
Being friendly and trusting to what is there; Keeping the right distance; Keeping talk to a minimum; Respecting a child’s privacy; Honoring “no”; Things that are preferable not to say or do; Limits as to time and safety; Acceptance; Daring to be still; Presence.
Chapter 10 CHILDREN’S SYMBOLS
Drawing; Painting; Working with clay; Using crafts to build a safe space; Telling the inner story; Writing; Movement and sound;Playing.
Chapter 11 INTRODUCING FOCUSING INTO DIFFERENT SETTINGS
When can you start?; Where can you start?; Introducing a Focusing program at school and other Institutions; Focusing in family therapy.
Chapter 12 ESPECIALLY FOR PARENTS
All ages ; Babies; Elementary school years; Adolescence; Focusing gives emotional support; The Focusing attitude prevents serious problems
Chapter 13 HOW ADULTS FOCUS
Outline of the steps; Letting your attention go inside; The core steps; Two further steps; Puting it together: short version; Focusing with a companion
Marta Stapert and Erik Verliefde have developed clear and easy steps for teachers, child workers, and parents to help children stay in touch with this natural bodily felt process. Focusing supports children's development, encourages their sense of being a unique self, and helps relieve the suffering of those children who are emotionally overwhelmed or dissociated. Focusing with children is now being practiced and taught in many countries and settings around the world. Mary Hendricks, PhD, Director of the Focusing Institute.
... Stapert and Verliefde draw from over twenty years of experience applying this body-centred technique to communication with children ... the book is well-organized with chapters for teachers, parents, those working with individual children, and group leaders ... Focusing with Children is not just for beginners. Parts of this richly resourced book are devoted to specific refinements that offer helpful ideas for anyone who works thoughtfully with children. In addition to being practical and accessible, Focusing with Children introduces an extremely subtle therapeutic art. Woven throughout are important insights for parents and teachers about the very nature of meaningful teaching and parenting relationships ... This enormously inspiring book should take its place as a landmark in contemplative practice with children. Richard C. Brown, Chair of the Contemplative Education Department, Naropa University, Colorado, USA.