El Salvador is well known for being one of the most violent countries in the world. And yet it is also a society that is doing its best to overcome years of political repression and social and economic injustice. There are many dedicated, courageous Salvadorans who are working every day to provide opportunities for young people, to address the causes of violence and to stem the effects of intergenerational trauma. Focusing El Salvador supports these people by teaching the transformative practices of Focusing and Nonviolent Communication (NVC).
Need: a physiological or psychological requirement for the well-being of an organism.
Many of us were not raised to pay attention to our needs. When our needs are not met, we feel angry, upset and many other emotions. The societal tendency is to blame others for how we feel, rather than defining our needs and expressing them so that we can take action toward meeting them. Nonviolent Communication, developed by Marshall Rosenberg, PhD, teaches us how to do this.
Focusing, developed by Eugene Gendlin, PhD, teaches us how to listen to the wisdom of our bodily felt sense of situations. The body’s “take” on a situation can give us multiple levels of insight that are not accessible to our regular mental patterns. When attempting to address conflict or confusion, the bodily felt sense can tell us what is needed more clearly than our thoughts.
Using NVC and Focusing in our lives helps us listen for what is needed, rather than reacting in patterned ways. In El Salvador, we have several projects that are supported by donations from people around the world. We also teach classes in Focusing and NVC, online and in person.
Focusing El Salvador’s Heazel Martinez (third from left) with workers from the women’s prison. We pay Heazel $500 per month to organize Focusing activities in El Salvador. Her free workshops to prison employees help them understand the benefits of what we do, and hopefully will lead to paid trainings in the future. We need to raise $3,000 towards Heazel’s salary for 2018.
Many veterans of El Salvador’s Civil War have never had the chance to work through the trauma they experienced. Veteran Melba Jiménez is teaching Focusing and NVC to Veteran’s groups:
“In this space we are able to let go of what we carry inside.”
“This has helped liberate us from so much anger.”
“We are learning how to not react automatically.”
“My relationships at work have improved a lot.”
“This works—I start seeing the results as I put in practice what I’ve learned.”
“I propose that we give these workshops to all our teams, from the board on down.”
There are 10 Salvadoran community workers who have incorporated Focusing into their lives and want to become Focusing trainers. They work for non-profits and can’t afford to pay for the training. Your donation will help them achieve certification.
Focusing El Salvador is based on Gene and Mary Gendlin’s desire for humanity to claim Focusing as its birthright. That’s why every one of our trainees pictured above works for a well-established community organization.
All these people have incorporated Focusing into their lives and want to become certified Focusing trainers. So by supporting us, you are supporting all of them and all the people they serve.
You also provide a small salary for our Communications Manager, Heazel Martínez. She not only organizes our trainings and classes, but is available to respond to people who want to experience what Focusing is all about. Whether it is a youth group or the staff of a women’s prison, Heazel is there to listen and to help them listen to themselves.
Heazel Martinez hosts a Changes Group on the last Saturday of the month and Melba Jiménez offers a weekly Changes/study group at her home on Friday afternoons.
Your donation makes you part of our movement. You know the importance of listening and to helping people listen to themselves. Traditional funding sources are not yet aware of how important that is. That’s why we need your help! Please consider a gift in the amount of : $1000; $500; $250; $100; $50 (or whatever amount is right for you). MUCHISSIMAS GRACIAS!
There are two ways to donate. Donating directly to The International Focusing Institute’s El Salvador page is tax-deductible. Please click on the buttons below:
Or you can send a donation through PayPal. This won’t be tax deductible.
We are people who have experienced the benefits of Focusing, Listening and Nonviolent Communication in our lives and relationships and want to share these benefits with the world.
Every time we pause and sense how we are feeling inside, every time we pay attention to what we need, our lives get a little bit better. Every time we remember to really listen to someone else, or to express what we need, our relationships open up to love and sharing.
A lot of people have never experienced this, so they live in fear of what is inside themselves and outside themselves. The world is on the brink of change, and we feel that what we have experienced will help us move into the future without destroying our beautiful planet. That’s why it’s so important to us to share it.
Certified Focusing Trainer
Beatrice volunteered at a clinic for Salvadoran refugees in the 1980s, during the Salvadoran Civil War. Since then, she has wanted to do everything in her power to help her Salvadoran friends change Salvadoran society from repression to social justice. In 2006 she met former guerrilla Melba Jiménez, who was interested in overcoming the mental health effects of the war.
They became friends and Melba arranged for Beatrice to give workshops in Focusing and Nonviolent Communication (NVC) to a number of community organizations. As Melba and Beatrice applied Focusing, Listening and NVC in their own lives, they became convinced that these skills could help people overcome political and societal divisions as well.
Heazel has a special gift for listening and for helping people listen to themselves so that they can “accompany” what they are feeling. This simple act of listening and accompanying is the essence of Focusing. Once you are in touch with how you feel, you can sense what you need and express that to others if necessary. Focusing and NVC have put Heazel “in the driver’s seat” of her own life. She is a wife, a mother, a student of social work and is on her way to becoming a Certified Focusing Trainer.
Juan Carlos is a consultant and group facilitator specializing in Conflict Transformation, Psychosocial Self Care, Leadership, and Organizational Development for many groups in El Salvador, Nicaragua and Colombia. In addition to Focusing, he has studied Somatic Experiencing, Bioenergetics and Family Constellations. Juan Carlos sees conflict as an opportunity for transformation.
Melba was a medical assistant for the guerrilla throughout El Salvador’s Civil War (1981-92). She later graduated in Sociology from the University of El Salvador. She has studied Focusing and Nonviolent Communication with Beatrice Blake since 2007 and became a Focusing trainer in 2012. Melba specializes in teaching Focusing and NVC to war veterans. She also shares the transformation she has experienced in her family life through these practices
Generating a Culture of Peace: Nonviolent Communication and Focusing
for personal growth and societal change
Our world is rife with conflict. Nonviolent Communication (NVC) and Focusing both have important contributions to make in creating societies where conflict becomes a force for transformation.
Nonviolent Communication (NVC) teaches us how to stop looking for who is to blame and start listening and looking for the feelings and needs that give rise to anger and dissatisfaction. Focusing greatly enhances Nonviolent Communication by making room for implicit meaning at each step of the process.
The class is a crucible for how to combine these two processes in our own lives. As we become familiar with noticing feelings and needs in ourselves and others, we will pay attention to the bodily felt sense of the situations we encounter, using the power of Focusing to transform our experience.
Weekly partnerships with other participants make the class a living experiment in finding what really works in crossing these two practices, so that we can communicate about them to society.
Class dates and times:
Fridays April 20, May 4, 11, 25, June 22 and 29, 2018:
9 p.m. in Western Europe
8 p.m. in the UK and Portugal
4 p.m. in Martime Canada, Argentina, Brazil and Chile
3 p.m. Eastern US, Canada and Bolivia
2 p.m. Central US, Canada, México, Ecuador and Colombia
1 p.m. Mountain US, Canada and Central America
noon Pacific US, Canada
All classes will be recorded so you can catch up with anything you missed.
What participants are saying:
“I’m so enjoying our class. Thanks for teaching this important work!” –Kate Bracy, Seattle
“I’m really getting a lot out of the course and partnerships…..They are making a BIG difference!”— Mary Anne Schleinich, Calgary, Alberta
“Thanks a lot for this wonderful training course that had a great impact in my life.”–Marien Bemi-Ngbali, Turkey
“Well designed structure of each class with the co-creation of teacher and students makes the course really enjoyable!” –Lindsay Chang, Taiwan
Book: Each lesson will be based on the excellent book, Nonviolent Communication, a Language of Life, Third Edition, by Marshall Rosenberg, available through Amazon and elsewhere online. You’ll be expected to read about 35 pages before each class.
Article: Use the contact form below to request my free, 7-page article: How NVC and Focusing can enhance each other.
Facilitator, Beatrice Blake: I first learned Focusing in 1989 and was certified as a Focusing Trainer in 2000. She have studied NVC since 2006. My Salvadoran colleagues and I have combined these transformative practices, teaching them to community groups in El Salvador for the last 11 years.
Connect with the class via Zoom, a free videoconferencing service that you can access from your computer or smartphone. You’ll need a strong internet signal and headphones with an attached microphone.
Partnership practice in between classes: You and your partners will schedule practice times that are convenient for both of you. The class welcomes your experiences (positive and negative) in the world as you try on the ideas of NVC and Focusing together.
Timing: The class will last 90 minutes to two hours depending on the number of people in each class.
Cost: US$155.00, payable by check or PayPal.
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Classes given in El Salvador are usually in person and arranged through organizations. To find out more, please use the contact form below.
Our online classes can be in Spanish or English.
Please let us know if we can provide you with more information about who we are, our projects, how you can help and our classes. Thanks for your interest!