Focusing and Empathic Communication in El Salvador help people find resilience, self-care, mutual support, and transformative growth a country well-known for violence. Many people do not know that El Salvador is also a vital democracy, 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. As part of this effort, three Salvadoran Focusing Trainers are sharing these transformative practices in their own country.
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 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, helping us pause and sense into the situation before reacting in patterned ways.
In the theory of Nonviolent Communication, “need” is defined as 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 (NVC), developed by Marshall Rosenberg, PhD, teaches us how to do this. At Focusing El Salvador we are certified in Focusing, not NVC, but we feel the two practices belong together as vital tools toward learning how to live and work together in peace. We call our version of NVC Empathic Communication. Find out more about NVC at cnvc.org.
Sharing the transformative practices of Focusing and Empathic Communication in El Salvador is supported by donations from people around the world. Find out more below.
Focusing trainer Heazel Martínez is currently sharing the transformative practices of Focusing and Empathic Communication in El Salvador for free with several organizations that support the well-being of women and girls.
Invited by the venerable Salvadoran women’s organization, Las Mélidas, she gives monthly workshops for teen mothers, helping them de-stress, increase their self esteem, and deal with the uncertainties of poverty and violence.
Heazel is giving in-depth Focusing training to the leaders of the non-profit Leer para Soñar, which seeks to inspire and build resilience in at-risk girls.
She also meets twice a month with the girls’ mothers and grandmothers to help them listen better to themselves and to their families.
A group of feminist activists has requested Heazel’s training in Focusing and Empathic Communication as a way of fostering self-care, resilience and mutual support.
She organizes a monthly Changes group where people can practice Focusing and Empathic Communication. The group is currently reading Edgardo Riveros’ translation of A Process Model.
Your donation will help Heazel continue to give these free community workshops.
Focusing El Salvador is based on Gene and Mary Gendlin’s desire for humanity to claim Focusing as its birthright.
All of our certified trainers have incorporated Focusing into their lives. Get to know our stories in our BLOG.
Your donation makes you part of our movement. You know the importance of listening, and 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 three ways to donate:
1. Donating directly to The International Focusing Institute’s El Salvador page is tax-deductible. Important note if donating through TIFI: After following the link below and filling in TIFI’s donation form, scroll down a bit to where it says “If you were directed to this page to give to a specific program or fund, you may indicate your specific giving preference below”. Then, in the drop-down menu, click on Pause for Peace: the El Salvador program. That will assure that your donation goes to Focusing El Salvador. Muchas gracias!
2. You can also make a non-taxdeductlible donation to our Gofundme campaign: https://www.gofundme.com/f/Focusing-El-Salvador
3. You can donate through PayPal. This won’t be tax deductible. Just click on the button below.
We are people who have experienced the benefits of Focusing, Listening and Empathic Communication in our lives and relationships. We 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
Heazel Martinez started studying Focusing in 2014 and became a certified Focusing trainer in January 2019.
She 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 Empathic Communication have put Heazel “in the driver’s seat” of her own life. She lives in San Salvador with her husband, Roberto, and their son, Andrés.
Heazel’s classes in Generating a Culture of Peace are in person, in Spanish, in San Salvador. To find out more, visit http://focusingelsalvador.org/aprender/generando-una-cultura-de-paz-con-comunicacion-empatica-y-focusing/
Certified Focusing Trainer
Certifying Coordinator with The International Focusing Institute
Beatrice was originally trained as an acupuncturist. She volunteered at a clinic for Salvadoran refugees from 1982-84 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.
She became a Focusing Trainer in 2000. In 2006, a community organization invited her to El Salvador to teach Focusing. While there, she met Melba Jiménez, who encouraged her to teach Empathic Communication as well. She collaborated with Melba and her daughter Yara, to bring Focusing to communities where mental health care is lacking and people are still dealing with the trauma of war.
Melba also arranged for Beatrice to give workshops to Eeq’Anil, an organization that provides self-care and training for people working on the front lines of social change in El Salvador. A certifying coordinator with The International Focusing Institute since 2011, Beatrice has certified five Salvadoran Focusing trainers.
Beatrice lives in Vermont and teaches the combination of Focusing and NVC that she, Melba and Heazel have developed over the years in El Salvador. She also teaches Thinking at the Edge, which uses the felt sense to help us think from our lived experience. All of her classes are online. Some are in English, some in Spanish. Find out more at https://possibility-space.com/upcoming-classes
1957 – 2018
Certified Focusing Trainer
Melba was in the guerrilla for the whole length of the Salvadoran Civil War. After the Peace Accords in 1992, she attended the Universidad Nacional, majoring in Sociology. She became an integral part of several community organizations like Pro-Vida, which monitors water quality and provides healthcare in rural areas. Melba was very interested in overcoming the mental health effects of the war.
In 2006, Beatrice and Melba met and became friends, united in knowing that Focusing and Empathic Communication could bring change and empowerment to war survivors.
Melba arranged for Beatrice to give workshops in Focusing and Empathic Communication to a number of community organizations. As Melba applied these practices in her own life, she became convinced that these skills could help people overcome political and societal divisions as well.
Melba became a Focusing Trainer in 2012 and gave numerous workshops to women veterans and war survivors in several rural communities and in San Salvador, introducing many Salvadorans to this life-changing practice.
Melba passed away in December, 2018 after a long illness. Her dedication continues to inspire the work of Focusing El Salvador. To learn more about Melba, see https://focusing-el-salvador.org/farewell-to-an-inspirational-focusing-teacher/
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!