Friendly Focusing Resources
Friendly Focusing Overview.
Friendly Focusing is a simple but effective approach to being less bothered by thoughts, images, memories or emotions. It frees up resources from our more reactive automatic systems allowing us to respond to situations more wisely and creatively. Friendly Focusing is a way of learning mindfulness that is particularly accessible and easy to do.
We are experiencing Friendly Focusing (or mindfulness) when we are really noticing, with friendly interest, whatever is happening right now.
As such, this is something many of us experience at times: though often quite fleetingly. The practices associated with Friendly Focusing help us develop these existing skills so that we can enhance their usefulness in our everyday lives. It is important to note the Friendly Focusing is not about avoiding, ignoring or blocking bothersome thoughts, images, memories or emotions. Rather, it aims to step back from struggling with what is bothering us, redirecting our resources away from inner battles we cannot ultimately win and toward living rich and meaningful lives.
We are building up a series of free resources that support the practice of Friendly Focusing. The assumption is that those using the materials are receiving guidance from a trained professional. If this is not the case you need to ensure this is an appropriate time to be using these materials in a self-help capacity – consult your health professionals if in doubt or you are struggling with significant difficulties in your life right now.
There are a set of supportive handouts and diagrams and a series of audio files below.
For information on training to teach Friendly Focusing to clients within the framework of Mindful Resilience Enhancement please see these pages.
Handouts: Updated 21st April 2013
- Friendly Focusing Overview: Download
- A Guide to the Connection Practice: Download
- Connection Practice Planner: Download
- Focusing Anchor Checklist: Download
- Planned Practice Guide: Download
- A Guide to the Attention Cycle (7th march Update): Download
- Diary Sheet: Download pdf or Download Word file
- Draft outline of offering guidance to clients to identify a helpful Focusing Anchor (March 7th update): Download
- Draft outline of offering guidance to clients to identify a helpful breath-based Focusing Anchor: Download
Note – as we are testing this approach with different groups in a variety of settings the terminology is in a process of change with an emphasis on simplification. So the Connection Practice was previously termed ‘Freestyle Friendly Focusing’ and the Planned Practice was previously termed the ‘Expansion Practice’ and ‘Planned Friendly Focusing’. In addition we have named the training to deliver Friendly Focusing Mindful Resilience Enhancement (MRE).
Audio Files: Choosing and Using a Focusing Anchor
The recordings below are freely available for use. You are also welcome to pass these on for personal use – this includes professionals passing them on for personal use by clients. Permission is required for commercial use. We also need to make a disclaimer that use of these tracks is at your own discretion and self-responsibility – listening while operating heavy machinery or driving for instance would not be good examples of self-responsibility!
Just click on the links to start the download. It is probably best to save them first then play them once downloaded, otherwise you may find there are halts if you listen via the webpage. Once downloaded, just double click the file to start playing. If you want to easily play all these files on your computer (not for Apple Macs sadly) we recommend 1-by-1: a free and delightfully simple mp3 file player that easily plays all mp3 files in a folder without tedious playlists. The download page for this is here and a 1 page guide to its use is here.
A Focusing Anchor, as mentioned below, is a specific sensation or set of sensations that the attention is directed towards during part of the Friendly Focusing practices.
These tracks offer detailed versions that are often useful to listen to once or twice as you get familiar with a practice. Once you know what is involved there are generic tracks and shorter tracks that enable you to practice in your own particular way.
The intention for these tracks is that they are a guide to developing your own practice. By learning to practice without the audio tracks you can then do friendly Focusing anywhere without the need for any props or gizmos.
This provides an introduction to choosing your own focusing anchor. Probably only useful to listen once or twice to get familiar with the process. This is relevant to both Connection and Expansion practices.
This is a guide to using a focusing anchor once you are familiar with choosing one. It is quite detailed – while the practice is simple and quick to do it takes longer to describe it. You will probably find it helpful move to the less detailed recordings once familiar with the overall approach to using a focusing anchor. This is helpful for both Connection and Expansion Friendly Focusing practices.
This has longer periods of practice with the anchor and less description of how to work with an anchor. This is more relevant to the Expansion practice.
This has very brief description as it assumes familiarity with using a focusing anchor. This is more relevant to the Expansion practice.
This has the same very brief descriptions as the 5 minute version above but longer silent periods. This is more relevant to the Expansion practice.
This has minimal description and is a very brief practice. This is a helpful one to get familiar with to do in short periods almost anywhere.
This is nothing but silence. This is handy to put after track 10 if your player has a nasty habit of shifting along to the next track after the one you are listening to ends – can be a shame if it wakes you up with a jolt. This lasts eight hours so should be more than enough to prevent loud surprises. For copyright reasons we should state that the first 4 minutes and 33 seconds are a different silence to John Cage’s Silent Symphony!
Just click on the links to start the download. It is probably best to save them first then play them once downloaded. Once downloaded, just double click the file to start playing. If you want to easily play all these files we recommend 1-by-1: a free and delightfully simple mp3 file player that easily plays all mp3 files in a folder without tedious playlists. The download page for this is here and a 1 page guide to its use is here.
This provides an introduction to choosing your own focusing anchor based on breath sensations. Probably only useful to listen once or twice to get familiar with breathing-based practice.
This provides an introduction to using a breath based focusing anchor. This has more detail so useful when starting off using the the breath.
This provides an introduction to using a breath based focusing anchor. This has less detail and more quiet periods to practice unguided. Please note that these are longer tracks so as to aid learning the approach. Once learnt they can be done almost anywhere for a few breaths, a few minutes or whatever length of time suits your needs and the situation you are in.
Please note: it is the intention to continue offer these resources as a free resource. The materials can be distributed freely for personal, non-commercial use if you provide attribution to this website.
We have chosen to develop this Friendly Focusing approach for 3 main reasons:
1. We consider there is a need for a free, simple, easy-to-learn approach to mindfulness that is framed in the relatively culturally neutral context of neuropsychology. Mindfulness is a rapidly developing approach to enhancing well-being – the result of this rapid growth is, for some people, a confusing maze of approaches; some carrying significant costs, some contradictory messages.
2. Because the practices in Friendly Focusing are very straightforward it enables us to offer brief teacher-training to professionals interested in integrating mindfulness into their work with clients. A full training incorporating the gamut of mindfulness-based approaches requires intensive and extensive training that may not be accessible or affordable for many professionals. Training to be able to offer Friendly Focusing is a starting point for further training.
3. Using a specific name keeps everything to do with Friendly Focusing within a clear boundary: it is clear what it is and what it is not. This means those training to teach Friendly Focusing have clarity on what they are teaching and those receiving Friendly Focusing guidance from a professional can know what they are being taught. The difficulty with the term ‘mindfulness’ is that it is being applied to an ever increasing range of practices. The intention is to move to an Open Source approach once the framework is established so that there can be a community of teachers and teacher-trainers adapting the approach and co-developing resources in a decentralised way. This can hopefully lead to a growing collection of freely available, high quality mindfulness resources.
All materials here are © Integrated Mindfulness 2013 for editorial control during initial development. It is intended later to move to a Creative Commons / Open Source model to foster diversification and collective development.