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Kathy McGuire

Facebook: Kathy McGuire

 I would love to see Empathic Listening and Experiential Focusing taught in primary schools and in parenting support groups through the schools.     

Liked brainstorming together since we each brought a different perspective.

Edwin interviews Kathy

What was your experience of the Empathy Circle?

She loved,  loved it. Bringing people closer together and great to find you in this wide world.  I liked the structure of doing it on the computer.  And I thought when April asked Andrea - Andrea answered it masterfully she reflected and then answered.  She didn’t react to the comment, because of using the structure it was a safe environment to communicate that way.

Kathy has a particular understanding about the places of tears and so she goes and she teaches people to go there in our culture we don’t go there and she believes that it is exactly from the place and being touched and moved.  She thinks that is empathic bonding, she gets in her teary place and the other person gets there with me, and that is what keeps people coming back.  the connection of bringing people into their tears connecting - that is what will bring people back that is such a rich experience, it's like a physical bonding - there is some energy.  

There is something that happens - it’s real - it’s a real physical sacred thing. 

 So why is this important to you?  

because that is how I want to be connected with people, trying to be closer, resolve closer, it is a palpable - something that feeds you - and if you don’t do that you are not going to come back.  I would do couple therapy and I would try to do that with them - you are feeling the love - notice what that feels like so if you have a conflict comeback to that feeling and see what it feels like.  It is a palpable experience - this is real.  People get bonded.

She found the commitment found from all of us to conflict resolution and empathy. grateful to find people with same values. liked the structure of doing it on the computer and took turns. Liked when April asked Andrea to her experience, she first reflected what April was saying - so important to reflect instead of reacting when potential conflict. Made the situation very safe. Felt this level of connection was sacred - 

She has a particular understanding about the places where we see tears  when most people shy away, sharing from the places of being touched or moved, sharing from the places of tears know that is empathic bonding. Magic happens when people are able to touch each other in that teary community- getting into that teary realm and working with that breaks the envelope between people and connect, merge in a positive way.

The commitment to these circles. Community and caring for these people. The group connection that’s what brings people back because it’s such a rich experience, there is physical bonding - an energy that is melded and exchanged.  

Why is that bonding and sacredness important to you? 

Because that’s how I want to connect with people, to connect and resolve conflict, that’s how I want to empathically touch another person, it feeds you. It’s essential. That’s what grows the bond and move through the struggle - holding the love in conflict. Coming to the awareness and felt experience.


How Might We.. get more practice, deep experience, enjoyable engagement and spreading of the empathy circles?


  • Paid facilitators, but most people are attracted to working one-to-one with clients and charging $60-100/hour!

  • Invite people to continue the empathy circles in future ‘hangouts,’  with a facilitator, adding people until a group meets size of ...6-10 or 15? Can meet, check-in, and then break into pairs or triads for peer Listening/Focusing turns in separate online strands, come back together at a certain time for a closure ‘checkin’Future Design workshops only for those interested.

  • Incorporate simple Focusing training into the Listening Training. Kathy’s manual does this. Separate Focusing classes are not necessary to incorporate Focusing into empathy circles and can syphon people off into this more Focusing Alone minus empathy experience…

  • Teach people about “self-disclosure breeds self-disclosure” (Sydney Jerrard (spelling?). If facilitator shares deeply, so will participants. Facilitator sets the tone re sharing tears and vulnerability as okay and leading to rich connection and bonding

  • Figure out how to get into schools and parent support groups. Focusing people have done some of this and have some programs and manuals for doing it.

  • Fun? Well, the ‘mirroring’ activity using gesture was fun. Incorporate different modalities, like gesture, art, music, skits, etc.