Roots, Branches, and Wings

FOAT Institute Presentation Series

Watercolor Leaves

Pioneers, Master Teachers, and More


Focusing-Oriented Expressive Arts (FOAT®) has its roots in Focusing, developed by Eugene Gendlin and in the field of expressive arts. This series invites presenters from the early days of Focusing who personally knew Gene Gendlin and carry forward a profound understanding of Gene, the person and his work. As the presenters share stories, it helps to carry forward the livingness of the person, Gene— enriching our understanding and applications of Focusing today and for the future. 

FOAT is also rooted in the expressive arts invites Pioneers and Master Teachers from the field (including all of the arts modalities) to share about their inspiration from those early days. This is a rare opportunity to bring the seeds of inspiration, carrying those stories and ideas into the present, while embracing the creative response to unfold in new ways.


Presenters will also share how their understanding and work in Focusing or Expressive Arts has unfolded— creating the branches from their foundation and roots. The branches are the ways Focusing and expressive arts have been developed into newer approaches and methods, responding to the interaction between the presenter and their interests.


The wings are how Focusing and Expressive Arts have spread into all parts of the world with applications to many fields (e.g. psychotherapy counseling, education, coaching, wellness, spirituality, creativity, self-care, personal growth, research, and more). The wings also represent FOAT— integrating the roots of this embodied knowing with the transformational properties of creativity.

All offerings in this 2021/2022 series will be open to all levels of experience in Focusing, Expressive Arts, and FOAT!

Presentation Calendar

Sign up for a single offering or get our special 2021 Bundle price when you register for both!

If you cannot attend the Live Presentation via Zoom, the recording will be available for you to watch at your convenience for up to 2 months. 


Wednesday, November 10th, 2021   4:00PM - 6:00PM PST  /  7:00PM - 9:00PM EST
For Asia: Thursday, November 11th, 2021
Click here for your time zone

Exploring the Fundamentals of Focusing: Experiencing and Crossing

Akira Ikemi, Ph.D.

Dr. Akira Ikemi first met Gene Gendlin in 1979, then became a graduate student at the University of Chicago where Gene was a professor.  The first part of this workshop will begin with Akira Ikemi’s personal reflections about what was inspiring about Gene. Listening to stories like these helps to illuminate and carry forward deeper understandings of the living roots of Focusing and its philosophy— which continues to unfold in new ways today.    

Akira Ikemi will then share about the influences of Wilhelm Dilthey’s hermeneutics on Focusing, a method which Gendlin developed. After, Akira Ikemi will lead a Focusing exercise that he created— Crossing with Animals— which helps to teach two concepts of Gene’s philosophy, Experiencing and Crossing.  Participants will then learn to apply the principles of Experiencing and Crossing to art images or expressions. This will also enrich the understanding and practice of Focusing-Oriented Expressive Arts.

About Akira Ikemi:

Akira Ikemi, Ph.D. studied with Professor Eugene Gendlin at the University of Chicago around the time the book Focusing was published. He has taught full time at universities in Japan, and is currently professor at Kansai University Graduate School of Psychology. Akira is a Certifying Coordinator of The International Focusing Institute (TIFI) and has served as a board member of that institute, as well as of other academic organizations, including the World Association for Person Centered and Experiential Psychotherapy and Counseling, and the Japanese Association for Humanistic Psychology. He is one of the founders and past-presidents of the Japan Focusing Association. Dr. Ikemi has written many articles and books in Japanese and in English, and teaches internationally online. He was named a “Living Luminary” by the Journal of Humanistic Counseling (USA) and he is the fifteenth person to receive the prestigious Japanese Association of Humanistic Psychology Award.

Akira Ikemi Headshot Photo.jpeg


  • Akira's only: $25

  • 2021 Bundle (Akira's plus Shaun McNiff): $40

For scholarship/work study inquiries please contact us.

Registration Deadline:

November 7, 2021


Monday, December 6th, 2021   1:00PM - 2:30PM PST  /  4:00PM - 5:30PM EST
For Asia: Tuesday, December 7th, 2021
Click here for your time zone

How Art Heals: Whole Art Expression and Going with the Grain of Nature

Shaun McNiff

Shaun McNiff created the first graduate program in expressive arts in the world, pioneering a vision of “Whole Art Expression”— that “art” includes all forms of the arts— movement, music, drama, writing, etc.  Today, the expressive arts are practiced all over the world— in counseling, psychotherapy, education, health and wellness, research, creativity, and more. 


This is a rare opportunity to listen first-hand to stories, practices and ideas spanning Shaun McNiff’s 50 years of developing and refining his original vision.  The presentation will be interactive— a community feeling— with time for questions and reflections in response to Shaun’s presentation on various topic, such as:

  • How Art heals by infusing persons and communities with creative energy and by transforming difficulties into affirmations of life.

  • The creation in the 1970’s of an innovative expressive arts training program at a prestigious art gallery with patients who were still living in a State psychiatric hospital, some for 25-50 years. 

  • How the most elemental and simple gestures and organic actions access the depths of artistic expression

  • Methods of engagement: such as the movement basis of expression, art as a force of nature as accessible as breath, the significance of simplicity and authenticity in quality expression, creating with objects from nature, and the use of digital media

  • How resistances, inhibitions, and doubts can be channeled into creative and healing expressions

  • How to create environments and communities that support the creative expression of others.

  • And more

About Shaun McNiff:

Shaun McNiff is author of Imagination in Action: Secrets for Unleashing Creative Expression; Trust the Process: An Artist’s Guide to Letting Go; Art as Medicine; Art Heals; Depth Psychology of Art; Integrating the Arts in Therapy; and other books. His writings have been widely influential and translated into many languages; he has lectured and taught throughout the world. 

Shaun McNiff is the recipient of numerous honors and awards, including the Lifetime Achievement Award of the Journal of Applied Arts and Health for his leadership in advancing art as research, and an Honorary Life Member Award from the American Art Therapy Association. He established the integrated arts in therapy and education graduate training programs at Lesley University from which the field of expressive arts therapy emerged— and in 2002 Lesley appointed him as its first University Professor. His lifework is committed to furthering universal access to artistic expression as a source of individual community well-being and understanding.

Shaun McNiff


  • Shauns's only: $20

  • 2021 Bundle (Shaun's plus Akira Ikemi): $40


For scholarship/work study inquiries please contact us.

Registration Deadline:

  • Shauns's only: Dec. 3

  • 2021 Bundle: Nov. 7

2022 Presentations Preview

More details and registration coming soon!

Monday, February 7th, 2021   1:00PM - 3:00PM PST  /  4:00PM - 6:00PM EST
For Asia: Tuesday, February 8th, 2021
Click here for your time zone

Judy Rubin, Ph.D., ATR-BC, HLM

Pioneer art therapist Judy Rubin will discuss her early days in the field, show video clips of herself as the Art Lady with Mr. Rogers, and present additional highlights of her amazing work documenting arts therapists work over these many decades through film and video— now housed in her dream streaming library through Expressive Media.


Monday, April 4th, 2021   1:00PM - 3:00PM PST  /  4:00PM - 6:00PM EST
For Asia: Tuesday, April 5th, 2021
Click here for your time zone

Joan Klagsbrun, Ph.D.

Joan Klagsbrun will share about the early days of meeting Gene Gendlin and inspirations from knowing him throughout his life.  Joan is a beloved Focusing teacher and clinician, who has also been researching the benefits of Positive Psychology, as well as health and well-being.  Her presentation will include A Focusing Approach to Positivity: Focusing on What you Love and What Matters Most


If you have any questions, please contact us.