Focusing with Children

The Art of communicating with children at school and at home.

Marta Stapert and Erik Verliefde:  

ISBN  978 1 906254 08 7



This is a work of great potential benefit to staff and children ~ in all levels of our current education system.

I would recommend it to Parents, Teachers, Gp's, Care Workers and in fact, anyone working with children,

in any context, who wishes to expand their ability to Listen with greater sensitivity and empathic depth and

integrate fresh understanding of how some simple therapeutic Art making can radically enrich the learning

and life experience of both our children and any adults that are charged with the responsibility of their care.

It is a well written practical guide that is largely jargon free and thankfully without therapeutic gobbledigook.


Marta and Eric articulate an approach to Listening that supports children: to expore their inner experience,

have more confidence in keeping their own counsel in the midst of a difficulty or some strong emotion and

crucially, learn how to pause and Clear a Space . . . from whatever is between them and enjoying their life

more fully ~ from moment to moment.


The book offers many detailed examples and first hand accounts of how this way of Listening with children

increases the quality and effectiveness of communication, inside and out.


The benefits of this way of Being with Children are becoming more well known and widespread worldwide.

It is currently being integrated into the Japanese and Argentinian school systems and there are many new

projects in countries as diverse as Canada, Romania, Holland, Belgium, Sweden, Germany and the USA.


I would love this book to be new reading material for anyone involved in education in Scotland and beyond

in our government, the NHS and any organisations intent on improving the quality of our education system.


Marta has now retired after dedicating her life to working sensitively with children as a psychotherapist and

has managed no small feat, in writing with such deceptively straightforward language about this subtle Art.

It would be too easy to miss the rich depth of substance offered here.

The beauty in this book ~ lies in the care taken to communicate the content with clarity and understanding.



The approach offered is as useful and relevant for adults, as it is for children . . . maybe more so !


In fact ~ I would recommend this more playful, creative way of approaching Listening, as a whole,


to anyone as it brings a more flexibile attitude of mind to how we explore our ' internal world ' and


as adults it encourages us to steer our intention away from always analysing whatever we meet.



Our schools are perhaps overburdened with new initiatives and it would be easy to assume that


adding in yet another would only end up draining the precious time and attention of our teachers.


This would be a huge misperception and a missed opportunity.



Marta lays out how the opposite would, in fact, be the case.



Once staff have this skill for themselves ~ they can share it naturally with their students.


A new approach to Listening itself is nurtured and something unexpected can happen.


More space can be created ~ energy liberated and classroom disturbances can reduce.


This can come as quite a surprise. Levels of distress and anxiety for staff and students


can be lowered by a fresh understanding of how children can often embody situations,


respecting the energy of the moment and internal experience of child and teacher alike.



Although I would recommend Marta's book to any parent, teacher, carer or anyone who


works with children, I would add something specific about this way of being with a child.



It always needs to be  ' translated ' into local language and relate directly to local culture.


For me that would be Glaswegian, so I drop most references to the term ' Focusing ' and 


call this simply ~ Listening through the Body . . . with Art.


I want to find ways to share this skill that connects with what is most universal and close


to everyday life and conversation without reinventing the wheel of language or Listening,


acknowledging what is genuinely 'new' about this while speaking plainly about what it is.