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Alison Fornés

1. What is your name, background and interest with training empathy?

Thanks, Edwin, for inviting me to be in this group. I'm Alison Fornés, a Family and Systemic Constellations facilitator and trainer. My focus is in education and social change, and I also have private clients who see me for healing or coaching. I'll share my web info below.

If you are unfamiliar with Systemic Constellations, they are a way of (empathically) looking into the system in which an issue is embedded. They are non-cognitive, relying entirely on an intuitive felt-sense. Their power lies in being able to go beneath the surface of stories and assigned ideas about a situation to reveal underlying hidden dynamics. 

I believe the "intuitive felt-sense" we are accessing is empathy. I have written about this here

My work leads me to propose a broad definition for empathy as "the ability to perceive the flow of information/energy/emotion through a given point in a system."

My personal vision looks like this: Learning communities everywhere, whether classrooms or groups like this, engage in 'empathic systems inquiry' as regularly as any other form of thinking and research.

2. What are your ideas for forming an International Empathy Trainers Association?

3. What sort of support do you need from IETA?

4. How would you like to contribute of building the Association?

Edwin, I very much admire the movement you are building! I have only recently started to dive into your archives and your newsletter. I am unable to attend your May 28 meeting, but I will stay connected and find the right place to contribute.

I am happy to share my practices, especially in the context of a group wisdom-sharing. Perhaps we can have regional gatherings to do some sharing and generate ideas for the larger group. 

I am also an experienced organizer, and can be tapped to offer those skills as needed. 

5. What questions do you have for others on the list?

How do you interpret and apply empathic knowing? 

If you have experience with Constellations, do you have any thoughts about the role of empathy in that process?