Group Work

It is one of my greatest joys in life to share my experiences and hold a container for deeper learning with groups. Having studied sociology, collective intelligence, integral theory, mythodrama and indigenous ceremonial practices, my 90min to multi-day sessions are a weaving of diverse traditions and thought maps. The goal is to gently push the edges of the group’s intellectual, emotional and energetic awarenesses. As we all learn in different ways, I incorporate a variety of learning activities and tools, such as multi-media, movement, writing, etc. Every workshop is designed to lead participants along a program arc, a learning journey – beginning with what is, where we want to go, and coming full circle into integrating what we have experience.

I’m often available for follow-up sessions, in person or virtually, and will recommend it for certain groups. Following the session, I send out a list of resources that were mentioned in my talk as well as opportunities for participants to dive deeper in the particular topics we covered. My preferred group size is under 30. For larger group sizes and depending on the nature of the workshop, I may invite a co-facilitator to join and/or request a microphone. Preferably chairs and tables are easy to move about the room, as we will do so frequently in more interactive sessions.

If they don’t have a clear topic in mind already, I enjoy working with hosts to plan the most fitting experience for the uniqueness of the group. Below are some workshops titles I often facilitate. Please contact me if you would like a full description for any of these titles.  I also offer traditional lectures and presentations on any of these topics.

Exploring the Global Ecovillage Movement  |  Initiation and Community in the 20th Century  |  Expand Your Box… What Box?

Pattern Language: Considerations for Village Life  |  An Introduction to Permaculture Thought and Design

While sharing elements with the type of facilitation I do when leading a workshop, sometimes groups require the presence of a facilitator when the focus is not educational. I can support groups with the facilitation of meetings, conflicts, and problem-solving in business, institutional, as well as community settings. Different than a consulting role, facilitators serve a neutral aids, tasked with guiding the group along an agenda or towards a shared goal. With training in Art of Hosting and similar facilitation methodologies, I have developed a personal facilitation style that is both efficient and creative. Please contact me if your group is experiencing any of these common signs that a facilitator may be needed:

  • When your group feels stuck or frustrated
  • When you don’t have time to strategically prepare for a meeting
  • When the discussion is difficult to keep on track
  • When the participation of the entire group needs to be maximized
  • When you need a creative approach to a recurring or difficult problem
  • When group conflict has impaired the ability of the group to function well

We will work together to design a process to best meet your goals. Special care is needed if the facilitation is of conflicts within a group or between two people. We will need to thoroughly discuss the history of the conflict and I may request one-on-one meetings with the individuals involved prior to meeting with the whole group. Follow-up sessions are likely to be requested.

Whether it is a day long gathering or a multi-month program, I support groups in crafting meaningful experiences for their participants.  Much as when designing my own workshops, I draw on my knowledge of sociology, collective intelligence, integral theory, mythodrama and nature’s rhythms in planning each unique learning journey. The goal is to have the “structure” become at once invisible and impactful, comfortable and edgy, conscious and organic. There is a balance to be struck between designing the program and leaving enough space for the program to design itself. I tend to encourage participants to become co-creators or co-designers of their experience. But this isn’t the best fit for all types of group or projects, and even if it is, the program needs to first offer a solid foundation for the participants to build up.

Wordsworth’s poem about nuns enjoying their convent’s narrow room and poets finding solace in a sonnet’s “scanty plot of ground,” sums it up well. Sometimes a safe container is needed for the group to venture to unknown lands. I can support in making this possible.

This is one of my funnest jobs! As an artist and the notetaker of many many meetings, I’ve been inspired to combine the two in an artform that is at once beautiful and informative.

How it works: Your presenter and audience are set up as they normally would be, however, on a wall or stand easily visible to both is a large piece of white paper (the size is determined by the length of the session and, if you don’t want a physical copy afterwards, a dry-erase board works as well). I will be quietly graphically recording the themes of the session with words and images during run time. A visual expression of what transpired, the end product can be used in the future as a learning tool, wall display, and/or marketing material.

This is a seamless way to add an extra element of engagement, professionalism, and dynamic to an otherwise standard presentation!