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Ideas, News and Resources

December 2014  
We hope you enjoy receiving our newsletter which includes constructionist ideas and practices as well as news and resources from the Taos Institute.
Brief Encounters from the Taos Institute


This month we welcome Kenneth Gergen, Taos Institute President, to share thoughts on.....  


A Look at the Taos Institute - The Year in Review - 2014 


It's the season for reflection - on life's blessings, paths taken and untaken, and the forms of life we are creating. Here I wish to share a few glimpses of Taos Institute activities this past year. This isn't so easy; the network of Associates now spans the globe, and the innovative initiatives are countless. How does one describe all the stars in the heavens? So, in this brief space, I shall touch only lightly on some major constellations.

Surely the most striking offering was the summer conference in Drammen, Norway, Beyond the Therapeutic State, Collaborative Practices for Individual and Social Change. The hope was to move beyond the culturally devastating reliance on diagnosis and drugs, and to share collaborative alternatives. The rousing discussions were sparked not only by therapists and scholars, but from many people who had been abused by the present system of "mental health." Video excerpts of the conference can be found at  


On the organizational side, Taos teamed up with the Danish consulting firm, Rambol Attractor, to offer its fourth Summer Institute on systemic/constructionist ideas and practice. The mixture of academics, consultants, and professionals from both the private and public sectors produced lively and productive dialogue. The fifth Summer Institute will take place in Copenhagen in early July, 2015.

Given this year's concentration of conferences in Europe, perhaps it should be no surprise that the European Associates have now given birth to the Taos Institute Europe (TIE). Headed up by Jakob Norlem, a Danish leadership development specialist, the Europeans are energetically developing plans for conferences, workshops, and educational programs. A preview of their work was offered in a fall symposium in Prague on relational research. You can join or keep up with TIE activities at

At the same time, the Latin American countries are now organizing Taos related events. This effort, currently chaired by Rocio Chaveste and Papusa Molina from the Kanankil Institute in Merida, Mexico, is rich in potential. Soon we should hear more from the Taos Institute Latin America (TILAC).

One of the most exciting events of the year was the launching of a Masters of Social Science degree program in Relational Leading. In this case Taos teamed up with the Professional Development Foundation in London. This two-year, on-line program is primarily tailored for practitioners, and features course work in social construction, collaborative practices, and relational leading. The thesis - typically some form of action research - is submitted to Middlesex University, where the degree is awarded. Participants are welcomed from around the world. Through the spectacular efforts of Ginny Belden-Charles, the director of the program, and her stellar colleagues, Kristin Bodiford, Saliha Bava and Celiane Camargo-Borges, the first cohort is up and running. Ginny would welcome inquiries about the new classes next fall  



At the same time, the Taos PhD program has gone through a significant evolution this year. The reputation of the program is spreading, and other universities are seeking collaboration with us. As a result, we have now added two additional and quite prominent universities to the Taos program. In addition to Tilburg University, qualified students can now complete their PhD programs at the Free University of Brussels and Leiden University in the Netherlands. Unfortunately, however, we still have far more applications than we can successfully accept.

Also booming is the International Certificate Program in Collaborative Practices - offered in collaboration with the Houston/Galveston Institute. The program is now offered in 11 countries - from Brazil and Argentina, to Taiwan, and thence to Norway. For more information: 


Our collaborators in La Red de Trabajo para Dialogos Productivos have also been wonderfully active, drawing together research projects in dialogue in seven countries. A new certificate program has just been launched.

Taos Institute Publications continued to offer significant new books to the world. We take pride in this new work, including A Student's Guide to Clinical Supervision: You are Not Alone, by Glenn E. Boyd and a revision of the book U & Me: Communicating in Moments that Matter, by John Stewart. Last year I was also delighted to announce the launching of WorldShare Books, a unique publishing venture in which we offer book length manuscripts for downloading free of charge! Some 30 Associates from around the world participate on the Editorial Board, thus offering an opportunity to publish in many languages. Last year we were happy to offer eight books for downloading. Thanks mainly to our editorial Board, we have more than tripled the number of offerings, and have added books in German, Portuguese, Chinese and Farsi! Exciting new contributions are also in the offing, including a book on social construction and educational practice, and another treating issues in social construction and religious belief.

Last year I also lamented Taos' lack of connection with Arab world. Since then, one of our Associates, Tahereh Barati, set in motion the translation of a social constructionist book into Farsi. A participant in our PhD program, Edgar Noumair, has also offered foundation resources to translate several books into Arabic, and to set up a website for dissemination and dialogue. This is awesome. Yet, we remain disappointed that the values and practices represented in these efforts have yet to make a mark in the political world. Deadly conflicts continue undaunted. Steep mountains remain to be mounted.

In retrospect, as I look back on 2014, I find myself truly moved by the creative power of collaborative participation. And so much of this work has been voluntary. A heart-felt BRAVO! to all who joined in bringing these collaborative offerings around the world.  


  • Social Construction: Premises and Practices | March 23 - April 27, 2015 a 6-week online workshop with Celiane Camargo-Borges and Dawn Dole 
  • Social Construction and Research Practices | March 27-29, 2015, with Sheila McNamee and Marco Gemignani, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 
  • International Summer Institute | June 14-18, 2015, with Harlene Anderson, Isla Mujeres, Cancun, Mexico
  • Social Construction, Relational Theory and Change Practices | June 12-14, 2015 with Ken and Mary Gergen,Wallingford, Pennsylvania

For information visit: 


More workshops will be listed soon.
      - Contact the presenters to register for these workshops:

    •  Collaborative-Dialogue Coaching: A Workshop for Mental Health Professionals who want to Expand and Revitalize their Practice and Income  in Houston, TX | Feb. 5-6, 2015,  with Harlene Anderson and Diana Carleton 


    Workshops sponsored by the Evanston Family Therapy Center 

    •  Introduction to Narrative Therapy in Evanston, Illinois | Jan. 16, with Jill Freedman
    • Level 1 Narrative Therapy Intensive in Evanston, Illinois | Feb. 18-22, with Jill Freedman and Gene Combs
    • Level 2 Narrative Therapy Intensive in Evanston, Illinois | May 9-13, with Jill Freedman and Gene Combs
    • Advanced Narrative Therapy Intensive in Tuscany, Italy | May 25-29, with Jill Freedman and Gene Combs


    Workshops sponsored by the Corporation for Positive Change


    The Power of Appreciative Inquiry: Theory and Practice

    • April 13-16, 2015 - West Coast Center for Positive Change, Orange County, CA, with Ralph Weickel and Tenny Poole
    • May, 2015 - European Center for Positive Change, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, with Ralph Weickel
    • June 8-12, 2015 - Rocky Mountain Center for Positive Change, Golden, CO, with Amanda Trosten-Bloom and Barbara Lewis
    • August, 2015 - Hong Kong Center for Positive Change, Hong Kong, with Dorothy Tsui
    • Oct. 19-22, 2015 - Virgina Beach, Virginia, Linda Berardi


    Applications of Appreciative Inquiry

    • January 26, 2015 - West Coast Center for Positive Change, Orange County, CO, with Tenny Poole and Ralph Weickel


    Appreciative Inquiry Summit (On-line) 

    • September 24, 2015 through November 12, 2015 (8:00 a.m.-10:30 a.m. MDT) - Rocky Mountain Center for Positive Change, with Amanda Trosten-Bloom and Barbara Lewis


    Appreciative Leadership Development Program 

    • April 21-24, 2015 - Rocky Mountain Center for Positive Change, Golden, CO, with Amanda Trosten-Bloom and Barbara Lewis
    • July, 2015 - West Coast Center for Positive Change, Orange County, CA, with Tenny Poole and Ralph Weickel
    • September, 2015 - Hong Kong Center for Positive Change, Hong Kong, with Dorothy Tsui

    For details and registration information see:  



    Sponsored by the International Certificate Program in Collaborative Practices, TI is a co-sponsor:



    Taos Institute is a co-sponsor of this event:
    •   2015 World Appreciative Inquiry Conference - Building Flourishing Societies Together: Elevating, Aligning and Reflecting our Best to Create a Prosperous World for All, South Africa, July 6-10, 2015. 

    For details, registration and more workshop listings, visit our website.

    For details visit:
    Also visit the Taos Institute Europe website at
WorldShare Books WorldShare Books 
Free Download Books - Check it out - More free books are available all the time!


Sharing Ideas and Practices From Around the World


The Taos Institute offers free-of-charge books for downloading to your computer or favorite reader. Our ultimate aim is to offer books in all languages. Like all the Taos Institute Publications, WorldShare Books represent significant contributions relevant to social constructionist theory and practice. More books are being added all the time.   

 Check them all out! 

NEW Books available now:   


Our first book in Chinese is now available:  


Postmodern Education and Development  



Our first book in Farsi is now available:


Social Construction: Entering the Dialogue






All books are available in PDF format. Visit WorldShare Books

International Certificate Collaborative Practices is an international learning community and network. 


Sponsored by Taos Institute and Houston Galveston Institute


To find a program in your part of the world, take a look at:


The Taos Institute's mission is to bring together scholars and practitioners concerned with the social processes essential for the construction of reason, knowledge, and human value.

We are committed to exploring, developing and disseminating ideas and practices that promote creative, appreciative and collaborative processes in families, communities and organizations around the world through a social constructionist lens.

We look forward to your participation in the dialogue.


Dawn Dole, Executive Director
The Taos Institute

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