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In This Issue
Brief Encounters - "My Word!"
New MSc program in Relational Leading
Beyond the Therapeutic State
Taos Workshops
Friends of Taos and Taos Europe Workshops
Free Download Books
Relational Leading
Masters program in
Relational Leading
to begin Fall  2014.

relationships and conversations that make a difference

Issue 4 - Available Now


Taos Institute Publications
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clinical supervision
NEW BOOK- A Student's Guide to Clinical Supervision

U & Me - Communicating in Moments that Matter
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Relational Leading
When Stories Clash: Addressing Conflict with Narrative Mediation
The Appreciative Organization

Social Construction: Entering the Dialogue

Healing Conversations Now: Enhance Relationships with Elders and Dying Loved Ones

Positive Family Dynamics: Appreciative Inquiry Questions for Bringing Out the Best in Families

DVD - Fusion of Strength: An Introduction to Appreciative Inquiry by David Cooperrider
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AI Practitioner - Special Video Issue - A Must-Have for AI Practitioners
Practicing Relational Ethics in Organizations
Developing Relational Leadership
Retiring but not Shy
Retiring But Not Shy
Ordinary Life Therapy
Hedtke - Bereavement
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Ideas, News and Resources
May 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

As a way of sharing constructionist ideas, the Executive Board of the Taos Institute shares each month an idea or experience that might be an inspiration for you and others.  


This month Dan Wulff shares thoughts on.....   


"My Word!" 


by Dan Wulff   


"A picture is worth a thousand words" so the saying goes. A recent trip to Alice Springs, Australia and a visit with an Aboriginal artist there makes me think 1000 words is a far-too-modest estimate. She showed my wife and me a mural that she painted with other artists that presented the comprehensive set of life-lessons of their people. If one were inclined to describe this painting in words, the number of words would probably be in the hundreds of thousands and even then, the rich tapestry of meanings displayed on canvas may remain elusive. Our contemporary world's dedication to valorizing words tends to background other forms of expressing ideas such as art, dance, music, ceremonies, walking with someone in the mountains, acting compassionately, soaking in a sunset, working the land. Ever wonder what we might be missing when we only traffic in words, sentences, and paragraphs?


I once heard a ballerina tell a story about a time when she was asked by a journalist after her performance, "What are you trying to convey in your dancing?" She responded to the journalist, "I will answer you when you dance me your question." Forms of expression that are not word-based are some of the most profound and impactful - they have no intrinsic need to be placed into the template of words. In fact, wording them may drastically limit or distort the expressions that are available and desirable.


Our desire to express ourselves in words is such a taken-for-granted practice that we may not recognize that this practice is socially constructed. Many everyday practices in our world (using words being one) have become so routinized that we may actually believe them to be foundational. While they may indeed be necessary for persons to achieve status within certain communities' metrics of success, those practices do not themselves command ultimate authority for all persons or groups, all points in time, or in all contexts. Those of us in academic settings have absorbed the use of words to direct our thinking, our teaching, our researching, and our pathways of career development in such pervasive ways that is difficult to imagine doing what we do without words. (And I must add here that words are not themselves culpable-they are not capable of agency. It is our largely uncritical immersion in them that leads to our self-imposed reliance on them.)


Recently a discussion within the Taos Institute focused on ways of seeing new ideas. A quote from Proust that I mention here was part of those interchanges:


"The only true voyage of discovery. . .would be not to visit strange lands but to possess other eyes, to behold the universe through the eyes of another, of a hundred others, to behold the hundred universes that each of them beholds, that each of them is. . ." (Proust, 1932, p. 559)


Continuing on in this passage, in response to conversations among audience members of a musical performance, the narrator states:


"But what were their words, which like every human and external word, left me so indifferent, compared with the heavenly phrase of music with which I had just been engaged? I was indeed like an angel, fallen from the inebriating bliss of paradise, subsides into the most humdrum reality. And, just as certain creatures are the last surviving testimony to a form of life which nature has discarded, I asked myself if music were not the unique example of what might have been-if there had not come the invention of language, the formation of words, the analysis of ideas-the means of communication between one spirit and another [my italics]. It is like a possibility which has ended in nothing; humanity has developed along other lines, those of spoken and written language. But this return to the unanalyzed was so inebriating, that on emerging from that paradise, contact with people who were more or less intelligent seemed to me of an extraordinary insignificance." (Proust, 1932, pp. 559-560)


Where am I heading with this? Persons involved with the Taos Institute have dedicated themselves to seeing and appreciating practices that embrace social constructionist ideas wherever they might be and however they might reveal themselves. Focusing on practices, would we recognize them if we saw them? I surmise that persons and groups from all corners of the world and from all walks of life may engage in social constructionist practices while not using any of the words we are accustomed to using and hearing in relation to social constructionism. Would we be able to see them? Hear them? Feel them?  


(For those of you counting, I used 801 words in this article. :-) )


Proust, M. (1932). The captive. In Remembrance of things past (Vol. 2, pp. 383-669; C. K. Scott Moncrieff, Trans.). New York, NY: Random House.


Share the News......Do you know someone who would benefit from participating in a Masters program in Relational Leading?

This new program is a 2-year, online learning program designed to deepen the theory and practice of relational leading through course content and teaching practices.

This program introduces ideas and practices at the forefront of organizational studies, and integrates workplace experience into class discussions. The courses focus on:

  • The social construction of realities, values, and reason
  • Systemic and relational process
  • Collaborative practices in the workplace and society
  • Relational and appreciative leading
  • Relevant research practices

The courses prepare participants to work with faculty members in conducting original research relevant to their professional development.


If you or anyone you know might be interested in learning more about this program visit: www.taosinstitute.net/relational-leading-program 

clinical supervision
By Glenn Boyd, Ph.D.

You Are Not Alone: A Student's Guide to Clinical Supervision is surprisingly frank, funny, and encouraging. It urges beginning students to be proactive and engaged in the clinical supervision process without apology and without fear to combat the normal anxiety that comes with learning to be a clinical practitioner. It also encourages training programs to offer beginning students an orientation to supervision as soon as possible after they enter the program. It outlines the importance of the clinical supervision relationship while introducing key elements in the contemporary practice of supervision including a novel emphasis on collaborative learning communities, the results of common factors research, and the emerging importance of core competencies.

Order at: www.taosinstitute.net/a-students-guide-to-clinical-supervision
Join us for a fantastic program.....
June 26, 27, 28, 2014
Drammen, Norway

Mental health costs are soaring, drug prescriptions skyrocketing, and diagnostic categories continue to convince us that we are mentally ill. It is time to move beyond the therapeutic state!

Most existing alternatives focus on the individual. In contrast, this conference will feature inspiring innovations in collaborative practice. Such practices bring together diverse conceptions of reality, values, and hopes for the future. From the inter-change emerge new forms of life, viable for all.

The conference will feature collaborative practices relevant to therapy and beyond. Discussions will be enriched by practitioners and scholars from many sectors of society.

In the end, it is toward a relationally oriented society we must move. And it is toward active participation in changing both practices and policies that the conference is dedicated.

Check out the fantastic workshop offerings ..... still developing:

Traveling to Norway - June is a special time of year in Norway - plan to come early or stay after to visit the area:

Conference collaborators:
  • The Taos Institute
  • Taos Institute Europe
  • Institute for Research in Mental Health and Substance Abuse, Buskerud, University College (Norway)
  • Helsinki Psychotherapy Institute (Finland)
  • Familjev�rdsstiftelsen (Family Care Foundation) (Sweden)
  • The Family Institute (UK)
Keynote Presenters:
  • Kenneth J. Gergen
  • Robert Whitaker
  • Olga Runciman
  • Sami Timimi
  • Carina Hakansson


For information and to register at the Early Bird rates:  www.taosinstitute.net/beyond-the-therapeutic-state   

The Taos Institute Workshop Series
  • Social Construction, Relational Theory and Change Practices | June 6-8 -  with Ken and Mary Gergen, Wallingford, PA.  
  • Social Constructionist Inquiry and Research Practices | June 12-14 - with Sally St. George and Dan Wulff, Calgary, Canada.    
  • Social Construction, Relational Theory and Transformative Practices | Oct. 16-18 - with Sheila McNamee and Harlene Anderson, Durham, New Hampshire.   

To register, visit: http://www.taosinstitute.net/upcoming-workshops



  •  International Summer Institute with Harlene Anderson | June 16-20, Mexico.   
  • Attractor/Taos Summer Institute | July 2-4, 2014, Copenhagen, Denmark. 
More workshops will be listed soon.


For details and a listing of more workshops, visit our website.
Friends of the Taos Institute Workshop Series

Contact the presenters to register for these workshops:

  • Open Dialogue Week-end Seminar Series -2014 - March 15-16, May 3-4 & May 31-June 1, London, England, with Jaakko Seikkula, Markku Sutela, Mia Kurtti, Nick Putman
  • EFTC Yearlong Narrative Course - begins May 3, with Jill Freedman and Gene Combs
  • Narrative Therapy Intensive - Level 1 - May 3-7, with Jill Freedman and Gene Combs
  • The Imagine Conference - Organized in the spirit of Peter Lang - Aug. 29-30, Denmark
  • Narrative Therapy Intensive - Level 2 - Sept. 3-7, with Jill Freedman and Gene Combs 

And, more workshops will be listed soon.  

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



Taos Institute Europe Workshops and Events:

WorldShare Books WorldShare Books 
Free Download Books  


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 it out!  

All books are available in PDF format. Visit WorldShare Books for more than fifteen books in English, 2 in Spanish, 1 in Italian, 1 in German, 1 in Africaans and 1 in Farsi. More books to come.
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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