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IDEAS, NEWS AND RESOURCES  | November 2016    
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 with The Taos Institute

This month we welcome Kenneth J. Gergen as he shares insights about societies in which we all participate together....

Inclusive Relational Processes

by Ken Gergen

The recent election outcomes in the United States have brought with them shock and distress for many in our country, and around the world. My aim here is neither to decry nor denounce, but to open discussion on what social constructionist ideas can offer in terms of the road ahead. Many colleagues are discussing dialogic practices for healing, and this is most important. But as I see it, more is at stake. Let me first share my own sense of why the nation has been torn asunder by the election. As many commentators agree, the election outcome primarily reflects the frustration and anger of millions of voters toward "the Establishment." The voters do not so much share an alternative vision, as they have taken the rare opportunity to exact revenge.

The Establishment is scarcely monolithic. One must recognize a range of different - and interdependent - institutions. These would include corporations, financial institutions, and government, as well as institutions of education and medicine. For me, there is one major characteristic of these institutions: they are all organized to sustain and enhance themselves. In most cases, they are also guided by a mechanistic metaphor. Each in its own way attempts to maximize efficiency, minimize costs, and increase productivity. From this standpoint, all those who are outside the institutions may either be ignored, or used as the raw material necessary for their survival. They are variously objectified as consumers, customers, voters, students, or patients - objects to be persuaded, manipulated, treated, instructed, and so on. Otherwise, they do not count - victims of our machines of exclusion. The election was indeed an opportunity for pay-back to those institutions.

What does this mean for the Taos Institute network? The day after the Presidential election, in Cleveland, Taos mounted an international conference on relational practices in healthcare. The event was teeming with excitement, as one participant after another spoke about practices of collaboration, inter-professional cooperation, team building, and so on. Most important, the patient in these cases was not defined either as someone to be "worked on," or "cared for," but as an active participant in the healing process. This erosion of the boundary between inside and outside also extended to the patient's family, and to the surrounding community. Collaboration abounded.

If you were to scan the many other activities in which Taos Institute participants are engaged, you would discover many similar or resonating practices. Consider the "Business as an Agent for World Benefit" initiative at Case Western Reserve University, along with the creative developments in collaborative therapy, relational welfare, dialogic pedagogy, narrative mediation, appreciative inquiry, peacebuilding, grief counseling, and relational governance - for example! All challenge the boundaries of separation, and build toward societies in which we all participate together.

In my view, the election is of signal significance in dramatizing the importance of the work in which so many of our colleagues and friends are engaged. We must celebrate and support each other as we take on the challenge of replacing our machineries of exclusion with inclusive relational processes. 

Taos Institute Events and Gatherings  - The Many Ways to Get Involved.....

We want to thank everyone who participated in this conference, Nov 10-12. It was a wonderful experience for all. The conference was rich with stories and examples of relational, appreciative and collaborative practices in medicine, education, nursing, community health and much more. Comments ranged from "This is the best conference I have ever been to!", to comments about how important this gathering was and when we would be doing the next conference on relational healthcare! So stay tuned.  
Thanks to all the keynote presenters, the practice showcase, dialogue sessions, Pecka Kuchas, posters and paper presenters.  We truly explored  Innovations in Relational, Collaborative, and Appreciative Practice
s in:
  • Patient, Family, and Professional Relationships
  • Healthcare Organizations, Policies, Practices and Whole System Change
  • Healthcare Education
  • Connecting Community and Healthcare
And thanks to our collaborating partner the International Institute of Qualitative Methodology, and to the planning committee  for their amazing vision and commitment:
The Core Planning Team with a few faces missing from the picture.

To continue these conversations and sharing, we invite everyone around the world to join us online using our online community forum at:  


3rd International Conference of Collaborative 
and Dialogic Practices 
Conversations with and among Education, Research, Health, Social Practices, Psychotherapy...

March 30 - April 2, sponsored by ICCP and TI, 
in the Canary Islands, Tenerife, Spain
A tri-lingual conference - Spanish, Portuguese, English 



Taos Institute Workshops
  • Practical Tips for Writing a Dissertation | ONLINE workshop - Jan. 15 - March 10, 2017, with Rich Furman
  • Social Construction: Premises and Practices | Online workshop - April - May, 2017, An Online Workshop, with Celiane Camargo-Borges and Dawn Dole 
For details about these workshops and to register visit:



FREE Downloadable Books 
We are thrilled to bring you all the WorldShare Books and we hope you will  take a few minutes to download your free copies today.  

New Book: 

See all the WorldShare Books >
Donate to the Peggy Penn WorldShare Books Fund 
This fund helps to cover the expenses of offering these online books free of charge to anyone in the world. 
Relational Research Network Meeting and Global Dialogue

December 7th  
1:00 PM - 3:00 PM US Eastern Time

What: We invite you to join with us in conversation to continue to create a space for an international network to generate conversations and collaborations around Relational Research.
    1. Explore
    2. Engage
    3. Dialogue
    4. Share
    5. Create
  • What is relational research?
  • What can a network for relational research become?
  • Are there projects on which we could collaborate together - transdisciplinary, multi-voice that we could design together?
  • What's next? What are the opportunities for collaboration and learning?
To register for this next meeting and dialogue - go to: 

by Emerson F. Rasera
Taos Institute Publications, 2015
ISBN: 978-1-938552-31-1

For more information
70Candles! Women Thriving in their 8th Decade

Recently featured in the 
New York Times and the 
by Jane Giddan and Ellen Cole
Taos Institute Publications, 2015
ISBN: 978-1-938552-35-9

by Glenn E. Boyd
Taos Institute Publications, 2014
ISBN: 978-1-938552-22-9

For more information

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By focusing on the positive aspects of aging, and the availability of resources, skills, and resiliencies, research not only brings useful insights into the realm of practice but creates hope and empowers action among older people. By moving beyond practices of repair and prevention, to emphasize growth-enhancing activities, practitioners also contribute more effectively to the societal reconstruction of aging. 
Join the Taos Institute NING Online Community website
Participate in online conversations, share resources, ask questions, connect with others doing similar work. Also, we feature special events on this community website.

Join in many different forums, groups and conversations:

1. Taos Institute Europe
2. Collaborative Governance
3. Relational Learning
4. Relational Research
5. Taos Latin America
6. Intergenerativity and Innovation

and many more at:


Welcome (Bienvenidos) to the International Journal of Collaborative Practices. The Journal brings together members of a growing international community of practitioners, scholars, educators, researchers, and consultants interested in postmodern collaborative practices.

Sponsored by Taos Institute and Houston Galveston Institute

I ssue 6- Available Now in English and Spanish - 
International Journal of Collaborative-Dialogic Practice 

Submit your articles!

Issue 7 - coming soon.

  The International Journal of Collaborative-Dialogic Practice
brings together members of a growing international community of practitioners, scholars, educators, researchers, and consultants from diverse disciplines who are interested in collaborative-dialogic practice based in postmodern-social construction assumptions. This community responds to important questions in social and human sciences such as:
  • How can our practices have relevance for the people we meet in our fast changing world?
  • What will this relevance accomplish? For whom? And, who determines it?
The Journal provides a bilingual forum for the exchange of ideas and practices from diverse practitioners and scholars around the world. This forum aims to help produce and promote relationally responsive-dialogic processes which generate new opportunities and new futures in our working and living together locally and globally. 
 The International Journal of Collaborative Practices is available for free, online, in both English and Spanish. Visit:

Donate to the Jane Magruder Watkins Scholarship Fund 

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.  Keep up with our updates!

Dawn Dole, Executive Director
The Taos Institute
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