We all play a role in today’s global drama, shaping the collective story as it emerges, through our responses and choices every day. This course offers a powerful integration of the work of gestaltists Malcolm Parlett and Gill Coombs, both of whom in their writings have explored how people can live more sanely in a world that often seems insane. We will focus on defining and awakening specific human strengths latent in all of us but largely ignored by mainstream education – developing a ‘whole intelligence’ that offers a radically different approach to achieving transformation, both personal and global.
- Build on your existing and undiscovered strengths
- Resource yourself to successfully engage with personal and collective challenges of 21st century life
- Take away approaches to help others do the same
Many of us feel a sense of doom and gloom as this decade unfolds. We’re aware of environmental catastrophe, an unravelling economy, the plight of non-human life, deep social divisions within humanity – and things seem to be getting darker. We may feel threatened, enraged, saddened, overwhelmed, or maybe we switch off and become cynical and detached. Many are struggling so hard with the stresses of everyday life that even to start thinking about all that ‘stuff out there’ seems too much.
This course offers a more balanced picture of life today, pointing to evidence of greater ‘Whole Intelligence’ springing up everywhere in response to the world’s multiple crises. A deep knowing is appearing, and being more widely owned, as human beings across the globe push back against mindlessness, cruelty, and incompetence in the world. While we can feel paralysed by the scale and rapidity of change, losing our capacity to act with agency and forethought, we can also meet it with new thought, focus, and direction as we engage with global emergency. In this course, we will identify how we lead ourselves in either of these directions. Together, we will engage spheres of wider human capability that are overlooked enablers of change and empowerment. We will practise techniques to consciously reclaim innate resources, enabling us to respond creatively to the personal and collective challenges of 21st century life, with confidence, direction, hope, and understanding.
During his long and distinguished career as a gestalt psychologist, Malcolm Parlett has identified a number of abilities and human priorities that support individual, community and planetary wellbeing. In his book Future Sense, he weaves his observations and experience into five dimensions of practice and understanding:
- Responding to the situation
In a compassionate, non-judgmental yet challenging space, group members will be invited to engage with exploring these five dimensions of whole intelligence – both the ideas, and how they can make a difference to lived existence. Through reflection, dialogue, and experience within the group, the five practices are brought to life in ways that people find resonant and vital.
A further step will be to draw upon the concept of avatars from Gill Coombs’ book The Game, to explore a range of possible responses to 21st century situations and dilemmas. Participants will be invited to play with all of the avatars, ‘trying them on’ to discover how they feel. Activities will be participant-led – that is, designed around themes and issues which are current and important for group members.
The course aims to offer hope and inspiration, undercutting tendencies towards despair, impotence, or cynicism. We plan to help participants to reclaim, and share with others, both familiar and unfamiliar paths to being more fully and more enjoyably alive: that is, empowered, supported, and connected, both to the world and to their own authority and passion.
What will participants gain from taking part in this course?
- A deeper understanding of our complex personal responses to today’s world
- Skills, tools and insights for creative responses to personal and global challenges
- Multiple practical actions that can make an immediate difference
- Two models that can be used or adapted to work with groups, classes and individual clients
- Stimulation, support, inspiration and deep connection with others
About Gill Coombs
Psychologist Malcolm Parlett is a renowned thought leader in the international gestalt community. His book Future Sense explores how personal lives and global trends influence each other. Gill Coombs is a coach and facilitator. Her book Hearing our Calling is about finding the right work, and The Game is about personal roles in global dramas.