Facilitation & General Group Process Resources


Group Works: A Pattern Language for Bringing Life to Meetings and Other Gatherings.  How is it that some meetings bring life to your soul, while others make you wish you'd never stepped in the room? What happens at the best group sessions that makes them productive, fulfilling, sometimes even magic? This beautiful, coherent, evocative card deck is the result of a multiyear collaboration among facilitators from diverse organizational backgrounds. It can be used for learning, planning, debriefing, and in the moment of a meeting for extra support. Amazing resource. www.groupworksdeck.org


Co-Intelligence Institute. Tom Atlee's fabulous website on how our society can work more wisely for the good of all also includes summaries of over a dozen group process methods at www.co-intelligence.org.

Center for Voting and Democracy. If you are going to vote on something instead of using consensus, first check out this site with information on proportional representation, instant run-off, preference voting, and other systems, at www.fairvote.org.

Community at Work has an excellent resource list with links to bunches of professional networks, collections, other websites, etc.  http://www.communityatwork.com/resources.html

National Coalition on Dialogue and Deliberation (NCDD). Do you want to build a world based on dialogue? So do the people at NCDD, and they are providing networking and resources to make it possible. thataway.org/ncdd

Northwest Intentional Communities Association (NICA). Maintains resource pages on meetings and group process at their website, http://www.ic.org/wiki/running-effective-meetings/

Randy Schutt, long-time activist, has a dozen short papers (1-12 pages each) on cooperative decision-making, many downloadable as PDF documents over the web and the rest available for the cost of copying and postage. See the list at www.vernalproject.org/RPapers.shtml. Contact Randy at PO Box 608867, Cleveland, OH 44108; rschutt@vernalproject.org.

Starhawks's "Five-Fold Path of Productive Meetings" is a free 59-page bonus chapter that was edited out of her book The Empowerment Manual: A Guide for Collaborative Groups. Overall an excellent overview.

Training for Change. Wonderful collection of tools and exercises, includes topics such as diversity, strategy, nonviolence, and more. trainingforchange.org


See BOOK LIST page.


Appreciative Inquiry: "A process, philosophy, and life practice grounded in research demonstrating that focusing on what's working and aspirations for the future achieves more and does it faster and more sustainably than solving problems."

Art of Hosting: Although Art of Hosting is more a syncretic collection of methods than a method in itself (relying heavily on several other methods listed here), it also brings its own sensibility to how those methods are used, including an emphasis on the human relationships involved and a strong bias toward co-facilitation and team hosting.

Dynamic Facilitation:  Jim Rough and Associates. Excellent 4-day trainings in a high-energy approach to releasing group creativity for problem-solving. 1040 Taylor St., Port Townsend, WA 98368; 360-385-7118; jim@ToBe.net; www.ToBe.net.

Future Search: A sequence for taking representatives of a community through a collective design process in one weekend, capable of moving past old polarizations to focus on what this collection of people can accomplish together now.

Graphic Recording: Capturing a group's expression in pictures drawn in the moment, instead of or in addition to words.

Open Space: A simple method capable of supporting large numbers of people to self-organize their own sessions around their own passions within a short time.  Core principle:  take responsibility for what you love.

Playback Theater: Participants tell their stories, and actors act them out, with cathartic and surprising results.

Process Work: Also known as process-oriented psychology, this approach integrates conflict resolution, archetypes, dreamwork and bodywork into a powerful mode of individual and group change, also called worldwork. 2049 NW Hoyt St., Portland, OR 97209; 503-223-8188; www.processwork.org.

Public Conversations Project: Highly respected for convening effective dialogue on inflamed issues such as abortion, gay marriage, and African soldiers' return home from war.  Their trainings are excellent.  46 Kondazian St., Watertown, MA 02472;  617-923-1216; www.publicconversations.org.

Technology of Participation: Institute for Cultural Affairs (ICA). Offers trainings in US cities and internationally, with three different modules.  (Note that their "consensus" method refers to a process of card-storming, clustering, and labeling, not consensus in the traditional meaning of that word as a decision rule and method.)  ICA/Chicago, 4750 N. Sheridan Rd., Chicago, IL 60640; 312-769-6393; icausa.memberclicks.net/.

Theater of the Oppressed: Mode developed by Augusto Boal and others that dissolves the divide between actors and audience; scenes can be played, replayed, interrupted to experiment with new outcomes, etc., all driven by the participants.

World Café: Start with the idea of rotating small groups, add food, drawings, a cozy café atmosphere, and well thought out questions.

Work that Reconnects: Joanna Macy has pioneered an impressive array of well-designed exercises for helping people move through their difficult emotions about the state of the world.


International Association for Public Participation (IAP2).  Also has regional chapters that offer classes and other events.

International Association of Facilitators (IAF). Sponsors an annual conference, publishes a journal. 7630 W. 145th St., Suite 202, St. Paul, MN 55124; 612-891-3541; iafoffice@igc.apc.org; www.iaf-world.org.


Community at Work. Workshops in facilitation skills, building sustainable agreements, organizational development and more. Community at Work, 1 Tubbs St., San Francisco, CA 94107; 415-641-4840; skaner@aol.com; www.communityatwork.com .

International Institute for Facilitation and Change. Classes in Spanish and English. IIFAC, Domingo Diez 1589, Plaza Corporativa #113, Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico 62250; +52 (777) 102 2288; email@iifac.org; english.iifac.org.

Masterful Facilitation Institute (Myriam Laberge & Brenda Chaddock) offers classes in facilitation face-to-face and online in Canada.  604-943-9133; http://www.masterfulfacilitation.ca.


Free Management Library
Of particular interest is the Group Skills Page

Group Facilitation listserv Resource page

Internet Nonprofit Center
Information for and about nonprofits.

Contains links to specific items on effective groups and training, as well as spiritual growth and other topics.

Another large listing of websites.

Work911 is a free directory of the work-related articles available on the Internet. Categories related to group process include Meeting Management, Decision-Making, Conflict, and Facilitation.

Tree Bressen, facilitator and teacher, has been assisting intentional communities, nonprofits, and other organizations with group process since 1994. Pages from her website are available for copying and distribution free of charge as long as you continue to include these credit lines and contact information.

Tree Bressen
Eugene, Oregon