Courses Overview >> Short courses >> Whole Intelligence: Building on our Strengths for Turbulent Times

Whole Intelligence: Building on our Strengths for Turbulent Times

Course dates: 
Monday, 28 May, 2018 to Friday, 1 June, 2018
Whole Intelligence

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.

At A Glance

· 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

About This Course

Many of us share concerns about the state of our environment, an unraveling economy, the plight of non-human life, divisions in our society. We may feel threatened, enraged, saddened, or maybe we switch off, and become cynical and detached. Many are struggling so hard with the stresses of everyday life that it feels overwhelming.

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 challenges. Across the globe people are pushing 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, we can also meet it with new thought and focus. In this course, we will identify how we lead ourselves in either of these directions. Together, we will examine spheres of human capability that are sometimes overlooked. We will practice techniques to reclaim these resources, enabling us to respond to the personal and collective challenges of 21st century life, with confidence and hope.

During his long and distinguished career as a gestalt psychologist, Malcolm Parlett has identified a number of abilities 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:

  • Interrelating
  • Embodying
  • Self-Recognising
  • Experimenting
  • Responding to the Situation

In a compassionate yet challenging space, group members will be invited to engage with exploring these five dimensions of Whole Intelligence. 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

Malcolm Parlett

Malcolm Parlett PhD

Malcolm Parlett PhD has had three careers within psychology. His longest has been as a gestalt trainer and consultant. He co-founded the Gestalt Psychotherapy and Training Institute in the UK, was a visiting professor of Gestalt Psychotherapy at the University of Derby, edited the British Gestalt Journal for 15 years, and is in demand as a thought leader in the international gestalt community. In 2015 he published Future Sense: Five explorations of whole intelligence for a world that’s waking up, which explores the realm of how personal lives and global trends influence each other. The book has been described (by William House, president of the British Holistic Medical Association) as “easy to read” and as “a powerful exploration of the human condition through the lens of our everyday struggles”. (Reviews are available at Past the normal retirement age, Malcolm combines continued teaching with grandfathering, dining with friends and family, walking, and listening to music and cricket commentaries.

Gill Coombs

Gill Coombs

Gill Coombs MSc is a coach, counsellor, course leader, writer, and lover of folk music, language, and the living world. Motivated by the colourful tapestry of her own career, she specialises in work that’s good for us and for the world, believing that work should and can contribute to something positive, whilst being a (mostly) satisfying experience. Profoundly moved by her first visit to Schumacher College in 2009, Gill left a fifteen year Learning and Development career to travel round the UK on foot, bike and public transport, running personal and planetary wellbeing workshops for communities. She now has a local, national and international ‘soul coaching’ practice. Her book Hearing our Calling, about finding the right work, was published by Floris in 2014. Her latest book The Game offers a simple but challenging model for creating our own roles in complex global dramas. Gill is a former trustee at Hawkwood College, and stood as Green Party candidate for the Totnes constituency in the 2015 General Election.

£ 595.00
Course fees include basic accommodation, all meals, field trips, materials and all teaching sessions. The programme will run from Monday to Friday afternoon, and includes four nights private accommodation and all vegetarian meals from the first lunchtime you arrive through until the lunchtime before your departure.