Allison Priestman


Grace and Chaos

A short group facilitation course

Stephen Tame  and Allison Priestman

(Course currently running and closed)

Starting November 4/5 2017, January 20/21 2018, April 14/15, June 16/17.

Four weekends in London, cost £1100, concessions available

For further information and booking please contact  Allison

To watch a video of Allison talking about the course


This is the fifth time this course has run. Originally developed by Nick Totton, this course is for anyone who wants to learn about groups, how they function, and how to facilitate them.

Grace and Chaos: opposite poles, yet both crucial for successful group process.

Grace – the gracefulness of a well-functioning group or good group facilitation, effortlessly yielding to reality.  Joanna Macy describes what she calls group synergy: 'It is like grace, because it brings an increase of power beyond one's own capacity as a separate entity'.

Mythologically, Chaos is the primal state from which the world is created. Groups need to go down into chaos in order to pass a certain point in their alchemical journey; so group leaders need the courage and grace to allow chaos to happen, and to model openness to chaos, openness to not knowing, for the rest of the group.

We will learn about groups by being one: holding an open space for the group to do what it needs to do, and using theory in a creative and accessible way to make sense of our experience. You will have opportunities to practice and develop facilitation skills by ‘taking the wheel’ of the group for a while.

If you would like to explore joining the course please contact Allison or Stephen to arrange a conversation about it.

We will offer a model for working with groups which is drawn from Embodied-Relational Therapy and is a synthesis of the following group facilitation models:

The process model, support the unfolding of the group field through the actions and interactions of participants, trusting that every voice needs to be heard and that what needs to happen is already trying to happen.

The psychodynamic model, focuses on the unconscious fantasies of the group and its members, and how we project our own material onto group members, facilitators and leaders, and the group as a whole.

The body psychotherapy model, tracks how participants body states resonate so as to form a group organism, which oscillates between arousal and relaxation.

The eco-systemic model, sees the group as a nodal point in a network of networks – relational, social, biological, spiritual – which will organically move into balance if not prevented from doing so. Conflict, difference, difficulty and competition are integral part of this rebalancing.