IAF Methods

Bohm Dialogue

by for . Last edit was over 2 years ago
60 - 120 10 - 30

Open dialogue when managing difficult situations or initiating something new

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Setting ground rules for conversation, dialogue when managing difficult situations or initiating something new


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    There is no specific procedure for Bohm Dialogue, but rather a set of principles or guidelines:

    The principles of "Bohm Dialogue" are:

    1. The group agrees that no group-level decisions will be made in the conversation. "...In the dialogue group we are not going to decide what to do about anything. This is crucial. Otherwise we are not free. We must have an empty space where we are not obliged to anything, nor to come to any conclusions, nor to say anything or not say anything. It's open and free" (Bohm, "On Dialogue")
    2. Each individual agrees to suspend judgment in the conversation. (Specifically, if the individual hears an idea he doesn't like, he does not attack that idea.) "...people in any group will bring to it assumptions, and as the group continues meeting, those assumptions will come up. What is called for is to suspend those assumptions, so that you neither carry them out nor suppress them. You don't believe them, nor do you disbelieve them; you don't judge them as good or bad...(Bohm, "On Dialogue""
    3. As these individuals "suspend judgment" they also simultaneously are as honest and transparent as possible. (Specifically, if the individual has a "good idea" that he might otherwise hold back from the group because it is too controversial, he will share that idea in this conversation.)
    4. Individuals in the conversation try to build on other individuals' ideas in the conversation. (The group often comes up with ideas that are far beyond what any of the individuals thought possible before the conversation began.)


    Follow-Up Required: The group will want to continue to apply many if not all of the principles in their future interactions.

    Usual or Expected Outcomes: Increased group understanding and trust


    Derived from: Bohm, D. (1996). On dialogue. New York: Routledge.

    Recognizable components: Open dialogue

    References: Open dialogue

    Comments (1) ( 5.0  avg / 1 ratings)

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    • Great for creating openness in a group. Not intended to come up with tangible results, although it may.

      over 2 years ago