Deep Democracy

Posted 22/08/2018

Clyde Fenton explores Deep Democracy

Last week, Mr Parker and Mrs Mackander went to Darwin to learn about Deep Democracy.

The training was co-facilitated by Cath Elderton and Myrna Lewis. 

Myrna Lewis is a leading thinker practitioner in the field of transformative leadership and facilitation and co-founder of the Lewis Method of Deep Democracy. To date the method has been experienced in over forty countries and taught in 15 countries.  Myrna has a BA degree in Social Science, BA Honors degree in Psychology and a M.A. degree in Clinical Psychology She is responsible for the professional services and development of the Deep Democracy methodology. Myrna consults internationally and facilitates large-scale transformation processes within corporate, NGO, NPO and social activist organizations. She is the author of’ Inside the No’ (2008) and recipient of several international awards.

The Lewis Method of Deep Democracy is a practical five-step approach for working with groups and individuals. It is "democratic" because it emphasizes that every voice matters and that decisions are wisest when majority and minority voices are both valued. It is "deep" because it extends communication between people beyond a rational discussion of ideas to work also with emotions, intuitions, attachments and patterns, supporting self-development and engagement processes that build community and connection. 

The Lewis  Method of Deep Democracy is based on Arnold Mindell's Process Oriented Psychology. An American physicist and Jungian analyst, Mindell pioneered a highly innovative approach for understanding and working with individual and group dynamics, enabling powerful transformations to take place in a relatively short time.

"The strengths in the Lewis Method is that it sprang from the transition period of apartheid to democracy in South Africa. It has a message to many different cultures around the globe. To invent a method like this takes wisdom, courage and empathy." - Poul Erik Christoffersen, Director of SP - The National Innovative Centre for General Education (Denmark)

The Lewis Method has some parallel aspects to other methodologies while being distinct from them. If you are familiar with Process Oriented Psychology, traditional facilitation methods, Appreciative Enquiry, World Cafe, or Theory U, you may want to read more to see how the Lewis Method relates to these.

The school is looking into using Deep Democracy as a framework for resolving and developing a common language and process around conflict.