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The Way of Council
Copyright © 2016 Lori Austein. All rights reserved.


“An enemy is a person whose story you have not heard.”


                  – Thich Nhat Hanh


What Others Are Saying...


“Great to see your council work is continuing. I’ve been integrating the guidelines and rule of council into my education as a tool for community communication with good results. Thanks again for the introduction and expansion of council.  It’s been a game changer.”


“It is a great challenge to express the depth of attention given by your facilitation. Unbelievably well done!  [You] created an absolutely safe space.”


“A perfect balance and regard for emotional responses from heavy sadness to light fun and games.”


“Your energy was great, subtly holding the space.”


“[I appreciated] your willingness and openness to all styles of facilitation and to change your program to suit the group.”


“Invisible but effective organization.”


“Seven months after a harsh breakup that left ugly, jagged ends hanging, my ex and I met for a council session with Lori facilitating. The process brought closure and let me remember my ex in a gentler way. Council provided a vessel to honour the love and life we had shared together by bringing our higher selves at the end. “






Upcoming Council Workshops

Council as a Healing Path

• Council for Couples

Know Thyself: A Day of 5Rhythms® and Council

Nourishing Hearts: A Mother Daughter Retreat

Upcoming Council Trainings

•  Council I: Introduction to The Way of Council

•  Council II:  Deepening the Practice

•  Council III: Living the Way of Council

•  Council for Educators

•  Council for Organizations


Council is a practice of speaking and listening from the heart. Through compassionate, heartfelt expression and empathic listening, Council inspires a non-hierarchical form of deep communication that reveals a group's vision and purpose.  It makes room for new insights and understandings, wisdom in decision making, and healing.

As a personal practice or a group process, Council is an intrinsic ingredient of our education at any age and especially important for educators, therapists, guides, couples, caregivers or any individual whose work involves groups.


Council offers effective means of working with conflicts and for discovering the deeper, often unexpressed needs of individuals and organizations. It provides a comprehensive means for co-visioning and making decisions in a group context.  Council is about our personal and collective story.










In Council, people are invited to speak deeply and only from their own experience and perspective. There is no one right way to view things. What is sought in council is the ability for each person to express his or her point of view and the opportunity to understand each other’s point of view. Council encourages reaching beyond the position one enters the circle with and allowing something new to emerge. By matching an intention of open hearted acceptance with full and authentic speaking, we move toward the possibility of true community and a wholeness of spirit.


Council allows us to hear ourselves, often in a new way. Through the practice of empathic listening and learning to monitor one’s own emotional reactivity, we develop our “witness consciousness.” This perspective allows one to move out of reactive patterns as one gains awareness of ones own triggers.


Council does not seek to create consensus, but allows for and recognizes the arising of a "cohesive group wisdom," which is a harvest of diversity where the sum is greater than the total of the parts. A vision arises that includes everything expressed as a recognition that each member of the circle carries a piece of the collective wisdom. Decisions taken in Council can take longer to arrive it but they hold and are supported because everyone has been heard and all viewpoints are included.



“If the group is an art form of the future, then convening groups is an artistry we must cultivate to fully harvest the promise of the future.”

            – Jacob Needleman, Centered on the Edge