Jab the Wife. 271

Neville’s Cultural Keyline Way Linking Psychobiological and Psychosocial Systems. 273







Figure 1 Some of the Ergotropic System's Functions. 265

Figure 2 Some of the Trophotropic System Functions. 266

Figure 3 A List of Things Being Funneled Through the Limbic Hypothalamic System... 273

Figure 4 Some aspects of Cultural Keyline Process in Action.. 282





This Chapter further details Neville’s adapting of Keyline to Cultural Keyline. Drawing upon Rossi (Rossi 1985; Rossi 1986) it introduces the way Neville worked psychobiologically with the body’s ergotropic and trophotropic systems. Examples are given of how Neville worked simultaneously with psychosocial and psychobiological systems.


Neville’s background understandings and skill in neuro-psycho-biology added to his connexity perspective. Neville wove together neuro-psycho-biological understandings with Indigenous practices for altering body states in his life work. Recall that Neville saw strategic significance for getting his life work written up in my own post-graduate studies in neuro-psychology. Neville and I had regular discussions about the practical and therapeutic use of the latest findings in neuro-psycho-biology. Neville had personal experience of Aboriginal people and their way of life on their homelands, had experienced their practical understanding of neuro-psycho-biology, and had seen this understanding woven into their ceremonies and other socio-cohesion practices. Neville used these understandings and ways in his individual and group work. The following section outlines my understanding of Neville’s Way of working simultaneously with each individual’s mindbody system and the Fraser House social-system, and his Way of working with some of the dynamics within and between neuro-psycho-biological systems and psychosocial systems.



The mindbody system that ‘controls’ among other things the distribution and use of metabolic energy in the body is composed of two integrated systems. One system is called the ergotropic system and the other the trophotropic system (Rossi 1985; Rossi 1986). I have placed a background paper I wrote about these systems on the Internet. (Spencer 1997). In broad terms, the ergotrophic system’s ecological function is to look after short-term wellbeing – quick fast responses often characterized as ‘fight or flight’. The trophotropic system’s function is to look after long-term wellbeing and renewal. The ergotropic system is geared for short bursts; the trophotropic system is geared for prolonged action for recuperation and growth. In keeping with embodied connexity, dysfunction in people’s social life world is mirrored in their ergotropic-trophotropic system functioning. Both these systems’ responses and accompanying behaviors-in-contexts may range from functional/adaptive to dysfunctional/non-adaptive. Neville was very familiar with these integrated and integrative systems and non-verbal indicators of system states and functioning. The following section discusses how he used them therapeutically in all of the Fraser House processes.

Neville was very skilled in using the ergotropic-trophotropic system therapeutically. He would do things to intentionally provoke shifts in the relative arousal level in these two systems for therapeutic effect. Recall that Neville categorized the mad and the bad into overactive-undercontrolled (generally excess ergotropic) and underactive-overcontrolled (generally excess trophotropic); I say ‘generally’ as there is constant movement in the relative levels between the systems. Neville used neuro-psycho-biological Keyline approaches to enable everyone’s activity-cum-arousal systems to self organize towards adaptive/thrival states as contexts unfolded, through enabled interacting in the psychosocial sphere. The ergotropic system is activated when there is the possibility of responding to stimuli. The system may arouse the entire mindbody for action (especially threat) or arouse some portion of it. It may have extremely quick response times. Some of the ergotropic system's functions are shown in Figure 1. 

·         The principal function is the control of short range, moment-by-moment adaptation to events in the world

·         It gears the mindbody to initiate and carry out action - often extremely quickly

·         It's particularly connected to fight/flight/avoidance behaviors

·         The systems activation shunts the body's metabolic energy away from the body’s long-range developmental activities

·         It enables the expenditure of vital resources

·         Bronchi are opened

·         It mediates stress relative to events in the world

·         Historically, it allows us to eat without been eaten


Figure 1 Some of the Ergotropic System's Functions

As demand on the system increases ergotrophic arousal, the EEG moves away from equilibrium, becoming desynchronized. This move to far from equilibrium is regularly found throughout adaptive living systems facing provocation. Neville knew that patients’ interplay of the dimensions safety-danger and gain-loss was always occurring against a substrate of endogenous chemicals, underlying arousal and emotion pervaded ideation. He worked to intervene in any and all of these aspects. Neville would use the presence of black and white (dichotomous) types of thinking as an indicator of heightened ergotropic arousal. An example would be, ‘Either you're for us or against us’ – that is, extreme polarization. Some of the Trophotropic system's functions are shown in Figure 2. 


·         the system operates to maintain the optimum internal balance of bodily functions for continued good health and development of the mindbody

·         it controls the somatic functions responsible for the long term wellbeing

·         growth

·         longevity

·         regulating all of the following functions:

·               reconstruction and growth of cells

·               digestion

·               relaxation, and

·               sleep 


Figure 2 Some of the Trophotropic System Functions


Neville was specially interested in my post-graduate studies in neuro-psychobiology. Neville and I had extensive discussions about action research using the following therapeutic neuro-psychobiology. The ergotropic-trophotropic relationship relative to any stimulus may be anchored so that it automatically adjusts to a specific relative level as a ‘conditioned’ response in the presence of that stimuli (Dilts, Grinder et al. 1980, p. 119-151; Lankton 1980, p. 56-60, 70-72, 74, 90-104, 109, 113-116, 118; Bandler, Grinder et al. 1982, p. 53, 107, 109-110, 150, 165, 175-176, 180-185, 187-188, 193, 198; Hanlon 1987). A context and stimulus may be reframed away from being an anchored stimulus so that a ‘conditioned’ response is not activated or activated at a different threshold and/or response level. One aspect of how anchoring and reframing may be ‘working’ (Rossi 1985; Rossi 1986) is that it sets up internal contexts containing a particular state of endogenous (internal) chemicals (neuro, endocrinal and hormonal transmitters and peptides) and introduces a changed set of associated meanings and emotions in the presence of a particular set of stimuli. This in turn is linked to state dependent memory and learning. The memory is state dependent in that a very specific endogenous chemical mix is present when the memory is reconstituted (Rossi 1985; Rossi 1986).


When an unchanged state-dependent memory returns, associated feelings and emotions accompany it. By reframing the state, aspects of the memory changes and so does the experience associated with the memory. (Bandler 1985; Andreas and Andreas 1987)


As an example, I had a client teed up for me by Neville who, with seven facio-cranial nerves dysfunctioning, poor speech motor production, and an upbeat nystagmus in the right eye, had all return to full functioned after fifty years dysfunction. This occurred after I enabled him to have 12 minutes deep entranced recall with time distortion of a pleasant trip around New Zealand three years prior to symptom onset. This may well be a classic case of state dependent memory and learning with activation of neural pathway functioning associated with the memories. Dysfunctional symptoms did not re-occur (Spencer and Stephens 1989).


The processing being discussed takes place in the hypothalamic limbic region (and elsewhere) where there is integration of sensory crossover with cognitions and the chemicals of emotions (Pert 2002). This anchored ergotropic-trophotropic system relationship tends to happen as part of our socializing or in a rather ad hoc way. For example, some people ‘get up tight’ around people in ‘authority’. This implies a discrete ergotropic-trophotropic ‘mix’ relative to those perceived to be in authority. Neville was continually anchoring and re-anchoring system balance levels in Fraser House. He would ‘tune’, ‘retune’ or ‘fine tune’ people’s responses.

Recall that the German word ‘stimmung’ is linked to the German word for tuning an instrument. When tuned, the result is ‘stimmung’ – tuned output. The word is also used for when the mood in a group becomes attuned – they get on the same or resonant wavelength. ‘Stimmung’ is the mood that attunes (Pelz 1974, p. 89). At the ergotropic-trophotropic and sensate level, people can together get into lock-sync. Stimmung regularly occurred in Fraser House, especially within Big Group, and Neville would use it whenever it occurred. Neville used to regularly raise or lower this community stimmung, and reframe and anchor ideas, emotions and feelings associated with community stimmung for therapeutic purposes.

It is possible to use reframing and anchoring to change the relative ergotropic-trophotropic balance that occurs in response to a particular set of stimuli. For example, in Fraser House in the early days of their Fraser House stay, over-active people would often go into ergotropic overload when they were provoked. Reframing and anchoring may allow these peoples’ ergotropic-trophotropic balance to be tuned such that the ergotropic is ‘set’ at a much lower level in the presence of provocation. Upon intentional community re-anchoring, state dependent memory and learning may take place associating provoking stimuli with a different internal chemical state and a different ergotropic-trophotropic balance (Bandler 1985; Andreas and Andreas 1987). Different meanings, somatic feelings, memories and emotions may also accompany the presence of the stimuli. The sensory elements of memory are also state dependent, including the submodes of the senses (Bandler 1985; Rossi 1985; Rossi 1986; Andreas and Andreas 1987).  Neville was always interested in the functioning of the minute parts of the hypothalamic limbic region in sensory submodality and cross-sensory processing, and the therapeutic potential of these understandings (Yeomans 1986). Processes for therapeutically using sensory submodality processes are part of Neuro-linguistic Programming (NLP) evolved by Richard Bandler, John Grinder and others. Sensory submodality work was the theme of the workshop where I first met Neville (Bandler 1985; Andreas and Andreas 1987). Neville had just returned from sensory submodality workshops in the USA facilitated by Steve and Connirae Andreas when I first met Neville. Sensory submodality change processes were the topic of that Balmain workshop I attended where Neville first found out about my background. NLP explores the structure of subjective experience. Neville, in keeping with Cultural Keyline also referred to NLP as Natural Living Processes and Natural Learning Processes.

In Neville’s 1986 video interview (Yeomans 1986) he states that while he had an extensive range of therapeutic interventions he could use, his gaining of NLP experiences in the Seventies and Eighties had enabled him to have, in his words, even greater brevity and precision in his work with individuals and groups. A copy of this video is in the University of Northern Territory and La Trobe University libraries. Neville also said that NLP gave him frameworks for understanding what he had done intuitively back in the Sixties. Neville viewed NLP so potent that in his NLP workshops and his own use of NLP with clients, personal and client ecology was paramount. Neville kept himself abreast of all of the innovations in NLP during the Eighties and Nineties and continued to be an avid reader of neuro-psycho-biology till his death. Neville made good use of the Internet in keeping abreast of psycho-neurobiological research. He told me that he was especially monitoring the small sensory sub-systems in the hypothalamic-limbic region. Neville, Geoff Guest, Terry Widders, Chris and Jules Collingwood and others ensured that NLP skills are spreading throughout the Laceweb.

It is possible for an enabler to retune the relative balance levels of the ergotropic and trophotropic systems in a particular context. Neville’s co-facilitator at the Balmain Workshop, Chris Collingwood had co-learnings with First Nations natural nurturers from the Northern Americas. He told me that he had been told that over the centuries in some cultures, healers - for example, the Healer of the Peace Chief in some North American cultures - have met the returning hunting party well outside the communal camp. These healers would use rituals and ceremonies to retune the ergotropic excitement (elation or disappointment) of the hunt to a more relaxed response (trophotropic reactivity) so that problematic energy was not brought back in the community. Note that in this case, the healer's retuning is shifting the relative systems-balance between various anchored states, without altering the anchoring. Neville would do both types of changes depending on context, that is, change the relative balance with or without changing the anchoring or automatic nature of the response.

It may well be that Indigenous healers have been using ceremonies, rituals and other healing ways for the tuning and retuning of ergotropic and trophotropic relative balance for thousands of years as an aspect of Indigenous sociomedicine. It may be that this is fundamental firstly, to virtually all their healing ways and secondly, to the evoking of various states of consciousness. Major and lasting healing change away from problematic mindbody states may come from reframing and anchoring during their healing ceremonies (Dilts, Grinder et al. 1980, p. 119-151; Lankton 1980, p. 56-60, 70-72, 74, 90-104, 109, 113-116, 118; Bandler, Grinder et al. 1982, p. 53, 107, 109-110, 150, 165, 175-176, 180-185, 187-188, 193, 198; Hanlon 1987)

Recall the occasion when Neville went ‘berserk’ in Big Group - his constant changing of the group’s focus during that episode was an example of using crowd synchrony and contagion in the context of energizing emergent self-organizing properties in the inter-mix of psychosocial and psycho-biological systems in all present. Within Big Group, Neville used provocation and crowd contagion as an external driver. The following section gives an example of Neville being an external driver.


Jab the Wife

I will now give an example. In the early Sixties Neville was called to a crisis in an upstairs dorm in Fraser House. When Neville rushed in, an outpatient wife, who had no authority to be there was pleading with her husband (a patient) with ‘caring concern’ to calm down. He was facing the corner stabbing the wall with a large knife (which he should not have had) yelling he was going to kill her (the wife). On either side of the husband were staffers with knockout injections ready to jab him. The staff yelled to Neville, ‘Do we jab him’. Even in these dramatic contexts, staff sought community okay for action, if possible. Neville sized up the situation in a flash and said, ‘Jab the wife!’ This was Neville intervening in the respective ergotrophic-trophotropic system of each of the four people in the room. Neville was guided by the free energy in the system. The husband had his back to the wife. He was stabbing the wall, not the wife. She was, for Neville, the dysfunctional ‘driver’ of his juices. Neville intervened so that Neville became the ‘context driver’. Instantly there was a reset of everyone’s ergotrophic-trophotropic systems. The husband froze. The staffers were confused. The wife turned into a rage and screamed obscenity at Neville revealing a side of herself that she had never revealed at Fraser House before. So as not to have her provoke the husband to actually harm her, Neville immediately yelled again, ‘Jab the Wife!’ A staffer did jab the wife while the other one stayed ready to jab the husband. She collapsed immediately. The husband, who had not turned round, immediately put the knife down and started sobbing and stammering that she was goading him to sneak out of Fraser House and do house robberies. He had arrived as a patient at Fraser House some weeks before from Long Bay Jail where he was a frequent inmate on robbery charges. On his last offence he had uncharacteristically harmed an elderly couple who surprised him during a robbery. It was this that was the reason for the authorities suggesting he be transferred to Fraser House for the last months of his term. It turned out that the demanding wife had been the catalyst for all his crime. Only the husband and wife knew this was the case. After being in Fraser House he wanted to break free of this cycle, though he loved his wife.

He was drawn to toxicity (his wife), and it was this bind that Neville spotted when he entered the room. This bind is often a major cause in catatonia. Till now, the patient had never found his voice to say anything about the wife. As she was signed on as an outpatient, Neville had every right to administer drugs to her. She slept and then slipped off sheepishly. The next day she fronted Big Group and one of the Small Groups and her dysfunctional behavior was stopped. All of what had happened in that upstairs dorm had happened extremely quickly. States can change very quickly. Learning can take place very quickly. Neville had acted in the upstairs dorm with high-speed precision. Neville reframed the context for each of the four in the upstairs dorm by yelling, ‘Jab the wife’. By saying these three words twice Neville created a context where major change occurred with ripple-on effects. Notice that Neville’s response, ‘Jab the wife’ had a very different effect on each person present. It increased the Ergotrophic response in the Wife, decreased the Ergotrophic response in the husband and had the staffers go into curious confusion, typically an ideal learning state. Neville, in repeating the command, ‘Jab the Wife’ interrupted the staffers state and got action, reinforced the husband’s increased Trophotropic state, and removed the wife from the context. Neville could affect everyone differently and appropriately because he continually attended to the unfolding context as an inter-dependent, inter-related, interconnected living system. Neville looked for the free energy. A typical mainstream system response would have been to see the husband as ‘the problem’ and that this ‘problem’ had to be ‘eliminated’ (rather than resolved). The husband would have been jabbed as a matter of course, the wife would have been sent home and nothing in the husband-wife dynamic would have changed and the husband would have been put in the ‘difficult case’ basket while the wife as ‘unknown source of dysfunction’ would have sustained his dis-integration.

Neville’s Cultural Keyline Way Linking Psychobiological and Psychosocial Systems


Neville used many processes to engender change within all parts of the mindbody. We may particularly engender change within the limbic-hypothalamic crossover system and through this, change may flow to all other parts of the mindbody (Rossi 1985; Rossi 1986). All of the things listed in Figure 3 are being funneled through the hypothalamic limbic system – the major mindbody crossover and integration complex (Rossi 1985; Rossi 1986; Pert 1998; Pert 1999/02; Pert 2002):


·         ideas and meanings

·         all our senses

·         all our emotions

·         all our body sensations

·         all our memories

·         all our imaginings

·         endocrinal input and output

·         autoimmune input and output

·         autonomic input and output

·         neuro-peptide system crossovers & cross-talk



Figure 3 A List of Things Being Funneled Through the Limbic Hypothalamic System


Neville set up processes that effected people at all of these levels in a system self-organizing way. To reiterate, Neville used the term Cultural Keyline to identify his way of working with people as psychobiological systems interlinked with psychosocial systems. ‘Cultural Keyline’ is isomorphic to the enabling interaction Neville and his father had with all of the myriad interlinking aspects of the soil, air, water, nutrient, and warmth on their farms. Once the soil had P.A. and Neville’s subtle enabling interventions and provoking, they would let the system self-organize towards thriving. Similarly, Neville made use of ergotrophic-trophotropic system(s) and their linkings as potential well-being change-points. We have explored the ergotropic and trophotropic systems and have noted that these two system's primary roles are our short term and long-term wellbeing respectively. What follows are examples of how Neville used the above understandings.


Neville would use curiosity, confusion, surprise, intrigue, presupposition, implication and the novel to shift states. An example was the husband stabbing the wall in the upstairs dorm suddenly being open about what pressure his wife had been putting him under for years. Another example was the sudden shift in everyone following the extended discussion of the blue scrotum. Neville would create contexts that would create shifts in state dependent learning. He would devise processes that stimulated the ascending reticular activating system to create heightened states of cortical activity to facilitate new learning. As an example from Fraser House, Neville spoke of strongly provoking people sitting either side of a catatonic woman in Big Group. No one had seen this catatonic become involved in any interaction. Because of being provoked by Neville, these two people sitting either side of the catatonic started heatedly talking across her. She suddenly popped out of her catatonic state and started responding to one of them saying, ‘A similar thing to what is happening to you happened to me a long time ago!’ She then engaged the two of them in animated conversation. These other two were potently shifted by well knowing that she had been catatonic, and what that meant, and that her sudden return to reality somehow involved them. Neville’s process was resonant with Farrelly’s provocative therapy (Farrelly and Brandsma 1974).


Neville used his highly developed attending skills to sense the levels and shifts in ergotropic and trophotropic states and their implications and functionings, and how they may be sustaining problematic happenings, and then use his refined intuition to create shifts in levels as potential entry points for change. By Neville’s example, others learned how to ecologically and respectfully share understandings about tuning, retuning, reframing and anchoring ergotropic and trophotropic states and functionings - often without having detailed knowledge of what they were doing.  Warwick Bruen gave the example of one staff member who, upon finding a large number of patients who had become very agitated, with the very real possibility of the gathering turning to something approaching a lynch mob (something which was very rare in the Unit). To revisit this person’s intervention in Cultural Keyline terms, he was able to, in a few sentences and gestures to shift group ergotrophic arousal suddenly to a much lower level, and suddenly raise the trophotropic arousal. This was accompanied by a few seconds reframe of the meaning of the context from ‘mob vengeance’ to ‘experience how quickly we can change states’ and ‘see how can we as a group work through issues as a community to ensure well-being for individuals groups and the whole community, and ensure Fraser House’s continued existence’


Neville used very advanced therapeutic language patterns with all of the complexity of Dr. Milton Erikson’s way of working (Yeomans 1986; Hanlon 1987). Recall that in his 1986 video interview on Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) Neville said that NLP had made explicit the various patterns and processes used by effective change enablers and that understanding these patterns had enabled Neville to fine tune his own intuitions and enabled him to act with increased precision and succinctness. Milton Erikson pointed out, the things that dysfunctional people do are typically the best they can (Grinder, De Lozier et al. 1977; Hanlon 1987). Anything they do uses their resources. Similarly Neville added to people’s resources; he did not take them away. Resources were jumping off points for emergence.


To give some other examples of Neville’s Way of enabling psychobiological systems, Neville would play with combinations of logical-verbal and analogical-metaphorical ways of information exchange so as to optimize left and right cerebral hemisphere integration for creative problem solving in specific situations. He may usefully engage the fronto-limbic system (idea-emotion interaction and synthesis) of a youth in a quandary about life goals. He would work out ways to use a person’s mind and trophotropic system to help an exhausted immune system to take a short recovery break, or mobilize itself and the wider defensive-healing-well-being processes. He would interrupt an ergotropic system that is locked on high gear following trauma with the result that the person is ‘full on,’ but ‘exhausted’.  Neville would use advanced therapeutic language skills (Bandler, Grinder et al. 1975; Bandler and Grinder 1975; Grinder, De Lozier et al. 1977; Bandler, Grinder et al. 1979; Bandler 1984; Hanlon 1987) to create mind links to neuro-peptides, the messengers between all systems, to heal in life threatening/disturbing contexts (Rossi 1985; Rossi 1986; Yeomans 1986; Pert 1999/02; Pert 2002).


He also made extensive use of therapeutic story telling as a way of shifting all aspects of a person, group and/or the Fraser House and other communities (Gordon 1978; Petford Working Group 1998; Spencer 1998; Petford Working Group 2000; Spencer 2000; Petford Working Group 2001; Spencer 2001).


He was also very adept at suddenly changing everyone’s ‘definition’ of what was going on so they were suddenly shifted sequentially through a series of differing states. As an example, Neville may make everyone confused, then angry, then very disturbed, then angry again with a different focus, then confused again, and then challenged, and then as one, have everyone rising to accept a big challenge, as in that case when he went berserk when he was taking holidays and the Department had arranged no replacement for him. In group contexts, Neville typically set up a group mood that attuned (stimmung) – a psychosocial synchrony through contagion. Neville knew that adaptive systems tend to stay far from equilibrium. Neville would strategically provoke the Fraser House systems into further disequilibrium to create potential energy for the emergence of functional adaptive responses.


Neville knew that living systems can reach a point, called in complexity theory, a bifurcation point, where there can be a sudden system negentropy (the opposite of entropy) leading to the potential and emergence of sudden whole system transcending transition to higher and more unpredictable complexity and improved performance (Capra 1997, p. 167). In the ‘Neville going berserk’ example, staff outpatients and patients alike were all having many learnings (with different learnings for different people), gaining mindbody flexibility and the capacity to make good group and individual decisions on the run. Notice how all of this is resonant with what Neville and his father did on their farms. They worked with any and every interlinked aspect of the web of life on the farm. Any part of the complexity of the farm was an entry point for change. Recall that Maturana had written that we are, ‘members of an evolutionary trend centered around the conservation of the biology of love and the expansion of intelligence. Love is the grounding of our existence as humans, and is the basic emotioning in our systemic identity as human beings.’ Resonant with the use of free energy in the Yeomans’ farm work, Neville saw love as a fundamental source of free energy. Zuzenka Kutena, a colleague of mine told me of having a philosophical discussion with a nine-year-old Maori youth who told Zuzenka that he - and all life - ‘is born of love of Mother Earth and Father Sky’. Contrast this with the paranoia, the fear, and the tension of people who see the Earth as unforgiving and needing to be dominated and subdued.


Neville spoke of Maturana’s ideas being resonant with the epochal transition processes Neville was exploring, especially the following Maturana quote:


‘Furthermore, we shall remain humans of the kind Homo sapiens amans, only as long as love remains as the central emotion in the systemic conservation of our particular human identity as such, so that we do not become Homo sapiens aggressans through the conservation of living in aggression.’


All of Neville’s varied social actions were fostering, enabling and evolving loving, caring, human identities towards an epoch sustaining in Maturana’s terms, Homo sapiens amans – loving people.


 For all of the richness, complexity, and subtlety of Neville’s Way, he was a minimalist. If he could achieve something with a glance, a raised eyebrow or one word, he would. Often so small an intervention was all that was required. If he could have someone else do the briefest enabling intervention, he would. When I was present with Neville when he was enabling groups, his presence would be hardly noticed. While Neville had such a rich background of experience and resources he would scan a presenting context with internal silence. He would scan the macro and intervene with the micro. He would scan for what Feldenkrais called, ‘the difference that makes the difference’ (Feldenkrais 1972; Feldenkrais 1981; Feldenkrais 1990). Recall that with the man stabbing the wall, all Neville said was, ‘Jab the wife!’ Those staffers had little in that remark to make sense of exactly what Neville did, and how he came up with what to do, and yet saying that remark twice immediately led to such a strategic breakthrough with both the wife and the husband and their relationship. There was further rollout of consequences for everyone in Fraser House, as the ‘village’ grapevine told and retold what had happened. The staffers that held the injections in that upstairs dorm context did not have access to the material in these first six Chapters to assist in specifying Neville’s Way - as an aid to making sense of Neville’s process and neither did Alfred Clark and his External Research Team. I borrow the Ancient Jewish Prophet Isaiah’s words which are resonant, ‘By hearing, you will hear but by no means get the sense of it; and, looking, you will look but by no means see’ (Isaiah 1980, Chp.6 , V. 9 - 10). For the staff, Neville’s behavior had a ‘magical quality’. Neville, as far as I have determined, did not specify his Way and in all probability had not specified his Way clearly in his own mind till after he had left Fraser House. It was more of the implied, ‘take from me what you will’; and it appears that staff and patients alike took on many of Neville’s Ways without insight as what they were doing. Recall that after eighteen months from setting up Fraser House, Neville could take extended leave for nine months and the Unit ran well without him.


Stephanie Yeomans (Neville’s sister-in-law) reckoned that Neville possibly was not aware that he had been connecting and adapting Keyline to Fraser House till after he left Fraser House. Neville had told me that any time he was doing something it would be accompanied with a ‘this feels right’ feeling. If there were an absence of this feeling, or a ‘this does not feel right’ feeling, he would reconsider action. In acting following his ‘feels right’ ecology check Neville would check outcomes and alter course if needed just as the Yteomans had monitored the ‘nature of things on the farm.


As a further hint of Neville’s Way, Stephanie Yeomans recalled a time when she was on duty in the Reception Center of North Ryde Hospital (where Fraser House was situated). There was a new arrival – a Vietnam veteran who had gone berserk in a public place. He had been brought in struggling by police and was immediately locked in a high security cell. Because of his violence, staff had had no chance to sedate him. None of the staff in the Reception Center wanted to go into the holding cell as the veteran was yelling in an extremely agitated fashion that he would kill anyone who came near him. Neville was on a roster to be psychiatrist at the Reception Center. Neville was called to see this Veteran. Upon arrival he heard the commotion, sized up the context and without hesitation opened the door of the Vietnam veteran’s holding cell and went in and locked the door behind him. Immediately all was quiet. Stephanie moved to the peephole and saw the Neville and the Veteran quietly chatting. Within a short time Neville brought the veteran out and the veteran was cooperative with staff. Every fiber of Neville’s being was an instant rapport based pattern interrupt for this veteran, leading to emotional corrective experience. This will be discussed later.


Stephanie and Margaret Cockett were continually at Neville to write more on theory and process. Neville never found time as he was always involved in social action research. Given this, Neville’s research and writing output was extensive (refer Appendices 7 to 10). He always did things on the run. Typically, Neville did not read books in detail and slavishly copy. Rather he would pick up one or more ideas and immediately have others apply them. The community may apply it, modify it, adapt it, extend it and link it into other aspects of what was going on. If it worked it was used. If it had ‘wrinkles’, these may be smoothed out. If it did not work it was dropped.


Recall that when I asked Neville in December 1993 to talk about what he meant by the term ‘Cultural Keyline’, he said I already knew all about it and he quickly changed the subject. It was very clear that he deemed this topic a waste of time and that he meant what he said. However, I had asked because I had no idea what he meant by this term. Neville knew that I understood at a preverbal level as I apparently regularly used Cultural Keyline. Similarly, I suspect Neville himself may have been doing ‘Cultural Keyline in Fraser House for a time without knowing it cognitively. During 2002 discussions Stephanie Yeomans said that Neville was so busy in his Fraser House days that she suspected that he gave little time to reflecting on making any sense of his Way and process.


Neville’s Way was inherently interactive and constantly molded by the unfolding context; it was between him and others in the specific context. It was pervasively a connexity Way. It was a Way that was inter-dependent, inter-related, inter-connected and interwoven with the unfolding context, place and people. Neville’s Way excluded attending to the Way. Attending to the Way would interrupt using the Way. The Way was so multilayered; so many things were happening simultaneously, that to attempt to cognitively engage with the Way would collapse attending to the external unfolding moment and result in overload and overwhelm. This is typically what most people regularly do. We flow with social contexts. Words just ‘roll out’. However, with the complexity of what Neville was always doing, staying with the flow was fundamental to his Way. For Neville, what was happening was a constant feedback loop from the presenting context. His emotions and ‘gut feel’ would guide Neville on what to do next. His spontaneous next moment action would emerge out of his ‘Kennen’ – relational knowing (Pelz 1974, 80-83).  Neville’s Way of knowing was resonant with the German concept of Verstehen (Dilthey 1961).


There is resonance with Neville’s Fraser House Way in Lovelock’s (Lovelock 1979; Lovelock 1991) positive and negative feedback loops, with the positive seen as amplification and the negative as regulation (norms). In different examples we have seen Neville amplifying some community process, such as when he ‘went berserk’. Another example was when Neville amplified the theme ‘sexual behavior’ in the blue scrotum incident. Each time the amplification was tempered with ‘regulation’ and normative constraints. Note that all manner of things were amplified not just ‘the good’. Loveloch pointed out that unrestrained amplification without regulation tends to be non-adaptive. For example, unrestrained population growth of a very effective hunting species may extinguish the very resources they need to survive.


While Neville looked for the free energy, he at times ecologically amplified the problematic as in the incident where he said, ‘Jab the wife’. He amplified her previously hidden dysfunction. Another resonant theme is Steven Wolfram’s (Wolfram 2002) ‘complexity may emerge from simple rules’. Wolfram found that by putting simple rules into a computer program, very complex patterns may emerge. Simple rules under-pinning complexity is wide spread in nature. Neville and the Fraser House staff/community had a few simple ‘rules’ that resulted in a complex of interconnected process towards functional change. Some examples of the rules used:


You can only stay three months, so get on with your change.

No madness or badness here.

Bring it up in the group

Patients together decide the rules

Here everyone has an equal voice


Some aspects of  Cultural Keyline process in action are specified in Figure 4:


·         Attending to the emergent features of the local places and spaces

·         Interacting with each person as a self-organizing living system

·         Interacting with the Fraser House community as a living system

·         Interacting with the surrounding locality as a living system

·         Enabling cultural locality

·         Enabling self-help and mutual-help

·         Enabling others to tap into their own resources

·         Provoking shifts in others psychobiology while also working psychosocially

·         Engaging simultaneously in multiple change processes


Figure 4 Some aspects of Cultural Keyline Process in Action


Notice how Neville simultaneously used each of the above aspects of Cultural Keyline in the following example, a story that Margaret Cockett told me about Neville’s Way of supporting mutual-help. Shortly after arriving at Fraser House as anthropologist, psychologist, internal researcher, and personal assistant to Neville, Margaret found that she was getting little help from the nurses in data gathering and one day was reduced to tears when she failed to get some information requested by Neville. She would have ‘gone to bat’ herself if it was her own research. Because Neville had requested the information, she went to Neville in tears saying she was getting no cooperation from the nurses. Neville jumped up and demanded Margaret go with him despite the nurses been in a ‘nurses meeting’. At one stage Neville literally had Margaret by the ear! He burst into the meeting room with a grand flurry dragging the crying Margaret and yelled at the nurses, words to the effect that, ‘For some reason which I do not want to know about, you are not cooperating with Margaret, who has been requested by me to obtain information - so stop whatever you are currently discussing and sort this out with Margaret - now! And I do not want to know reasons. I want the information I originally requested from Margaret.’ He then stormed out. The nurses were quite taken back with all this and were surprised that they had reduced Margaret to tears. It emerged that the central thing was that the nurses had no private space in Fraser House except their brief stays on the toilet. Margaret had an office and she could shut the door.


This situation built up resentment and the nurses had felt they could balance their resentment by making life difficult for Margaret through non-cooperation. When this was brought out in the ensuing discussion it was quickly resolved as been inappropriate behavior on the nurses part. Margaret could understand their view of things. She asked if any had any research interests and found that a number did have. Margaret subsequently followed up with these and a number of research projects got under way. Margaret obtained the information requested by Neville and passed this to him directly that afternoon as Neville had asked As requested, she did not tell Neville the reasons for the nurses’ prior behavior. He did not need to know. Neville would not have permitted Margaret to tell him even if she had tried to do so. Matters were resolved. People gained wellbeing skills. Research potential was extended, and nurses became involved in research projects. Neville had used each of the nine aspects of Cultural Keyline mentioned above.


Neville relentlessly used this, ‘I do not need to know’ mode with me throughout all my relating with him on Laceweb praxis and this research.  His interrupt was, ‘What are you telling me this for!! I do not need to know!!’ Soon I learned to identify what was crucial for him to know and if I was in the least bit unsure, I would ask if he wanted to know about topic X, succinctly specifying it at a general level. He also insisted that I never send anything to him in writing without first checking with him whether he wanted it. After a time I also knew what to not to suggest to him. This rigor in keeping his mind and life free of ‘clutter’ was probably a contributing factor in him getting so much done in his life.



This Chapter introduced the body’s ergotropic and trophotropic systems and their link to other mindbody systems. It then discussed and gave examples of how Neville enabled adaptive change in psychobiological and psychosocial systems and enabled the community to work with these systems within and between people towards greater thriving by using anchoring, framing, reframing, tuning, retuning and driving. Some parallels were drawn between the way Neville worked with Cultural Keyline and Keyline. This Chapter has also detailed some aspects of Neville’s adaptation of Keyline to Cultural Keyline.





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