Updated 14th Nov 2019




Mutual Help Groups and

Peer to Peer Support Groups



Practical Wisdom - Practical Action






'Praxis' and 'Phronesis' are Greek terms describing practical wisdom (phronesis) and practical action (praxis). These Greek words were used by Aristotle and other ancient Greek philosophers.



A Resource Evolved by a

Collective of Mutual Help Groups

in Australia



Acknowledging. 4

Mutual Help Groups Pioneer Dr. Neville Yeomans. 5

A Response to those who Dismiss Mutual Help. 5

Practical Wisdom - Practical Action.. 6

Using this Resource. 8

Remaining Practical 9

The Format 10

Twenty Three Guiding Principles: 11

Respecting Connecting and Relating. 11

Centrality of Community. 15

Importance of Place and Meeting Place. 18

Securing a Venue. 21

Increasing Folk Participating. 24

Healing Group Processes. 25

Developing and Sharing Our Own Story. 26

Social and Cultural Exchange. 28

Accessing and Sharing Resources. 31

Learning Community. 33

Expanding the Experience Envelope. 35

Practical Life Wisdom... 38

The Functional in Context 40

Transforming through Experiencing Respectful Connecting and Relating to     Self and Others. 42

Focusing on Shared Strengths. 45

Weaving it all Together 47

Layering and Stacking and Weaving Our Experiences Together 49

Compounding Impact 50

Ecologically Opening Up to the Outside. 52

Emerging Adapting and Transforming. 54

Creating a Point of Difference. 56

Preventing Pathological Co-Optation.. 58

Community of Communities. 61

Symbols. 64

A Partial List of Mutual Help Groups from the 1970s – Foci and Loci 67

Attachment Two - Theory and Practical Action.. 70















We acknowledge the Traditional Owners of country throughout Australia and recognise their continuing connecting to land, waters and culture. We respect their Elders past, present, and emerging. We also acknowledge and are being influenced by long traditions of the life way of Australia’s indigenous folk and their connecting and relating well with the land while mutually and holistically helping and supporting each other within community for wellness and sustainability,


We specifically acknowledge indigenous folk of the East Coast, the Centre and across the Top End of Australia and Islands whose wisdom and artistry have informed and help form this Mutuality Resource. We also acknowledge the thousands of resonant common folk who have linked into and enriched practical action for wellness through their practical wisdom in practical action since the late 1950s - as reflected in 120 references in this Resource.



              Mutual Help Groups Pioneer Dr. Neville Yeomans




Neville Yeomans (1927 – 2000) was a pioneer of mutual help groups, peer to peer groups, and self help groups in Australia. His pioneering work in therapeutic community is internationally recognised http://www.tc-of.org.uk/index.php?title=Therapeutic_Community_Pioneers.


Neville’s lifework looms large in this Resource. With his father P.A. Yeomans, Neville and his brothers pioneered Keyline Agriculture processes supporting nature to thrive. Later Neville adapted these understandings and ways for supporting human nature to thrive. Both Neville and his father were influenced by indigenous ways.


In keeping with the focus on mutuality, Neville and his father are the only two mentioned by name in this Resource.


Neville used and fostered practical wisdom and practical action in his life work. This was informed by extensive academic studies including anthropology, biology, community psychiatry (non drug), humanitarian law, psychology, sociology, and zoology, Neville was a key energiser of a new form of social movement called by some laceweb.




Archive                  www.laceweb.org.au, 

Neville’s Obituary  www.laceweb.org.au/ob.htm.

Interfacing             www.laceweb.org.au/iac.pdf

Bio-mimicry           www.laceweb.org.au/Fraser%2002.mp3;

Handling Criticism www.youtube.com/watch?v=YfCR6Y5ZgAg&feature=youtu.be



A Response to those who Dismiss Mutual Help


Disconnecting from self and others and the absence of relating tends to lead to disintegrating and decline. Interrupting the foregoing by respectfully reconnecting and relating well with self and others has one transforming to be integrated (having integrity) and growing well again - the practical benefits of sociability.




Practical Wisdom - Practical Action

This Resource is about how to implement personal and communal differences that make a difference towards wellness. The practical wisdom in action outlined in this Resource has been especially evolved by common folk over the past sixty years. They changed from living messed up lives to living well with others. The words ‘well’, ‘wellness’, and ‘wellbeing' are used for the experience of wellness in the illness-wellness continuum. ‘Well-being’ is holistic and embraces all forms of wellness including communal, cultural, economic, emotional, environmental, habitat, intercultural, mindbody, psycho-social, social, and spiritual well-being. The words ‘heal’ and ‘healing’ refer to making whole again in an integrated way. A feature of this mutuality is that nothing happens unless local folk want it to happen and are involved in using their own practical wisdom, local knowledge, and action in making it happen. Often, one or more self starters initiate action No one does things for them. The do it all themselves. Typically, actions start out tentatively. Everything is evolving as it gets under way. Practical action is being guided by local context. What goes to make up local wellness may vary considerably between differing cultures, communities and people.

Australia has a history (referred to extensively throughout this document) of mutual help, peer to peer support and self help groups. There is also the early experience of cooperative friendly mutualism. This proud tradition has also emerged out of eighteenth century self-sufficiency and make-do among the common folk of the Australian bush and the ‘she’ll be right’ mateship born of a good yarn around a fire of the early pioneers. It also fits alongside the bush mechanic traditions of creatively making functional things for yourself out of what’s available in the bush. Importantly, the history of mutually helping each other in community has been informed by thousands of years of social cohesion ways for sustaining wellness among indigenous communities of this ancient land. They mimicked the ebb and flow and weaving in nature. They celebrated land and sacred places. Some connected to mutual help way have also been drawing upon world-wide indigenous discourses on global futures. This Resource embraces potential for evolving varied sustainable present and future wellness realities for planet Earth and all that dwell hereon. Refer:


The Fastest Growing New Social Movement on the Planet                         


Precursors to New Social Movements


Free Energy 


Walking and Free Energy 



This Resource may make much more sense when revisited a few times, and after increasing shared community awareness within mutual help groups, and after communally reviewing practical activity during groups; activity such as the prevailing mood, use of theme, values displayed, the nature of interaction, the leader role, and ways and processes used that work well.

In contrast to mutual help:


o   what is known by the term ‘therapeutic community’ is typically happening within a service delivery framework whereby professionals and para-professionals do things to others who are their clients, and have continuity of income as a key forming, framing and pre-occupying focus. In contrast, mutual help and self help is common folk doing things for ourselves, and has our own wellness as a transforming focus


o   therapy does things to and for people and focuses on what’s not working and the stuck energy in order to diagnose and prescribe an intervention done by the therapist to a person as client (implying ‘you can’t, and we can’); and therapeutic community focuses on what’s not right and returning client consumers of their services to being ‘normal’. which is hardly ‘living’ (being normal is not a thriving state on the wellness continuum) or attempts to sustain ‘community as method’ while combining the two very different processes and paradigms of ‘mutual help’ and ‘service delivery’


o   some therapeutic communities stress that the early meaning of ‘thera’ in Greek was being a servant or attendant of others


o   mutual-help and self-help focuses on supporting each other to wellness and has wellness as an outcome and looks for what’s working well moment-to-moment and adds to this.


o   Self Help Action


o   Recognising and Evolving Local-lateral Links between Various Support Processes


o   Countries where Common Folk are Linking to Laceweb:




A strategically located nodal natural nurturer in SE Asia observed that weaving the insights from deep reflecting upon the following two resources gave her an immense appreciation of Laceweb Way and its fitting with the intercultural ways of the Region: www.laceweb.org.au/soc.hm and www.laceweb.org.au/hgp.htm


Using this Resource


This resource may be used in a number of ways. Twenty seven ways are outlined below – refer The Art of Seeing - Interpreting from Multiple Perspectives. www.laceweb.org.au/imp.htm

o   as an interesting read

o   as a guide for finding and collaborating with others in forming a mutual help group

o   as guide for evolving and extending our own exemplar project

o   as a place to scan the contents for specifics

o   as a reference detailing twenty three specific ideas, principles and ways

o   as source of practical examples of ideas and ways that work

o   as a resource for enriching the collaborating in practical action by common folk

o   as a resource for specific theme-based content

o   as ideas for adapting ways that work in practical action

o   as a guide for using images and symbols

o   as a template for reflecting upon our own mutual help group’s way

o   as resource for extending healing ways

o   as a guide to evolve aspects of our own way

o   as a means to explore the creating of new social realities

o   as inspiration for wider practical action

o   as a deep pool of practical wisdom

o   as a resource for collaborating in forming gathering celebrations and collectives of mutual help groups

o   as a way for evolving and enriching the Way – refer page 5 www.laceweb.org.au/btw.pdf

o   as consciousness-raising in perceiving, recognising, realising, adapting, and applying the practical wisdom based practical action of the folkCommons refer:




o   as a place to find exemplars and internet links for wider research

o   as guide for recognising and avoiding impediments to mutual help way

o   as a guide to identifying the socially ecological nature of mutual help compared with dysfunctional mutuality, for example, the mutuality of dysfunctional containment

o   as a prompt regarding the significance of theme for inducing group coherence

o   as scope to expand the words used during connecting and relating – checking dictionaries and the meaning of words like ‘induce’ and ‘coherence’; refer


o   as impetus to tap the potentials in the group

o   as a reference resource for deep study and reflection

o   as a guide to consciousness-raising and realising more about how to participate with others in social weaving for transforming social realities as group members playing our part in changing and transforming our world


Remaining Practical


This Resource keeps things simple. It stays away from theory. It remains practical. It provides many glimpses of mutual help groups that work. It also provides examples of peer to peer groups that have participants changing to being very well.


The content focuses on practical wisdom applied in practical action. In this context ‘practical’ means actually doing or using what has potential to work well or that has been demonstrated to work well in similar contexts; that is, being effective in real circumstances. Practical actions are feasible, practicable, possible, realistic, viable, and workable. The focus is on doing behaviours that turn out to be very simple to learn to do. And we find that increases confidence. These behaviours sustain core healthy essential aspects that are the essence of our selves.


These behaviours involve:


o   our being spontaneously in the flow of the present moment

o   being aware

o   and being empowered through this

o   being comfortable in experiencing the feeling of loving of our self and others

o   being informed by the above action

o   adding to our actions those aspects that work


These behaviours involve our being transformed by the above practical action


And the above involves connecting and relating well with self and others.




This Resource focuses the group on the loop on the bottom left coloured mauve in Attachment Two of this resource - namely, being:


o   Spontaneous

o   In the present

o   Aware

o   Empowered

o   Loving

o   Using informed action

.Our engaging interrupts:


o   repeatedly re-experiencing past hurt and oppression

o   behaviours sustaining maladaptive responses

o   talking about theory and theoretic wisdom that takes away from the present moment


The above sustains pathology. It puts folk into the maladaptive loop depicted in the diagram in Attachment Two.


The Format

The following format is used for each of the twenty three themes





Folk Wisdom Sayings

Essence of the Idea / Principle 

A Practical Example  

A Defining Exemplar - where ‘exemplar’ means a person or thing serving as an ideal pattern to be copied, imitated or adapted  

A Laceweb link

A Website Link 

This is an evolving Resource and some aspects have not been completed.

We welcome brief half page notes of what works. Use the brevity of this Resource as a guide. Send via email at start of the Laceweb Archive www.laceweb.org.au or tcenablers@gmail.com


Twenty Three Guiding Principles:

Respecting Connecting and Relating





It’s typical to focus on the lines, though rich understand lies contained by the lines and in the spaces between. And these lines are juxtaposed or lying near each other – with what implications? We may begin seeing connexional and relational forces affecting and moving these systems – say mother-child and grandparents, parents and children - and that they are aligned in their flow and we may begin seeing patterns that connect outside linear time and be bringing those patterns into linear time for transforming potential





Alignment of potential energy


Folk Wisdom


o   as we are forming our mutual help groups, our mutual help groups are re-forming us – the social creating, weaving, and re-weaving of social realities and social identities

o   marks in the sand – laden with implications and significance for those with eyes that see

o   there are patterns that connect in both the natural life world and the social life world

o   /seeing the dynamic potential energy in the seemingly static and the dynamic in inertia

o   inter-generational respecting, connecting, relating, re-creating, and transforming, is the heart and energy of the way of the way - central to and paramount within and between

o   relational forces that connect and effect in the spaces between

o   moving possibilities and action potentials in and between strange attractors; refer: www.laceweb.org.au/nlp.htm#emerg

o   respecting is aligned with caring, nurturing values, and mutually forming protocols and ways, as well as times and places for approaching and boundary setting

o   our evolving way of being is integral to our way of relating in the world and in ourselves

o   form and reforming embodies time and circumstance

o   on earth nothing can be known or even exist unless it is in relation with other things

o   we exist to form relationships and be relating

o   by functional respectful connecting and having inner and outer engaging sharing conversations recognising and respecting difference as well as similarities we transform to being more connected to ourselves as well as to others and relating better with ourselves and others

o   relationships presuppose connecting

o   relationships are paramount in transmitting knowledge and enriching understanding

o   attuning till resonating

o   the onlooker sees most of the game

o   practical reason investigates what we can change and aims at making good choices.

o   exploring contexts for human flourishing

o   the waters of river and sea ebb and flow in estuaries; the translucent green of the salt water sends back the brown water of the land, and then, after a time recedes; likewise there is the rhythm of contact and withdrawal, of coping and withdrawal, of experiencing and sensing ok, then withdrawing into oneself; we flow outwards into the world and withdraw into ourselves, engage and reflect; this is the basic rhythm of life, as is the pattern in breathing, and through all of this, increasing joy in connecting and relating with others and self. So, go on with this rhythm of life






Indigenous women from remote areas of Australia including Torres Strait Islands gathered together at Lake Tinaroo on the Atherton Tablelands in June 1994 to connect relate and share story and way at the Small Island Coastal and Estuarine People Gathering Celebration. Note the place-based nature of the attendees’ homelands. They all knew about both ebb and flow and weaving and the way these are respectfully woven into connecting and relating.



Generating exemplar projects in demonstrating that a better world is possible; for example, a relational mediating theme-based gathering of mutual help groups occurred in 1993 at Lake Tinaroo near Atherton on the Atherton Tablelands in Queensland, Australia. This gathering was hosted by local aboriginal and islander women. A number of Aboriginal nurturer women travelled across 3,159 kilometres from Yirrkala, in Northern Territory as well as from other remote communities in the Top End and participated in co-learning co-liberating at this Gathering.

The gentleness of sub themes:


Thursday 26th April:


o   family friendship

o   harmonious decisions, and

o   domestic bliss


Friday 27th April was International Dispute Resolution Day (linking the gathering with regional and global outlooking):


o   dissolving disputes

o   night feast: delicious differences, dancing dreaming music



Reference: Lake Tinaroo Mediation Gathering



Essence of the Idea / Principle


The phenomenal experiencing of connecting:

o   place

o   space

o   enabling environments (www.laceweb.org.au/nlp.htm#enev)

o   locality

o   proximity

o   in circle

o   in small group

o   in threes

o   in pairs 

o   context

o   attuning

o   tendency to match in multiple ways

o   rapport - all senses staying in the here and now present
(staying in uptime)

o   attending in uptime

o   listening with internal silence (no head chatter)


Healing Group Process


Attending Listening and Remembering



A Website Link


Report on the Lake Tinaroo Small Island Gathering – Internet reference







Centrality of Community


Folk Wisdom

o   respecting, connecting, and relating sustaining community

o   community (of a very particular kind) as method and way for wellness

o   unity in difference

o   the wisdom is in the group – this will make sense when you start experiencing the group strangely and repeatedly coming up with exquisite ways that entail what no one or more in the group could or would normally come up with

o   it takes a village to raise a child

o   good to have a shoulder to cry on

o   many hands make light work

o   wider community as extending extended-family-friendship-acquaintance  networking

o   a new broom sweeps clean but an old broom knows the corners  

o   we are all in the same boat

o   put yourself in another’s shoes

o   walk a mile in my shoes

o   kindred spirits recognize each other

o   The significance of certain friends in uncertain times


Two poems by Neville Yeomans:


the way




the Way

Rounded Rectangle: ...folk who believe in coming together
an inflow of alternative human energy
a nexus of folk’s values, feelings, ideas, and actions

a connexion of persons and values
and these values are spiritual, moral, and ethical, as well as humane, beautiful, loving, and happy
Rounded Rectangle: connecting
Rounded Rectangle: relating











The local Kinglake community survivors of the 2009 fire-storm came together as Community with a capital ‘C’ being fully deeply present to each other in providing emotional, physical, psychological, and practical support.


Other instances:


o   sharing story while gathering bush food – a way continued for 1,000s of years

o   helping our caravan park temporary neighbours at 3am when the wind partially collapses their annexes

o   every small town member keeping an eye on the youngsters walking to and from school and friends’ places

o   40,000 plus year old stories about respect for community, instilling compassion in the young boys, and the community significance of weaving and ebb and flow




Neville Yeomans, with his wife Lien and others formed Mingles as a mutual help group that evolved to have an expanded role in forming a Mutual Help Collective of Mutual Help Groups (with differing foci and loci – refer Attachment list). Action was located around the suburbs of Paddington and Bondi Junction in Sydney, NSW in the late 1960s. It evolved into a vibrant intercultural community of communities; a collectivity of mutual help groups that, as the name suggests, mingled together in celebratory feasting and dining and sharing of good times. Mingles intentionally villaged the city - creating a small village atmosphere where everyone knows everyone and cares for everyone and no one has to be alone for Christmas dinner.


Mingles played a key role in launching the Paddington Festival in October 1969 from which evolved Paddington Markets, the iconic community market in Sydney that is vibrant to this day. Within Mingles, everyone involved had networks of friends and acquaintances that they could call upon in good times and hard times. Neville and his colleague Margaret networked among overseas university students from Africa and East Asia at the Universities of NSW and Sydney and many of these students became very active in Mingles making it an intercultural collective. Mingles held a formal long gown ball in Paddington Town Hall and had several hundred folk attending, including African and Asian students.

Essence of the Idea / Principle 

The importance of turning to one another and being with one another (rather than turning on one another), particularly in informal settings and bottom up common folk led deep listening and mutually supportive adaptive processes.








Mingles at ConFest – a Conference Festival Running Since 1976


mingles1  mingles2



A Significant Resource Outline for Evolving Enablers


Enablers support others to be more able in respectful connecting, relating, and other transforming towards wellness.


Refer Internet: Enabling Others to Engage in Self Help & Mutual-Help for Community Wellbeing




Importance of Place and Meeting Place






                                     A place of transforming potency


Folk Wisdom

o home is where the heart is

o just as a homemaker turns a house into a home, so place-makers turn a space into a place

o ‘let’s go back to our place’

o a place - a natural environment of significant evocative appeal

o a place - where energies converge

o space may be imbued with significance in the process of becoming a place - where folk evolve a mutual connexion to place and have memories of significant times shared there.

o place may be linked to a particular time so folk in a mutual help group know ‘the time and the place.’

o space can transform into a place for a designated period – ‘every Tuesday between 10am and 11am we reserve the back table at the coffee shop’

o creating novel syncretic (weaving differences for appreciating other) spaces where culture (ways of living), myth-making, and storytelling can be in dialogue with each other, inspiring new forms of artistic, social, communing, needs meeting and political re-cognising, languaging, interacting, re-identifying, re-forming, moving with others, re-balancing, resonating togetherness, mutual energising, and be-longing

o   place making  and creating locality where ‘locality’ means ‘connecting to place’

o   ‘cultural locality’ meaning ‘people connecting together connecting to place’

o   a keypoint in the local topography

Refer Keyline, Keypoint and Cultural Keyline, pages 477 - 483 in Whither Goeth the World of Human Futures:



Evolving, designing, and enriching places as enabling environments where people may enable each other (support to be more able) and provide helpful help.


o   www.laceweb.org.au/nlp.htm#enev

o   www.laceweb.org.au/nlp.htm#enab

o   www.laceweb.org.au/lcf.htm#enabling

o   www.laceweb.org.au/lcf.htm#helping

o   www.laceweb.org.au/lcf.htm#track


Place ‘markers’ are one or more things of symbolic significance that establish a particular frame for a context and/or indicate the boundaries of the place.


o   www.laceweb.org.au/nlp.htm#fram

o   www.laceweb.org.au/lcf.htm#frame

o   www.laceweb.org.au/lcf.htm#bmak

o   www.laceweb.org.au/lcf.htm#bmark


Some use the presence of an object (e.g. a small carved wooden mouse) to signify now we have, for a time, left the reality of everyday life and entered the context of the mutual help reality.





The local good vibe cafe where people regularly catch up with mutual friends


o   www.laceweb.org.au/lcf.htm#place

o   www.laceweb.org.au/lcf.htm#placebe


The little community hall that survived the Kinglake firestorm became the special place in the burnt black hills for the small group of women to regularly come together in their shared grief and emotionally heal as they quietly knitted and crocheted together.

Essence of the Idea / Principle

Mutual-help and peer support groups having foci and loci with links to placemaking, evolving locality (connection to place), and evolving cultural locality - folk connecting together connecting to place.


A significant insight from Australian Indigenous communities – whenever mental strife appears in the community, immediately have community members gathering together and exploring themes conducive to coherence, exploring together the body mind emotion and spirit of this place. Using all forms of wellness artistry.

A Website Link

An example is evolving a short term place and cultural locality at beautiful Lake Tinaroo near the rainforest on the Atherton Tablelands in Far North Queensland – a place used a number of times:

Lake Tinaroo Mediation Gathering


Report to the United Nations Human Rights Commission on the Small Island Gathering Celebration (this Commission provided non-compromising funding for the Gathering Celebration).


Securing a Venue



Folk Wisdom Sayings 

o   Knowing and re-experiencing moving well on the way to the meeting place and returning from the meeting place have a gentle potency in embodying the transforming; something in the way we move. Refer Walking and Free Energy 


o   Spotting differences that make a difference and spotting the illusive obvious

Essence of the Idea / Principle 

Locating and/or evolving places to meet, for example, in coffee shops (for the price of a coffee), and in people’s homes and in parks. The thirty mutual help groups in the 1960s and 1970s all thrived on their OWN resources - bringing food to share leads to abundance. They made do.

A Practical Example


A clear space above a disused shop at 245 Broadway on the edge of the business district in Sydney was rented for a very low rate and used for 18 months by mutual help groups. After a full day of experiences at 245 Broadway a few of us who played bluegrass music entertained ourselves for 45 minutes beside an open window. When we came downstairs to go for dinner, 40 people had been sitting on the footpath listening to our blue grass and hoping to get in to what they thought was a fabulous new venue.

Neville copied this use of low cost/no cost use of hard-to-lease space in gaining free access for mutual help groups to un-rentable shops in a small mall in Rapid Creek in  Darwin in the Northern Territory when a large shopping centre opened nearby (hint: look for these kinds of contexts). Another ideal feature was Darwin’s oldest intercultural community market was still at this little shopping complex on a Saturday morning and early afternoon, making it a natural place to network

Refer - The Rapid Creek Village Project


Neville used his home in Yungaburra on the Atherton Tablelands in Queensland to hold mutual help groups with names like Mediation Matters, Nexus Groups, Inma Nelps, and UN Inma, (refer Attachment A)


                                      The Yungaburra house in 1931

A Defining Exemplar 

During 1985 to 1989 around fifty folk from a close community of 150 would gather in Bondi Junction near Paddington Markets at Neville’s house where the mutual help group Mingles had held gatherings during 1969 and 1971. There was a grapevine covered courtyard out the back, a large community space and small rooms to move off into smaller groups, and an ideal space for sitting on the floor type feasting for 50 people. Neville bought the place with all of this in mind.


                                       Neville’s Bondi Junction House




Mutual Help Groups were also held at Neville’s house called INMA at Edgehill in North Cairns, Queensland in the 1970s - including Mingles style feasting for wellness networking and/or favours from people who could provide resources and venues.

A Laceweb link

Evolving a Dispersed Urban Wellbeing Community


A Website Link 

Archive:  www.laceweb.org.au


Increasing Folk Participating



Enabler finds Natural Nurturers       Pass three ways to each and have them share  

                                                               and in so doing adapting ways to local contexts                                                


                      They begin to locate other natural nurturers


Folk Wisdom Sayings 

o   natural nurturers’, people who are naturally good and nurturing others

o   significance is in what’s flowing between the gaps

o   here’s a way that works; pass it on and use or adapt it if you will

o   What is round goes around

Essence of the Idea / Principle 

Evolving participant numbers - finding natural nurturers and raising their consciousness about their own currently little used practical wisdom; evolving relational connections and supporting them to be more able to support others and evolving natural nurturer networks www.laceweb.org.au/soc.htm

1990. An Example of Enabling Indigenous Wellbeing


Practical Examples

In the 1990s a number of mutual help groups with differing foci and a shared loci had a shared focus in re-habilitating Rapid Creek in Darwin, Australia.


1991. The Rapid Creek Village Project


Jan 1994. One Fortnight’s Laceweb Action in the Atherton Tablelands


A Defining Exemplar

During 2002 and 2005 capacity was made available to seek natural nurturers and networks of natural nurturers throughout SE Asia Oceania. Natural nurturers were found and linked into existing natural nurturer networks and mutual help Groups and collectives of mutual help groups in the Region. Guides to this practical action and outcomes may be found in the following links:

Laceweb Links 

Evolving Natural Nurturer Networks, pages 792 - 814



Healing Group Processes



News Letter - Page 3



Newsletter Page 5. Exploring Possibilities, Interface and Evolution.



Newsletter Page 1



A Website link




Evolving Transforming Relational Networks



Developing and Sharing Our Own Story




Image result for Aboriginal storytelling


Folk Wisdom Sayings

o   inside each of us is a natural-born storyteller waiting to be released

o   we are all storytellers

o   we all live in a network of stories

o   in Australia the term yarn means to talk in a friendly way and spun thread used for knitting, weaving, or sewing.

o   there isn’t a stronger connection between people than storytelling

o   storytelling is the most powerful way to put ideas into the world

o   there’s always room for a story that can transport others to another place

o   stories create community, enable us to see through the eyes of other people, and open us to the claims of others

o   telling your story and listening to you self in the re-making


Essence of the Idea / Principle 

Setting in place multiple woven aspects for maintaining practice and legitimizing action (keeping all your stories of bits that worked well, passing these on to others who may use or adapt ways to their own culture, context and locality); obtaining endorsements, finding allies who’ll back you, having a local media presence etc,


A Practical Example

In Greek mythology Theseus was able to get out of the deadly Minotaur’s labyrinth by unrolling a ball of yarn so he could retrace his steps. In Middle English, such rolled-up yarn was called a clewe. Eventually, clew/clue took on the metaphorical meaning of something that will lead you to satisfactory outcomes.


A Defining Exemplar

Neville Yeomans encouraged the writing of a timeline of laceweb Mutual Help Action in the late 1980s.



A Laceweb link

Nurturing Community for Wellness - Legitimating Under Threat of Reality Breakdown - Pages 251 to 258



A Website Link 

Social and Cultural Exchange






Folk Wisdom Sayings 


o   our culture is our way of living together

o   it’s one thing to reveal your wisdom; it’s quite another thing altogether to reveal the wisdom in others

o   a thing of beauty is a joy forever

o   well begun is half done already

o   don't put all your eggs in one basket.

o   birds of a feather flock together

o   a half a loaf is better than no bread at all

o   don’t cross a bridge before you come to it

o   folk are known by the company they keep

o   you can't have an omelette unless you break the egg

o   we get on with our change-work

o   bring it up in the group

o   the bough that bears the most fruit hangs lowest

o   confidence begets confidence

o   collectively using practical wisdom in practical action


Essence of the Idea / Principle


We common folk navigate daily life through a universe of rapport – of relationship between people – embracing the beliefs, the preconceptions, and especially the learning from life experience that we all bring to bear on our own particular corner of the human condition. These commonsense capacities are part of the folkCommons – a term honouring the multitudinous occasions of insight, affect, and defect that we common folk bring to daily life: in parenting and growing up, caring for ourselves and each other; the aged, the disabled, and the demented; persisting with the love that brings flourishing and success, supporting neighbours visited by calamity, and joining friends and family in gathering celebrations of life thresholds. 


A Practical Example

At a 1993/94 new year’s eve party at Neville’s Yungaburra house most of the local children became involved in decorating the play space including placing fluoro whitener in white river sand as dance floor on the ground below the house (set up high on poles) so it looked spectacular under fluoro lights of an evening. During the day they formed what Neville called ‘FUNPO’ which stood for Fun Post Office; in symbolic energy terms Neville also was covertly referring to an organisation in The Hague in the Netherlands called UNPO meaning Unrepresented Nations and People Organisation (Unrepresented at the UN), such that Funpo referred, in this second sense, to Friends of UNPO. No mention of this second meaning was made to the children. The local woman in the post office would receive messages (without stamps) that the children sent each other care of Funpo, Yungaburra and she would pass them on. When the adults arrived that evening all of the beer was 1% alcohol so everyone stayed sober for the whole party. Key strategies were formed during the gathering for preparing for the Small Island Gathering Celebration during mid year.



Neville’s Yungaburra house 2001 where children prepared underneath


A Defining Exemplar

In 1999, a week-long intercultural healing gathering was arranged by a few mutual help groups in the Cairns Atherton Tablelands Region with the theme Sharing Our Ways for Sustaining Resilience and Wellness in the Aftermath of Disaster. Folk attended with lived experience of man-made and natural disasters in Bougainville, East Timor, West Papua, and Papua New Guinea. Also attending were Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, Anglos, Australian South Sea Islanders, Anglo-Germans, Brazilian, Hmong, Irish, Japanese, and North American Indian. Non compromising funding was provided from a NSW Foundation.


A Laceweb link

June-July, 2000. The Intercultural Trauma Healing Gatherings for the Sixth Anniversary of the July, 1994 Small Island Coastal and Estuarine People Gathering Celebration.



Website Links 

Regional Cooperation, Networking, and Consolidation of Resources.

pages 1 & 6:


All Coffee Break Conference



Accessing and Sharing Resources





Folk Wisdom Sayings


o   a burden shared is burden halved

o   aiming to be normal is nowhere near wellness on the illness-wellness continuum

o   interrupting being taut, exaggerating the tautness so you increase agency – you do the change, then you suddenly let go, and sense that, and learn by sensing difference between tautness – a major form of disconnect         - and letting go, and then consciously exercising agency (can do) with awareness in alternating between tensing and relaxing, and noticing the difference, and noticing it’s okay to let go; refer connecting:



Essence of the Idea / Principle 

Neville was very adept at transformational Interrupt. Refer:

The Upstairs Dorm: http://www.laceweb.org.au/Fraser%2007.mp3

Interrupting, pages 27-41. http://www.laceweb.org.au/btw.pdf

A Practical Example


In SE Asian disaster contexts where international aid organisations found only devastation and despair, those with mutual help perception found local knowing based competence, resilience, resourcefulness, alongside folkCommons practical wisdom in action in abundance.

Identifying Resilience in its many Forms.



Network Established in Cambodia, Oceania, Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam - Building Links in Indonesia and East Timor.



A Defining Exemplar


Mutual help Group ways leads to authentic empowering:



Laceweb link


Healing Ways Experiential Learning



Website Links


Micro Experiences for sharing healing ways


Learning Community




Intergenerational connecting                                                                        on the same resonating wave




               Signs and traces with implications


Folk Wisdom Sayings


o   in ripples, every peak involves a trough and a couple of turning points

o   bringing it up in the group is the potent in between

o   there’s a time to ebb and a time to flow

o   a time to sow and a time to reap

o   play and spontaneity is at the heart of the child in everyone - play to order is not play


Essence of the Idea / Principle 


Viable and vibrant practices within mutual help groups are often emergent phenomena and self organising aspects that just begin happening within social exchange, and that are particular to a specific, but evolving context and set of relationships; refer:

o   www.laceweb.org.au/nlp.htm#sel)

o   www.laceweb.org.au/nlp.htm#emergen

An opportunity exists in supporting a shared increase in a groups’ capacity to sense, experience and think dynamically, and become aware and apply and adapt practically useful emergent phenomena and reflect and act on change opportunities and pass on ways that work to others.


A Practical Example


The 1993 Lake Tinaroo relational mediation gathering celebration of members of mutual help groups from across the Top End of Australia was an example of a dispersed community formed expressly as a learning community


Laceweb link 


Lake Tinaroo Mediation Gathering

o          www.laceweb.org.au/ltmg.htm


A Defining Exemplar 


Healing Sunday held monthly on the first Sunday of the month and held at Neville’s home in Bondi Junction, Sydney is a practical wisdom exemplar relating to evolving a learning community with members of the community living in the suburbs of Sydney and further afield including interstate


o   www.laceweb.org.au/hsb.htm

o   www.laceweb.org.au/DispTC.mp3


A Website Link

The Life Work of Dr Neville Yeomans. Appendix 36, p. 641-643.



Expanding the Experience Envelope


Symbol and Images



          Enriching sensing and sense-making  



Sensing the lay of the land – keypoints and keylines land topography and social topography


Folk Wisdom Sayings


o   involve me and I learn

o   we learn by doing, and by falling over and picking ourselves up again

o   experience is the best teacher

o   a proverb is a short sentence based upon long experience

o   learning by remaining curious

o   nothing much changes in a closed shop

o   curious confusion is a practical learning state

o   learning by disconnecting from what is untrue 

o   mutual help groups are transitional in every sense

o   exploring new ways and adapting common sense is genius dressed in its working clothes

o   if you keep everything the same nothing gets better
when you say one thing, the clever person understands three (sensing implications)

o   for things to be different do different things.
the response to an irritating grain of sand is to create a pearl
experiencing experiencing through awareness of awareness

o   learning to see what others cannot see 

o   life is a journey, not a destination.

o   some search the world for treasure when they have acres of diamonds in their own backyard  

o   often what one is looking for is right under one’s nose – often one can’t see for looking 

o   wisdom is ofttimes nearer when we stoop than when we soar

o   pain and soreness can fly away when we soar  

o   practical wisdom is bound up with action; it's not a enough to know the wise thing to do, start moving and actually do it 


Essence of the Idea / Principle 


Finding, connecting, gaining rapport, and relating well with natural nurturers among common folk and supporting them to reconnect with their own folkCommons practical wisdoms and practical actions and linking these folk together at fitting times and places for sharing and expanding their experiencing.


Practical Examples


Seven varied examples of Community Mutual Help are included in the following reference including examples of letters of support legitimating practical action:


o   a farm based mutual help group

o   a remote area gathering celebration

o   a village project

o   an international gathering celebration

o   a mutual help group based urban renewal project

o   a mutual help group based health ecology project




A Defining Exemplar 


Laceweb links

o   Healing Ways Experiential Learning


o   Laceweb Contexts and Frames


o   Natural living Processes Lexicon


o   Realising human Potential





Website Links 


Yeomans Biography Keyline and Cultural Keyline. Pages 274 – 483






Liminality in Natural Living Processes Lexicon



Coming to One’s Senses. A collection of 130 stories of transforming ways in action




Practical Life Wisdom


Image and Symbol







The sweetness of glucose is nowhere to be found in carbon, hydrogen, or oxygen, though present when they are chemically bonded together in the above ratios to form glucose. This is an example of function and pleasant aspects emerging out of practical action.


Folk Wisdom Sayings

'Praxis' and 'phronesis' - these Greek terms were part of the vocabulary of the ancient Greek philosophers and used by Aristotle to describe practical wisdom (phronesis) and thoughtful, practical doing (praxis). Pre-theoretical theorising (theorein) and theoretic wisdom has their place in innovating. Ideas that remain floating in space and not grounded in action consume energy and, to quote Shakespeare, things of great pith and moment can lose the name of action. So, link theoretical wisdom to practical wisdom and wise practical doing.


Essence of the Idea / Principle 

Recognising, enriching and utilising the folkCommons - the practical wisdom and life experiences of success and failure present among common folk. The psyProfessions (psychiatry, psychology, psychiatric nursing, social work) and contemporary government policies tend to marginalise, disparage and diminish the folkCommons. Commonsense capacities are part of the folkCommons – a term honouring the multitudinous occasions of insight, affect, and defect that we common folk bring to daily life: in parenting and growing up, caring for ourselves and each other; the aged, the disabled, and the demented; persisting with the love that brings flourishing and success, supporting neighbours visited by calamity, joining friends and family in celebrations of life thresholds 


A Practical Example 

Very young children in South East Asia (East Timor, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam) when given the opportunity will use a cup to take water from a container and slowly pour the water on their wrist; and if left alone, they will do this over and over for 20 minutes or more. It is very simple. Presumably, it is very pleasant.

It is cooling. It is calming. And it feels very very good. It is something they do for themselves (self help). They are using their own ‘can do’ or agency. Simple practical wisdom in action.


A Defining Exemplar 


A Laceweb link 


A Website Link 

The Functional in Context








      nut crack.jpeg

     Functional if it stays together                    Cracking nuts is functional – smashing is not so functional


Folk Wisdom Sayings 


o   a stitch in time saves nine

o   Misery loves the company of miserable people so no detailing of what you do not want.  Rather share what you do want.

o   They called him ‘Hobbly-go-kick’. (Hobbly would kick his leg through as he had poor muscle coordination. It looked a funny walk but it worked for Hobbly)


Essence of the Idea / Principle


Interrupt anyone ‘cataloguing disaster’ – that is, making a long list of everything that’s wrong. This is a waste of time, it’s typically reinforcing pathology, it’s time wasting, and sustaining mess. Rather, focus on what is working well. Often micro-moments of ease and the seemingly trivial are windows to possible different realities.

     ‘You just did a big sigh. How different do you feel right now after doing this?

It is useful to be sensing small differences. Be recognising the role-specific functional in context - the positives and the bits that work well and work with these - work with the free energy near the stuck energy for ripple through effects.


A Practical Example


At the first mutual help group gathering within a prison, members discussed between themselves and agreed that they all wanted support in feeling well, relaxed and energised within their bodies. They were given a guided experience of being aware of moving their awareness around their bodies and soon were delighted in how they now felt.


o   respecting connecting and relating together

o   focusing on what they do want

o   collaborating and reaching agreement on a common issue

o   expressing their felt needs

o   their action was functional in their high stress context

o   they sought and accepted enabling support so they all became able to alter how they felt inside their respective bodies and share their positive changes with each other

o   they are realising that they have increasing flexibility and choice as to how they feel.


A Defining Exemplar



One moment: ‘Notice how her yelling got his attention.’

Next moment: ‘Notice how he is not responding to her continuing yelling’

The same behaviour is functional in one context, and not in the next


A Laceweb link


Holistic Functional Integrating




A Website Link 


It takes a particular kind of perceiving (the sense we make of our senses) to recognise the role specific functional in context. This is detailed in the following reference.

Refer Neville’s Role as Leader and his Group Processes - On the Side of Constructive Striving, Pages 240-248. 



Transforming through Experiencing Respectful Connecting and Relating to Self and Others








Image result for mycelium Image result for mycelium   


Folk Wisdom Sayings


o   clouds rain and lighting – symbols of change and renewal

o   as the part changes so the whole changes

o   everyone has astronomical potential (there are over 6.22 billion ways to arrange 13 different items in a row and we’re made up of billions of bits)

o   our very nature is simultaneously inter-connecting, inter-relating and inter-depending


Essence of the Idea / Principle



The heading says it all - the process of respectfully experiencing connecting and relating to self and others leads to transforming


A Practical Example


Saul, in becoming Paul, ‘put on a new personality’ by ‘making the mind over’.

Refer Daughter on Bail Story in Coming to One’s Senses - By The Way. Pages 62, 66, 73, 340, 356, 371, 384



A Defining Exemplar


A Laceweb link


Supporting Mutual Help – Experiential Learning Course



A Website Link 





Tapping into Alternative Sources of Power




Focusing on Shared Strengths









Aligning intention, place-locality, connecting forces,                                                                                                                                                                                                                    balance, potential energy, time-light-shadow, & symmetry


Folk Wisdom Sayings 


The converging of complementary valued human potencies:

o   Loving

o   being respectful and compassionate

o   recognising others, especially their dignity

refer Dignity: www.laceweb.org.au/dsw.pdf

o   showing kindness and social intelligence, and

o   connecting in enriching positive relationships 


Essence of the Idea / Principle


Looking for, and tapping into mutual-help and peer support group folk’s emotional, psychological, and social resources and resilience - their strengths – their values and vision, capacities, capabilities and competencies, and their potentials and aspirations. Refer: Tapping into Many Alternative Sources of Power. Page 561: http://www.laceweb.org.au/btw.pdf


A Practical Example


The community of fire storm survivors up in Kinglake, while ravaged and decimated, shared their complementary strengths while engaging in wisdom based practical action in putting their lives back together.


A Defining Exemplar


In groups with lots of pathology present, the group facilitator directs everyone’s attention to the role specific function bits of behaviour in context.

‘Notice her yelling attracted his attention. Now notice that he is not responding to her continuing yelling.’

The same behaviour is functional one moment, and not functional the next moment; so everyone attends to folks’ strengths and functional bits as exemplars.


A Laceweb link


Refer: On Neville’s Role as Leader and his Group Processes, p. 240.



A Website Link 


Weaving it all Together




Image result for symbol for weaving







Folk Wisdom Sayings


o   the forces between folk that are connecting folk are where magic happens – these forces make up the energy that holds the creating process together – the social constituting of realities.

o   a sevenfold cord is not easily broken


Essence of the Idea / Principle 


The following works and has been found to work in many mutual help contexts - keep stacking all of the aspects mentioned in this Resource; wisely juxtaposing everything while using practical wisdom in specifically and generally placing together people and things along with weaving everything together, so evolving fluid structures-processes with ebb and flow as appropriate to context and given such a carefully worked-out structure, evolution is an inevitable consequence.


juxtapositioninphotography.jpg stack.jpg

                        juxtaposing                                                       stacking

    (placing different things together)





                                                                                      a time to ebb – a time to flow                                   weaving

                                                                                     Tidal River at Norman Beach




A Practical Example 



Weaving Women's Wisdom provides a time and place for girls and women of all ages to gather. Together we hold space for ceremony, celebration, skill-sharing and nourishing; and we’re ongoingly creating an inspirational intergenerational community of women who are connected to themselves, each other, their community and the earth.


A Defining Exemplar 


Neville Yeomans helped spawn 30 mutual help groups in the late 1960s from his experience of establishing a transitional community where a massive number of micro aspects were woven together towards people connecting, relating and trans-forming their lives together while generating networked social networks


International Web Links


Healing Words Newsletter Page 13. Healing Words – Connecting Aboriginal Communities – North South East and West.




Aboriginal Healing Foundation 2000b. Healing Words Newsletter - Page 10.

The Healing Art of Storytelling



A Laceweb link

Transforming Ways




A Website Link


The Laceweb Network



Layering and Stacking and Weaving Our Experiences Together








croissant.jpg    thatch.jpg


Folk Wisdom Sayings


o   experience is the best teacher

o   the wisdom of the wise and the experience of the ages are perpetuated in story and proverbs

o   the seven fold cord is not easily broken


Essence of the Idea / Principle 


Respectfully stretching and extending ourselves as a group, returning to what we know, layering our experience and our learning, like we are making a thatched roof, a croissant (stretch and fold) or very strong steel


A Practical Example 


A Defining Exemplar 


A Laceweb link


A Website Link 


Compounding Impact






Folk Wisdom Sayings


o   exponential means having and increasing rate of increasing – a prevalent phenomenon in natural systems - accompanied by ecological checks and balances – for example, exponential growth of one species contributes to exponential growth of predators leading to depletion of food source for, and decline of the numbers of the preyed upon species, and subsequent decline in predators with exponential forces part of the dynamic

o   returning interest to its original meaning - from the Latin : inter esse meaning to enter the creating-essence of the other (it came to mean power-over disconnect, as in ‘my son, it is not in your interest to be interested in that girl’; it was further distorted to mean ‘the price of a loan of money’).

o   obtaining further interest on our interests

o   including outcomes that work well into new action; and noting that outcomes that work tend to emerge somewhat spontaneously, so look out for them

o   compounding community involves incorporating our combined interesting outcomes into our community resources-in-use and hence experiencing a culture of continuing improvement in wellness



Essence of the Idea / Principle


Mutual action in supporting each other shares the risk (load), increases the likelihood of doing well together, and decreases risks; you also have the emergence of social compound interest (the original meaning was to enter into the essence of the other) - growth becomes exponential, that is, not only is there increase in transforming, there is also an increase in the rate of increase – refer symbol above.


A Practical Example


A Defining Exemplar


A Laceweb link


A Website Link


Total Care Foundations Role in the Early Festivals




Ecologically Opening Up to the Outside






Folk Wisdom Sayings


o   mutual help group attendees who have been transforming, welcome new attendees with problematic behaviours so that these existing participants can explore their own transforming potential while supporting new folk to transform – the essence of mutual help


o   are our current ways keeping us ‘fixed’ only part of the way along on the illness-wellness continuum?


o   Ii we keep everything the same, nothing changes and it becomes more mutual containment than mutual help


o   wellness ways are spreading in the hills beyond containment


o   do I spread my wings and take my first leap of faith





Essence of the Idea / Principle


Transforming and moving towards wellness on the illness-wellness continuum through supporting others to transform

Evolving sensible permeable boundaries is natural for in-taking and disseminating nutrient and information and eliminating waste while keeping the harmful at bay, that is, preventing potential harm from being harmful while enjoying thriving wellness


A Practical Example


In maintaining sensible permeable boundaries, the 1970s mutual help groups followed the Fraser House way:


here we respectfully get on with living well together so together we learn to leave madness or badness outside


Every person having a bad moment or day is supported. In mental hospitals residents were expected to have mental health issues. In Fraser House residents were expected to be getting on with living well together so the often repeated guiding principle - ‘no madness or badness here’, any such behaviour was gently and respectfully interrupted.


A Defining Exemplar


A Laceweb link


Living Well Communities - Associated Action Research - Inter-Community & Regional Cooperative Partnerships in Living Well Communities Program Working Group



A Website Link

Transforming Norms



Emerging Adapting and Transforming








       emerging.jpeg Butterflies.jpg

 Emerging                                     Adapting                                                Transforming


Folk Wisdom Sayings


o   emergence may be emergent phenomena – just appearing in a self organising natural way

o   adaptations may occur in the cracks and crevices

o   living systems adapt by transforming patterns that connect

o   often folk don’t notice they’re transforming – an advantage as they don’t sabotage the transforming


Essence of the Idea / Principle 


Connecting and relating well within and between mutual help groups - evolving the collective of mutual help groups and/or the community of communities. 


A Practical Example


Aboriginal and Islander adolescents who had had strife with the criminal justice system came to a supported mutual help group in the Australia Top end, listened to story night and morning, and experienced living well within clearly stated boundaries. 75% where leaving the mutual help group with a wide range of life and work competences to work fulltime as stockmen on very large cattle stations. There was a time and place to huddle together to listen to story (before breakfast and with a full tummy after dinner) and a time to gallop on horseback down gullies and across shallow creeks.


A Defining Exemplar 


A Laceweb link


Micro Experiences for Sharing Healing Ways



Website Links 

Wounded Healer Wounded Group



Transforming Norms


Transforming Experiences or Wellbeing




Creating a Point of Difference






Folk Wisdom Sayings


o   childlike folk continue to find joy while engaging in play

o   play softens bodies, increases flow in moving

o   play to order is not play

o   many profound insights and actions emerge from spontaneity

o   sense the differences that make the difference

o   lookout for the elusive obvious

o   energising moods that attune


Essence of the Idea / Principle 


Local Distinctiveness


Distinctiveness at the International Level


This theme is detailed in the paper:


Interfacing Alternative and Complementary Well-being Ways for Local Wellness’





A Practical Example

During and after the Kinglake firestorm in 2009, the local folk were massively affected by loss of their friends, houses, infrastructure, and way of life. Self-starters using local knowing and sensing urgent and paramount needs immediately swung into spontaneous action. Burnt out cars were towed off roads to allow access. Houses tucked away in thick bush on back roads were checked for survivors even as fire continued to surge up and down steep gullies. Others joined in. They realised a strong yearning for sharing what each other knew. Who knew what about what and whom? Who were the local ‘go to people? Importantly, who had survived? Who were injured? And grievously tragic, who had died? Folk want to know. Where were people now? How were others going? Arranging brief meet ups. All of this deeply respecting connecting relating became a major part of each day and massively helped people get through each day. And all of this emerged out of a pre-firestorm small village mutual help as a communal way of life; Kinglake was on the margins – away from all levels of government and governance.

Sadly, people charged with providing expert service delivery to these locals felt their jobs threaten by all this mutual help of locals by locals and the ‘charged experts’ carried out sustained attempts at interference in local way


A Defining Exemplar 


Differentiating service delivery and ethical community mutual-help action for wellness:

Governments and the Facilitating of Grassroots Action


Laceweb Ethics



A Laceweb link 


A Website Link 

Preventing Pathological Co-Optation





Folk Wisdom Sayings



o   we are held together by the weaving of wellness possibilities

o   threat moves us to higher order functioning

o   together we stand and together we do so much

o   on ways for evolving community – if you’re not weaving you not getting it

o   casting a stone across the waters creates many widening ripples

o   there is no power for change greater than a community discovering what it cares about

o   the wellness of a community may be sensed by the compassionate connecting and relating well of its members

o   recognising both ‘we do it for you’ and we do it well for our own wellness’


Essence of the Idea / Principle 


Co-aptating means the adapting or adjusting parts to each other; a very good process for integrating individual and groups, though dysfunctional if creating dependency - especially dependency upon service providers. Mutual-help, peer support and enriching community differ profoundly from clinical service delivery. Entanglement with service delivery, while useful for referrals, can diminish agency (doing things ourselves) while contributing to dependence and learned helplessness along with enclosing and collapsing the folkCommons, etc.. So, use the old ways of ‘warding off’ encroachment – increasing our awareness of compromising ways and standing firm together. Resisting compromising funding that seems sweet though inevitably it entangles and disempowers. The pervasive concept ‘job’ does not apply within mutual-help, peer support way.


Preventing co-aptation



Governments and the Facilitation of Grassroots Action


For folkCommons refer:

The Renaissance and Enrichment of the FolkCommons



The FolkCommons – From Psychopathology to Well Futures



A Practical Example


Two examples of sustaining mutual help within a service delivery framework:

Near Reading in the UK:

Service delivery aspects:

o   funding service providers

o   arranging meeting place

o   selecting of attendee admittance and cessation

o   maintaining the groups process and format

o   arranging food and drinks

o   member follow-up

Mutual help aspects:

o   providing exemplar micro moments to each other

o   members showing interest in other members

o   respectfully connecting and relating upon arrival and during breaks and meal

o   members supporting each other to be able

Fraser House in Sydney, 1959-68

Service delivery aspects:

o   funding service providers

o   arranging meeting place

o   selecting of attendee admittance and cessation

o   maintaining the groups process and format – though this was after some months also delegated to staff-member co-action

Other aspects normally carried out within a service delivery model were reframed to ensure all service delivery staff stayed in the ‘enabler’ role, that is, supporting others to be more able.


o   www.laceweb.org.au/bio.pdf

o   www.laceweb.org.au/resp.pdf


A Defining Exemplar 


A Laceweb link 


A Website Link 


Elizabeth De Castro et al. Recognising and Evolving Local-lateral Links Between Various Support Processes. www.laceweb.org.au/lll.htm



Community of Communities 






Folk Wisdom Sayings 


o   evolving and enjoying gathering celebrations together


Essence of the Idea / Principle 


Especially using low-cost no-cost bush campout gathering celebrations in rural and remote enchanting places for reconnecting and relating between mutual help groups - evolving the collective of mutual help groups and/or the community of communities 


Many Practical Examples


Some of the processes to look out for in the following examples:


o   having an exquisite locality and place for the potential gathering celebrating

o   community enriching as a natural outcome of collaborating in seeking, finding and preparing the site

o   energising possibilities:

ideas are evolving for a gathering celebration of small island coastal and estuarine women in the Australia top end for the exploring of the softening of drug abuse, the stopping of family violence and humane caring alternatives to criminal and psychiatric incarceration

a letter sent in evolving the June 1994 Gathering Celebration where around 500 attended http://www.laceweb.org.au/rsig.htm

o   having a gathering celebration theme that is resonant with attracting a spread of potential attendees from mutual help groups – conducive to coherence

o   having news of the gathering celebration spreading through natural nurturer networks

o   being very strategic as to the timing and locating of the gathering celebration

o   celebrating gatherings on anniversaries of previous happenings

o   linking action to regional and global celebratory days or years or events as precursor events, concurrent or follow-on events; in so doing widening the scope of being in attendees

1993 - Some Reflecting upon the Experience of Appraising Sites for DTE ConFest in the 1990s and the Processes Used in ConFest Site Layout



1968. Connexion  - a Family and Community Healing Network



1969. The Range of Events and Activities Teed Up as Part of the 1969 Centennial Park Festival Organised by Total Care Foundation, Mingles, Connexion and Other Laceweb Energies



1971 – 1973. Surviving Well in a Dominant World Gatherings in North East NSW - The Start of International Outreach



1976 Manifesto from the First ConFest at Cotter River



1993. Lake Tinaroo Mediation Gathering



1994. The Asia Pacific Small Island Coastal and Estuarine Waters People 
Gathering Celebration at Lake Tinaroo in NE Australia



June-July 2000. The Intercultural Trauma Healing Gatherings for the Sixth Anniversary of the Small Island Coastal and Estuarine People Gathering Celebration



July 2001. In Celebrating the Seventh Anniversary of the Small Island Coastal and Estuarine People Gathering Celebration



The Total Care Foundation’s Role in the Early Festivals



Countries where Folk are Accessing the Laceweb Archive



A Defining Exemplar


There has been self organising communing between common folk in small town communities on the Atherton Tablelands in the Australia Top End for decades, especially making use of community markets to catch up with and network with each other.


1968 - 2017. Un-Inma Atherton Tablelands Inma Project - A Fifty Year Longitudinal Community Wellbeing Action Research Project Supported by Total Care Foundation and Australian Wellness Foundation



Laceweb links


            1994. The Rapid Creek Village Project



Website Links 


o   Significant Laceweb Documents on Mutual Help Action



o   Centennial Park Festival



o   Laceweb Timeline - 1930s to 2019



o   New Social Phenomena



o   Informal Networks and New Social Movements



o   Precursors to New Social Movements



o   The Laceweb Network



o   Humane Global Transitions - Therapeutic Community, Self-help Networking and Peacehealing



o   Self-Help Action Rebuilding Well-Being in the SE Asia Oceania Australasia Region - Exploring Possibilities for Small Generalisable Actions among Disadvantaged Indigenous and Small Minority People















Shades of grey: fuzzy yin and yang symbol with a gradation between opposites, representing metaphysical monism.C6H12O6






Attachment A

A Partial List of Mutual Help Groups from the 1970s – Foci and Loci







grandmother and me

youth and adolescent support

cultural healing action

healing storytelling

            alternatives to criminal and psychiatric incarceration

stopping youth and adolescent civil and criminal law breaking




community theatre and the arts

community wellbeing

social justice

relational mediating

alternative dispute resolving



Caring and Helping Unmarried Mothers:





experience sharing

work opportunities





alternatives to prisons

cultural healing action

combatant’s return to civilian life

healing dance, drama & the arts

healing festivals and camp-outs



nurturing wellbeing socio-emotionally

economically & environmentally

integrated local area planning and action by locals



youth action

youth employment and skilling

youth healing festivals

youth sport dance art and culture





fostering emergent properties



seeding possibilities



inter-cultural normative model areas






  eco-villages & eco-habitat

  edible landscaping

  oasifying deserts and arid areas



  water harvesting

  thriving new soil generating

  local energy transfer systems (lets)

  thriving communities & farming

  function and foci extended to:


                                    producing and distributing documents, papers, communications photos, stickers, films and other, cultural and artistic materials and productions


enhancing community cooperation and mutual support, locality, self respect, friendliness, creativity, culturally appropriate peaceful nationalism and multinational regional cooperation


life food producing and consuming


assisting other bodies with similar aims



relational mediating

mediation therapy

mediating as alternative to adversarial law

home, street and rural mediation therapy and mediation counselling



celebrating and re-creating community wellbeing

evolving and sustaining new friendships

social networking

parties and gatherings


enriching families

healing language




community education

ecological psycho-linguistics

natural living processes

natural learning processes

employment and skilling

income security

personal wellbeing



NEXUS GROUPS           


intercultural healing action

intercultural keyline

intercultural humane legal processes

intercultural social networks

linking to global governance

truth, reconciling and accepting

healing storytelling



cultural keyline

cultural healing action

quick response healing teams

supporting torture and trauma survivors

alternatives to criminal and psychiatric incarcerating

therapeutic community

healing storytelling

evolving enablers

enabling networking



Note: Each of the names in the above list has significance.





Atherton Tablelands & Cape York










Bondi Junction Sydney







Redfern Randwick Areas











Atherton Tablelands








Darwin NT





Yungaburra Qld





Yungaburra Qld












Richmond NSW





























Yungaburra Qld







Paddington Bondi Junction Areas








Cairns, Townsville and Rockhampton










Cairns, Townsville and Rockhampton








Cairns, Townsville and Rockhampton




Attachment Two - Theory and Practical Action