Socratic dialogue – online introductory sessions
A socratic dialogue is a conversation in which you :
- discover the convictions you actually hold about your experience, such as : “I’m responsible for this case.”
- discover the arguments you actually hold for these convictions, such as : “because I started it”
- examine the value of these arguments. For example : “it is a bad argument : it is not because you started it that you are responsible for it.”
Where and when?
There is a training series of 5 sessions online. The next one will run on Zoom starting January 2021.
It will run on Wednesday evenings 8 pm – 10 pm Brussels time :
13 – 20 – 27 January + 24 Februari + 3 March 2021
After this first series, you will get an invitation for a second series of five. You can get a certificate for each of the series if you wish.
To register, just click on the button ‘register’.
If you want to follow a training course offline, we organise and conduct a Socratic Dialogue in your organisation whenever and wherever you want. Just click on the button ‘for my organisation’ and we’ll get in touch!
Wat does it cost?
The online sessions last 2hours each and cost 40 Euros per session. The condition is that you register for 5 sessions at once. After registration, you will find more information about how to pay in the confirmation mail that will be sent to you.
Early bird : if you register before 30th of November, the first series of 5 sessions only costs 175€ instead of 200€!
Online introductory course program
The online course program consists of 2 X 5 introductory sessions of each 2 hours long. In the first series you will get to know what a Socratic dialogue in the Nelson-tradition today is. You remain however in the participation mode. In the second series of 5, you will take the first steps to become a facilitator/coach.
The sessions will all be run on Zoom with a maximum of 20 (international) participants. The language is English. After the introductory session, each session is followed by a small task to fulfill in between the sessions. The tasks do not take more than 15 minutes each.
Session 1 : introduction into Socratic dialogue
- Who was Socrates? The ‘light’ and the ‘heavy’ version on this ‘historical’ figure. What does it mean today?
- Short history of Socratic dialogue
- the Structure of a Socratic dialogue
- first experience with Socratic dialogue ‘live’
Session 2 : Understanding a Socratic dialogue
- the elenctic and the protreptic movement
- understanding the five Socratic movements
- demonstration of a Socratic dialogue one-on-one
Session 3 : the Socratic style in questioning
- proper questioning and listening : exercises
- The Socratic style : being brief and to the point
- Questioning up – questioning down
Session 4 : Logic in a Socratic dialogue
- the Kantian background
- questioning the reasoning of somebody
- the importance of the experience in questioning assertions
Session 5 : leading a Socratic dialogue
- the basic attitudes of the leader
- the style of the craftsman
- efficient steering in questioning the client
What can you do with a Socratic dialogue?
A Socratic dialogue can be run in pairs, in a team or in a group. It is suitable for philosophical counselling with a client and as well for teams and groups who want to examine the value of influential conceptions of themselves and / or their organization in order to change or adapt them.
This examination is executed in a structured and careful way. The conversation itself allows a team to work on conversational abilities such as :
- formulating clearly what one thinks
- taking a standpoint
- effective listening
- suspending judgments if necessary
- asking the right questions
A Socratic conversation is an excellent way to help to change (conversational) unwanted habits in an organization.
Some examples of questions I have dealt with in organisations :
- When do I stop helping the client? (dialogue with nurses)
- Do we work with love? (dialogue with staff of a Psychiatric clinic)
- When is a decision well-considered? (dialogue with judges)
- What’s the use of revenge? (dialogue with prisoners)
- Which values do we have in common? (dialogue in a big enterprise)
For yourself as participant :
After an initial Socratic Dialogue :
- You listen better to yourself and to others
- You can formulate confused feelings or thoughts of yourself or someone else in a clear, simple and precise way
- You discover aspects of your conversational habits : (im)patience, (un)critical listening, monological tendencies, impulsivity,…
- You learn to recognize alternative interpretations of the concepts you currently use
- You gain insight into your own state of your mind
- You learn to assess and evaluate your own thoughts and feelings
- You appreciate doubt and ambivalence as a powerful source of new insights
- You question the obviousness of judgments
- You reinforce your sense of discernment: you learn to distinguish between feelings and judgments about those feelings, between “facts” and interpretations of facts etc.
- You can adequately summarize a train of thoughts and seek consensus
- You are allergic to uncareful ‘diagnostical’ thinking
- You’re prone to think in questions instead of thinking in responses
- You practise working together and thinking together
- You practise strategic thinking and you can see the consequences of your choices
After several Socratic Dialogues :
- Your perception of a problem is more sensitive to details
- You can formulate your statements in a correct way
- You are able to accurately connect concrete observations to abstract concepts and vice versa
- You master the art of suspending your judgments if necessary
- You develop an inquisitive attitude towards statements of your colleagues and your clients
- You can lead and participate in a dialogue
- You think carefully and accurately in your everyday functioning
- You trust in your own speech instead of relying on authorities
For your organization
- The quality of the peer review improves
- Your meetings are better and more efficient
- the contact with colleagues or clients is deepened with a ‘Socratic’ way of thinking and acting
- As a Socratic leader, you are the “midwife” of the mind of your employees : instead of thinking yourself, you make them think as much as possible and you increase their accountability.
- You listen better and you formulate what you want to say more to the point.
- You take nonsense away to make way for clear thoughts and decisions
- You do not lead by more nonsense.
What do participants say?
- “The way the dialogue was conducted motivates me to engage more into Socratic dialogue”
- “I have discovered a completely new way of talking and listening”
- “Very good value for the money”
- “I’ve learned to revisit my opinions”
- “The training course helped me to develop my listening and discernment”
- “A good program to get an open mind“