Thinking At the Edge is a method to illicit implicit knowledge. Things we know that are sitting, at the edge of our consciousness, waiting to be unveiled. Waiting to come out, perhaps. TAE has been developed by Eugene Gendlin, one of the founding fathers of focussing, an element in the NLP toolbox so crucial, that it has almost lost its own identity. It has been gobbled up by NLP, mindfulness and the like, you could say.
TAE has been sitting in the back of my brain for years as something interesting worth exploring one day. So last octobre, when my maternity leave was over and I was getting ready for work again, wanting to flex my brain, I did. There's a set of videos online where Gendlin explains how it works.
* empowering bodily intelligence
* finding fresh language
* discovering/verbalizing implicit knowledge
* a way of illiciting expert knowledge
*(my brainwave:) biweekly interview experts = friends and family => everyone has some kind of expertise on something => illiciting this
Threats: very rigid and demanding method. When is good good enough? High perfectionism threshold. You have to know Gendlin’s focussing / felt sense before you can start, which has the same hint of perfectionism. Or maybe that’s just me.
I guess a good way to decide on which parts of TAE to use (when), is to keep checking your energy and emotional response to the process itself. This works for me, anyway. Does it feel too hard? It probably is. Feel free to venture in directions that seem easy, where energy flows. The hard parts are there to be acknowledged but not to bulldozer through, necessarily.
The way Gendlin puts it: “In every step you check the creation against the felt sense
“ahh” (relief) - it’s moving forward (words make it flow); or “urgh” (cramp) - it’s holding back.”
He concludes with an interesting and possibly reassuring observation: “how does language exist in human bodies in the first place ? It is inherent in human living”.
TAE step 1 - 5: method to produce a lot of strands out of one ‘thing’
❤ Call up your felt sense relating to the thing, i.e. find a word that seems to represent it.
❤ Try to access any modality that works for you: smell, sound, image, bodily feeling, location in the body, person(s) related to the thing. Write down all of these, even if (especially if) they are not quite what the thing is or should be. Words that are the opposite of the thing can work, too. Use a mind map if you like. Record your voice if you prefer to work eyes closed.
❤ Ask “what would you like that word to mean”? for the collection of strands, for each word, for each attempt that doesn’t quite seem to catch it.
❤ Out comes a chaotic cloud, a series of sentences. Can you boil it down to one sentence? Step back and appreciate the colourful, poetic sentence, with fresh words.
Many are happy and satisfied with outcomes of step 1 - 5. TAE was designed to create a theory including logic, however. If you like, try the next steps (in the same session or later on).
TAE step 6 - 9: making a theory, an articulated group of terms that interlock
❤ Find an example to explore. Just one will do.
❤ Look closely at all the aspects, facets and instances of the example. The example may very well unfold into a set of examples (this is how my mind works, anyway).
❤ There is intricacy in every real thing that happens. Lift out concrete stances.
❤ Use the STARR method if you like, specifying situation, task, action, result, reflection questions to further illicit each example.
TAE step 10 - 15: make logic
Afterwards, logic rules look like the beginning, the origin.
But the terms and connections come from some kind of experience.
TAE describes a process to make the logic.