Learn Prosocial

ProSocial Facilitation

Learn to facilitate any group to be more cooperative and effective

Prosocial is a method for improving human welfare through creating more effective, harmonious, equitable and cooperative groups. Prosocial has been applied in situations as diverse as helping a school to enhance collaboration among teachers and students, a community to reduce the spread of Ebola and a network of environmental groups seeking to cooperate more effectively to achieve their common aims.  Prosocial works best for groups, and networks of groups, that are interested in human welfare, not just economic outcomes. 

Are you interested in learning more about the Prosocial process or joining our network of over 200 trained Prosocial facilitators around the world?

What is the Prosocial process?

As we articulate in our book "Prosocial", the Prosocial process is built on three big ideas:

  1. The evolution of complex adaptive systems,
  2. The science of behavior change , and
  3. The social science of cooperation

Prosocial is built on a worldview that our social worlds are complex adaptive systems that are continuously evolving. Evolutionary theory gives us a lens to help make better sense of this complexity. What are the elements of the system, how do they interact at different levels of organisation, and what are the forces pushing towards selfishness or effective collective action?

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Within this multi-level view of social evolution, it quickly becomes clear we need tools and frameworks to help both individuals and systems become more effective. Our method draws upon the sciences of behavior change to help individuals become more aware of themselves and others. We assist in overcoming fears, adding more flexibly to their life and helping them to effectively pursue their goals and values.

In short, we teach them to be resilient even in the face of the inevitable challenges of building high performing teams. Last, we draw upon the work of political scientist and Nobel prize winner Elinor Ostrom, who articulated 8 Core Design Principles for effective cooperation in groups with a shared purpose.

As framed within Prosocial, these Core Design Principles are:

  1. Creating a strong sense of shared identity and purpose
  2. Building a win-win culture where benefits are matched to contributions and shared equitably
  3. Ensuring everybody who needs to be included in decision making is included
  4. Creating transparency, where everybody can see what others in the group are doing
  5. Responding in a compassionate but firm and effective way to rectify breaches of agreed behaviors
  6. Ensuring fast and fair resolution of differences in values and perspectives
  7. As much as possible, supporting self-management 
  8. Applying principles 1-7 not just within a group, but also between it and other groups in its ecosystem.

Each of these principles separately works well to improve group effectiveness, but they are truly transformative when combined in the Prosocial process with a framework for seeing evolution in action and the practical psychological tools for implementing the Core Design Principles flexibly and efficiently.

Becoming a Prosocial facilitator will transform your facilitation practice. Imagine having a general framework for diagnosing and understanding all groups and networks for groups. Prosocial gives you that framework. During the training you will learn how to see when the design principles have been implemented well and when they need to improve. And you will learn a very practical tool for clarifying what needs to be done at the individual and group level to move forward and better implement the principles.

Prosocial Introductory Facilitator Training

Join us for the Prosocial Introductory Facilitator Training. At the end of this 12 week course, you will be able to:

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Use a simple but highly effective set of tools for mobilizing deep change with individuals and groups

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Help groups become more purposeful, equitable, inclusive, accountable and harmonious, even if they have experienced conflict or disengagement

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Evaluate the effectiveness of any group

Our aim is not just to share some of our excitement with you about the power of PROSOCIAL, but also to create an environment where you can learn from your highly skilled colleagues on the course. Each week, in addition to learning the key concepts and techniques, you will have a chance to apply the ideas to groups that you know about. You can apply this work to any group - families, work-teams, sporting or community groups.

When you complete the course you will be invited to join our international community of practice where you will be able to share your ideas and get answers to your questions about how to deepen and extend this work.

Kristen Hamling

PhD

"Not often do you encounter training that is so well balanced regarding theory and practice. Paul provided outstanding resources, answered all our questions in and out of training, and modelled the PROSOCIAL model in training itself. Also, as the training was international, we learnt such diverse applications for PROSOCIAL from people all around the world. Awesome training, cheers Paul!"

Stuart Libman

MD--Board Certified Child Psychiatrist and Medical Director of the PLEA School Based Partial Hospital Program in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA --ACBS Peer Reviewed ACT Trainer

"The Introductory Prosocial Facilitators Class was highly informative in increasing my understanding of how Psychological Flexibility for individuals and the Core Design Principles for successful groups could lead to organizations operating more effectively and efficiently. In addition to the compassionate and insightful manner in which he taught the Prosocial content, Paul Atkins was masterful in modeling how to facilitate conducting the Prosocial process."

Marcel Harmon

Ph.D., P.E., WELL AP, LEED AP O+M, Research and Development Lead, BranchPattern

"I've been looking for a method to help implement Ostrom's core design principals in an effective manner for the design/construction key stakeholder groups I work with. Prosocial provides that method, and this course is a great introduction into using it."

Jodie Soracco

M. Ed, BCBA, Research Development & Evaluation, NV PBIS TA Center

"What an incredible course!  Dr. Atkins thoroughly taught and modeled the Prosocial process in a meaningful and digestible way. He skillfully set up the course so that attendees not only got to practice implementing the process, but also were able to experience it ourselves...priceless!"

Lisa Ferguson

"Dr. Paul Atkins impressively modeled prosocial collaboration and learning in the training, embodying the values of Prosocial in his entire approach. I feel much better prepared to support groups and coalitions in functioning skillfully to address staggering challenges such as climate breakdown."