Developing Deep Talk Training

An image of figures in sand

Event details

Thursday 1st - Friday 2nd February 2024
BNBR Life Centre Gathering Space (L7 Octagon Centre)
This two day training—led by Jeremy Clines and Rebecca Walton (Deep Talk Trainers, Sheffield, UK)—is a comprehensive exploration and equipping for the practice of Deep Talk including how to facilitate this activity. It is provided free of charge to members of staff at the University of Sheffield and for £150 for external participants. Each day lasts 8 hours including lunch, and it will be in person at the University of Sheffield’s Octagon Centre.


Deep Talk is suitable for working communities, education environments and all communities. It is a good alternative for traditional working consultancy. In a short time and with great joy, you will learn to use appreciative listening, hearing and talking.

Deep Talk takes principles from life-coaching, story-telling, peer-to-peer dialogue, community building and spiritual practices—within a creative space, drawing on Montessori principles, among other—and adapting these, using ancient stories, fables and other tales for a process suitable to secular and religion or belief settings, to help groups work (and individuals) through issues or challenges, or consider their organisation’s vision or mission.

Developing Deep Talk course activities will include:

  • Presentations on the theory of Deep Talk with questions and answers
  • Deep Talk sessions
  • Debriefing, analysing and discussing the sessions
  • Group work preparing and learning stories
  • Discussion and feedback with the teacher
  • Comment and discussion within the group
  • Independent study will include, learning stories, source text and related materials and practising the leading of sessions

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Two participants experiences of Deep Talk:

“Using the sandbox was surprisingly effective and allowed us to explore really meaningful issues at our own pace. People were able to contribute when they felt able and as the day progressed, people seemed more at ease with the approach. I liked that people seemed relaxed and able to share, and that we also had space and time for friendship and relationship building.”

[The stories] were a very simple but effective way of introducing a space that was calm, neutral, friendly (I want to say 'cosy'), and trusting, in which we were individuals round a table sharing honestly how we felt. There was room for both laughter and critique.

Insights from facilitators about Deep Talk


Participants often describe Deep Talk as an enriching and affirming experience. In groups, Deep Talk facilitates conversations that empower all participants to take part. There is no hierarchy in a Deep Talk session, we sit in a circle and we are all responsible for ensuring that everyone’s contributions are valued.

Shared language

Participants can find it offers them a language to voice things that they may not have been comfortable to voice in other situations. In a group, it means that even after the session the participants can talk about something they might be struggling with using the language of the story. The unspoken language of Deep Talk is one of mutual respect, for the story itself, for the objects and for each other. 

New perspectives

By creating a tangible landscape in which the participants can place their situation, problems, fears, anxieties. Deep Talk provides a way to look at these things with a wider perspective and facilitates the finding of solutions or new ways of framing the problem or difficulty. By putting themselves and others into the landscape, participants learn to look at problems from the perspective of other people supporting the development of empathy. 

Collaborative decision making

Deep Talk has been used an approach with a wide range of groups in many settings, and for example, at the University Sheffield with academics, professional services staff, students and the Students’ Union.

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Further Reading about Deep Talk

  • the structure of a Deep Talk session
  • The Deep Talk course description


A global reputation

Sheffield is a research university with a global reputation for excellence. We're a member of the Russell Group: one of the 24 leading UK universities for research and teaching.