Facilitation: Design a Healer's Practice

Posted on di 20 juli 2021 in designs


After the recent completion of his courses in alternative forms of health care, a close friend intends to set up a business offering these types of therapy for clients. I offered my help in creating a design for his practice. I have run my own business for over ten years. It feels natural to offer my insight for the benefit of others.

Design team

The design was done by:

  • Arno Peters (permaculture designer)
  • Arno's friend

Design Strategy

Since my friend has no prior experience in permaculture designs, my primary goal has been to guide him through the design process. I explain elements as they come up.

I choose Looby Macnamara's Design Web as the guiding design process. You can read about it in her book People & Permaculture. I resonate with using its anchor points and allowing jumping between points as questions come up and get answered.

Picture showing Looby Macnamara's Design Web

Looby Macnamara's Design Web

In a introductory session of about an hour, I presented the process and explained each anchor point a bit.

I have been thinking how to make the process fun and self-documenting. The design should function as a remainder to keep going even when things get tough. I want to encourage him to make the design an expressive, creative statement, using a variety of colors using pencils, crayons, paint and whatever else is on hand.

My idea was to make each anchor point the start page of a section. The first page is a mind map around the subject. The pages after that can expand on the concepts found in the mind map. I want to try using a system of page numbering based on Zettelkasten method. This allows pages to be added to the document without needing renumbering and still being able to reference different parts of the document using the page identifier. This allows linking from the mind map on the first page to the details further in the document and linking between sections in a natural and expandable way.

Example for this design:

Design Web cover page

A. Vision mindmap

   1. Keywords from generative question
   2. First version
   3. Second version

B. Helps mindmap

   1. Category *Family*
   2. Category *Friends*
   3. Category *Institutions*

      A. Tax office
      B. Chamber of Commerce
      C. etc. etc.

   4. Category *Collegues*
   5. etc. etc.

C. Limits mindmap
D. etc. etc.

This way each page has a unique page number. For example the page on 'Category Institutions' has number B3. The 'Tax office' is at page B3A. This unique number allows you to cross reference a page from any other page.

Design session

The session was from 9:00 to 18:00 with several small breaks, a one hour walk in the nearby forest and a lunch. Total time spent on the design is approximately 6 to 7 hours. During this time we went over the following anchor points:

  • Vision
    • tool: dreaming circle
    • shared: why create a vision, process for creating a vision, generative question
    • duration: ~1.5h
    • result: a first version of a vision
  • Helps
    • tool: brainstorm
    • shared: resources I have used
    • duration: ~0.5h
    • result: list of people, institutions that may be of help
  • Ideas
    • tool: captured in the moment
    • shared: -
    • duration: ~
    • result: list of ideas
  • Patterns
    • tool: brainstorm
    • shared: patterns for bookkeeping, record keeping, business expenses, tax requirements, archival requirements
    • duration: ~1h
    • results: list / mindmap, rought sales process, estimation on break even cashflow, burn rate, possible services and prices
  • Action
    • tool: mental inventory + filtering
    • shared: process for creating a mental inventory, filtering process
    • duration: ~1h
    • results: list of actions
  • Momentum
    • tool: brainstorm
    • shared: explain reason for anchor point
    • duration: ~1h
    • results: list of strategies to keep going
  • Limits
    • tool: brainstorm
    • shared: typical limits of time, energy and money; comparison to leaky barrel
    • duration: 0.5h
    • results: list of current limits
  • Pause
    • tool: brainstorm
    • shared: Artist's dates, plenty of sleep, spend max 20-30h per week working on company
    • duration: 0.5h
    • results: list of activities and advise
  • Reflection
    • tool: brainstorm
    • shared: year compass, bullet journal, what went well vs what to do differently next time
    • duration: 0.5h
    • results: list of activities and advise
  • Integration
    • tool: multiple needs x multiple strategies (functions and elements)
    • shared/used: list of NVC needs, strategies from vision or action, talked about how multiple connections create resilience
    • duration: 0.25h
    • results: -
  • Principles
    • tool: Holmgren principles
    • shared/used: short explanation of some of the principles
    • duration: 0.25h
    • results: -

We skipped the anchorpoint Appreciation. We only touched upon Principles anchorpoint. I would have liked to expand the latter. These could be covered in an additional session.

I encouraged my friend to regularly leaf through the booklet we created. I would like him to expand on the anchorpoints as he thinks more deeply about the design. I'm hoping my friend takes the work we've done so far and uses it to inform the decisions he makes in his life.

I would have liked to spend another session on this design with my friend. This has not happened thus far.


  • What went well?
    • Lots of subjects and experiences covered.
    • As time progressed more jumping between anchor points made the session more dynamic
    • Celebration at the completion of the vision, helps and at the end of the session for the work done and the mutual time spent
  • What would I do different next time?
    • My friend is a thinker. It takes a bit of encouragement to let go of the thinking mind and adopt a more associative way of working
    • Encourage jumping between anchor points more. "We're working on a vision and you mention a limit, let's park that on the limits sheet!" This maintains momentum and creates a more interaction with the anchor points.
    • Encourage to use more colors
    • Explain and encourage the use of mind maps
    • Explain the process and my envisioned end result in an email prior to the session
    • Shorten the total time: I was quite exhaused at the end of the day
  • What is my vision?
    • Use this approach with other people as well
    • Examine if this can be used in a workshop of sorts
  • What's my next step?
    • Publish these findings.