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What is map and talk? 

  • It is an interactive method of putting key words spontaneously on paper between us to keep track of our conversations and stories as we talk.   

  • It helps us guide, shape and review what we are saying and where the conversation is taking us.   

  • The process enhances the experience of talking and is an aid to therapy, reflective practice and any form of serious discussion. 

  • The focus of map and talk can be on the words we are using, the patterns of interaction emerging in the story and the links we are making.   

  • It can be used  therapeutically, educationally, organisationally, politically and conversationally whether with individuals or in groups.

Image by Kelly Sikkema
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Talking with a map

My second book about Map and Talk, Talking with a map: A cognitive analytic approach to conversational awareness is available now.

It offers a great insight into how mapping and talking can help to promote a conversation awareness that will enable a better richer and more meaningful conversation between us and the people around us. 

 

It is available through Pavilion Publishing here or but also available through good book stores; 

Here are some of the thoughtful and kind words people have said about it so far. 

"Talking with a map is a timely reminder of the importance of dialogue and the simplicity and complexity of talking. beautifully written it weaves a narrative taking the reader from childhood to adulthood, from our ancestors to current times. It is filled with stories and moments: sweet 'blueberry moments' which speak to your heart, but the author doesn't shy away from difficult topics which need speaking about, we need to remember how to talk now more than ever with the challenges modern society faces. This book starts a dialogue about how to do this. It is one to read over and over until tatty and well-loved" 

Dr Jenny Marshall, consultant clinical psychologist, CAT supervisor and joint trust wide lead for CAT, Tees, Esk and Wear valleys NHS foundation trust. 

"Conversations around the world could be made easier with the knowledge from this book. Steve Potter shows how mapping enhances our ability to have conversations that are more co-creative and meaningful. Talking with a map builds on his first book, which focused on the use of mapping in therapy, to explore its more versatile application in everyday life by individuals, teams and broader systems. As well as showing us how mapping can be used as an aid to better conversations, it comprehensively describes the underlying mechanism by which mapping creatives conversational and relational awareness - and awareness that ultimately supports us to have a deeper more integrated connection with ourselves, others, the world around us and beyond." 

Dr Siobain Bonfiled (DclinPscyh), Psychology Discipline senior, peninsula health , Melbourne

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"This is a beautifully written, deeply curious, wise and compassionate book which teaches us how to develop relational awareness and conversation intelligence through 'mapping' our conversations. Steve Potter puts words on what we already know - how we talk is as important as what we talk about. In teaching us how to 'talk with a map', this book provides us with a tool that can liberate the limiting discourse so prevalent in social and political commentary. It offers a means of having the kind of conversation that we are so desperately in need of, in order to co-create solutions to the challenges of our world as it is today. It is a must-read for anyone interested in interpersonal dynamics, or simply interested in living a life with better relationships. Who isn't?" 

Dr Claire Regan, Senior Clinical Psychologist, HSE Carlow/Kilkenny, Ireland

"This rich and finely textured analysis of being conversational and relational opens the doors and windows to therapeutic rooms and 'mapscapes' that many experienced psychologists, counsellors and psychotherapists will be unaware existed, though will instantly recognise as core to their own experiences. This is part of the same conversation that Steve began with Therapy with a map and as such will be considered a key text in the world of Cognitive Analytic Therapy. For those who are CAT-curious or interested in conversational awareness in therapy, this book is a gift and a joy." 

Sandy McAfee, Clinical Psychologist, Scotland

Upcoming Events

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  • It helps us talk more openly especially when talking about difficult ideas, complex situations and mixed feelings.  

  • Mapping helps us see patterns in our ways of relating and in the stories we share. 

  • The method of mapping develops relational awareness and draws upon ideas from Cognitive Analytic Therapy

  • It helps make different points of view visible and negotiable

  • It is widely used as aid to therapy, team discussion and reflective practice 

  • It turns conversation into a more tangible and tactile activity, working co-creatively side by side.  

Image by Harli  Marten
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Image by lilzidesigns
  • Sit together with pen and paper between you  

  • Agree to use the words on paper as something that will help you listen.   

  • Write down key words that resonate with the flow of the conversation or give shape and meaning to the story.

  • Use the words on paper to go back over the 'story so far' and deepen and widen your conversation and your understanding. 

  • Dont expect to make a tidy map.

  • Use the mapping process to help get into the conversation without getting lost or put on the spot

  • Watch the hand drawn videos that show the process of mapping in action. 

  • The grid explains the idea of relational awareness as the quality that is enabled by mapping as we talk and therapy with a map. 

  • The grid combines three qualities of relational awareness against three dimensions in a grid of nine items 

Image by Pierre Bamin
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This integrative and relational approach to psychotherapy and mental health is a central influence on the ideas, values and methods on the map and talk website, the Therapy with a Map book and all the various contributions.

Image by Aaron Burden
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Besides the book Therapy with a Map and the blog there is also:

  • the grid (explore relational awareness - its qualities and dimensions)

  • a small collection of past articles (download the PDFs)

  • a pilot measure of relational awareness (RAM) supported by an international research group

  • webinars and workshop events

  • hand drawn videos that show how to enter into the process of mapping and talking whether for therapy, reflective practice or just having a good talk.  

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Image by Jed Villejo
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