David Grove on Portals and Windows


An edited section derived from ‘A Emergent Knowledge Workbook’ by David Grove

Portals and Windows

A window from one world lets information in from another world in so we can see it, clues and information can flow through that window but it does not necessarily change anything. When we get to a portal we are able to cross over. A window lets you look in but does not necessarily act as an entry point, although, a window may trans-figure into a portal and allow access.

From the secondary world that we are engaged with we are trying to find a context within which there can be an exchange of information. The answers lie within, and these answers are as unique to us as the problems that challenge them.

To get through the edge it will require either asking the right questions when clues arise or maybe a directive from the facilitator such as:

  • “Turn around and face the other way.” or
  • “Take a step, or move backwards.” will allow the client to pass through.

There are a whole series of phenomena, clues and sets of weird logic that exist on the boundary between two worlds:

  • Clean Answers
  • Stories
  • Defining moment
  • Hieroglyphics

Clues to Portals and Windows

When a client is asked a question there is sometimes and usually a moment just before they provide their linguistic response. In this moment, they may suddenly take a sharp intake of breath, or raise their hands, or do any of the other countless obscure gestures or noises that clients make.

These are ‘Clean Answers’, this is the intelligence in the secondary world communicating, note that these answers have an extremely short half-life, the astute facilitator jumps on them as soon as they occur.

What to do:

  • Over-Drive the gesture or noise
  • Ask “What does that ‘Hummph’ know?”


We can go daydreaming into secondary worlds that are created by our imagination through reading etc. The story can be an agent that creates a secondary world.

A client may mention a story that they identify with. It may be a particular book, cartoon, movie or television programme. These stories are where the client disappeared to at a time in their life when they were experiencing trauma. The cosmology they are stuck in is on this side of the story. The facilitator can take the story and find out who the person is who was reading, watching or listening to the story. The time when the story was important to them is the edge that the client needs to move through in order to progress to their destination. They are in a Janus moment, when they can look back or forward from that time, either into the story or back to who they were before they went in to the story.

What to do: Ask

  • “What kind of you are you when you go there?” or
  • “Turn around, what do you know now?”
  • “And, what is around that you?” * 6

Defining Moment

This would be the memory of the incident, just prior to the trauma occurring the client will most likely have large chunks of the memory missing. The facilitator is looking to piece this world back together, however, not to have the client move forward in time though, as this would re-initiate the trauma.

What to do: Develop the ‘I’ and the world

  • “What kind of you are you?”
  • “How old could you be?”
  • “What could you be wearing?”
  • Ask spatial awareness questions about what is around, in front, behind etc.

It is also useful to take the client back in time, as the event especially if traumatic, could be re-stimulated.

  • “What happened just before …?”


The form and spacing of the letters, pictures and blank spaces on the paper can act as the portal into the other cosmologies. You may notice that there is an obscure way in which the client writes one word, or they may make taps on the page with the pen, double and triple underlines, smiley faces or unhappy ones.

What to do: Develop the word / strange markings

  • “What does that … know?”
  • “Where could that … come from?”
  • “What kind of … is that …?”
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