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Professional and Personal Development

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Thinking at the Edge (TAE)

What is Thinking at the Edge (TAE)?

Thinking at the Edge is a way to develop thinking which is truly creative and innovative. It is based on the premise that we have something unique to offer, an insight or understanding that comes directly from our own unique and individual experience. Often, these insights remain uncommunicated because we have not yet found a way to articulate them that other people will understand or recognise.


Where does Thinking at the Edge come from?

Focusing happens at the ‘edge’ of experience, where what we know is not yet formed into words — and Thinking at the Edge is a development of this. It developed at the University of Chicago, where courses in philosophy and logic included practical component described by Professor Gendlin (originator of Focusing) as, ‘the difficult task of getting students to attend to what they implicitly knew but could not say and never considered trying to say’ ( ).

Here, the usual criteria for academic success were reversed. Instead of awarding marks for what they were able to articulate, students were asked to access ‘an observation or impression which is directly and physically sensed, but [as yet] unclear’. TAE evolved as a precise, step-by-step sequence which enables thinkers to describe their experience in a new way. That is, as a movement from what they already know implicitly within an imaginative but internal dimension, towards an explicit understanding of that experience, and the ability to articulate it precisely to others.


How Thinking at the Edge Works

TAE is grounded in Gendlin’s Philosophy of the Implicit. In TAE, the implicit refers to our inner knowing about what we have to offer and where it may lead. But making concepts from experience is not easy. By following our felt-sense — our ‘inner compass’ — TAE provides a clear framework in which our ideas come to light, and we translate them into recognisable concepts which will catch people’s attention, and engage their imagination. It therefore provides a structured, yet intuitive, way to develop what we know, and then to say it with clarity and confidence so that others can understand.

For further information about our courses and coaching, see:


Who is Thinking at the Edge for?

Here are some examples of how the TAE process can be applied:

  • Professional proposals - I want to present a new promising direction for our company, and I would like to prepare my proposal to be credible and professional
  • Business meetings - I want to prepare myself for the meeting next week by clarifying many issues that are on the proposed agenda
  • Personal development - I know I can have a more successful career, but I need to find what is it that I would be happier to do
  • Private projects - I have an idea about starting a small enterprise, but I don’t seem to know where to start.
  • Negotiation skills - There must be a better system in negotiations than what I am doing. As a business person and educator, I want to find a way to improve this area in my life
  • Public speaking - I wish I could find the way to put into words what I know and want to communicate to this group
  • Artistic expressions - I am a musician, my music flows from me easily, but my lyrics are weak. I know I have more to express but it seems I just don’t have the right words
  • Academic writing - I am in the process of writing my thesis - I get stuck and discouraged. Ideas come but get jammed into endless loops
  • Education - My course needs updating. How can I preserve what’s important and breathe new life into it?


We are grateful to Nada Lou, experienced teacher of TAE, for the above list. See: