The second plenary presentation was delivered by Frank Früchtel, professor, Fachhochschule Potsdam (University of Applied Sciences), Potsdam, Germany, who spoke about family group conferencing (FGC), also known as family group decision making (FGDM). Früchtel worked with FGC in New Zealand, where the practice was developed, then helped introduce it in Germany. Früchtel spoke of FGC as an approach that functions well within both the “system” (which “fulfils a responsibility of administering to people who have a legal entitlement for support”) and the “lifeworld” (“a network of relationships among people, such as family, friends, colleagues, schoolmates, lovers … [who] support each other because of the affinity and affection they experience in their relationships”). Click here to read Früchtel’s paper: System Rationality Encounters Lifeworld Rationality: The SONI Approach to FGC.


Participants also viewed the film Family Voices, which follows nine culturally, economically and geographically diverse American families on their journey of discovery of family group decision making.

Conference participants then split up to attend the numerous “breakout sessions” being offered by their colleagues.