The Book

Applying Deep Democracy in Human Services:
Diversity, Inclusion and Innate Powers

Applying Deep Democracy in Human Services is a resource for the helping professions. The nine innate powers explained and illustrated with stories from around the world, are strength-based capabilities within every person. Power is not only a problem, it is also the solution. This book offers a humanising and practical way to shift mindsets and develop skills to maximise self-determination and diversity in vibrant communities. 

One billion people across the globe are dependent on health, disability and/or care and protective systems and providers. Everyday survival depends on caregivers, supporters, care programs and funding. Yet so many people are lonely, isolated and long to feel at home in a community with meaningful relationships, and opportunities to participate and contribute. Mistreatment, exploitation and neglect in protective environments and institutions, are coming to light worldwide. Applying Deep Democracy in Human Services offers caregivers, educators and direct support professionals, and anyone reliant on the ever-growing field of human services a strengths-based approach to recovery and collective change. 

Applying deep Democracy in Human Services is Transform and Blossom’s core text. The book is about facilitating the animation of core strengths that belong to all humans and can be awakened given the right moment and conditions. These inner capabilities are a natural antidote to misuse of power and learned helplessness, two conditions prevalent in residential care environments. Deep power is nature’s way to get back to inner wisdom for more joy in life. These powers wake up and support your inner navigator to steer your own boat, through Transform and Blossom capacity building.

These powers are needed to have diversity awareness, to use personal rank, power and privilege well, to be open to feedback, in noticing micro-aggressions and oppressions that cause anguish and harm. These powers are as relevant for leaders and practitioners as for people reliant on support who are still trapped in restrictive systems and support relationships. They are true for almost everyone. 

Applying Deep Democracy in Human Services: Diversity, Inclusion and Innate Powers
by Julia Wolfson, Ph.D.
2017, Eldership Academy Press


Available Now:

AUD $38.00 Softcover PayPal; Australia and Worldwide

USD $18.95 Softcover Amazon; USA/Worldwide-Ships from Eldership Academy Press, CA

USD $9.99 Amazon Kindle Edition

Photo: Heather Fewkes

I learned about these powers through my research in communities and service providers around the world who had survived and transformed through a phase of agonising rupture. I wanted to understand what conditions and inner resources it takes to bounce back from the abyss and connect t to your inner strengths to follow meaningful direction within difficult events. I was inspired to discover that the same human capacities were present in people reliant on support, their supporters and the leaders providing overall direction and management. 

This opened me to the universal human essence within each of these powers in uniquely individualised ways.  Transform and Blossom is a skills-based framework for awakening these human capabilities available to humans anywhere.

These inner powers awaken capabilities for:

Facing injustices of the past: today you, tomorrow me. For example: showing up as leaders to address institutional abuse and shifting policy and conditions that entrench harm and helplessness.

Self-attunement: Internal awareness and safety signals. For example: Inner work, inner stability when under attack, psychological safety.

Inner direction: Discovering and following your path. For example: discovering and using your unique style and timeless pattern of showing up as your full self in any situation. 

Love-based curiosity: Asking, learning, following. For example, JoinU discovery process for self-powered impact in the lives of people reliant on support.  

Inner strength from surviving adversity. For example, the buoyancy and self-power to use adversity to thrive.  

Numinous experience: Renewing from an ineffable source. For example: following and communing with inner and outer nature, through movement, during creative and contemplative practices – accessing deeper wisdom and refreshment through non-linear and non-rational ways of being and knowing. 

Self-affirming beliefs: Educating the inner critics. For example: Practice pushing back to inner critics, recognising oppressive inner figures that come from personal history, minority and marginal experiences, culture, socio-economic disparities, health struggles, ageism, lookism, ableism etc.

Making conflict fruitful: the meaning in the mess. For example: conflict as frozen fragment of an emerging new identity. Facilitating flow into stuck situations that unlocks creativity and more connection as a martial art.

Facilitating collaboration: Inner and outer teams, and multi stakeholder groups. For example, facilitating public Open Forums around a high priority topic with divergent viewpoints, and helping to move things forward by giving space to interact and go deeper into the tough stuff.

What Leaders in the Field are Saying About the Book

Dr. Wolfson's book Applying Deep Democracy in Human Services shows how certain skills and metaskills using 'deep democracy', can help those in need, caregivers and whole organizations thrive!

Drs. Amy and Arnold Mindell – Founders of Processwork, deep democracy and worldwork

This book will help people reframe the key issues in human services around the themes of self-direction, relationships, and social capital.

Dr. James F. Gardner – Former President and CEO, Council on Quality and Leadership, 1989–2012

Julia is weaving the thread of personal development, emotional intelligence and whole system thinking into a new approach to care systems, where we learn how partnership, empowerment and awareness of rank and privilege create wisdom and eldership for the community of caregivers and people requiring support ... for anybody who is interested in making care more humane, less custodial and more fun for everyone involved.

Drs. Max and Ellen Schupbach – founders of the global Deep Democracy Institute.

For more than a decade the author has worked with our organisation in a village in Africa, for children, youth and young adults with different abilities, bringing us together to discover at progressively deeper levels what the core of our work is. In this book she shares the treasures and insight of many decades of work supporting organisations to bring out the strengths of vulnerable people. It is a remarkable book that should be required reading for all who work in this field.

Agas Groth, CEO Camphill Communities, Botswana

Finally, after working for over 40 years with people with challenging behaviors, predominantly in the field of Intellectual Disability, I am awed and heartened by this book. Rich with insight derived through direct practice and capable of being extrapolated to all nature of oppression and abuse of power, Dr. Julia Wolfson uses her own rich life and work experiences to expose the painful abuses and misguided power-over in interpersonal relationships that often commingles with well-meaning care-taking intentions for people with different abilities. Through her powerful storytelling she simultaneously exposes us to pain and suffering, as well as the hopefulness of the healing path when truth is heard in a facilitated environment. This book is very important for us all to read, especially if we hope to help humanity develop to its fullest potential. I will assign it to my students in our MSW program as well as to our clinic interns as a strategic guide to transformative leadership, and recommend it to everyone I come across who is trying to help change the world. The capabilities can be developed by anyone who wants to transform the helper relationship to restore agency, mutuality, and reciprocity. Social justice in action.

Beth I Barol PhD, LSW – Associate Professor, Director and Associate Dean Widener University

This masterpiece promises to make a significant contribution to the most difficult existential questions of our time. In a fascinating weave of experiences from her professional life and deep, personal accounts, Julia provides a roadmap for a journey of a universal kind. The inquiry is both confronting and comforting. The authenticity of the voice in this narrative demands of us as readers that we, too, ask ourselves: how can I be safe and free? What does it mean to be alive? Can I become an agent of change? Can I grow my own power or must I wait for this to be authorised by another? This book should be on any reading list that aims to educate people within the social sciences. It applies not only to the education and care sectors but in any context within which our aim is to serve others. With its refined approach to inclusion, this book applies to any culture or nation where there are individuals who put their work in service of their fellow human beings. Courage and love in equal measures has made this book what it is. Read it and be changed.

Charlotte von Bülow, founder and CEO, Crossfields Institute, Awarding Organisation for specialist qualifications, Stroud, United Kingdom

Current policy in delivering services for the elderly is spoken of as consumer directed care. However, all too often consumer voices are unheard. Whether care is provided in the home or a residential facility, Applying Deep Democracy in Human Services offers timely practical advice to ensure respect and dignity are embedded in all aspects of service delivery.

Bina Brown Director Third Age Matters - Canberra aged care solutions

This is the book Human Services people have been waiting for without knowing it. Why do we succeed sometimes and not others? Because, Julia's powerful book explains, we are using our innate strengths as human beings to connect deeply with others, those whom we serve, and recognise what they have to teach US. While ever we are in a "we know best" mode, we are destined, not necessarily to fail, but to severely limit our ability to do as well as we have the capacity to. And that's the key word: capacity. We talk about capacity building in others, but rarely focus on how much we need to discover and keep building our own in order to do as well as we might in some of the most important areas this society is grappling with. A must read for anyone who works in the field of Human Services, in policy or practice - and a must read for all of us who believe in the power of social connection.

Joanna Kalowski – mediator, facilitator, judicial educator

Applying Deep Democracy Book Now Available

Australia & Worldwide

AUD $ 38.00

Ships from Canberra

Amazon - USA

USD $18.95

Eldership Academy Press


USD $9.99


Turning Myself Forward: The personal story that led to the Transform and Empower approach – 2008

Artwork – Kubbitji Anmatyerre Title: Emu and Yam Seed Dreaming at Boundary Bore, Utopia NT
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