The Actual. Habitual. Protocol. Ritual. method is a way to explore complex issues in a conversation and surface awarenesses that are usually inaccessible through normal dialogue.


The Hold and Seek concept is based on the understanding that a powerful conversation is not simply a two-way exchange of information. Humans often think more profoundly through the action of speaking. When asked the question, we usually think we have to provide an expert and certain response straight away, rather than observing what thoughts and feelings are emerging into awareness.


The purpose of Actual. Habitual. Protocol. Ritual. is to create a safe conversation space for unexplored and unspoken ideas to emerge. This helps participants to go deeper and wider rather than simply replying with entrained and habitual responses. Participants can also use Hold and Seek to work with normally unspoken tensions and to resolve interpersonal conflicts. It can also be used to learn how to create and hold conversation space.

  • To explore and surface ideas
  • To move beyond transmit-only conversations
  • To help participants realise that they don’t always have to know everything
  • To move beyond the limitations of conventional expertise

1 set of Human Hold and Seek Cards per participant

Set Up

Ask the participants the question ‘Who here knows how to ask a question?’
Typically, all participants will respond affirmatively but a seed of doubt will have been planted that there is perhaps more than one way to ask a question.
Then ask the question ‘What is the most important thing to do after asking a question?’
Usually, the answer will be to listen or to pay attention to the answer. Tell the participants that the most important thing to do is to create and hold the space for thoughts and feelings to emerge from the person answering the question.
Give each participant a set of the 3 Hold and Seek Cards Give them a minute to play around with the cards and to read the instructions on the cards. There may be some questions, so reassure participants that you are just about to explain the Hold and Seek process.


Be quite strict in ensuring that the Holder simply holds space and does not talk over or interrupt the Seeker.
If the Seekers feel uncomfortable saying nothing, just reassure them that it’s OK to be silent until thoughts and feelings can be expressed.
Although the Hold and Seek process is usually time boxed, typically for three minutes, it may be that some powerful issues are surfacing. If appropriate, and with agreement from the participants, timings can be extended to explore deeper and wider.


Human Associates Foundation Course