Dolphyn Newsletter – Sept. 2018

Important Changes at Dolphyn

Welcome to Dolphyn’s latest Newsletter where we share important and exciting news about our future.

People who have followed our work closely will know of my personal involvement with Lifeline for many years. I started as a volunteer Director in the Newcastle & Hunter region in November 2012. Dolphyn began in March of the same year.

In July last year, after some internal changes at Lifeline, 4 of the 41 Lifeline ‘Centres’ (offices) operating across Australia decided to join together, combining resources and teams, while at the same time continuing to deliver local services and building relationships in the communities that we serve. This new venture, within Lifeline Australia, is known as ‘Lifeline Direct’.

It was at this time that I initially moved into a seconded role as Regional Manager for the Hunter & Central Coast areas, to support our move into this changed environment. Then in January this year, I took on an additional responsibilities overseeing our counselling and community programs across all of the four ‘Centres’ that form Lifeline Direct. These include;

  • Newcastle & Hunter (NSW);
  • Central Coast (NSW);
  • Northern Rives (NSW) and;
  • Warrnambool (in South West Victoria).

We also have a funded counselling program in the New England (NSW).

From 24th September this year though, I move into another new role.

This time, it is a full time and ongoing role of Executive Director, Lifeline Direct. In this role I will be part of the Lifeline Australia Executive Leadership Team, reporting to the CEO.

What does this mean for Dolphyn?

This effectively means that my work with Dolphyn will be put on hold for the time being.

Because of my commitments with Lifeline over the past 12+ months, I have been winding back my consulting activities, while at the same time working with colleagues to support clients; including our longest standing one, Harris Farm Markets. I’ve been grateful for this support, especially from my dear friend Gab Carlton at Resilyence.

So, after 6 years consulting for various organisations through Dolphyn, I’m feeling a healthy combination of both excitement and anxiousness, as I move into this new full-time role with Lifeline Australia.

I have been supported by some wonderful people over the past 6 years including; Gab, Rob, James, Shona, Hayden, Roy, Steph, Gary, Aaron and of course our dear mate Max. However, after a period of deep self-reflection, in particular over the past 12 months, I feel that I’ve found my purpose and that Lifeline Australia is the place for me to head next to continue the ‘learning adventure’ that is ‘living’.

I intend to continue writing occasional blogs and reflections, however these are likely to be less frequent than in recent years. I’m also working on a new book which I aim to complete over the next six months.

I look forward to engaging with you in different ways and look forward to staying in touch. Thanks for your support.


An Introduction to Lifeline in Australia

Lifeline was founded by the Reverend Alan Walker at Methodist Central Mission in Sydney in 1963. Since then, Lifeline services have been established around Australia and in many parts of the world.

Somewhere in Australia there is a new call to Lifeline every minute. People call Lifeline’s 24 hour crisis line 13 11 14 about:

  • Suicidal thoughts or attempts
  • Personal crisis
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Loneliness
  • Abuse and trauma
  • Stresses from work, family or society
  • Self-help information for friends and family*

Over the years, Lifeline has expanded its operations from the traditional telephone crisis support line and now include a range of community-led services that aim to relieve the stress and pain of the people in our local communities through services such as; face to face counselling, community engagement and training.

We also have retail and fundraising teams who are tasked with raising funds for all of the above activities, along with our tireless support team. Working together, our aim is to make sure that when Australians are in crisis, we are there to meet them in a way that works best for them.



A New Era at The Wayside & Farewell to a Mentor, Graham Long

Regular readers of this Newsletter will know that The Wayside Chapel, in Sydney’s Kings Cross, has been a special place of learning for many who have studied the Social Psychology of Risk. It is a space that allows; imperfection, learning, forgiveness, community and ‘meeting’, to exist together in a spirit of real living.

Graham Long was the CEO and Pastor at The Wayside for the past 14 years, where he lead significant change, least of which was a new building after it had been condemned. Although probably more importantly, Graham provided a vision and influenced a philosophy, where in that same building, community is created where; “there is no us and them”.

Graham is also an accomplished author and speaker. His books include; Wayside (2016), Love over Hate: Finding life by the wayside (2013) and Stories by the Wayside (2011). Graham was admitted to the Order of Australia as an AM in 2015. He has been married to Robyn for 40 years. They have a daughter Mandy. Their son James died in 2009*.

Graham finished in this role in August 2018. In recognition of his work at Wayside, a tribute was held and two videos from the day have been published.

Check out the links below:

I feel privileged to have been introduced to Graham, after studying with his brother Rob. Being able to experience The Wayside on many occasions, including sharing in learning by presenting programs there myself, has been a great influence on my decision to work more closely in the social services sector and ultimately Lifeline.

During his time at Wayside, Graham wrote a weekly column to their Inner Circle, a tradition that has been carried on by Grahams successor Jon Owen. These weekly columns share the very real stories of very real people who ‘live by the wayside’.

It was through reflecting on these stories, especially with my dear mate Max Geyer, that I learned so much. Having spent a lifetime working in an industry more focused on, and worried about, controlling and policing people, rather than ‘being’, ’empathising’ and ‘meeting’ them; Graham’s weekly stories provided much inspiration for a move to working in a field where these things come more naturally to people.

It’s for this reason that Graham, through his experiences, living and of course failings, has become a mentor. That is, someone who has caused considerable thinking and helped me to realise a new ‘way of being‘.

If you’d like to hear more from Graham, you can listen to a presentation made during our studies in the Social Psychology of Risk at The Wayside in 2014. View the video HERE

I’m pleased that I’m able to continue my relationship with Graham beyond ‘The Wayside’ and know that I will continue to learn from the wisdom that comes from a person who understands that as Buber (see below) suggests; “all real living is meeting”. I shall dedicate my time at Lifeline to ‘meeting’, afterall, isn’t that real living?



Recent Blogs and Articles

Canada Workshops – Social Psychology of Risk – November 2018

By Dr Robert Long

The focus of the workshop will be on culture, leadership and risk in particular, unpacking the Culture Cloud. Dr Long uses a semiotic understanding to bring greater meaning to the nature of culture (

Dr Long states: ‘Without an understanding of culture as the ‘collective unconscious’ and semiosphere, culture remains trapped within a mechanistic definition and loses its rich complexity in knowing how to better tackle risk’.

Places are for this unique workshop are quite limited so get in early with your booking.
Book Your Place at the Workshop HERE

Is Safetyism Destroying a Generation?

Via: Quillette

“Antifragility applies to emotional health as well. When you guard children against every possible risk – do not let them outside to play or walk home alone – they exaggerate the fear of such situations and fail to develop resilience and coping skills. Stresses are necessary to learn, adapt and grow. Without movement, our muscles and joints grow weak. Without varied life experiences, our minds do not know how to cope with day-to-day stressors. Measures designed to protect children and students are backfiring.”

Read The Full Article HERE

I and Thou:
Philosopher Martin Buber on the Art of Relationship and What Makes Us Real to One Another

Via: Brain Pickings

“The primary word I–Thou can be spoken only with the whole being. Concentration and fusion into the whole being can never take place through my agency, nor can it ever take place without me. I become through my relation to the Thou; as I become I, I say Thou.
All real living is meeting.
No aim, no lust, and no anticipation intervene between I and Thou. Desire itself is transformed as it plunges out of its dream into the appearance. Every means is an obstacle. Only when every means has collapsed does the meeting come about.”

Read The Full Article HERE

Have You Read Social Sensemaking?

More Than 750 Copies Sold

Social Sensemaking, my first book written as a reflection of a ‘learning adventure’ in the Social Psychology of Risk, was first published in August 2016. Since, more than 750 hard copies of the boo

k have been sold along with around 350 eBook editions. If you haven’t had the chance to read Social Sensemaking and would like to, simply click on the link below to order your copy.

We’d love to hear your thoughts once you’ve had a chance to read it.



A Community in Practice

Being in community with others is important for us here at Dolphyn, thanks for being part of it. We look forward to sharing and learning with you throughout 2018.

Dolphyn Newsletter – January 2018

Welcome to a New Year

Happy New Year everyone.

2017 certainly brought with it the usual mix of ups and downs. The highs of time spent with friends in Austria and Chicago were contrasted with the sad passing of our great mate Max Geyer. Life is like that. Just when we think things are going to plan, the mystery that is ‘living‘, reminds us time and again that, despite our desire to plan, and in the face of the seduction of fallibility, life doesn’t always follow the safe and linear path that we often expect.

As we head into a new year, we often have dreams and plans for a better way of living. If this is our aim as we begin 2018, we may be wise to consider the words of Martin Buber who, in his book i-Thou, reminds us that “All real living is meeting” (1958, p.26). ‘Meeting‘ is when we truly just ‘be‘ with others and it recognises the very social nature of our living. Too easily though, our dreams can become focused only on our own needs, and ‘me’ can so simplistically, and often unknowingly, trump ‘we‘. It can be a challenge to live through our life as an individual, in what is a very social world. If this theme interests you, the Dolphyn Newsletter is probably for you.

Welcome to our New Followers

In early January, we ran a short promotion where we offered new Subscribers to our Newsletter an electronic copy of Social Sensemaking. It was a well recieved promotion and we now welcome 100+ new followers to our Newsletter. We hope you enjoy reading the eBook edition. Copies are now available to download by anyone, see the story below for more details.

May 2018 be a year of much ‘meeting‘ for us all.

Robert Sams

You can read the full Newsletter HERE.

Dolphyn Newsletter # 5

 Dolphyn Newsetter #5


“Being present to people requires a degree of fragility. To keep control or to impose an agenda only ensures we are about to have a meeting in which no real meeting is likely to take place”


Graham Long (2013, p.74 and p.75)

These are the words of The Reverend Graham Long, Pastor and CEO of The Wayside Chapel. Graham’s words are prophetic and special and The Wayside’s approach of ‘meeting’ people rather than ‘fixing’ them is foundational to their success.

Graham and the team at The Wayside preach ‘Love Over Hate’ and their mission is to “create a community with no us and them”. I think there is a lot that risk and safety could learn from the team at The Wayside.

In this edition of Dolphyn’s Newsletter, we explore what it means to better understand and ‘meet’ people and how this might help create “a community with no us and them” to better support others deal with, and understand risk.



Newsletter # 4 – May 2015

Dolphyn Newsletter # 4 – The Learning Adventure Continues

Learning to Embrace Ambiguity

“Organisations, despite their apparent preoccupation with facts, numbers, objectivity, concreteness and accountability, are in fact saturated with subjectivity, abstraction, guesses, making do, invention and arbitrariness, just like the rest of us”
Karl E. Weick (1969, p.5)

One of the things that stands out in our study of social psychology as it applies to dealing with risk, is that while people crave certainty, clarity and clear process, the world is full of grey, of ‘messiness’ and ambiguity. When leaders and organisations learn about, and can get their head around this, we can begin to understand that despite the best planning, the best processes (both of which are needed) and no matter the amount of regulation, things will not always go to plan.

We know that risk is about uncertainty. We also know that ‘the unexpected’ will always occur. Perhaps then, it is those organisations who focus on learning, who are adaptable and who seek to understand people that will work towards what Karl Wick refers to as a High Reliability Organisation.

In this edition of Dolplyn’s Newsletter, we share stories, research, learning and look at different ways to explore and understand risk. We hope you enjoy sharing in our learning adventure.



Newsletter # 3 – March 2015

Dolphyn Newsletter #3

“When Thou is spoken, the speaker has no thing for his object. For where there is a thing there is another thing. Every It is bounded by others; It exists only through being bounded by others. But when the Thou is spoken, there is no thing. Thou has no bounds.” Buber (1958, p.20)

These are the words of Martin Buber from his book I and Thou. I learned about Buber through Graham Long and his book Love Over Hate.

Buber’s work is deep, and I am only beginning my attempt to understand and learn from it. I would do it a great disservice in trying to summarise it with my limited knowledge and understanding, however I have taken great meaning from I and Thou already, as I begin to understand the importance of Buber’s words of wisdom and they help me better understand the different relationships we form in life.

If you are not that into reading, and would prefer to listen to some of Buber’s story, you can download a Podcast by clicking on the ABC’s The Philosopher’s Zone website.

If you would like to hear Graham talk about Buber and explain I and Thou in a better way than I ever could, you can watch a video here.

At Dolphyn we understand the impact that our social arrangements and relationships have on how we go about our daily life, and that relationships and community are an essential part of what it means to be human. We know that humans are social beings and that, as Graham Long puts things, the minimum unit of people is two. That is, we long to belong. Being part of a community is something that we all desire, and need.

A Dolphyn, we value the special relationships we have with our close friends and celebrate the communities that we feel privileged to be a part of. In this edition of Dolphyn’s Newsletter, you will find contributions from good friends Gab, James, Dave and Max who we are proud to collaborate and be associated with.

We hope you enjoy the read, and we thank you for being part of our community.


Newsletter # 2 – January 2015

Newsletter # 2

Welcome to Dolphyn’s First Newsletter for 2015.
2014 was a great year with our brand ‘refresh’ including changing our name to Dolphyn, a new logo and the launch of our updated website. We are proud of what we achieved in 2014 and are looking forward to continuing our great relationships in 2015.In this edition we look at ahead at 2015 and share some of our plans along with information about our most popular programs and of course our popular Book Reviews.If you like what you read, why not share our newsletter by clicking on any of the ‘share’ buttons below.


Newsletter #1 – December 2014

Welcome to Dolphyn’s First Newsletter

In this first Newsletter, we reflect on 2014 by:

  • sharing stories of what we’ve been up to;
  • outlining some of our programs;
  • launch our first competition;
  • celebrate the fun and learning we had in 2014

We hope you enjoy reading and as usual, we look forward to your thoughts and feedback.