Container Building



Container Building
is the process of creating a safe space for a group or a team by establishing both trust and ground rules for engagement. A container in this context is defined by the boundaries of a social field and incorporates three qualities: open mind (seeing), open heart (feeling), and open will (intention). A container sets the tone for a journey that is about to unfold by providing a safe space for risk-taking in an atmosphere that supports growth and learning.


Container Building is done at the beginning of a social process (in person or remote) and establishes foundation for a group. By creating a container, facilitators improve how participants pay attention, interact, and collaborate. Challenging situations and deep change especially require this work.


  • Be clear about roles and steps.
  • Listen with an open mind, heart, and will.
  • Suspend your voice of judgment to activate the creative power of the open mind.
  • Respect the voice and opinions of others, even if they are different from your own.
  • Pay attention to those on the margins of the social field.
  • Consider the boundaries of the container and agreements made between the people.

The u-school for Transformation and the Presencing Institute use a Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike  3.0 Unported License for all materials on our websites. Learn more here.