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Lesson Four: Decision Making

Pure Threeing, in itself, offers no way for a group to make decisions.  In the real world to accomplish anything, decision must be made. If these decisions are to be made by three people without generating two against one dynamics, a formal procedure involving a fourth party is necessary.  This lesson teaches that procedure.


  • Review decision making procedure described in chapter two.
  • Review material developed in lesson three about “Sex, Gender and Threeing”.


  • Learn the decision making procedure proper to Threeing.


  • Comfortable private room, big enough to divide everybody into small groups of three and four, ideally around a small table.
  • Assessment  material, including pencils or pens 
  • Tricolor Talking Sticks


  • Keep same teams as in lesson three.  If you have one, two or three teams you can  serve as a fourth party for those teams.  If you have more than three teams, break up each fourth team to supply a fourth party for the other teams.
  • Review lesson. 

10 minutes

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Decision Making Exercise # 1

Scenario: Your team presentation on “Sex, Gender and Threeing” is scheduled for  two different audiences: a feminist club at a local University and a couple’s weekend at a retreat house.  For each audience, you must decide what to leave out, what to stress, and the tone and order of presentation.  The predesignated fourth party should be available to help with decisions.

For the feminist audience:

Referencing the topics she is responsible for, Yellow proposes what topics she thinks should be left out, what topics she plans to stress, the tone of the presentation and the order of presentation she want to follow.  Red and Blue listen.  If either disagrees and convinces the other to disagree about any of what Yellow proposes, they request the fourth party to hear them out and make a decision. Participants can object for the sake of putting the decision making procedure into motion.  If the fourth party agrees with Red and Blue the three override Yellow, otherwise, Yellow’s decisions hold.

Repeat procedure for Red.
Repeat procedure for Blue.
30 minutes

For couples:

Repeat entire procedure for Yellow, Red and Blue.
30 minutes

Discuss your experience in open group.

20 minutes

End Of Lesson

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Decision Making Exercise About Diner

Simulate this Scenario:  Three of you want to go out to diner.  The decision to be made is where.  Each person propose a restaurant and argues for that restaurant using the talking stick protocols.  Yellow proposes a restaurant paying attention to taste and quality.  Red object based on difficulty of access and money and hassle.  Blue references the overall context and mediates between the two. Use advocacy protocols, if necessary.  Have a fourth party designated to resolve any two against one situations.  If a two against one situation arises, resolve it by appeal to the fourth party. Rotate roles.  Repeat.  Rotate roles. Repeat.

Decision Making Exercise About the Self

Your team is making presentations on The Trinity, The Self and the Internet to three different audiences: a religious order of believers, a gathering of  psychoanalysts , and an academic conference on the internet.   Repeat the format for decision making about described above for “Sex, Gender and Threeing.”

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Lessons in Threeing: Lesson 4

Decision Making Exercise #1





















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    Paul Ryan
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