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Non-Directivité Intervenante (NDI)

What is Non-Directivité Intervenante?

NDI can be condensed in the triplet listen – propose – accompany (Lobrot, Bakirtzis) and is a method of communication that has been applied with success since 1980 in the fields of facilitation, experiential education, personal growth, psychotherapy, team-building, group dynamics, conflict resolution. It was introduced by the French professor Michel Lobrot who combined and developed further important currents and practices of humanitarian psychology and arts, such as person-centered therapy and encounter groups (Carl Rogers), group dynamics & field theory (Kurt Lewin), psychodrama (Jacob Moreno), gestalt therapy (Fritz Perls), Reichian therapy, theater improvisation, theater in education, music, painting and sculpture as means of self and collective expression, techniques of automatic expression from the surrealist movement and others.

The NDI facilitator listens actively to a person/group with unconditional positive regard and empathy, seeking to detect their desires. At the same time he/she remains authentic and congruent with his/her personal feelings or thoughts. The facilitator formulates tailored proposals to facilitate the expression of desires, the learning and the emotional growth of the person/group and he/she doesn’t hesitate to intervene and make suggestions. At the same time he/she is always alert to stay focused on the desires of the group and is open to withdraw and revoke a proposal if the group feels it is not helpful for them.

Regarding learning, NDI focuses on the positive experience and gives space to the personal learning paths of each participant. According to NDI the core of learning is that the learner “is moved” – “is emotionally affected”. It thus emphasizes in preserving the engagement of the learner during the learning process and considers multi-dimensional reflection as a central part of the learning process. Furthermore, NDI being an experiential learning approach also discourses with currents such as learning by doing, cooperative learning, Kolb’s theory, differentiated instruction, constructivism and outdoor education while suggesting that attention should always be paid so that the personal needs and desires expressed by the learner are never neglected or marginalized in favor of external priorities or aims. NDI suggests moving beyond the dipole “teacher centered vs. student centered” learning and explore the potential of relation-centered learning, referring to a holistic and authentic relation between the learner and the teacher/facilitator with the latter accompanying and co-searching with the learner in the exploration of how to accomplish his/her personal aims and desires.

Go further

In English, one book from Michel Lobrot is available. It explains in detail how the NDI works: The non-directive influence (2002) (translated by Ann Simon-Debonne)

If you can read French, there is the website of Michel Lobrot where many of his texts are available, and the Wikipedia article about him.


Thierry Bonfanti (info {at} thierrybonfanti.eu) - Filippos Nachmias (tuiavii.er {at} gmail.com)


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