Real Dialogue, Real Change
My toolkit keeps growing, but it has probably been 15 years since I have been deeply moved to re-orient my life to support a new endeavor. I found Real Dialogue in 2022 and since then I have dedicated my private practice to facilitating difficult conversations for others. There have been so many gifts in practicing this skill, this philosophy, and this collection of science.
At times, Real Dialogue is empowering and grounding. And at other times, it's unsettling, terrifyingly vulnerable and excruciatingly slow. Yet, somehow, there are gifts. Sometimes the gifts are immediate and exciting, like not feeling connected to your partner but leaving the session playing footsie and excited to go home. Sometimes the gifts are sad, like hearing or sharing a truth that you had been avoiding. Sometimes its the first time you have had a calm conversation with the person in years and this sets the stage for future calm conversations. And sometimes, it takes weeks before the session integrates and the gift to appear.
I wanted to take a moment to share some responses to frequently asked questions.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Can you tell me more about Real Dialogue? Real Dialogue is both a self-improvement skill and a method of facilitating difficult conversations. It counteracts our natural tendencies to create enemies when we feel unheard, unseen, or unknown. Real Dialogue draws on mindfulness, psychodrama, cognitive science, relational theory and psychoanalysis. Real Dialogue aims for differentiation and witnessing, not for compromise or solutions. Our objective in Real Dialogue is respectful conflict and the ability to see, hear, and feel both self and other within the conflict.
Who has Abbi done Real Dialogue with so far? Since Abbi began offering Real Dialogue, she has offered it to couples, new parents, co-parents navigating divorce, roommates, parents and adult children, people who live on land together and many others. Some of these conversations have been on conflicts that arose around issues of class difference and/or race difference. She has offered Real Dialogue in large corporations for teams that go off track and/or who need a boost in communicating with each other. She has also offered live demonstrations to organizations and supported them in practicing the skill for particular issues. She also practices the skills as much as possible in her own life and is an ever ready student to learn the ways she can improve her interpersonal communication.
What are the skills of Real Dialogue again? The skills of Real Dialogue are Speak for Yourself, Listen Mindfully and Remain Curious.
What does a session with two people look like? For two people who want to participate in a Real Dialogue facilitation, you can expect to sit across from each other. Abbi will take turns supporting each person in the conversation. The focus is on the two individuals having the conversation while Abbi serves as a background type coach. Abbi's roles are to facilitate the process, coach the skills, and to offer reflective listening when needed. Occasionally she will play other roles to support you to share what you want to be heard in, and to support you to hear what the other person would like share. If desired, you can request embodied homework assignments.
What does a session with multiple people look like? This session looks like the session with two people, except the rest of the participants will be witnessing the Real Dialogue and may or may not play other roles. The people in the chairs across from each other can rotate, though often there is only time for one or two pairs to occur in two hours. Corporations often book the whole day for multiple session to occur.
What does a session with one person look like? Abbi will listen to your conflict and share how you might think of the conflict using the skills of Real Dialogue. After listening initially, she will coach you to use the skills of Real Dialogue in how you talk about the conflict and offer reflections. If asked, she will bring in her somatic movement education and share about the somatic experience of trauma/resilience and the nervous system to support you in understanding yourself and/or the other person/people. If desired, she will offer embodied homework assignments to support awareness and integration.
Does Abbi ever meet with participants ahead of time? Abbi does not need to know the nature of a conflict before meeting with the folks who want to participate in Real Dialogue. Occasionally she will agree to meet with each party ahead of time. When working with a corporation, she will meet with the HR department or other designated person first to understand the scope of the assignment.
How do I book a session? You can book a session here.
In my next blog I will share some of the science of Real Dialogue that I resonate with .
Hope to see you soon.