People in conversation

From Stuck Debate to New Conversation on Controversial Issues


Journal of Feminist Family Therapy

In this co-authored report, EP's co-founders write that some public controversies, such as the abortion debate, have become so chronically polarized that most citizens cannot even think about them without falling into the adversarial discourse of the embattled movement leaders.

The authors, who comprise the Public Conversations Project (now Essential Partners), use family systems ideas to design and conduct dialogue sessions where people with opposing views resist the pull of polarization and instead speak from the heart about personal experiences, express doubts, and show respectful curiosity with people whom they may previously have regarded as stupid, malevolent or hopelessly wrong-minded.


Corky Becker, PhD
Richard Chasin, MD
Maggie Herzig
Sallyann Roth, MSW