The Power of Dialogue: Constructive Conversations on Divisive Issues

The Power of Dialogue is our flagship workshop. This is a comprehensive “deep dive” into our time-tested approach for transforming conflicted conversations about divisive issues. It begins with the theory of our framework and solidifies that with immersive experiential learning.

Even within the most contentious issues or fraught situations, the right tools enable a community to foster understanding, restore relationships, and move forward.

The Power of Dialogue is a highly interactive workshop that offers a widely applicable skill set for those with a range of experience levels. As a facilitator, you will learn how to create conversations that foster mutual understanding between groups and individuals divided by deep differences.

Hundreds of facilitators, peacebuilders, mediators, and other community leaders from the US and 18 other countries have taken this workshop since its inception in 1996 and are implementing its lessons worldwide.

The registration fee includes the three-day workshop and follow up support as attendees will apply the skills they learn in their context or community. For related and preparation reading material, click here.


  • To gain an in-depth understanding of the theory and practice of EP’s Reflective Structured Dialogue framework through dynamic exercises and a real-world case study;
  • To learn to design a conversation or dialogue that encourages people to participate fully, listen actively, and empathize across differences;
  • To become familiar with the signs of polarization, the dynamics of conflict, and how they affect our perceptions of and communication with others;
  • To practice methods of speaking, listening, and asking questions that foster constructive conversations;
  • To experience all elements of a structured dialogue about a divisive issue: preparing participants, mapping and planning, facilitating, and participating.

As a result of taking this workshop, you will be equipped to:

  • Facilitate conversations or dialogue across differences of belief, value, or identity;
  • Foster healthier dialogue around divisive issues in your community, campus, congregation, or company;
  • Create space for complex or conflicting views in a community, group, or organization;
  • Transform difficult conversations that have been trapped in cycles of polarization;
  • Repair damaged relationships and break the “us” vs. “them” dynamics;
  • Employ effective and satisfying communication exercises in a broad range of personal and professional settings.

Who might participate:

  • Civic leaders and advocates
  • Educators and administrators
  • Corporate and nonprofit managers
  • Human resources professionals
  • Clergy and lay religious leaders
  • Therapists or social workers
  • Alternative dispute resolution professionals

Travel & Lodging

There is ample free parking in the lots outside our offices, but traffic in the area can be extremely congested. If possible, we recommend taking the MBTA Red Line to Alewife. Essential Partners' offices are a short (10 min) walk from the station.

If you are planning to travel to the Boston area for a workshop, we recommend booking a room at the adjacent Freepoint Hotel, which offers a corporate rate for our attendees. Click Here for more information.

Cancellation Policies

If you must cancel, please do so as far in advance as possible. Cancellations are subject to a $25 administration fee plus an additional $25 to process credit card refunds (if you paid by credit card). To receive any refund your cancellation must be made at least 2 weeks before the course date. Essential Partners is under no obligation to offer any refund or credit if you cancel within two weeks of a workshop. If you need to cancel due to a medical emergency, your local weather conditions, or any other reason please call Sara Ostrovitz at (617) 923-1216 ext. 10.

In some instances, Essential Partners must cancel a workshop due to low enrollment, faculty illness, or weather. In the unlikely event that we have to cancel a workshop due to low enrollment, we will give you at least 2 weeks notice. If we cancel due to faculty illness or severe weather, we will contact you as far in advance as possible. If there is a severe storm warning in the area of the workshop venue, we will cancel by 4:00 pm the day before.

If the workshop is canceled, Essential Partners will issue you a full refund of the registration fee, with no additional administration fees. Essential Partners cannot be responsible for travel losses.

Accreditation and Continuing Education

Essential Partners provides a certificate upon completion of the workshop that can be used to support a request for professional development credits.

For more information, please contact us at or 617-923-1216 ext. 10.

Workshop policies.

There are no upcoming events for this workshop right now. Please check back later or contact us.

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Neuropsychology Research, Theory, Small Group Discussions, Role Play, Simulated Dialogue, Crafting Questions


I appreciated the emphasis on crafting the questions. Not just in terms of language, but thinking very carefully about what feelings or experiences you want to illicit

Shari Edelstein, Workshop Alumni

The workshop structure, especially the simulation, really invited me to a much deeper place of understanding.

I felt an amazing sense of accomplishment when the workshop ended; that I'd done something important for my community and something important for me.

The fact that people can disagree and still find a way to connect, hear the other and feel heard is something that I wish could be utilized in so many ways, outside the ‘dialogue’ context.

Workshop Alumni