If one of the workshops listed below isn't a perfect fit for your community, let's talk about what will meet your current goals and needs. Designing custom workshops is a special interest of mine. I start by gathering information from your group leaders and membership and then draw on my training and my experience with similar groups to create a workshop that makes the most of the time and resources available.
Spirit of Consensus
Does your community follow structures for consensus or consent but still seem to leave meetings frustrated and conflicted? Does it seem that some members don’t really understand consensus at all? Consensus is a challenging concept that many of us never experienced before moving in to cohousing. Understanding it logically often isn’t enough. This 4-hour workshop helps communities move beyond knowing and into a deeper emotional connection with consensus and with each other.
Meetings that Build Community
Most of us attend meetings because we are interested in the work at hand and the people doing it, yet too often we leave meetings feeling frustrated, overwhelmed and disconnected. With some basic tools and intention it is possible to lead meetings that grow relationships and leave participants feeling valued, connected, and invested in the group and the work. In this full day workshop you will practice tools for building relationships during meetings, learn the theory behind the practice, and take home strategies for making every meeting effective, efficient and enriching.
Click on the link for a workshop flier.
Human behavior (including decision-making) is largely driven by the affective or emotional part of our brains, yet our usual meeting styles focus heavily on the cognitive. This leads to conflict and inefficient decision-making. Bridging Circles are a structured discussion designed by therapists to help groups and individuals access both the affective and the cognitive, getting to the often unconscious beliefs, values and experiences that need to be considered. In this workshop, you will practice the skills needed to facilitate bridging circles, participate in a demonstration bridging circle, and learn the structure so you can facilitate bridging circles in your community.
Working It Out
Imago Dialogue for groups including children
Dialogue, as described in Harville Hendrix’s Getting the Love You Want, has been helping people get more connected for decades. Children are particularly drawn to dialogue as it takes advantage of the way our brains were designed to communicate. With this tool they are able to resolve more of their own conflicts, often finding agreement to disputes without ever reaching the point of hurt feelings. Even better, it is giving them skills that will help them be successful in all kinds of relationships throughout their lives. In 90 minutes kids and adults learn to mirror, validate and empathize.
Helping Kids Work It Out
Following a Working It Out workshop, parents and community adults learn how to give ongoing support to kids as they practice Dialogue. In addition to helping kids learn to resolve their own problems rather than turning to adults for solutions, this workshop gives adults a way to support kids in conflict without taking sides. When a community has an agreed way of responding to kids in conflict, those conflicts are far less likely to escalate into conflict between adults. This 2 hour follow-up workshop is generally offered on the same day as the Working It Out workshop and includes practice sessions facilitating dialogue. These skills can also be used to support adults in conflict.
As new cohousing groups form, one of the most important and least tangible tasks is to bond as a group. We come into cohousing because we are looking for community and connection. We expect it to build over time, and it does. On the other hand, it is our attachment to each other that gets us through the tough decisions and disagreements. Those rough spots don’t wait for us to bond over coffee in our newly built common house. They show up early and often as we are creating the community we want to become. Setting aside a day or a weekend early on (and from time to time as new members join) to focus on getting to know one another and build attachment can increase participation, reduce attrition and speed decision-making. Over the course of this 1-2 day workshop, you will find a safe space to be vulnerable, share your dreams and fears with your community, get more connected with your own hopes, and begin to share ideas about a couple of big tickets items you will be deciding in the months to come.