A training series for past participants of conflict training programs, Tools for Tough Conversations provides practical tips on applying conflict de-escalation and communication skills at home, work or in the community. Each supportive learning session is designed to refresh you on key conflict awareness and assertiveness skills and provides ample practice time using scenarios, worksheets and group learning activities, all with the help of trained mediators & facilitators. 

In order to register for a Tools for Tough Conversations workshop, you must first have taken one or more of the following prerequisites offered by the WDRC and its partners*:  
Understanding ConflictProfessional Mediation TrainingCivility in Our Democracy, or Leadership Whatcom

Register for one of these exciting workshops:

  • October 16, 2018; 5:15-7:15 p.m. – Prepare for and Respond to Stress and Conflict: Conflict awareness tools for working with physiological impacts and habitual reactions and stress patterns.  Review the cycle of reaction, practice stress reduction tips and work with your physiology be mindful of steps to get onto the balcony for a better perspective of the situation or confusion.
  • October 23, 2018; 5:15-7:15 p.m. – Learn to Listen Fully: Conflict de-escalation skills for improved listening: Practice the art of purposeful questions to explore the context of conflict. Lean into the tension to improve a difficult conversation or shift one that is stuck.
  • October 25, 2018; 5:15-7:15 p.m. – Explore Biases and Opportunities for Inclusion: Inclusive engagement skills for active participation:  Become aware of biases that demean meaningful engagement. Learn how to actively address them; first in yourself, then consider how action impacts others.
  • October 30, 2018; 5:15-7:15 p.m. – Practice Speaking Up When it Matters Most: There are moments of justice or duty when you must step up and speak: Practice forming assertive statements for times you must take a stand or share an unpopular view; learn strategies for shifting awareness.
  • November 1, 2018; 5:15-7:15 p.m.- Find Common Ground in Times of Difference: Some conflicts are more than a misunderstanding:  Practice bridging differences on the spot; learn how to invent options for mutual gains, or pathways to advance shared concerns.
  • November 6, 2018; 5:15-7:15 p.m. – Respond with Poise in Moments of Crisis: Working with crisis and surprise: Practice putting your skills to the test. Learn adaptive leadership for inclusive engagement that respects and builds on differences that might arise in honest or rigorous conversations.

$20 per session or $80 for all 6 sessions (non-refundable). Come to 1 session, or all 6. To register, call the Program Coordinator at (360) 676-0122 or use the form below. Space is limited so pre-registration is encouraged.

*Equivalent courses have included: teaching certifications covering introductory-level instruction in human physiology of stress and basic conflict de-escalation skills. All interested eligible to engage. If you have not taken a pre-requisite course, you may be able to volunteer. Contact Britt at 360-676-0122  or training@whatcomdrc.org

Course Instructor: Mary Dumas-President Dumas & Associates, is known for designing employee, stakeholder and community engagement programs that create impact and legacy. President, Mary Dumas, is an independent conflict dispute resolution professional with over two decades of experience serving clients across the U.S.  She works with private organizations, governments, tribes, public agencies, faith communities, nonprofits and research institutes of all sizes.Mary is adept at  translating technical information and regulatory mandates into accessible, collaborative processes (advisory, negotiated or rule-making) and actionable plans. As an advanced mediator, facilitator and trainer she serves Washington State dispute resolution centers, court programs and private clients. Mary has completed certification in advanced commercial mediation (Continuing Legal Education Society of British Columbia, Canada, 1995), resolving land disputes (Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, 2009) and transboundary water disputes (World Water Diplomacy, Tufts University, 2011). She is a contributing member of the Environment & Public Policy Section of the Association for Conflict Resolution and the National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation. Mary lives in rural Washington where she serves on the Bellingham-Whatcom County Commission Against Domestic Violence and guest lectures on collaborative principles and real-world applications at the University of Washington Program on the Environment, Western Washington University and community leadership programs.