In the series we will learn and practice not just a new way of communicating, but also a new way of seeing yourself and your partner.
Is this you?
You are in a committed relationship and love your partner and you want to build a foundation for a lasting relationship. Perhaps things are going well and you want that to continue. Or, perhaps you feel frustrated about getting caught in the same arguments again and again and can find yourself in blame and criticism.
Or, you would like another way to communicate around tough issues such as raising children, money, and sex.
Or, you long for deeper intimacy and connection with your partner.
How it Works
You have likely tried all sorts of ways to improve your relationship: spending more quality time, spending time apart, reading self-help books, and maybe counseling, and still return to the same conflicts, patterns of communication, or stuck places. It's not your fault. Relating in a clear and self-responsible way in intimate relationship requires many complex and subtle skills, very few of which have been modeled for you growing up. You need a comprehensive way forward that is concrete enough to make use of and subtle enough to adapt to your relationship.
Mindful Compassionate Dialogue (MCD) brings a comprehensive set of skills as well as a subtle understanding of healing and fulfillment in relationship. MCD is a blend of Hakomi (body centered therapy), Nonviolent Communication, and mindfulness. The goal of MCD is to empower you to create the change you want in relationship. Mindful Compassionate Dialogue naturally supports you in creating a secure bond, while at the same time promotes healthy differentiation in your relationship. MCD can help you cultivate self-compassion and a confident relationship to needs. You can learn to stay grounded through reactivity and set clear boundaries. As you and your partner follow the structure of MCD, you will see unsupportive relationship dynamics through a practical framework and learn a set of skills that enables you to make immediate changes.
What to Expect
In this six week course you will be introduced to the consciousness, framework and tools of MCD. Each class will focus on a specific concept and skill that you will get to integrate and practice with your partner in structured exercises. You will have the opportunity for individual coaching and group debriefs.
For this course you will be focusing on the conceptual and concrete building blocks that will support you as you shift the way you understand and navigate intimate relationship.
Each person will receive a comprehensive workbook for study and practice.
Schedule & Practice Opportunities
Week 1 - Observation: You learn how to begin a difficult dialogue without immediately stimulating defensiveness. You will experience power of distinguishing between neutral observations and interpretations. You will also get specific about language that disconnects – jackal, both inside your head and with your partner.
Practice Opportunity: Workbook - read section 1 on Understanding the Four Steps. We will do the first exercise in class. Complete handout – Mindfulness Log, and share with your partner
Week 2 - Feelings: You will practice identifying feelings at more subtle levels and learn to be a bigger container for difficult feelings. You will also learn about blame; how you express it unconsciously and how to interrupt it before it is expressed. If there is a couple who is willing to work through a coached dialogue in front of the group, you will get to see how these skills are applied in a live situation.
Practice Opportunity: Workbook – complete Feelings Journal on page 11 and share with your partner. Read section 6 and complete exercise on page 37.
Week 3 - Needs: You will get a body sense of needs and learn the value of slowing down and staying with needs long enough to clarify and connect. You will begin understand the freedom that comes from distinguishing needs from the actions to meet them.
Practice Opportunity: Read section 2 on Appreciation and complete exercise on page 19 and share with your partner. Review page 12 and choose at least one part of the exercise on page 13 to practice.
Week 4 - Requests: You will get to practice making simple do-able requests. You will learn how to come from a place of request rather than demand and discover what keeps you from making requests. You will work through a dialogue with your partner and learn how negotiation around requests can be a creative and simple process. You will practice with hearing a “no” from your partner and learning how to turn this into a connected dialogue. If a couple is willing, you will get to see one couple work through a coached dialogue.
Practice Opportunity: Workbook - Review pages 14 and 15. Choose at least one exercise from those listed on page 16 or complete the exercise on the handout.
Week 5 - Structured Dialogue: Now that you have practiced the four elements, you will focus on creating intentional and connected dialogue with your partner around difficult issues. You will learn a specific dialogue structure which helps to maintain mindfulness with reactivity and habits that create disconnect.
Practice Opportunity: Have one intentional dialogue this week using the dialogue structure you practiced in class.
Week 6 – Integration & Closing: You will continue to practice with the dialogue structure and receive individual coaching. You will reflect on what you have learned and how you will take this work forward and keep it alive in your relationship.
Practice Opportunity: Create a plan to continue to practice the new skills and understanding you have gained. This might look like a weekly ritual of some kind, signing up for another class, creating visuals that remind your to practice, or anything else that will support you.
LaShelle Lowe-Chardé is passionate about helping people express their deepest values in their relationships and creating clarity and connection with self and others.
She began her professional career with a master’s degree in school psychology. In addition to nine years in public schools, she spent several years facilitating group healing work for adolescent youth labeled “at-risk”. During that same time she led leadership and teamwork trainings for businesses and organizations around Portland, Oregon.
Along the way she found Compassionate/Nonviolent Communication (NVC) and began training with Marshall Rosenberg and other internationally known NVC trainers. She immediately knew that Compassionate Communication was the missing piece. It offers a deep and broad yet simple understanding of human nature along with a concrete set of tools to help us act and live from a place of clarity and compassion. For LaShelle, Compassionate Communication is the hands and feet of spirituality. In 2006, she was certified as a NVC trainer.
In addition to certification in Nonviolent Communication, she has completed a three year training in Hakomi - Body Centered Therapy and introductory trainings in Emotionally Focused Therapy and with the Gottman Institute.
In 2004, she founded her business, Wise Heart (www.wiseheartpdx.org). Since that time she has served as a trainer, private coach, and mentor for the learning and practice of Compassionate Communication and mindfulness. LaShelle teaches locally as well as through video conferencing online. She has offerings for couples, women, and the general public in addition to trainings for local nonprofit organizations. Her offerings focus on combining NVC with mindfulness and a subtle understanding of reactivity and relationship skills.