Friday April 17, 2015 at 9:00 AM EDT
Sunday April 19, 2015 at 5:00 PM EDT

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Alma Mathews House
275 West 11th Street
New York City, NY 10014

Driving Directions 


Melinda Darer
Focusing International
(845) 356-1765

From Conflict to Creativity:             Dynamic Inquiry and Community Wellness

  • Are you a psychosocial or development professional looking for more effective ways of working with conflict?


  • Are you a professional facilitator, mediator, or organizational consultant interested in new approaches to working with groups?


  • Are you a Focusing or NonViolent Communication practitioner who would like to leverage your deep listening skills into new areas of practice?

If you answered "yes" to any of the above, then this program is for you!

We are intentionally bringing people together from these three different fields of expertise, to create a rich learning community. All levels of experience are welcome!

From April 17th to 19th, we'll be engaged in a 3-day deep dive, where we'll be exploring Dynamic Inquiry, an outgrowth of Dynamic Facilitation. This way of accompanying small groups uses cognitive empathy to protect and support each person’s creativity, thus allowing for new shared systemic understandings to emerge. The workshop will be highly experiential, with opportunities to act as the facilitator role during extended Dynamic Inquiry processes. 

Our intention is that, by the end of this workshop, you will:

  • Relate more comfortably with conflict when it arises in a group;

  • Experience group conflict as a potential source of creative energy;

  • Gain skills in helping participants shift from defensiveness to engagement;

  • Have additional tools for working creatively with conflict;

  • Develop a solid foundation in this practice for supporting group emergence.

Dynamic Inquiry can be useful in many different contexts, from business organizations to public engagement to community work. Here at Focusing International, we've incorporated it into our work with Community Wellness Focusing (CWF), a public health approach to community well-being. We've discovered that DI and CWF are deeply compatible, with significant parallels between the ways we can listen to ourselves "on the inside", and the way we can listen to others in community, even in situations of conflict. In addition to extended Dynamic Inquiry practice sessions, we will share stories and invite dialogue about how DI is integrated into the Community Wellness Focusing model, in Pakistan, Liberia, and Mexico.

We do not want to turn anyone away because of lack of funds.  At the same time, we need people to pay what they can, to support our programs.  Please contact Melinda Darer (see e-mail on left) if you want to explore payment arrangements.

A limited number of partial scholarships are available on a first come basis by application. Priority will be given to applicants who work with communities where there has been historic oppression, to frontline workers who work in under-resourced communities, and to applicants in financial need.


Your Deep Dive Team:

Rosa Zubizarreta has been practicing Dynamic Facilitation for 15 years, authored From Conflict to Creative Collaboration: A User’s Guide to Dynamic Facilitation and is a certified Focusing Trainer. With a professional background in organization development, social work, and education, she holds Master’s degrees in each of those fields, and is currently working on a Ph.D. at Fielding Graduate University. You can learn more about her on her website.

Kumari Amy Weaver has served as the former Executive Director of the New York Center for Nonviolent Communication (NYCNVC), an organization that provides educational services for interpersonal communication and currently serves participants in 80 countries around the globe.  She has also served as the former Assistant Director of the International Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centers, New York City branch. As a leader, teacher, and facilitator, Kumari offers real-time self-awareness and authentic self-expression, and supports co-creative group dynamics and organizational cultures.
Pat & team in Liberia Pat Omidian holds a PhD in Medical Anthropology from the University of California, San Francisco and Berkeley (1992) and has over twenty-five years experience as an applied medical anthropologist on community mental health, including sixteen years in Afghanistan and Pakistan. She has worked as a consultant for international agencies such as UNICEF, the World Food Program, UNWomen, UNAIDS, Save the Children and The IRC. Her latest work is as a psychosocial technical advisor with the WHO in Liberia, on community wellness responses to Ebola. Pat is a Certifying Coordinator and Focusing Trainer; with her partner Melinda Darer, they have launched Focusing International, a not for profit organization that promotes positive emotional and social resilience globally.

More about  Dynamic Inquiry:  

This work is an outgrowth of Dynamic Facilitation (DF), an approach originally developed by consultant Jim Rough with various areas of application. In Europe, DF is being used with project teams and management teams in business settings to surface "organizational elephants" in an empowering creative manner (watch a short video). In Austria, it is being used in the public sector to facilitate innovative public participation projects known as BürgerInnen-Räte. 

More about Community Wellness Focusing:  


Focusing was originally developed by Eugene Gendlin to help people create an open internal space that allows for embodied change, shifts in thinking and feeling, and new possibilities for positive solutions. In sharing this work with communities, Focusing International uses a “positive deviance” model to help people connect with their own inner sources of healing and wellness, both individually and at the community level.