Introduction to Compassionate Listening: Healing Our World from the Inside Out


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“If we can change ourselves, we can change the world. We’re not victims of the world we see, we’re the victims of the way we see the world. This is the essence of Compassionate Listening: seeing the person next to you as a part of yourself.”

~ Dennis Kucinich, former U.S. Congressman

Start Date:
June 30, 2022

Cost: $35
Duration: 4 weeks
Registration: Opening early June

Guide: Susan Partnow

Zoom Sessions:

Thursdays:  June 30 July 7, 14, and 21 - 11 am to 1:30 pm Pacific time (2 pm to 4:30 pm Eastern, 8 pm to 10:30 pm CET)
Check for your local time

This zoom workshop is highly experiential and interactive with numerous breakout sessions.  Because of the nature of the personal sharing it will not be recorded.  Consistent attendance is important as we create a circle of mutual support, a community of caring and connection to foster personal growth and integration of the practices.  There will be a follow up email message after each session with suggestions for home practice and continued journaling.

Certificate will be available to all those who complete the course.

Humanity is waking up to our interconnectedness as never before - to one another and to the Earth. We believe that learning to listen with compassion to ourselves and others is a key to this awakening, and that our evolutionary capacity is directly linked to our ability to navigate conflict.

Strained communication is a common phenomenon that often results in people feeling angry, threatened and devalued. The impacts can be devastating to families, communities and the workplace, impacting morale, health and organizational effectiveness.

Compassionate Listening is a practice that reaches deep into the heart of discord, teaching people to listen with a different “ear” to those around them. Its powerful tools help transform the energy of conflict into opportunities for understanding, productive teamwork and positive action.

In this experiential course, you will gain simple, but profound skills for bringing greater understanding, awareness and ease to your relationships - at home, at work or in your community.  Learn to…listen without judgment, respond without anger, and humanize your neighbors, co-workers and fellow citizens.

This inspiring series on the practice of Compassionate Listening helps us to cultivate the wisdom of the heart as the key to real peace "from the inside out." The intelligence of the heart is confirmed in recent findings in the field of neurocardiology on the heart-brain connection. In Compassionate Listening, our emphasis is on strengthening the influence of the heart through cultivating compassion for ourselves and others, and learning to listen and speak from the heart in challenging situations.

The Compassionate Listening Project has been leading grassroots citizen diplomacy journeys to the Middle East and teaching Compassionate Listening for over thirty years. Participants in our experiential workshops strengthen their skills as peacemakers within families, communities and in the workplace. Our models are useful even for people with prior communication skills training, including mediators, therapists and facilitators, guiding them to go beyond the “what to do” to a “way of being” that enhances their capacity to connect with self and others in the heat of conflict. We look forward to welcoming you to the international community of Compassionate Listeners!

Learning Objectives

You will develop skills to:

  • Improve communication, relationships and trust in the workplace, at home and in the community
  • Nurture your ability to listen to your own heart and to the hearts of others.
  • Transform conflict to an opportunity for understanding, connection, and healing.
  • Develop resiliency and improve health, reducing stress

You will do this by learning and practicing the Five Core Practices of Compassionate Listening:

  • Cultivating Compassion for self and others, including a willingness to connect even when not in agreement
  • Developing the Fair Witness -- a capacity to contain triggers and create spaciousness to allow all points of view, even in conflict situations
  • Respecting Self and Others by maintaining boundaries which protect yet include, without falling in to the Drama or Rescue Triangle
  • Listening with the Heart to find deeper points of connection beneath layers of defense or differing positions
  • Speaking from the Heart with language that builds bridges and reflects a healing intention.

This online course will be held exclusively live on Zoom. It is highly experiential and requires your full presence, participation, and commitment to show up without distraction. The sessions are not recorded, to allow privacy and confidentiality for the discussions.  Much of each session is spent in small break outs. Your presence at each and every session is essential and valued.  We ask that you please attend each session, since being together consistently enables us to build trust in one another, and each session builds on the previous one.

Course Details

Four sessions, each 2.5 hours

Each session begins with an opening circle:  centering and grounding, setting intention, reflection and sharing about challenges and insights from the week’s practice. 

There are suggested activities to practice between sessions, including daily journaling, listening ‘assignments,’ additional resources to enjoy (such as podcasts, Youtubes or articles), plus optional weekly check-ins with a ‘buddy’ from the class. There will be a group chat established so participants can interact, sharing successes and challenges.

Session 1  - Begin the journey

Set agreements to create a Courageous Space for learning and sharing.  Introduction to the model and underlying principles of Compassionate Listening as well as an overview of the five core practices.  Learn practices for the first one, including a guided visualization for cultivating self compassion. Engage in an exploration of your personal relationship to conflict.  Introduction to and then direct practice in listening and speaking from the heart

Session 2 – Notice Blocks to listening from the heart, Learn to listen beneath the story

Begin to learn what closes your heart and brings you into place of wound or defensiveness:    notice signs and symptoms at the levels of body-mind-emotion-spirit.  Learn about the Drama Triangle and identify ways in which it shows up in your life.  Learn how to move out of it:  from victim to creator,  from rescuer to coach, from perpetrator to challenger.  Participate in a group exercise of to learn to listen beneath the ‘story’, at the deeper layers of Reflective listening of facts-feelings-values, plus noticing non verbals.

Session 3 – Engage in Deep Listening, Manage and shift triggered energies

Practice in small groups, sharing stories of challenges, offering reflections of facts, feelings, values, without giving advice or problems solving or judging.  Learn practices for self soothing, recovery and resilience when experiencing triggers that dysregulate your nervous system.  Get an introduction to Heart Math – the neurobiology of compassion and practices to shift and transform dysregulated energies.

Session 4 – Widen the Circle, Connect with Others

Learn and practice the art of Deepening Questions, which serve the speaker, rather than the listener’s curiosity, to help them connect to their core and discover their wisdom. Develop capacity of compassion by exploring a ‘broken’ relationship, stepping into the shoes of the other.  Explore your Judgments as Teachers.  Learn skills for Speaking from the Heart, especially

importance of preparation and self-reflection, and distinguishing your intention from the impact you may have.

Testimonials from participants:

"Compassionate Listening is vital in every situation I find myself in. At work, home, out on the street and with friends, family and broken relationships..."

"This was the most transformative, essential workshop I have experienced...this is a powerful tool that can change the world."

"I came away with so many inspirations from your workshop. It opened up something in me that has been laying dormant - the passion to listen deeply to others - friends, colleagues, and to those who are not in my circle but to whom my circle extends when I open my heart."

"The skills this workshop provided are both personally and socially transformative."

"I can't thank you enough for the incredible gifts from last weekend. I began the week with repairing conflicts in my life...They were things I thought I had to live with and now I have moved enough to bring my peace to the situations. Thank You, Thank you."

"I truly believe that Compassionate Listening is life-transforming. I am extremely grateful to have had this opportunity...the value is clear to me in terms of my life, relationships and work."

“The principles of Compassionate Listening I learned in your workshop allow me to relax and BREATHE in difficult conversations with colleagues. As a result, I’ve been able to think more clearly…and avert potential disasters.”               

Your facilitator:

Susan PartnowSusan Partnow, M.A.

As a community builder, organizational development and training consultant, Susan serves as a catalyst for positive changes through workshops, retreats, and coaching. Co-founder of Conversation Cafes, Seattle Restorative Justice, and Let's Talk America, certified with The Compassionate Listening Project and former member of the Steering Committee of National Coalition on Dialogue and Deliberation, Susan facilitates processes to transform conflict and promote co-intelligence in ways that expand collective capacity.  She has been with The Compassionate Listening Project since its inception, served on the Board and the Core Council which developed the certification process.  She is founder and Executive Director of Global Citizen Journey and has brought Compassionate Listening to Africa (Nigeria, Ghana, Liberia, Uganda and South Africa), India, Cuba and Guatemala.  She partners with organizations across all sectors, including City of Seattle, Harborview Medical Hospital, University of Washington and YES! Magazine, to promote healthy and productive workplaces. Susan worked as a Sr. Organizational Development Consultant at Swedish/Providence for nearly 10 years. She is Board President of ACL-Global (Awareness, Courage and Love) and is passionately engaged with the Poor Peoples Campaign.  A former teacher and speech pathologist with B.A. and Secondary Credential from the University of California, Berkeley, and an M.A. from Northwestern University, Susan wrote Everyday Speaking for All Occasions and is co-contributor of Practicing the Art of Compassionate Listening

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