After the presentation in pueblo.

After the presentation in pueblo.

Patty and JD recently completed a series of five, four-hour workshops for the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) geared towards campground hosts stationed at sites in Central Colorado.  The focus of the workshops was non-violent communication, largely based on the pioneering work of Dr. Marshall Rosenberg. Last season, four hosts were assaulted in separate incidents, prompting the USFS to look at ways to protect their hosts and assist them in de-escalating potential conflicts. 

 Feelings and needs exercise

Feelings and needs exercise

The workshops were held in Buena Vista, Salida, Pueblo and Woodland Park.  Some of the themes discussed included the differences between aggressive, assertive, passive and passive-aggressive communication styles; responding versus reacting; the different levels of emotions and how they influence our response to conflict, empathy:  what it is and what it isn’t; and some basic techniques for de-escalating conflict when confrontations arise and start to heat up.

 patty introduces the "giraffe" 

patty introduces the "giraffe" 

In addition to the teaching pieces, we engaged the groups in several fun interactive exercises, including introducing the Giraffe and Jackal puppets, and an exercise matching feelings with needs.  The feedback we got from all five presentations was very positive, especially regarding conflict de-escalation. With more people than ever accessing our public lands, it is important for campground hosts and others interfacing with the public to develop clear and effective communication skills so that everyone can enjoy their outdoor experiences.  We look forward to doing more presentations like this for other agencies and groups in the Central Rockies.

"Hidden Gems" Interview

Patty and I were recently interviewed for a television program produced by the Buena Vista Chamber of Commerce.  We spoke about Full Circle Restorative Justice and the value of restorative justice to our youth and community here in the Upper Arkansas River Valley.  The interview is about 10 minutes long and will give you a good idea of our focus on collaborative problem solving and restorative justice as a viable alternative to the criminal justice system.  Enjoy!  -JD-

JD completes Integral Facilitation Certification

I recently completed the most intensive course of study since I was enrolled in graduate school in the 1980s. My growing interest in mediation, conflict resolution and working with group dynamics led me to research a number of schools and study programs centered on these topics. At the same time, I was following the work of several individuals steeped in Integral Theory and the work of Ken Wilbur. Both of these topics came together in a serendipitous confluence when I discovered the Integral Facilitator Certification training program offered through Ten Directions (

The course was led by Diane Hamilton - an exceptionally gifted mediator, group facilitator,andoneoftheauthenticcontemporaryspiritualteachersofourtime. Diane was the first Director of the Office of Alternative Dispute Resolution for the Utah Judiciary,wheresheestablishedmediationprogramsthroughoutthecourtsystem. She has worked with Ken Wilber and the Integral Institute since 2004.

The IFC Program was 9-months of online training and practice, including three week- long intensive sessions in Salt Lake City, Utah. The 20 participants in the course represented eight countries and a variety of backgrounds in coaching, consulting, group facilitation, education, psychology and personal development. The skills we honed over the 9-months included:

  • Developing personal awareness, stable embodied presence and multi-modal perspective taking

  • How to maintain a responsive command of group dynamics including shifting emotional states

  • How to create coherence and shared intention – including visions, goals and objectives

  • How to negotiate complex, entrenched conflicts

  • How to identify and transmute individual and group shadow

  • How to apply supportive and efficient structures and methods for organizing

    I'm excited to bring these new skills to my coaching, mediation and group facilitation practicesatKeepingThePeaceMediation. Ifyou'dliketoknowmoreabouttheIFC program and the value I grained from it, please contact me - I'm happy to share additional information. 

Heading to New Delhi, India for the Women's Economic Forum

Here's the very latest on what Patty is up to for the next few weeks!  - JD

Alison Brown and I are heading to India in May as Delegates for the 2016 International Women's Economic Forum (WEF) hosted by the All Ladies League (ALL). ALL Ladies League (ALL) is the world’s largest All-inclusive international women’s chamber and a movement for the Welfare, Wealth, and Wellbeing of ALL.  The WEF will be held in New Delhi from May 16 - 21.

"WEF is more than a ‘conference’ – it is a mega marquee annual global happening as part of our movement of love and leadership of ALL that is building an energetic ecosystem across the world to enable women to express themselves with ALL their heart and authenticity and thus drive change and innovation in ALL walks of life, actualizing in the process their own capacity to create and influence."   -Dr. Harbeen Arora, Global Chairperson

The topics Alison will be presenting on are:

  • Women in the Sciences, Opportunity & Challenges - Opportunities and challenges for women engineers
  • Technology and its impact on our daily lives - The impact of ubiquitous positioning and time services on our daily lives. She developed the first GPS Cell phone, for example, which is now on display at the Smithsonian museum, and can talk in particular about how this technology has evolved.
  • Women in technology: the pipeline discussion - Alison is very active in programs promoting science, technology and math (STEM) to young girls and can talk about need for women mentors and role models to encourage young girls to enter these fields. 

The topics I'll be presenting on are:

  • “Restorative Justice & Humanizing the Justice System : A Common Sense Approach” - Restorative Justice (RJ) is based on a theory of justice and a global social movement which focuses on crime and wrong-doing as acted against the individual or community, rather than the state. It emphasizes repairing harm caused by criminal behavior instead of punishment. Full Circle Restorative Justice (FCRJ) provides an avenue in the 11th Judicial District which addresses the harm caused by crime, and provides opportunities for victim empowerment and restitution, while supporting offender accountability and integration back into the community. 

Participants will learn how communities across Colorado and throughout the United States are incorporating Restorative Practices in the schools and justice system. RJ programs reflect a restorative rather than retributive justice response to crime by giving victims a voice in the justice process, enabling offenders to understand the impact of their actions on a victim (empathy), as well as the effect on their communities. RJ programs help provide opportunities for young offenders to repair the harm, keep out of the juvenile justice system and avoid the "pipeline to prison" scenario.

  • “How can we spread the culture of love and peace around the world?” - Practicing & teaching Non Violent Communication (NVC) internationally.
  • “Is there an underlining commonality among cultures? And if so, what?” - I am interested to examine this topic within the context of NVC as well.  Every action we do as humans are to meet needs - our cultural conditioning or programming may dictate our behaviors.
 photo from the Women Economic Forum 2016 event brochure 

photo from the Women Economic Forum 2016 event brochure 

Mediating Domestic Relations Workshop Recap

Patty and I attended a one-day workshop in Denver on April 15 on mediating domestic relations.  The training was offered through the Colorado Court Services Division's Office of Dispute Resolution and included presentations by judges, magistrates, attorneys, mediators and court administrators. 

It was a full day, packed with good information on the different aspects of this important area of mediation.  Topics included:

  • the court's role in domestic relationship cases
  • drafting memorandums of understanding
  • parenting agreements
  • property and maintenance issues
  • domestic violence, and
  • ethical issues

There were several panel discussions that provided insight into how judges handle domestic relationship cases and what they expect from mediators.

My biggest take-aways from the day were the importance of understanding the basic documentation and statutes covering domestic relationships, the various resources available to mediators and our clients through the court system, and when to refer clients to legal assistance.

Both Patty and I are trained in the area of domestic relationships with experience in handling many of the issues covered in the program.  This workshop helped us sharpen our skills, get updated on recent legislative changes, and network with fellow mediators from across the state. 

If you're dealing with a divorce or separation, need to develop a parenting plan or are wanting to develop skills around effectively managing conflict in your relationship, get in touch with us to set up an appointment.

- JD