Dialogue Community of Practice
December Newsletter
Dialogue and Moral Dilemmas in Public Services
21 January 2016 - Edinburgh
The next Dialogue Community of Practice Masterclass will be Moral Dilemmas in Public Services, with Paul Hoggett, and will be held at the Royal Society of Edinburgh, George Street, from 9.30am - 4.30pm.

This masterclass
aims to introduce participants to a model to help explore the nature of dilemmas, the stages we go through in negotiating them, and ways to think and feel your way through these dilemmas developing our capacity for ethical action.
Paul's research work has focussed on people working in the public services and will be tailored for those working in organisations with a public or social purpose, caught between the competing claims of service users, their families, different communities, fellow workers and managers. Negotiating our through such dilemmas is no easy task and can make huge ethical and emotional demands upon us. 
Those interested in coming to this masterclass are encouraged to bring a current dilemma they are facing and use it on the day to explore the model.

To register for this event please click here.
Reflections on Dialogue and Emotion
1 September 2015 - Glasgow
On a warm day in September, over 40 people arrived at the grand Glasgow City Chambers off George Square, for a masterclass from Anne Dickson, author of Reconnecting with the Heart.

Anne's brief was to help those who attended with their emotional expression as an aid to dialogue. This session was chosen because it is a continual area of interest and challenge for the people who come along to the Dialogue Community of practice. How we express our feelings well, without blame and use them to help along the trickiest of conversations is critical to all of us who want to get beyond debate and stuckness and into generative dialogue.
The attention on the day was palpable as people engaged in the theory, exercises and whole group demonstrations one real live issues of concern. Anne facilitated with skill and the group made the day meaningful with their openness and willingness to listen and apply in practice.
Anne used two mnemonics to help everyone understand and remember the theory and practice. The one to sum up the worst of our practice is DREAD
  • Denial – pretending we’re are not feeling what we are feeling
  • Rationalisation – persuading ourselves we are stupid/crazy to be feeling what we are feeling
  • Evasion – finding all sorts of excuses not to express our feelings to someone
  • Accumulation – allowing our unexpressed feelings to build up and affect the way we function
  • Distortion – leaving us with confused but powerful misconceptions about ourselves and others
The best of our emotional practice is described as DANCE
  • Discernment – how to recognise feelings from the signs in our bodies
  • Acknowledgement – how to admit the truth of what we’re feeling even if we choose to say nothing
  • Naming – how to express our feelings in words without blame or accusation
  • Catharsis – how to recognise a physical build-up of emotion and release feelings when necessary
  • Evaluation – how to use insight to clarify what belongs emotionally to the past and what to the present 
My reflections on Dialogue and Emotion
Alison Milne, NHS Fife
I always think it’s strange that the thing that sticks most in my memory are the stories that people tell me about their life – the events that were significant, their feelings and why these matter to them.  I can listen to lots of ideas and theories and models but when people talk from their heart, I get it; when they communicate from their heart, my heart gets it; and that’s what sticks in my memory. 

Stories are the connection of a person to a person. They are not the usual business language of the day that, for me, tends to get in the way of learning or making sense of things.
When Anne gave us her personal story it made so much sense to me, and the messages she offered also helped.  How the human heart always remembers and how we accumulate backlogs of unexpressed feelings, or ‘baggage’ which slows us down and makes us ill. I learnt that it’s not the triggers in the environment that stimulate my emotional response but my perception of the triggers, my ‘baggage’, that is creating my usual feelings of fear and so recreating my baggage.  I attempt to work with the feelings as they arise but in moments of high stakes nothing other than surviving the perceived ‘attack’ will do.
Since Anne's talk I have become more aware of the different types fear that recycles around my body but still find it hard to admit my feelings, even to myself, and certainly not in a world that encourages suppression of anything other than logic or happiness. I am still a work in progress and manage to forgive myself for being a less than perfect human with a heart.
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