About us

Difficult conversations - about the issues that matter most - are too often avoided or approached with fear. Many believe, often based on experience, that engaging with difference will threaten the stability of their community or result in the same unproductive debates where no one feels heard or valued. Even when people do engage with difference, they often retreat further into what they know and understand; communities devolve into silence, heated disagreement, or sometimes even violent conflict. In this stalemate, everyone loses the richest, most essential parts of living and working in diverse and pluralistic communities.

Essential Partners has worked for more than 25 years to facilitate conversations and equip people using our approach to dialogue. We bring a method that is applicable and adaptable in a wide variety of contexts. Our method, Reflective Structured Dialogue (RSD), relies on preparation, structure, questions, facilitation, and reflection to enable people to harness their capacity to have the conversations they need to have. We offer training, facilitation, and consultation -- all aimed to equip communities to have the conversations about what is most essential to be able to move forward and create new ways of being together.