Meet Compassionate Listening Facilitators

Reach out to our independent facilitators about hosting a workshop in your community, for 1-on-1 coaching to implement Compassionate Listening principles in your life, or for consulting to support your leadership and vision in the world. (Click on their name to send an email.) 

Annapolis, Maryland

Amalia is a long-time educator, Conflict Resolution Facilitator (trained by the Alternatives to Violence Project, USA), a mediator (trained by the Anne Arundel Center for mediation), and a Compassionate Listening Facilitator. She brings the principles of Compassionate Listening to different settings in the Annapolis, DC and Baltimore area including religious organizations, educational institutions, volunteer organizations, and her Listening Room. For more information on her powerful Listening Room, see Amalia’s Facebook page here.

Baltimore, Maryland

Amy is a licensed psychotherapist. For over 20 years, Amy has worked with numerous populations using her knowledge of psychodynamic and somatic therapies to bring health and integration of body, mind, and spirit. Specializing in the treatment of trauma, she provides individual and group therapy to survivors of abuse, violence, torture, and war-related conflict. She holds the vision that healing and lasting peace is possible through service and compassion. You can read more about her on her website here .

Seattle, Washington

Andrea has been a developer of Compassionate Listening curricula for many years. She co-directed the Jewish-German Compassionate Listening Project and also directed the Compassionate Listening film Children of Abraham. Andrea facilitates Compassionate Listening workshops locally and internationally and integrates Compassionate Listening fundamentals into dialogue events, the workplace and communities in conflict. She holds Masters Degrees in both Education and Social Work. Andrea is the author of Practicing the Art of Compassionate Listening, a practical guidebook that helps people utilize compassionate listening skills in the heat of daily life challenges. She continues to mentor people in the practices of Compassionate Listening.

Greenfield, Massachusets

Andrea serves as a rabbi (Jewish Renewal) and is a trained CL facilitator and delegation leader.  Andrea has facilitated CL trainings on her 10 Compassionate Listening Journeys to Israel and Palestine, for her organizational development work as a rabbi and in interfaith and intergroup settings. Andrea is vice-chair of the Interfaith Council of Franklin County and is an advisor to the Israel/Palestine Dialogue Group at her synagogue, Temple Israel, Greenfield.  Andrea has skills in sacred psychology, pastoral care, spiritual direction and trauma sensitive therapeutic care.  She trains and runs practice group for her temple and the wider Greenfield community.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

I joined a Compassionate Listening Interfaith delegation to the Middle East in 2007, along with Catholic Sisters, Muslim Imans, a Buddhist, an “Everything,” several Protestant Ministers, several Jews, and, probably, one or two agnostics. One of the fellow travelers, who was a Quaker when he joined us, migrated back to Judaism at the Western Wall. On that trip, especially after meeting Leah, I recognized the life-changing potential of deep listening, and determined to become a facilitator. After my training and mentorship with Andrea Cohen, I’ve facilitated Compassionate Listening Workshops in many places, including in Rwanda. Rwandans helped me adapt the work with post-genocide Hutus and Tutsis and helped me lead many CL workshops throughout their country. I also have done CL workshops in prison where one man, after a listening exercise, said, “I’ve never felt more respected in my life.” Although I taught in the International Peace and Conflict Resolution Masters’ Program at Arcadia University, where I led CL workshops for students. I recently retired. Because I’m as old as I am, I could go on and on, telling stories of my experiences until everyone fell asleep. But not here. Listening Compassionately is for me more than a skill, it’s a calling, one which I've found is both necessary and at the heart of all genuine reconciliation and conflict transformation. So, retirement for me is both being re-tired and having 4 new wheels. I get lots of rest and I’m enjoying my life more now than ever before. I hope to meet you all. Meanwhile, Keep on Lovin’.

Ojai, California

The heart of Brian’s teaching work is peace building, which begins within. As a Compassionate Listening facilitator, Brian cultivates compassion for oneself as the first step, for without peace on the inside there can be no peace on the outside. As the former co-director and facilitator of the Jewish-German Compassionate Listening Project, Brian’s CL work centered on reconciliation and healing the wounds of war. Together with his wife Lisa, they facilitate healing and reconciliation workshops in the US and Europe. Brian is trained in Hakomi Therapy, Attitudinal Healing, and taught yoga and meditation for many years. He is an award-winning sculptor and teacher. The theme of his artwork is Art for Peace. Visit Brian's website here.

Ashland, Oregon

Carol is the former Training Director of the Compassionate Listening Project. She holds Masters Degrees in Special Education and Psychology. She is a licensed counselor in private practice, an educator and a mediator. She teaches conflict resolution, develops diversity and conflict resolution curricula for schools and mediates for a Victim/Offender program in the courts and for community disputes. She has worked in Armenia to support dialogue and joint projects with Armenia, Karabakh and Azerbaijan, and taught psychology and communication in the former Soviet Union. Carol is the author of “Listening With the Heart – A Guide for Compassionate Listening”.

Vancouver, British Columbia

Cathy Merchant is the founder of the Living Interfaith Sanctuary, a spiritual community based in Vancouver whose members comprise a wide variety of religious traditions. She has worked as a peace activist, facilitator, and community organizer since 2008 for organizations such as the American Friends of the Parents Circle Families Forum, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, and our very own Compassionate Listening Project. She holds a Master of Arts degree in Middle East Studies from the University of Washington and is working towards her Master of Divinity degree at the Vancouver School of Theology now. She hopes to receive her ordination as an Interfaith minister in 2021.

Christine Gilman

Salem, Oregon

Christine Gilman facilitates reconciliation for women and girls living in or fleeing from war-torn countries. She also consults globally with university and organizational leaders wanting to integrate Compassionate Listening values into their curriculum and events. Christine’s Compassionate Listening work was seeded while on a social justice mission with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. She witnessed reconciliation as Liberian rebel leaders spoke of the atrocities they had inflicted. The experience deepened her desire and commitment to use listening as a healing bridge, and she became a C.L. facilitator. Christine has facilitated numerous CL workshops engaging teens, women in trauma centers, and interfaith organizations in Bethlehem, Palestine. She is also bringing CL to various Muslim and refugee projects in Oregon, where she lives with her husband, Tim. Her interests in faith, art, and culture led Christine to a degree in Practical Theology with Advanced Study in Painting and Drawing from Portland State University. Her experience as an artist, teacher, facilitator, event organizer, editor, gallery owner, and parent grounds her CL work in real-world understanding and empathy. Christine’s finely-tuned intuitive compass enables her to prepare and hold space for transformation to occur, and her jubilant, welcoming spirit sets a loving table for healing.

Debby Haase

Bainbridge Island, Washington

Debby, after 30 years facilitating groups, remains in awe of the synergistic transformation that unfolds in a space with clear intention.  After careers in systems engineering and co-founding and teaching at Madrona Waldorf School, Debby has dedicated the last 10+ years to her passion for facilitating healing circles. She offers Compassionate Listening, Systemic and Family Constellation workshops, ceremony, Undoing Racism/ White Fragility groups, mindfulness classes for children, and healing circles.  Debby is certified in Compassionate Listening, Restorative Justice peacemaking circles, and Systemic and Family Constellations. She has extensive training in mindfulness, earth honoring practices, energy healing, Sufi heart practices, Waldorf education, and holds an MA in Whole Systems Design and a BS in Biomedical Engineering.  She melds this breadth of experience with her respect for each person’s inner wisdom to co-create an atmosphere ripe for transformation. More recently she has become committed to anti-racism work. Having witnessed the power of truly seeing the humanity in the “other” while on the Compassionate Listening Project delegations to Israel & Palestine and to Alabama, Debby offers Compassionate Listening to help build bridges, undo racism and restore balance in our world.

Seattle, Washington

Gil is a native of Israel where he experienced the dynamics of political conflict first-hand, both as a civilian and a combatant. Seeking to become part of the solution, Gil got certified as a Compassionate Listening Facilitator, and he co-leads the Compassionate Listening Project's annual Delegations to Palestine and Israel.  Gil is a Certified Trainer with the HeartMath Institute, offering evidence‐based strategies and techniques for organizations and individuals on resilience, self-regulation, practical intuition and human connection. He has inspired audiences of thousands speaking at colleges across the country, he coaches privately, and offers retreats and workshops globally. Visit Gil's website here

Santa Fe, New Mexico

Glenn is a retired small business owner. Glenn was an active board member for Creativity for Peace from 2007 through 2012. He now serves on the Emeritus Board.  Glenn is also a facilitator with the Alternatives to Violence Project participating in trainings in the New Mexico State Penitentiary. He has been involved for 25 years with The Mankind Project.  He is dedicated to the dialogue process as a tool to end conflict.  As a trainer and facilitator, Glenn has brought the principles of Compassionate Listening to a number of settings in Santa Fe and elsewhere; including faith based communities, educators, volunteer organizations, men's circles and the general public.  Perhaps nowhere has he been more inspirational than with his three grown children, who all seem to like each other and their parents, and even enjoy spending time with the whole family together.  They hike, play Scrabble, and whenever they can, attend music performances and festivals throughout the southwest.

Portland, Oregon

Ilene has worked with children and families, especially those who are at risk due to the impact of poverty and racial inequity, for 40 years. During her career she has been a teacher, teacher coach, family partnership coordinator, executive director and advocate.  Ilene has been a certified mediator since 2007 focusing on family, workplace and community mediation. In addition to facilitating Compassionate Listening classes with parents, teachers and community members, Ilene taught CL in tandem with conflict resolution skills in a medium security prison weekly, for three years. “I've integrated compassionate listening into my work with children, families and teachers and in my relationships with family and friends. I found that combining compassionate listening with mediation skills was the most valuable asset in my work as a mediator.”

Chapel Hill, North Carolina

For 45 years, Jan has served as a social worker in hospice/hospital settings, community organizer, workshop leader (12 years with Compassionate Listening) and spiritual director. The operative principle for her service is: “How do we look at those who differ from us and see our shared humanity?” She believes implementing peacemaking in the public sector makes it vital we practice, heart to heart, that same peacemaking in our personal lives. Start within. Influenced by current brain research, and research-supported practices, Jan’s dual interests in self-compassion, and our collective plague of verbally demonizing the ‘other,’ have led to creation of two new experiential workshops, offered online, through Compassionate Listening. 

Portland, Oregon

Joanie and her partner Yehudah have developed Compassionate Listening Oregon with the hope of increasing Compassionate Listening’s presence in Portland and environs. She facilitates CL Intro Intensives, enrichment workshops, shorter introductory sessions and local practice groups. She teaches Compassionate Listening internationally, including Java, Malaysia, Rwanda, Uganda, Israel and Palestine. Joanie is also a facilitator with the Alternatives to Violence Project. With her M.A. in Dance Ethnology, Joanie brings her expertise in creative dance and authentic movement to these workshops. She is passionate about mentoring others to become Compassionate Listening Facilitators and Group Leaders, desiring for compassionate listening to spread far and wide.

Concord, New Hampshire

I’m a retired family physician who lives in Concord, NH. From 1980 to 2006, I delivered primary care in the nearby village of Penacook. For the next seven years, I was Chief Medical Information Officer at Concord Hospital, overseeing the introduction of electronic provider order entry and participating in organization-wide improvements in medical quality and safety.

During my four Compassionate Listening Journeys to Israel and Palestine between 2015 and 2019, and my Journey to Alabama in January 2020, I recorded and transcribed more than 40 listening sessions that form the basis for public presentations designed to humanize the “other” and help local audiences recognize the common humanity and shared values of people across geopolitical divides. I received CL certification training in 2016 and 2017 and facilitate an ongoing Compassionate Listening practice group in Concord.

Boulder, Colorado

Julia received her Bachelor of Arts from Western State College in Gunnison and a Masters of Arts in Education from University of Colorado, Boulder.  She has a 25-year career as a public school teacher, both in Social Studies and Special Education, and currently teaches at Boulder High School. She has held teaching positions throughout the state of Colorado and has developed sensitivity to native and indigenous concerns, socio-economic inequity and diversity.  In 2011 she received National Board Certification for Professional Teaching Standards. Her professional accomplishments have been significantly shaped by the learning and practice of Compassionate Listening. Born to a Palestinian father and an American mother; it was in learning to navigate the Israel-Palestine conflict that Julia discovered and embraced Compassionate Listening. She participated in a Compassionate Listening delegation in 2008. Today the teaching, practicing and facilitating of compassionate listening is a primary focus in her life. It is her belief that artistry in communicating with self and others is the key to happiness and fulfillment. She is currently facilitating two monthly practice groups, one in Boulder and one in Denver.

Greater Seattle Area

Laurie has a passion for deep connection between people that has guided her to lead transformational programs for more than 12 years. She is a Certified Facilitator with The Compassionate Listening Project and the HeartMath Institute. Prior to working in those realms, Laurie worked for a leading Personal Training and Development company for eight years, where she also led programs and developed a foundation of integrity and authenticity that informs all of her work. See Laurie's website here

Kitsap County, Washington

Leah is founder and director of the Compassionate Listening Project. She holds a masters degree in Public Policy and Administration from the Evans School at the University of Washington, where she also completed her coursework for an MA in Middle Eastern Studies. Leah is recognized as a leader in Jewish-Palestinian reconciliation, having led 26 citizen delegations to Jordan, Israel/Palestine, and Syria/Lebanon. She produced three documentaries about the conflict, including Children of Abraham, and co-founded the Jewish-German Compassionate Listening Project. Leah began teaching CL in Israel and Palestine in 1999, and since that time has taught world wide. Leah is also a facilitator of Systems and Family Constellations and integrates Constellations into her trainings. Leah is a recipient of the Yoga Journal’s “Karma Yoga Award”. Her work has been profiled in many articles and books. She mentors many facilitators through the certification program and is available for mentoring and coaching sessions. 

Ojai, California

Lisa is certified in systemic mediation and studied Peace Sciences at the University in Hagen/Germany. She is trained both in Compassionate Listening and Non Violent Communication. Together with her husband Brian, they facilitate healing and reconciliation workshops in the US and Europe. Lisa brings a deep understanding of how life and the wounds of the past affect people’s well-being and health. For the past 30+ years she has worked as a compassionate healer, teacher and workshop leader. Lisa is a Holistic Health Consultant and Transformational Counselor. She is adjunct faculty at Bastyr University in Washington and California. Visit Lisa's website here.

Haifa, Israel

Maha is a Palestinian-American residing in Haifa, Israel. She is a lawyer with a Masters in International Human Rights Law and a Ph.D. in Near and Middle Eastern Studies. Maha participated in a week-long compassionate listening delegation of Jews and Palestinians at Thich Nhat Hanh’s Buddhist Monastery (Plum Village) in France in July 2001. She completed the introductory and advanced Compassionate Listening trainings, is a certified Compassionate Listening facilitator. She co-led the Israel-Palestine Compassionate Listening delegations with Leah Green from 2004 – 2009. Maha was awarded the University of Washington Graduate Student Medalist Award for being a scholar/citizen for the academic year 2003/2004 and was a Bartos Fellow at United World College in January 2006 where she mentored international students in the Constructive Engagement of Conflict program. Maha is fluent in Arabic and Hebrew.

Campbell River, British Columbia

Naomi L. Wolfe is a settler Canadian who greatly values any opportunity to collaborate in ways that enhance intercultural understanding, deepen our connections to one another, and create a more just and inclusive society. She began her Compassionate Listening journey in 2007, and became a certified trainer in 2011. For 29 years, Naomi was ESL/EAL Faculty at North Island College, where she taught and advocated for immigrant, refugee and international students. In addition, she has designed and facilitated workshops on intercultural competencies, diversity/inclusion, anti-racism, Theatre for Living (TFL), and Reconciliation. Originally from Saskatchewan, and having lived 11 years in the USA and 10 years in Guatemala, Naomi is grateful to have spent the last 30 years living and raising two sons on unceded First Nations traditional territory near the banks of the Oyster River on Vancouver Island.

Portland, Oregon

Peter is currently a documentarian, facilitator and a contributor to curriculum development with The Toolbox Project. His films inform all of us about the power of children to manage their own learning and life. Peter has also worked with Reuniting America, The Transpartisan Alliance, American Building Community, The Seedlings of Peace Summer Camp in Croatia (working with youth from all sides of the Balkans war), is a certified facilitator for the Compassionate Listening Project, a trained mediator, and a recording and performing songwriter/composer. His work in music outside his own CD releases include films for the Everyone Orchestra, The Scott Pemberton Band and many others. He is founder/owner/producer of Hwosch Productions, Make It Real Films, and True Wealth Trainings, who’s work revolves around bridge building and creativity applied to systemic change.

Baltimore, Maryland

Phil Fratesi is an organizational development consultant and event planner. Phil’s early career in education as a teacher and school administrator taught him that listening to the stories of others was a cornerstone of learning and mutually productive relationships. In his work with organizational leaders, he elicits vision, inclusion, and accountability. The work of Compassionate Listening reflects his values and commitment to assisting others in their personal and organizational development.

Rachel Eryn Kalish, M.C.

Rachel Eryn Kalish, M.C. has over 30 years as a certified compassionate listening trainer, certified mediator, facilitator and trainer in the field of conflict transformation. She has worked with a wide spectrum of business and nonprofit organizations, with families and within communities to increase their capacity to listen deeply, navigate differences, repair broken relationships, and create & implement effective, wise, collaborative decision-making strategies with recognized results. She works on multiple levels: interpersonal, interpersonal, organizational, political and spiritual, balancing visionary thinking with highly sensitive attention to details that can deepen or impede trust and collaboration. She was the facilitator and thought partner in the pioneering Year of Civil Discourse which changed the conversation about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the Bay Area Jewish and interfaith communities, inspiring other projects around the country. She is also a certified meditation teacher. Her life’s mission is to bring conflict transformation tools and spiritual practice into our world to increase our capacity for loving, honest, rigorous conversations while maintaining respectful, caring connections. She is a senior consultant and a writer for Blueprint of We California; the principal in Workplace Connections and the co-author of Challenging Conversations, a training program distributed globally by the Ken Blanchard Companies. She is former board president of The Compassionate Listening Project. 

Sarah O'Brien

Greenbelt, Maryland

Sarah is a Compassionate Listening Facilitator with over 10 years of training and facilitation experience in the non-profit sector. She enjoys leading groups through heart-centered processes that encourage harmony, self-awareness and growth. After the 2016 presidential election, Sarah felt a growing sense of urgency for genuine, constructive dialogue between people of different beliefs and values. She became interested in listening as a foundational practice to help build bridges across divides. Certified as a Compassionate Listening Facilitator in 2018, she is happy to share this knowledge with others. Sarah works at NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) as a Program Manager.

Montreal, Quebec

Throughout a richly varied career as oral historian, video-biographer and researcher, Dr. Sharon Gubbay Helfer has continued to do the work she loves. Though the details have changed from one project to another, the passions that propel her remain: First, a love of her fellow humans and a fierce desire to understand them, to understand us: what we are all made of and what drives us as we find our way across the landscape of history and heritage we are born into. Second, a fascination with why we continually set ourselves up against each other despite the clear fact of our shared humanity. One ongoing engagement is her facilitation of Compassionate Listening workshops and practice groups, now including remote sessions and Compassion Circles. Visit her website here for more info. Dr. Gubbay Helfer also continues to work on an oral history project together with colleagues at Montreal’s Concordia University and the Université de Montréal, funded by the Canadian government and entitled "Rabbis and Imams in 21st century Montreal." Although she is still based in Montreal, as of March 2020 and for two years, she is located in San Antonio, Texas.

Seattle, Washington

Susan Partnow, M.A., has catalyzed social transformation for 30+ years from Africa to Guatemala, Cuba to Japan and India. Co-founder of Conversation Cafes, Let’s Talk America, Global Citizen Journey and Seattle Restorative Justice, Susan especially enjoys transforming conflict using Restorative Circles, Open Space, World Café and Appreciative Inquiry. She is a mediator, facilitator, and coach. Author of Everyday Speaking for All Occasions and co-contributor to Practicing the Art of Compassionate Listening. Passionately committed to inter-cultural understanding, peacemaking and community building, Susan deeply believes we can and must 'listen our way to wholeness' to find our essential humanity through connection, wise co-creation, and dialogue. She joyfully serves on the Board of Awareness, Courage and Love, dedicated to combatting loneliness and building meaningful relationships. Susan has been an essential part of Compassionate Listening from its earliest days, one of the very first trainers, co-creator of the core practices and the advanced training. Check out SusanPartnow.com

Montreal, Quebec

Tali is an Instructor at Vanier College in Montreal, teaching for the past twenty-five years in the field of Early Childhood Education. She integrates into her courses aspects/strategies of Communication Skills, Affective Relationship Building, and more recently Compassionate Listening. An artist with a BA in Studio Art and a Master’s degree in Art Education from Concordia University, her current focuse is on “Art as a Means for Social Awareness”. Going back to her childhood home, Israel/Palestine and working with youth groups on art projects that bring both communities (Israelis and Palestinians) together for a shared experience in art and dialogue. This work is ongoing and continues at the College level.She has also received an award from Concorida University for her ceramic serise: “Earth Mother Mezuzah”. In her role as Certified Compassionate Listening Facilitator she works with the Montreal Dialogue Group.

Bainbridge Island, Washington

Therese has been a teacher, organizer, and facilitator for over 30 years, in a variety of contexts and venues, professional, community, and spiritual. She is a nurse, midwife, and ordained minister, and owner /director of Sacred Groves, a small eco-spiritual center based on her property on Bainbridge Island. She trains individuals and couples in Compassionate Listening and has offered the skills as a peacemaking tool in a variety of organizational and individual situations.

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Since retiring in 2016 from a nearly 30 year legal career, Tom has weaved together multiple trainings and his life journey learnings into two interrelated paths: first, as a somatic life and executive coach, at stillpondcoaching.com; and second, as a guide and convener for heart-centered and relational conversations and dialogue, at sacreddiscourse.com. Tom has coaching certifications from the Strozzi Institute, the Newfield Network, and the Full Voice Institute; and he is certified by the International Coaching Federation. In addition to being a Compassionate Listening Facilitator, Tom is also certified as a Convening Leader, from the Center for Purposeful Leadership; a Safe Conversations Facilitator, from RelationshipsFirst; a HeartMath Coach/Mentor; and a Speaking Circles Facilitator. While Tom lives and works primarily in Minneapolis, he also provides in-person trainings globally as well as online offerings.

Will Osmun, MM, MS, MA, Ph.D.

West Michigan

As a volunteer on a Crisis and Suicide Hotline, Will was trained in Empathic Listening. He has a BA in Communications and is certified in Compassionate Listening, Mediation, Immunity to Change and Motivational Interviewing. In his current role at the Urban League of West Michigan, Will provides trainings on Implicit Biases related to the ‘othering’ of historically marginalized groups. As a CL facilitator, Will understands the change process and lovingly encourages participants to lean into their discomfort as they develop new skills and deeper understanding of themselves and their ‘other’.  See Will's website here

Western Massachusetts

Before earning a Bachelor's Degree in International Relations at the U.C. Berkeley, Yael was already passionately involved the struggle for civil rights during the 1968 Poor People’s March on Washington, helping build Resurrection City and tutoring children of color whose schools were being desegregated in southern Virginia. Certified as a CL facilitator in 2004, she led and co-led a number of CL delegations to Israel-Palestine where she lived for 29 years. Yael co-authored “Making Peace with Faith: The Challenges of Religion and Peacebuilding (Peace and Security in the 21st Century,”), 2018. She lives in New England where she facilitates CL trainings and volunteers as an Alternatives to Violence facilitator in a men's high security prison. Witnessing the “new Jim Crow” there has brought her around full-circle to rejoin the struggle for racial/social justice here in the U.S. In January 2020, she initiated and co-led the first domestic Compassionate Listening delegation, “Listening in the Heart of Alabama.”  She looks forward to many more such trips to explore the perfect “marriage” of Compassionate Listening and antiracism (and all other “isms”) work in the world. Visit her website here

Portland, Oregon

Yehudah is an RN and holds an MS in counseling. He's trained in mediation with the City of Portland Neighborhood Mediation Program, in community facilitation with Resolutions Northwest and with the Alternatives to Violence Project in prison settings. He has gone on three CL Journeys: to Israel/Palestine twice and to Syria/Lebanon. Yehudah co-facilitates CL Intro Intensives, enrichment workshops, local practice groups, plus teaches internationally with Joanie Levine. Together they have developed Compassionate Listening Oregon. They have facilitated numerous shorter workshops, including for the Oregon Air Force National Guard, Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, Trillium Co-Housing Community, Portland State University, and Six Rivers Dispute Resolution Center.

Please reload