TALKING TOGETHER: HOW WE CAN GET BEYOND POLARIZATION TO SEE AND HEAR EACH OTHER THROUGH CIVIL DIALOGUE
By Kay Collier McLaughlin, PhD
Expected publication date: 2017
Communications warfare defines our everyday lives today, from our workplaces to our families, our Facebook pages and the halls of Congress. The lack of civil dialogue started years ago, rooted amidst the rhetoric of Survivor mentality reality TV, the perceived anonymity of social media and the drama/ conflict driven 24/7 news outlets striving for ratings, and has become what is now a Tsunami of polarization. That polarization has paralyzed our ability to talk with each other with civility and respect, much less with interest and curiosity.
Talking Together: How we Can Get Beyond Polarization To See and Hear Each Other Through Civil Dialogue is a guide to learning how to change the conversation rather than continue to talk about how awful the current ‘ conversation’ is. Without the ability to have constructive, respectful conversation with those who are different from us, solving the immense problems facing us as a society will be impossible. The book’s intention is to not only teach skills and provide tools but to give hope – hope that we can find our way out of this communications minefield. Hope is a roadmap for action, based in actual practices that have been proven in systems across the country.
The practices of civil dialogue are based in tested social science theories creatively integrated to bring about foundational shifts in self and other awareness that lead to positive ways of human interaction in all aspects of life – not pasted on positions left behind when tested in real life. Several unique contributions of the author to this field iinclude experientially changing cognitive identification of destructive behaviors to personal ownership and transformation and The recognition of marginalized, delayed and anticipatory grief as significant players in the current polarization. Sources for life-changing practices include the challenging and inspirational work of Archbishop Desmond Tutu in his Truth and Reconciliation work after apartheid in South Africa,the work of legendary athlete Jim Brown with the American-I-Can program for disenfranchised youth, the creation of a world- wide music program by Japanese pedagogue Shinichi Suzuki in his efforts to bring something of peace and beauty to the children of his war- torn country and the peace efforts of Mohammed Ali. The foreword is written by internationally known cellist Michael Fitzpatrick who travels with the Dalai Lama, setting the musical context for a book whose goal is harmony in the world.
WHO IS THE AUTHOR AND WHY IS SHE QUALIFIED TO WRITE THIS BOOK?
Dr. Kay Collier McLaughlin is a ‘ blue’ though leader from the ‘red’ state of Kentucky. As a leadership consultant, she travels throughout the United States offering experiential sessions that provide the opportunity for people of differing experiences, opinions and perspectives to have true dialogue with each other. A human relations trainer with a doctorate in counseling psychology, she is the author of five published books and has actively worked in the field of human potential since 1968. Her work has appeared in numerous publications; she was the editor , writer and columnist for an award- winning monthly newspaper for over three decades. An accomplished musician, Collier McLaughlin was also the music reviewer for one of the largest newspapers in the Ohio Valley.
Collier McLaughlin served as Deputy for Leadership Development and Transition Ministries in the Episcopal Diocese of Lexington, where she created a proven process for civil dialogue and trained facilitators to guide the conversations. She has used the model described in TALKING TOGETHER in both non-profit and for- profit organizations and is actively engaged in applying it to current polarized situations. Her diverse background includes international and cross- cultural consulting and work with post- graduate sports management students as well as collegiate and professional athletic organizations. Her international work has included demonstrating the use of Gestalt therapy to Russian psychotherapists in Moscow, St. Petersburg and Vilnius, Lithuania, providing a strong foundation for writing about and leading work with deep roots in fear and anticipatory grief. As a working journalist, Collier McLaughlin covered fourteen triennial conventions of the Episcopal Church, reporting on issues of global impact such as the ordination of women, the blessing of same- sex couples, the ordination of LGBT persons, the election and consecration of the first openly gay bishop, splits in the world- wide Anglican communion along with breaking news stories on embezzlement, sexual misconduct and transfers of leadership.
Collier McLaughlin grew up as a musician and daughter of an NFL championship- winning football coach . Both dimensions add a fascinating perspective to every aspect of her work. She is a motivational speaker, licensed lay preacher and professional facilitator with a reputation for delivering a powerful message. She is an author with a proven track record for developing materials into highly readable books. Collier McLaughlin brings the integrated wisdom of a lifetime of training , expertise and experience to one of the toughest and most important topics of our time – how to talk to each other.