What is Real Dialogue™ ?

Real Dialogue is a mindful communication practice that helps individuals engage in meaningful conversations, especially when facing conflict or disagreement. Developed from Dialogue Therapy, it’s designed to be used in personal, professional, and even oppositional settings.

Two people engaged in Real Dialogue, sit across from each other.

Real Dialogue has grown from Dialogue Therapy developed by Polly Young-Eisendrath and her late husband, Ed Epstein, in 1983. Real Dialogue is a finely-honed structure for dialogue and inquiry that is used for resolving conflicts between equals in relationships.

At its core, Real Dialogue aims to counteract our habitual responses—like conflict avoidance or dehumanizing others—by fostering a space where each person can speak authentically and listen genuinely, even amid profound disagreements or emotional pain. This approach not only helps in resolving conflicts but also in transforming them into opportunities for growth and understanding.

Testimonial from the Founder of Real Dialogue

Peggy embodies intelligence, skillful relating, humor, creativity and authentic open-heartedness in a remarkable way. Peggy is a leader in our Real Dialogue community that strives to bring mindfulness to “difficult conversations.” In my background as a psychologist, Jungian analyst, author, speaker, mindfulness teacher, and podcaster, I have become very good at spotting talented people: Peggy is a very talented and excellent human being. She will contribute enormously to your training community.”

Polly Young-Eisendrath

Polly Young-Eisendrath profile picture

The practice of Real Dialogue is built on three foundational skills:

The Skills of Real Dialogue™

Speaking for Yourself

This involves expressing your thoughts and feelings using “I-statements” and acknowledging that your perspective is subjective. It’s about owning your experience without attributing your emotions or reactions to someone else’s actions.

Listening Mindfully

This skill requires you to really hear what the other person is saying without planning your response or letting your internal dialogues dominate. It involves paraphrasing what you’ve heard to confirm understanding, thereby deepening your engagement with the conversation.

Remaining Curious

Curiosity in Real Dialogue means maintaining an open-mindedness towards the other person’s viewpoint. It involves embracing the uncertainty and variability of human experience without jumping to conclusions or judgments.

Ready to Book a Session

The Importance of Real Dialogue in Relationships

To prepare for your Real Dialogue session, please download and read these 3 primers.

(Click to Download)

The Skill: Volume 1

Why Real Dialogue™

Casual couple having dialogue together
Scroll to Top