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New Reflective Practice Group--see below.

Our experience with Reflective Practice Groups

Institute Directors and Associates have organized and facilitated RPGs for more than a decade.  Currently we lead RPGs, with nearly 100 participants, sponsored by professional organizations, including: ABA Section of Dispute Resolution, Association for Conflict Resolution, Academy of Professional Family Mediators, Mediators Institute of Ireland, Nebraska Association of Mediators, Northern Association of Mediators (UK), and Social Justice (South Africa). 


What is a Reflective Practice Group?

An RPG is a unique learning group in which members meet on a regular basis, usually monthly, in a virtual roundtable to learn from and with one another through the presentation and review of puzzling or surprising practice situations.  The principal objective of an RPG is to help answer these questions and thereby improve the quality and effectiveness of interventions—strengthening existing skills and deepening knowledge. 


Who can join and benefit from an RPG?

RPGs organized and facilitated by the Institute consist of conflict practitioners such as mediators, collaborative practitioners, conflict coaches, facilitators.  RPGs facilitated by the Institute have participants from all areas practice—community, family, commercial, organizational, workplace.  Because groups meet via video conference, we have participants from Australia, Germany, India, Ireland, Israel, Nigeria, Poland, South Africa, Trinidad and Tobago, the UK, and the US.


What can I expect?

Groups focus on puzzling practice questions—those that may have resulted from an unexpected success or an incident that was unsettling or surprising.  Institute facilitators engage in a conversation with the presenter to help the presenter clarify the problem, understand its origin and impact on the mediation and the mediator, and discover new approaches for addressing the situation.


Unique to our approach is that we rely on questions rather than statements; and advice, opinions, or recommendations are seldom part of the group conversation. Practical and relevant learning occurs when the learner struggles with the problem, and discovers a solution that is unique to that learner. Lessons from this process are responsive to the particular needs of the learner.


Why participate?

Most conflict practitioners work in a bubble.  Only the parties and representatives participate. There are no outside observers who might comment on our work or provide feedback. Moreover, with few exceptions, we seldom receive feedback from the parties or their representatives. As a result, we have little if any basis for understanding whether our efforts were effective and responsive.   We want to understand:

- How do I know that I am doing the best I can?

- What interventions were helpful, which were off the mark; and why?

- How can I understand whether my efforts are as effective and resourceful as possible?

- How do I learn from difficult and frustrating experiences and from

            surprising successes?    

The RPG provides an opportunity to explore these practice questions, learn from our own and others’ practice experiences, and improve our skills and techniques.

NEW RPG FORMING, November 2023


Ellen Waldorf and Laurie Amaya, Institute Associates, invite you to join them for a monthly reflective practice group.  The group will begin on November 1, 2023, and meet online monthly for 90 minutes on the first Wednesday of each month, from 12:00 pm-1:30 pm Eastern time.


Participants will be asked to make a commitment to attend group meetings for a period of 12 months. We will limit group membership to 15 participants. The cost is $600 per participant for the twelve-month program.


Click HERE to register.  For more information, contact

Laurie at or Ellen at


Scholarships are available. 

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