Published: November 22, 2016   Updated: November 22, 2016

A chat with social justice educator, coach, and consultant Dr. Kathy Obear! Meg Bolger and Sam Killermann of FacilitatingXYZ dig into triggers, how to navigate them around the dinner table, what facilitation techniques are useful for your holiday gatherings, and more!

Follow Kathy on Twitter @KathyObear, email her at [email protected], or read more at

Show Index

Who is Kathy Obear?
How does Kathy define a trigger? 
How do positive trigger impact us and what is important to know about them?
What are the stages of a triggering moment?
How to best prepare for a tense holiday conversation.
Getting clear on your intentions in your conversations. 
How do you hold on to your good intentions?
A time when Kathy got lost in emotion and lost a chance to engage. 
What can you do when you’ve realized your lost in emotion, in the moment and in follow up? 
What can a bystander do to intervene if someone is being triggered? 
What would you say to someone who thinks that they have to say something now, activists or those otherwise activated?
How would you advise someone who has different viewpoints but wants to ask questions in a way that doesn’t communicate a value judgement? 
Using relating in language.
There is a fear amongst facilitators of relating in with people who are saying bias/harmful things, how would you encourage people get over that fear?
How do you help someone who is afraid to collude with oppression and get past that hurdle?
What if we tells stories vs. going on rants?
What can we learn from holidays that we could then apply in facilitations? 
What kind of self-care are you doing as a facilitator? 
What kind of self-care do you do before family gatherings?
What is stretching out with your emotions? 
How do you “hold the container” for everyone? 
There are friends and family groups with a history of violence, and that’s needs understood and considered when taking these actions. 

Rapid Fire Questions

What are the three words that Kathy would use to describe facilitation? 
If Kathy could pick 1 ground rule to apply to the entire world, that everyone would have to follow, what would it be?
What is something Kathy still need to be reminded of as a facilitator?
What does Kathy do right before a facilitation?
What does Kathy do right after a facilitation?
What is a piece of facilitation advice Kathy would have given her five-year-ago-self? 
What still stresses Kathy out as a facilitator and what she does to manage the stress? 
What is a unique place Kathy has facilitated? 
What’s a not-directly-facilitation-related experience that Kathy thinks every facilitator should have? 
What resources Kathy recommends most to others? 
Do you have any online resources that you think others should check out?
One piece of advice that you have for everyone listening?


Kathy’s email — [email protected]
Kathy’s newest book: Turning the Tide: How to Navigate Difficult Situations in the Workplace
Cycle of a triggering event cycle animation. 
Anne Wilson-Schaef
Kathy on Philippe Matthews


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Written by FacilitatingXYZ Team

This is the account that the FacilitatingXYZ team uses. FacXYZ is co-facilitated by Meg and Sam, and brings in expertise, knowledge, and lived experience from facilitators far and wide. Read more about us here.

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