Working Constructively with Conflict in Community

5-Week Online Course | Starts October 25th!

Conflict happens. Learn how to deal with it so your community can thrive when things get tough. Feelings are part of our heritage as humans, and it’s better to work explicitly with emotions than to attempt to box them out of our meetings and hope for the best. Join us for practical ways to work constructively with strong emotions.

Working Constructively with Conflict in Community course image

Save $100 (on October course) through 10/9/22!

Learn the tools and techniques that can support you and your members in moving through conflict.

Failure to prepare for conflict is one of the big reasons intentional communities struggle and eventually fail. Most groups do not explicitly discuss how they want to work with reactivity and the expression of strong feelings. Lacking a common understanding about how to handle these moments, most groups are paralyzed by their occurrence and bad things happen (work gets stopped, feelings get suppressed, fights break out, and relationships are damaged). It’s not pretty.

But there is no reason for your group to break down in the face of conflict. Get prepared and skilled up to handle whatever is coming your way!

Distilled from more than three decades of working as a professional facilitator and trainer for cooperative groups, Laird Schaub will cover what you need to know to move through conflict with as much grace as possible and come out the other side stronger than before.

Laird will cover various aspects of conflict including:

  • What conflict represents
  • Why working on it in the dynamic moment
  • Why work on it as a group
  • How to work with it
  • Why to work on it unilaterally
  • The options people have when they’re in reaction


You will leave this course with…

  • An understanding of what happens when people get upset (for both the individual and those around them)
  • Knowledge of our options when upset
  • A field-tested method for recognizing and defusing distress
  • A process for navigating the intersection of conflict and safety
  • An understanding of why it’s essential to attend to distress before problem solving
  • The power of the group learning to not be reactive to reactivity
  • The importance of having an agreed method for engaging with strong feelings
  • The importance of having the in-house skill needed to use your agreed method effectively
  • How to set up an effective team to support people working through interpersonal tensions
  • A clear understanding of how to discern whether to work conflict in plenary

Meet Your Instructor

The Art of Facilitation for Cooperative Groups and Working Constructively with Conflict in Community instructor image

Laird Schaub

Laird’s specialty is up-tempo inclusive meetings that engage the full range of human input, teaching groups to work creatively with conflict and diversity—all the while being ruthless about capturing as much product as possible.

Laird lived for four decades at Sandhill Farm, an income-sharing rural community that he helped found. He also helped found the Foundation for Intentional Community, where he served as the main administrator for 28 years.

In 1987, he created a self-insurance fund for healthcare among income-sharing communities called PEACH (Preservation of Equity Accessible for Community Health) that he ran for 22 years. In addition to his expertise in community living, he’s parlayed his passion for good process into a consulting business focused on cooperative group dynamics, styled CANBRIDGE (Consensus And Network Building for Resolving Impasse and Developing Group Effectiveness), since 1987.

The Online Course Experience

Live Interactive Sessions

Each week will feature a 2-hour live class with the course instructor so you can learn in a dynamic setting and get your questions answered directly. Get ready for interactive presentations, group discussion, small cohort activities and personalized support. Plus, each week there will be bonus sessions with guest speakers and panelists.

Journey with a Cohort

Join participants from around the world who are embarking on creating community for better living and more connection. You’ll have opportunities to network with like-minds and develop a network of support to carry your community project forward. Welcome to your global community of communities.

Deep Learning

Participants will have access to a private online space to connect with the instructor and other students through a discussion forum. Each week new learning materials will be uploaded to the space, including videos, worksheets and articles. You’ll be able to watch previously recorded sessions and stay on track with your weekly assignments.

Course Syllabus

  • Class 1: Why working with conflict is awkward, yet needs to be done
  • Class 2: How relationship damage intersects with problem solving
  • Class 3: How and when to work with conflict
  • Class 4: The case for establishing a care team and how to do it
  • Class 5: Necessary conversations where conflict can be anticipated

Course Schedules

All classes will be recorded and viewable with other class materials for up to 3 weeks after the last class. Live classes will be hosted via Zoom.
Please click on the month below to view the respective class dates and times.

March-April 2022

March-April 2022

  • 3/31/22
  • 4/7/22
  • 4/14/22
  • 4/21/22
  • 4/28/22

All classes are on Thursdays from 12-2pm Pacific / 1-3pm Mountain / 2-4pm Central / 3-5pm Eastern

October-November 2022

October-November 2022

  • 10/25/22
  • 11/1/22
  • 11/8/22
  • 11/15/22
  • 11/22/22

All classes are on Tuesdays from 2-4pm Pacific / 3-5pm Mountain / 4-6pm Central / 5-7pm


Laird is an amazing resource in terms of experience, presentation and facilitation style, and ability to effectively connect with individuals under challenging circumstances. This is a great opportunity for thinking about how to handle conflict in community. Laird offered very practical suggestions for the kind of agreements that need to be in place for a community to tackle this in a way that ensures both accountability and safety for all members. Talking about conflict can sound scary, but having it organized into concrete steps made it seem not only possible, but absolutely worth doing.

– Leslie Thomsen

I have already recommended this course to other members of my community. I found the explanations about why it is good to work with emotions convincing and compelling. I liked Laird’s nuanced approach about when and where to work with distress, making it clear that the choice is ours and depends on the situation.

I enjoyed the exercises in the break-out rooms; they were lively, and the subject matter was absolutely on target. It was easy to get into the role play as the examples were so relevant. I thought it was good how much Laird challnged us, by setting examples that gave us the opportunity to make mistakes so we could learn from them.

Catriona Stamp

I learned a lot about conflict and how it’s not just a thing to be avoided, but can be used to come to greater clarity about what people are wanting and needing in community. Laird is fantastic, the breakout activities were engaging, interesting, and challenging, and I only wish I had more time!

Emily Abel

This course is for any community that finds itself confounded by conflict. Laird presents a different way of defining conflict, demonstrates how to work constructively when conflict arises in a group setting, and provides participants with tools for equipping a community to meet conflict without fear, and move forward restoring broken relationships. Time well spent with a teacher who has an incredible amount of wisdom and experience to share!

Susan Clark



Working Constructively with Conflict in Community Course

Starting From $199.00

(Price is per person)*

Learn how to embrace and navigate conflict so your intentional community can thrive when groups often struggle most.

Duration: 5 Weeks (2+ hours/week)

Save $100 (on October course) through 10/9/22!

*Interested in participating as a group? Please sign up for a community FIC membership to receive a group discount on course registrations.

Start Date:

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Need financial support to attend a course?

Apply for a scholarship. Those with low-income and from marginalized groups are encouraged to apply. FIC is committed to ensuring everyone has access to intentional community learning opportunities.