Working Constructively with Conflict in Community

5-Week Online Course | Starts October 25th

Learn where to anticipate conflict, how relationship damage intersects wit problem solving and how to establish a care team to work with conflict.

On this page:

Course description

Failure to prepare for conflict is one of the big reasons intentional communities struggle and eventually fail. Most groups don’t 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. In Working Constructively with Conflict in Community, you will learn the tools and techniques that can support you and your members in moving through conflict.

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.

Live classes are hosted on Zoom. All classes are recorded and available on our learning platform within 24 hours after each class ends and through 3 weeks after the last class. 

Who this course is for

  • community facilitators
  • community leaders
  • group governors

What you’ll learn

Classes and topics in the Working Constructively with Conflict in Community syllabus include:

1st Class: Why working with conflict is awkward, yet needs to be done

  • working with feelings
  • emotions and how they relate to conflict

2nd Class: How relationship damage intersects with problem solving

  • distress and distortion
  • clearing the air
  • intersections of diversity, ambiguity, leadership and conflict

3rd Class: How and when to work with conflict

  • working a dyad
  • working conflict in plenary

4th Class: The case for establishing a care team and how to do it

  • recommended care team mandate

5th Class: Necessary conversations that you can anticipate conflict in

  • limits of diversity
  • accountability and critical feedback
  • personal choice and participation

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. He lived for four decades at Sandhill Farm, an income-sharing rural community that he helped found.
Laird 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.

Read his blog Laird’s Commentary on Community and Consensus

Course schedule

  • 1st Class – October 25, 2022
  • 2nd Class – November 1, 2022
  • 3rd Class – November 8, 2022
  • 4th Class – November 15, 2022
  • 5th Class – November 22, 2022

All Working Constructively with Conflict in Community classes are on Tuesdays from:

  • Pacific: 2-4pm
  • Mountain: 3-5pm
  • Central: 4-6pm
  • Eastern: 5-7pm


Leslie Thomsen

“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.”

Emily Abel

“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!”

Catriona Stamp

“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 challenged us, by setting examples that gave us the opportunity to make mistakes so we could learn from them.”

Susan Clark

“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!”

Course fee

  • Early bird discount through October 9, 2022: $199
  • Regular price: $299

Become a member learner

You get several benefits, including 20% off all our online courses, and access to our Member Library with hundreds of videos, guides, policies and templates.

Sign up for membership

Financial support

You can apply for a scholarship if you need financial support to attend one of our courses. We encourage those with low-income and from marginalized groups to apply. We’re committed to ensuring everyone has access to intentional community learning opportunities.

Apply for a scholarship

The elements of an online course

Online learning platform

Once you register, you’ll get access to our learning area that includes:

  • your course schedule with zoom links
  • recommended books
  • a dedicated discussion forum to connect with your classmates
  • class slides and other course materials
  • class video recordings and Zoom chat feed (posted after class ends)

Live interactive sessions

Each week you join a 2-hour live class with the course instructor, where you learn in a group setting with:

  • interactive presentations
  • break out sessions
  • group discussions
  • the opportunity for questions and answers, and personalized support

Classes are recorded if you miss one.

Journey with a cohort

You’ll join participants from around the world how, like you, want to learn how to be better communitarians. Benefits include:

  • opportunities to connect with like-minded people
  • opportunities to share ideas and stories
  • a network of support to carry your community project forward



Working Constructively with Conflict in Community Course

Starting From $199.00

(Price is per person)*

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

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