Publications by Bob Stains

Hard to say, hard to hear, heart to heart: Inviting and engaging strong emotions in dialogue for deliberation. Stains, R. and Sarrouf, J., 2022.


Brave listening and passionate speaking: Engaging strong emotion in interreligious dialogue.

In Deep understanding for divisive times, Essays marking a decade of the Journal of Intrerreligious Studies. Mosher, A., Takacs, A., Rose, O. and Moore, M., Eds. Newton Centre, MA: Interreligious Studies Press, 2020, 177-181.


The invisible threads of public discourse: Lessons from other countries. Stains, R. and Joseph, D.

 Cultivating Courageous Communities Through the Practice and Power of Dialogue

Mitchell-Hamline Law Review

This article was written in response to a symposium sponsored by Mitchell-Hamline School of Law on reducing polarization and encouraging public engagement to solve community problems.


Repairing the Breach: The Power of Dialogue to Heal Relationships and Communities

Journal of Public Deliberation


Reflection for connection: Deepening dialogue through reflective processes

Conflict Resolution Quarterly


Dialogue: A Virtual Workshop

A series of 12 short videos introducing the core premises and practices of Reflective Structured Dialogue, each with readings and exercises; many with expert interview vignettes.


A tale of two grandmothers

A pasta sauce analogy for planning a dialogue. In Herzig, M. and Chasin, C. Fostering dialogue across divides: A nuts and bolts guide from the Public Conversations Project. Cambridge, MA: PCP and the JAMS Foundation, 2006, 151.


Training on Purpose

Conflict Resolution Quarterly 20:4, Summer, 2003, 473-475


Reflective training: Matching educational practice with transformative intention. In Folger, J. and Bush, R., Eds., Designing mediation: Approaches to training and practice within a transformative framework. NY: Institute for the Study of Conflict Transformation, 2001, 153-167.


From diatribe to dialogue on divisive public issues: Approaches drawn from family therapy

Conflict Resolution Quarterly


Blog posts:


In Defense of Canned Stew, for The Family Dinner Project


Fathering After the Kids Leave

Father’s Day Blog Post


Holidays or Hellidays? Tips for Better Conversations at Home


Preparing to Connect


Fieldwork: Lessons from Play


So what? Reflections on Purpose


Dads on Dialogue, with John Sarrouf and Dave Joseph

I keep a Bob Stains quote posted in my office. It says, “The quality of our community depends on the quality of our relationships. The quality of our relationships depends on the quality of our conversations.” I have relied on Bob as a trainer, mentor and colleague and believe in his ability to design and structure conversations in a way that brings people together even when the gulf between them seems substantial. He believes in the power of the human connection, and he works to bring that out in people.
Gail Anderson

Founder, EmpathyWorks