Student – Circling the Poles with Skill: The Use of Relationship Enhancement as an Antidote to Polarization – Webinar- May 18, 2024

May 18, 2024 10:00 am - 1:15 pm Webinar

Presenter: Mary Ortwein, MS, LMFT

Saturday, May 18, 2024: 10 am – 1:15 pm (Eastern time zone), with one 15-minute break.

Live Interactive Webinar via Zoom. 3 CE Credits


Polarization has become a buzzword and presence in the highly politicized culture of today.     We, as practitioners of the Educational Model of Therapy and Relationship Enhancement® methods, have skills to diminish the effects of polarization in individuals, families, and the larger culture. We regularly implement those skills in our therapy sessions when we teach and coach couples to use those skills. But do we use Relationship Enhancement® Skills when we discuss personal “hot topic” issues in the public square? How can the unilateral use of the skills in families or in community debates diminish the effects of polarization enough to foster real dialogue that helps people truly consider controversial issues?

This workshop will describe how and why Relationship Enhancement® practitioners can diminish the power of polarized thinking in themselves, their clients, and public discussions.  Participants will begin with a polarity self-assessment quiz. This will be followed by a lecture review of core characteristics of polarity as outlined by Ezra Klein, Bill Doherty, and other students of the polarization phenomenon.

The second half of the workshop will be interactive. After a demonstration of the use of Deep Empathy, Expression, and Coaching/Facilitation Skills in a polarized situation, participants will practice the use of Relationship Enhancement® Skills to move people toward genuine dialogue on hot topic issues.


At the end of this 3-hour CE workshop participants will be able to:

  1. Identify characteristics of polarized thinking and behavior
  2. Identify elements of polarized thinking within themselves
  3. Use materials provided to describe how to teach the unilateral use of Relationship Enhancement® Skills to clients.

Mary Ortwein, MS, LMFT, has more than 30 years of experience personally using, teaching, and writing about the Relationship Enhancement® model with couples and families. She also has more than 30 years of experience working in community with hot topic issues, including abortion, post-divorce parenting, domestic violence, and immigration. After attending a workshop in 2023 about Polarity, Mary has participated in several efforts to diminish the power of polarity in the public square, especially within the Catholic Church.  She recently attended a national Paulist meeting to generate resources for countering polarity and is a member of Braver Angels, an organization created to foster respectful discourse in politics.