Touchstones are an established set of mutually agreed-upon principles that guide how participants will treat, and be with, each other in “deep dialogue” using the Coming to the Table Approach. They aim to address participants’ needs and expectations to feel safe and/or brave enough to speak openly and honestly and help us all make more space for each other. 

  • Be 100% present, extending and presuming welcome

  • Try it on

  • No fixing

  • Speak your truth

  • Whenever possible, acknowledge uncomfortable responses: say "ouch!" or "whoops!"; then explain

  • Maintain confidentiality

  • When things get difficult, turn to wonder; try "both/and," rather than "either/or"

  • Listen deeply

  • Always by invitation

  • Identify assumptions; suspend judgements

  • Be aware of and allow for the difference between intention and impact

  • Respect silence

  • Respect Difference

  • Expect "non-closure"

These Touchstones are adapted from ideas, concepts, and practices used in a Circle of Trust. Another resource is Visions, Inc. This version was initially developed for Coming to the Table by Ann Holmes Redding, Ph.D. & Pat Russell, Psy. D., and has been updated to reflect experience in their usage.