Being Effective in Emotionally Difficult Conversations

This sequel to Communicating with Compassion shows how compassion is applied to resolve tough conversations.


Ideal for chaplains, volunteers, and family caregivers. The program features a wide variety of caregivers interacting with real patients in real life, in entirely candid, unscripted scenes. The emotions are real!

This program includes: 

  • 45-minute Video
    Documentary-style production, original musical score and powerful real-life scenes guaranteed to inspire your audience and stimulate a deeply meaningful conversation.
  • 128-page Leader Guide
    with a detailed five-step training program. Includes skill-building exercises, teaching points for each scene, a self-evaluation method, and expert facilitator tips on how to get the most out of your group dialogue. Plus instructional objectives and video index.
  • 3 Handouts
    for your audience summarize the essential points of the video, including the three layers of a difficult conversation and diagrams that explain how compassion is applied to build healing partnerships.

Your audience learns how to:

      • Turn a difficult conversation into a discovery conversation.
      • Identify three layers of a difficult conversation.
      • Recognize pivotal moments when conversations can turn around.
      • Build stronger healing partnerships despite the difficulties.

Excerpt from Compassion in Action

One of the most common questions raised in any audience on the topic of how to treat the sick, injured and dying, is how to handle the intense, awkward, or painful emotions that arise, let alone express compassion when your own fight-of-flight reactions are kicking in. This program shows how it is done through the real life examples. It then goes on to show how these skills are developed proactively.

What People Say About this Video:

“This is a compassionate training for all of us who long to know ‘what to say’ or ‘what to do’ when a loved one is suffering. It is an antidote for the sense of alienation and isolation we all feel at life’s toughest times – whether we are the caregiver or the care receiver. Karen Fox’s gentle and insightful teaching is the model of compassion that any caregiver might hope to replicate.”

The Rev. Anne S. Howard, Executive Director, The Beatitudes Society

“An opportunity to see what a profound difference human caring makes in the lives of others! Real life situations show how to engage with others in a way that cares for their spirit, their emotions, their humanness. I will be using it as a teaching tool for professional and volunteer caregivers.”

Peggy Matteson, PhD, RN, FCN
Commissioned Minister of Health, United Congregational Church
Chair, Department of Nursing, Salve Regina University, Newport, RI

“I can think of no better resource for congregations than Compassion in Action.Important information, real people, great wisdom, warm hearts – those in caregiving ministries will be empowered to connect with even the most wounded people with understanding and love.”

Peter S. Buehler, Pastor
First Presbyterian Church of Santa Barbara

“Compassion in Action is a beautiful, practical demonstration of how to infuse difficult conversations with love.”

Candace Pert, Ph.D. Neuroscience Research; author of Molecules of Emotion

“What is so special and valuable about this video is seeing actual spontaneous reactions in real-time. They demonstrate and inspire the art of being present and observant.”

Louise Sipos, RN, Patient Representative, Good Samaritan Hospital, Los Angeles

“I love this video! It’s a wonderful, candid example of compassion at work in a variety of health care settings. It shows the humanity and joy we can find – even in the tougher situations – if we approach them in the right way.”

Abbey Gaske, M.D., Urology Group of Southern California