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Feeling Understood: A Workshop with Casey Watts '12
Wednesday, June 16, 2021, 6:30 PM - 8:00 PM EDT
Category: Events



 Yale Club of DC Event


Feeling Understood:  A Workshop with Casey Watts '12


Wednesday, June 16, 2021


This meeting will be conducted on Zoom.  Instructions will be provided upon registration

You know that feeling when someone really gets you? A coworker quickly understands your idea, a friend relates to what you are going through, or a family member takes the time to listen. Teams that value communication and take the time to really understand each other are consistently happier and more effective.

With the approach in this workshop, mutual understanding can happen much more often! Beyond just “active listening,” this workshop covers a framework for how to help people feel understood: four levels of listening, and three levels of explicit validation. You can use this framework to support others, or to ask for support yourself.

With this goal of truly supporting others, you can avoid common pitfalls: accidentally misunderstanding them, jumping to solutions, talking about yourself, not being able to focus on their story. You will not only try to understand them in your own head, but also help them to feel understood. This framework helps you focus on conveying your understanding.

Learning Objectives

In this workshop, you will learn:

  • Techniques to process your own experiences with greater clarity, comfort, and understanding. Pros and cons of each technique, help you decide when to use which one.
  • A framework for how to listen and validate people you are trying to support: four levels of listening, and three levels of validation. When and how to use each one when supporting someone.
  • How to ask for the type of support you need, directly. Based on the levels of listening/validation that would help you most.


You will get to talk about real issues on your mind with people who are ready to actively listen.

Casey’s hands-on workshop format is inspired by his experience teaching software development, dance, and music. Casey balances presentation with hands-on activities, alternating between them. Right before each activity, Casey shares the principles clearly and shares just enough story to make them memorable. Workshop attendees then apply the skills to their own problems in small randomly assigned breakout groups. For some topics we will use the meeting’s sidebar chat for discussion. Casey’s workshops have capped attendance to make sure we have productive discussion, and they usually sell out.

About the Speaker

Casey Watts is the author of Debugging Your Brain, a concise self-help and applied psychology book.

This book brings together two parts of Casey’s background: psychology and software development. Casey studied neurobiology at Yale University, and he is a co-author on several neurobiology papers. He has worked in software development for 10 years, including at Heroku. He is based in Washington, DC.

Acquire more tools to help you support your group members. Be more confident in the supportive listening that you do by being able to identify and apply the most effective listening method. Learn to acknowledge and affirm your group members experiences and perspectives more effectively. Become a more effective and compassionate facilitator.

Support the Yale Club of Washington, DC

The Yale Club of Washington, DC offers this event to our members and alumni.  However, we do ask for your support in one or both of the following ways: 

1)      Please become a member if you are not one already

2)      Donate to the Yale Club of Washington, DC (see option on registration page). 

Membership dues and donations are both critical income sources for the Club, which enable Club operations, programs, and financial viability.


Contact: Lauren Harris - [email protected]