Are you or your clients struggling with family members about the future of aging parents' care or estate?





A Retiree Couple, San Leandro, CA:

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, we wish to express our sincere gratitude for your help in recharging our family harmony with our adult children through your mediation.

Nicole O., San Francisco, CA:

Katharina was an especially great listener, generous with her time and so laser focused. She can really help move things forward in a fair and swift way, while taking all the time necessary. She asks such helpful questions, frames things in a positive way, navigates matters as a true neutral, and is so skilled at building trust. Not only does this make it possible for family members to kindly work with each other to come up with agreements, but after mediation is through, family members have new communication skills that will make future family conversations easier.

Y. Felix, Oakland, CA:

Katharina came on very short notice, facilitating a very difficult family financial negotiation that had to be made the same day. She helped us break down the core issues, and sort through some of the emotions associated with the situation. We came to an agreement after only four hours, aired some grievances, shared appreciations, and though perhaps sightly bruised, intact as a family, and with a reasonable devision of shares. Thank you Katharina!

Bryan C.,  Family Caregiver, Santa Monica, CA:

I’m a long distance caregiver for a mother in her 90s who was recenlty diagnosed with dementia. After an initial meeting with Katharina Dress, my mother hesitantly agreed to allow her to facilitate a mediation between her and me, because I wanted to make plans to ensure her future health and safety.  From that one meeting, I learned a couple of very important things about my mom. Knowing them explains a lot about her, so I feel closer to her. I also related many things I like about my mom. Before that I think she thought I didn’t like her and now I believe she knows that I am very fond of her, so she’s more willing to allow me to give her the support she needs. I felt really relieved when at the end of the mediation session my mother said to Katharina: “You are a good facilitator.”

Renda Dabit, Executive Director, Henna Garden Events and Entertainment:

After two sessions of mediation with a few members of my family, the ground work was established on how to communicate in the safe setting that Katharina Dress and her co-mediator provided. I felt heard, respected and supported during our mediation sessions. The way both mediators were able to communicate with my elder mother, who is 75 and an immigrant to the US, was truly amazing. Major barriers were overcome and now there is more open communication and tools we continue to use thanks to the excellent team work of both Katharina and her co-mediator. Their efforts made a huge difference in my life.


Seth Melchert, Oakland, CA:

During a family care planning meeting that Katharina facilitated with me and several family members, we found her to be thorough, methodical and careful. She clearly knows the territory of aging and the unique, complex issues faced by elders, and she has a wealth of knowledge for meeting those needs. She also has relational skills, with tools for effective communication; she can coach and role-play to help us become more authentic, honest and effective in how we speak.

Perhaps the greatest benefit we found by working with Katharina is the confidence we have gained, having a clear path forward and a sense of competency as we navigate caring for our aging parents. We are deeply grateful for her support and skills.

Cecilia G. Berkeley, CA:

Katharina Dress of AGING IN HARMONY worked with my siblings and myself to get my parents to discuss some of the difficult subjects that needed to be addressed as they grow older. She not only coached us on how to get them to discuss these subjects, but she facilitated a family meeting in such a way that many decisions were made and an action plan was developed during our initial meeting. In addition, she has many contacts to whom she referred us, including attorneys, realtors, and financial and tax advisors – many of whom specialize in providing services to elderly people. We are continuing to work with her to ensure follow-through with the action plan. We would not have been able to make the progress we made to date without her.

Eliza S., Oakland, CA:

My father, my siblings, and I had a proactive meeting with Katharina Dress to discuss the arrangements for any future illness and eventual death.  I thought I knew most of what my father wanted, but this was an opportunity to go much deeper than any of us had before and to bring up difficult questions that none of us would have talked about on our own.  It also means that we have all heard the same things and that there are no major secrets or surprises.  My father was very organized and in three hours we covered everything that we needed to cover — from very big questions about illness and incapacitation to smaller questions about possessions of sentimental value. Katharina’s facilitation was vital to focus us and empower us to dig deeper and to keep talking through the things that needed to be said. I definitely recommend her services to anyone who needs additional clarity or has questions they haven’t managed to ask — or maybe haven’t even thought of.

Jeff Cambra, President, Mobile Mediations
Assistant City Attorney (ret.), City of Hayward, CA:

I am the president of Mobile Mediations, a mediation service that specializes in community mediations involving senior residents living in mobile home parks. I had the pleasure of working with Katharina Dress on a particularly difficult conflict.

She was part of the team that designed the information packet and the educational program I used to assist the senior residents in taking charge of their conflict and in resolving their dispute with the owner of the park. She also served as a table facilitator at a residents meeting. She clearly understands the unique nature of mediating with a single senior or facilitating an entire community. Her assistance was invaluable in helping resolve the issues surrounding the dispute, leaving all parties pleased with the outcome. I would work with her again in any situation involving older persons.

Conflict Coaching:

Terry M., San Martin, CA:

I’ve learned so much from my sessions with Katharina Dress as my Conflict Coach — glad our caregiver agency referred me to her at Aging in Harmony.  My father now has dementia and with these new skills I’ve acquired, interacting with him has become calmer, and conflicts are resolved more effectively. Click here to read more on YELP.

Harmony S., San Leandro, CA:

I took a series of Conflict Coaching classes with Katharina Dress. TAKE THESE CLASSES!! She is incredible. Katharina teaches you a structure for how to engage in a difficult conversations. It involves listening, identify “universal human needs” (there’s a big list of them – you’ll get a hand out to help you), and speaking with the person in a very particular way to help the two of you arrive at productive outcomes. Click here to read more on YELP.

D. Spenard, Santa Rosa, CA:

Katharina’s conflict coaching helped me to communicate with family in a challenging circumstance with more care for everyone involved. She is very clear in communicating what she can offer and the terms. In my experience she has a great deal of integrity and has a deep understanding of Non-Violent-Communication principles (a.k.a. Compassionate or Empathic Communication).

Nancy J, Berkeley, CA:

Katharina was very helpful working with me to open communication with my son regarding some property and personal issues. Her approach is practical and she gets to the heart of the matter quickly. I learned how I tend to skip over the feeling statements and go right to the action plan. I will continue to practice the skills that I learned and hope to use them in all areas of my life.

James Levinson, Danville, CA:

I found Katharina through a mediation website, when I was looking for help with a difficult ex-spouse & my estranged children. I ended up getting help/coaching on nonviolent communication methods. Working with me one-on-one via zoom, Katharina helped me learn to communicate my feelings and needs in a more organized, proficient & understandable manner. I now use these methods with my children and progress is being made! It’s a journey and I am pleased to have added these new skills to my repertoire.

A Family Caregiver:

Conflict Coaching sessions with Katharina Dress gave me invaluable help in preparing to face some challenging family issues.  Her creative guidance through role playing elicited insight on repressed feelings and unrealized goals that constituted essential preparation for difficult family negotiations.  Katharina is an important asset in helping to resolve family conflicts.

Grace Alexander, Family Caregiver:

Katharina’s conflict coaching skills have helped me determine the why, what, when and where to choose having my voice and needs heard. During a series of sessions with her I have learned to channel my energies where I need to focus most.

Thea Farhadian, MFA:

Katharina is genuinely empathic and skilled at seeing both sides of a situation and honoring individual differences. She has an amazing ability to go quickly to the heart and bottom layer of an issue, and to reflect with both clarity and kindness. I recommend her highly as a conflict coach.

Trudy F, Richmond, CA:

Katharina led me through several dynamic conflict coaching sessions based on Nonviolent Communication (NVC). I appreciated the format of using my life experiences to practice NVC techniques of empathy, observation, defining feelings and needs, and making requests. Katharina was very effective at modelling these techniques so I had a better understanding of them. She gave me an excellent foundation for continuing to learn and practice NVC in challenging situations in my life.

David H, Napa, CA:

In many ways, I feel as though I have made remarkable progress in “coming back” after the turmoil and shock of an unexpected divorce and the break-up of my family. I was stuck in a context of blame, hurt and victimization. Katharina Dress has played a significant part in what some people have termed “a remarkable recovery”. She led me though a process she calls “Forgiveness Coaching” that has enabled me to move on in life by removing the barriers that I had created for myself in wanting to blame and be the victim. She has shown me a path to obtain the freedom I must experience to once again become that complete and giving human being I believe myself to be.


A Private Fiduciary from Contra Costa County, CA:

I wanted to let you know that I have been thinking about many of the concepts you presented at your workshop. I appreciate the tools/perspectives you offered to help us create space for more empathetic conversations. I think the approach to problem solving which helps us listen more empathically is quite often the difference between conflict and low or no conflict. So I am sure the (workshop) experience will re-present itself in many future scenarios.

B. Kipling Williams, President, Williams & Associates:

I recently attended the workshop, “Conflict Resolution Skills for Aging and Community” conducted by Katharina Dress.  The workshop was well organized in terms of relevant content and efficient timing and presentation.  During the day-and-a half we were together, we participants willinglingly shared our experiences in an environment conducive to learning.  For some, practicing non-violent communication (NVC) was new and enlightening.  I highly recommend this workshop.

A Workshop Participant:

The workshop called “Conflict Resolution Skills for Aging and Community” was a great opportunity to see that so many of the issues I am having with my mother are really common in families with aging parents.  It was also pretty amazing to do a pretend mediation and see two other women play both me and my mother– to be able literally to see for the first time that it might be possible to have a productive, constructive conversation about senior housing, finances, etc.  I can’t say that everything has been resolved, but this was a great introduction to what is proving to be a steep learning curve.  I got to do more feeling and healing than I expected from a mediation workshop.  I had planned to come for the first night only, but the next morning I found myself wanting more.  There were lots of opportunities to pause, take a deep breath, and look at problems I “know” to be immoveable/unsolvable with new eyes and actually sense inside: what do I need? what do I want?  and then express something that has a chance of being heard and taken in.

Alice Lai-Bitker, Alameda County Supervisor:

I enjoyed the workshop very much. The trainers were skillful and covered very relevant topics. The most valuable thing for me was to get to know the other participants. They are wonderful people doing great work and we gave each other feedback and support.

Raines Cohen, Community Organizer with Cohousing Coaches, Berkeley, CA:

I came to Katharina’s Elder Mediation workshop with no prior formal training in the field, although I had been a disputant using mediation services. I left with hands-on experience in simulated disputes, inspired and equipped with tools to guide my intuition on serving an aging population, in cohousing neighborhoods and beyond.
Nina “Anin” Utigaard, MFT, REAT
Clinical Director, Pacific Institute, San Francisco, CA:

Katharina Dress’ offering to our clinical interns at Pacific Institute was invaluable.  Her years of experience in dealing with families challenged by their aging loved ones was evident.  We need more professionals like her guiding us through the dark that can accompany eldership.