For many of us, conflict brings with it a host of challenges, from feeling unsafe and triggering past trauma, to feeling overwhelmed and wanting to leave. Many groups are unsettled by conflict and don’t have the tools or positive experiences to step towards conflict, move through it and find the transformative power that it can bring. Systems building and ongoing dialogue can build conflict resilience in groups, with clear roles and ways to make decisions and bring feedback helping preempt conflict. When conflict happens, processes such as Deep Democracy, Restorative Circles and NVC Mediation can support people to step towards conflict, reconnect and grow.
Deep Democracy sees conflict as a visible symptom of what’s not yet conscious, a signal of a system trying to transform itself. Conflict can deepen our awareness of ourselves and each other, bring us closer and increase our resilience. Using this process, we bring what is unsaid to the surface and allows us to see more clearly what is happening and new ways forward that work for all.
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Restorative Circles brings together the people directly involved in a conflict and others in the community within an intentional systemic context, to dialogue as equals. Through these conversations where everyone has a chance to speak and be heard, often actions emerge that bring mutual benefit.
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Mediation based on nvc (nonviolent communication) focuses on supporting two people to hear each other. The facilitator provides structure and support to slow down the conversation so that each person has space to speak about what has happened and the impact on them and be heard. Once there is more connection between the individuals, new steps forward are often found that were not seen before.
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It is not always possible to bring people together in a way that feels safe for them. Conflict coaching is a way to work one to one with someone who is involved in a conflict, supporting them to understand what is happening, find new possibilities to step towards conflict or find more ease in themselves.