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Building Conflict Resilience- Some tools and skills to consider

Always remember and stay aligned to the aim and primary purpose of The Haven.

Position, interest and needs

Our position is our initial response to the conflict. Immediately beneath the surface lie our interests. It might be what’s important to us in this particular situation, or our concerns or fears about the issue. Dig deeper and you’ll discover the underlying needs, in this context they are universal needs, such as a need to be heard, to belong, to be respected. Solutions seem to flow more easily when we acknowledge to ourselves and each other what our interests and needs are. So often, people become fixated on their position, which can lead to a breakdown in communication and understanding. In addressing conflict there is often only one solution for a position but there are always a variety of ways to meet a need or interest. They can also provide common ground, a way to connect under the opposing positions.

Self-awareness: Each member brings their past, their beliefs, assumptions, habits, opinions and anxieties as well as their enthusiasm, skills, knowledge and experiences. These can influence how we perceive others and the interactions of the group. In a recovery community each of us should be willing to actively explore our own tendencies, patterns, trauma, shortcomings, vulnerabilities and needs and commit to seeking help outside of The Haven when needed to minimise the projection of our issues onto others.

Emotional awareness. If we want to learn to effectively resolve our conflicts, we need to find ways to move from the habitual responses of either reacting or suppressing our emotions, to being able to acknowledge the presence of our emotions to ourselves. Our ability to self-regulate and manage our feelings appropriately, is the basis of a communication process that can resolve conflict

Active Listening. When you really listen, you connect more deeply to your own needs and emotions, and to those of other people. Listening also strengthens, informs, and makes it easier for others to hear you. This requires practice. Active Listening is about making a conscious effort to understand another person’s or the groups perspective, feelings and needs in the situation. When we are listening well it is with our heart as well as the head. The listener should ask the speaker to pause to enable them to summarise and check out if they have heard and understood correctly. If we have not heard correctly this gives the speaker an opportunity to correct the listener. Asking open and clarifying questions can show the speaker we are listening and respect and value them. Do not respond with your own story, opinions or advice.

Using ‘I’ Statements: Speak for yourself and own your responses. To blame another for your feelings is to avoid taking responsibility. An ‘I’ statement keeps the focus on your feelings and experience, which is less likely to illicit a defensive reaction and more likely to promote effective communication.

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