This training takes the participants through several stages. It is applicable for providers, parents, law enforcement, etc. who are looking to gain more skills and apply new techniques when they are in a conflict, have heightened emotions, or are working with others experiencing conflict and heightened emotions. Often, when dealing with hostility and violence, people tend to fast-track and problem-solve how to make it go away. However, deeper understanding, a “nonviolent” attitude (we will cover this), and empathy are needed in order to make the intervention effective and sustainable. This begins with an honest look at oneself.
What is needed in order to have a positive influence on others? To earn trust? To build and maintain relationships? Why might is be important to understand behavior, particularly through a culturally-relevant and a trauma-informed lens? In the “looking in” stage of this training, we cover the art of relationship-building, the language of empathy, conscious and unconscious biases we bring to interactions, and how to harness our ego, pride, and annoyances. We will discuss how we can build our capacity to regulate ourselves in spite of our surroundings and in interactions that may challenge us.
How often have we been told to “trust our instinct” and what does this really mean? How can it help us work with conflict? Trusting our instinct can both be a help or a hindrance, depending on how it is cultivated. We will examine why our instinct is important and how to cultivate it. We will also examine methods for how to extract the deep needs and true feelings of the people in conflict (as opposed to focusing exclusively on their behavior and words.)
Many power struggles, certainly not all, can be prevented. Power struggles that are often avoidable are the ones when our ego and need to be right and/or unwillingness to back down conflicts with the (similar) needs of others.
Despite the capacity we may cultivate, escalation and power struggles, conflicts, heightened emotions happen – either between ourselves and others, or in situations where we are in the mediator role. Time gets sped up and conflicts can spiral quickly, leading to violence, trauma, misunderstanding, etc. In this stage of training, we learn how to identify and extract ourselves from power struggles, how to prevent further escalation, and some basic underpinnings and tools for conflict mediation.
Finally, we will examine a sequence of useful steps when intervening in a conflict. Important points include: the progression of behavior, assessment and risk management, the role of a mediator, and various scenarios involving the intervention and de-escalation between two people.