Restorative Solutions, P.C. is dedicated to solving conflict consistent with the principles of restorative justice; accountability, competency, reparation and public safety. We are committed to creating evidence-based psychological practices that focus on prevention and facilitate growth in approaching conflict.
Psychological Restorative Solutions, P.C. is based on the concepts which underlie Restorative Justice Principles.
Restorative Justice is based on the premise that conflict is an opportunity to repair relationships and to promote positive change through the use of interventions that create accountability, competency and facilitate empathy.
When using a restorative dialogue, an individual learns to understand their own needs; they can communicate desires and responsibility, in the end moving toward increased self-awareness, becoming more open, and accepting. Those positive outcomes shift a person from one path to another ultimately giving that person the ability to employ empathy and positively have their feelings heard.
What is conflict? Conflict occurs when there are competing strategies to meet needs which are perceived to be threatened by the others.
What are needs? Abraham Maslow developed a theory of Motivation based on a hierarchy of needs that the individual must satisfy at each level before they move onto the next.
There are five hierarchical levels. These are:
- Physiological needs: Food, shelter, sexual satisfaction i.e those needs needed for basic survival.
- Safety needs: The need to feel safe within your environment. Also refers to emotional and physical safety.
- Social Needs: The need for love, friendship and belongingness
- Esteem needs: The need for self respect, status and recognition from others.
Self-actualization: The point of reaching ones full potential. Are you capable at excelling yourself?
We all share the same needs, it is the strategies we use to get those needs met that’s in conflict.
The First Conflict: The first two amoebas to inhabit the world set the stage for the first conflict. The conflict probably stemmed from their mutual need for existence. The strategy they each may choose is to eat the same piece of bacteria. However, to resolve this conflict they need to find alternative strategies (i.e. showing), to fulfill the same need.
There is nothing wrong with conflict, it is inevitable in all human relationships. The problem is how our culture addresses it.
The Four destructive paths that result in an intractable conflict which can lead to a cycle of violence are:
- We become aggressive and fight. In adolescence, this is a very common way in resolving disputes, because the adolescent brain relies on its emotional component to resolve conflict. Our culture also reinforces the aggressive reinforcement via social media.
- We avoid conflict. Perhaps the unhealthiest way to resolve conflict but the most popular one, an example being; telling our children to just “stay away from him.” Avoidance of conflict emanates from the fear of its consequences and the inability of our culture to make the experience positive. Avoidance of conflict also begins a chain reaction that starts in silence but ends in violence.
- Pseudo-communication.We use a passive aggressive style of communication, and the uses of a social medium (texting, Facebook and email) are in place of having a face to face dialogue. When we have a hostile bias towards someone because we are in the midst of a conflict, anything they do is interpreted as intent to harm. Hence, interpreting texting without true dialogue can result in real harm and spread like wildfire.
- We hire others to fight for us. Examples of these people we would hire include; lawyers, psychologists, friends and gangs.
The first and most common path is to avoid conflict at all costs. In this case, individual needs interests or concerns are not heard until hostility and possibly aggression result.
On the second and enlightened path, conflict is seen as an opportunity for growth and change. Individuals are able to express their needs and others are able to reciprocate while listening compassionately. Conflict is essential to strengthen the fabric of relationships. No fabric can be woven from threads that all go the same way. The function of a loom is to hold in equal tension threads that go in counter or opposing directions. The strength of a fabric comes from the quality of the intersections where the threads actually cross each other.
Why is the First Path the most common one taken? In our culture, conflict is viewed as something to avoid because it is seen as unhealthy. However, the approach taken to conflict is more dependent on whether or not the outcome is healthy. If conflict is avoided or postponed without constructive dialogue, then the parties engage in thinking errors. Constructive dialogue can only take place when there is mutual respect for each other.
How do we Re-direct our path?
Evidence based interventions demonstrate positive outcomes in repetitive studies. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is based on the idea that our thoughts cause our behaviors, the benefit of this fact is that we can change the way we feel and act when we change the way we think.
Dr. Robert Goldman, J.D., Psy.D.