Tara West

April 18, 2023

I recently had the opportunity to speak with more than 50 mediators, arbitrators, and attorneys about the type of mediation I practice, which is known as “transformative mediation.” This approach recognizes that humans are social animals, and the way we relate to others matters to us. This is why the experience of conflict is so distressing.

When we're in conflict, we tend to feel confused, overwhelmed and hopeless, and we often say and do things we later regret. We also feel pretty terrible about the other person and how they're treating us - they're not listening to us, they're disrespecting us, and sometimes it seems like they're even going out of their way to hurt us.

We both feel overwhelmed and hopeless about the situation, and pretty bad about the other person (and often ourselves). And the more confused, overwhelmed, and hopeless we both feel, the more we see and treat each other like enemies, which makes us feel even more confused, overwhelmed, and hopeless. This is the "vicious circle" of conflict we (transformative mediators) believe people are desperate to escape.

Although the talk was aimed at conflict professionals, I did my best to answer the following questions: How does conflict escalate? Why do we get stuck in the vicious circle? What can we do to get out of it?

If you'd like to learn more about what you can do to unwind the vicious circle of conflict, check out the The What, Why, and How of Transformative Mediation, which is free to watch on youtube.

If you have a chance to watch, I’d love to hear your thoughts on LinkedIn or Facebook!


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