All these techniques below can be used to de-escalate , manage and transform conflict. Many conflicts get worse than they actually need to be because the participants lose control of themselves and retreat into self-reinforcing patterns of attack and counterattack. Here are some suggestions, drawn from the literature of conflict resolution and psychotherapy, that can be used by yourself or in a peacekeeping situation to de-escalate conflicts.
Calm yourself down.
Breath very slowly and deeply. While breathing, think of a moment of great happiness in your life. Doing this will help you from feeling totally swallowed up by the current situation. It is not all of your life.
Listening actively and intently to the other person can help them articulate all there concerns all issues and allow you to search for underlying needs and common ground
Acknowledge and apologize for any mistakes you may have made in the course of the conflict.
Others may do the same if you get the ball rolling. Make an accepting space for your partners-in-conflict to start over. Letting go of defending past mistakes can allow participants in a conflict to see their situation from fresh angles. Apologies can often transform and de-escalate conflicts very quickly.
Imagine your partner-in-conflict as a potential ally.
Imagine that the long-term survival of both of you depends on the two of you cooperating in some sort of creative way that will meet more of both your needs.
Affirm anything that you can agree on.
Look for areas where your interests and needs might overlap with the interests and needs of your “partner-in-conflict.”.
Summarize the other person’s needs, feelings and position.
As fairly as you can, and do this first, before you present your own needs or requests. When people feel heard, they are more likely to listen.
Think about what you really need.
What is best in the long run for your mind, your body, your spirit, your workplace, your family, your community? Don’t allow yourself to get distracted from your own goals and needs by what you may see as someone else’s misdeeds.
Focus on positive goals for the present and the future.
No matter what you and/or your partner-in-conflict may have said or done in the past. Punishing or shaming someone for past actions will not put that person in a frame of mind to meet your needs in the present. The present and future are all you can change.
Make requests for specific actions.
Make requests for specific actions that another person could actually do, rather than for overall feelings or attitudes. Explain how the requested actions will help you, so that the other person feels powerful and respected in complying with your request.
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