I love this work because it’s a simple process for healing one of society’s most heartbreaking wounds: the inability, fear or unwillingness to have courageous conversations. It takes courage to come face-to-face with someone who has hurt or threatened you, and it takes courage to own-up to our part in creating mistrust and disconnection. Those who know my work know that heart-felt communication is at the root of my coaching practice. Restorative circles create the opportunity to speak-up without the fear of shame or judgment. This, in combination with Daring Way™ facilitation and Co-active Coaching are the cornerstones of my practice.
WHAT ARE RESTORTIVE PRACTICES?
Simply put, restorative practices are a continuum of tools used to create a safe space to engage in challenging conversations. All restorative work takes place in a facilitated circle. Participants are face-to-face, with no barriers between them or experts in the front of the room. Restorative work is not new. Indigenous communities and peacekeepers have used restorative circles throughout the globe for generations.
Regardless of the topic, each restorative circle focuses on relationship; restoring trust that was broken, mending hard feelings, or building bridges to create stronger communities. Restorative circles have been adapted for schools, police departments (also known as Restorative Justice), prisons, organizations and families – wherever two or more people are willing to have honest, heart-felt communication for the purpose of re-building connection.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
- In schools, restorative practices may include morning circles, peer mediation circles, discussion of difficult current events, addressing classroom dynamics, stress, bullying and poor sportsmanship.
- In families, circles bring parents and children/adolescents together by using a simple model for expressing hurt or anger. Each family member is given equal time to voice their concerns to re-build trust and create understanding. A written, family agreement may result.
- In organizations, teams use restorative circles to keep communication alive and address issues that may be hindering productivity. Organizations committed to using these practices create safe working environments that foster creativity, risk-taking and a shared mission.
When old wounds keep us stuck, we are burdened by unresolved feelings of hurt, shame and anger. Healing circles can be a safe place to share stories carried by victims of violence and other crimes in their homes and communities. Only when victims can give voice to their stories, is there an opportunity for hope and healing.
HOW CAN I HELP?
As an experienced facilitator and trained Circle Keeper I have been called-upon by schools to create on-going restorative programs. Contact me to talk about the possibility of utilizing restorative practices in your school, your team or to address a specific need in your community.
Joan has an unassuming way of challenging and then expanding your belief system—the impact is immediate.JM, Entrepreneur