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My Story…

By Abbey Krause, Senior Personal Advisor/Mediator

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Created by the Association for Conflict Resolution (ACR), the 15th of October 2015 is National Conflict Resolution Day, intended to raise awareness and promote the use of peaceful and non-violent means of resolving conflict, such as mediation.  https://www.daysoftheyear.com/days/conflict-resolution-day/#

Instead of using this space to do the usual promotion of mediation (it’s voluntary, it’s confidential, it’s impartial ….) I’m going to tell you my story and what I’ve learnt about conflict resolution.

I am an only child and as many children do I grew up watching how my parents interacted and managed their relationship. My parents never hid conflict from me and if there was stuff that needed to be worked out it happened …. and I watched and I learnt.

I remember thinking “if only you had said that differently” or “if only you had heard that differently” the outcome of that argument might have been really different too. But we all know how challenging it is to Stop, take a breath before we Talk and Listen to what the other person is saying.

Growing up I realised that if people understand each other better they seemed to give each other a break and when your relationships get better life seems to get better too. In my experience, people don’t do things or say things for no reason. There is always a reason and if we ask questions we can find out more and hopefully understand. Understanding strengthens relationships but it doesn’t necessarily mean you have to agree with each other.

Why people do what they do fascinates me. So I watched and I learnt …… and then I read and I studied and I practiced … and I practiced even more. My journey as a mediator had begun and it will continue for as long as I am open to learning because there is always more to learn!

I learnt that people have very different experiences and perspectives of a situation. I learnt that the words we choose to use and our facial expressions are fundamental to calming the storm or adding fuel to the fire. I learnt that being honest with each other is hard and being honest with yourself is even harder. But if there is real hope and a desire to make things better people can and do work it out.

I believe that we all have the resources to change our situation for the better. We may need a bit of help and that’s ok. For the families I have had the privilege of working with, I have the deepest respect. Taking part in mediation is not easy and I really admire how people are willing to give it a go and think about how things could be different.

A trained and experienced mediator can assist families to have a conversation about the stuff that’s difficult and hopefully encourage a better understanding between people. The Cyrenians, with almost 10 years of experience of providing mediation and support to families, recognised that there was a need for even earlier intervention. The SCCR works not only to promote mediation services across Scotland but also to support people to develop their own skills in conflict resolution, access information and share experiences.

So to raise awareness of National Conflict Resolution Day share your story, ask us a question, tweet us or share the website with someone you know. You never know, you might just help them understand their own relationships differently.

Abbey Krause, Senior Personal Advisor/Mediator

Abbey is a mediator, conflict resolution practitioner and trainer. She has worked for various mediation providers and organisations working to help people to better manage conflict. Abbey has an MSc in mediation and conflict resolution which has helped her expand her knowledge and to reflect on the relationship between theory and practice.

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