Re: Advice on resolving conflicts
From: Tree Bressen (
Date: Wed, 3 Mar 2010 21:49:07 -0800 (PST)

I noticed that no one has replied to this person, perhaps it got buried amid the active consensus discussion.

An anonymous poster wrote (via Fred):

We have an individual with whom I have trouble relating and I think other
community members do also.  We have not been successful in dealing with
this situation.  It seems like "resolutions" to specific conflicts have
not adequately dealt with emotional aspects and that people come away
harboring bad feelings about each other.  I am aware of the circle process
but we have not succeeded in using it effectively - it requires
preparation and time that we have not been able to devote to it.

Does anyone have suggestions for steps we can take?  Or for a list of
consultants that we could engage ( we would need someone local to minimize
cost but I do not want to reveal my location...)
The list of consulants is here: If no one on that list is suitable (for example, if there are no listings near your location) then i suggest asking other local groups (cohousing or not) for recommendations.

However, the situation as you describe it sounds problematic, and i'm not just talking about your designated problem person. ANY way to solve this is going to take substantial time and preparation, whether you hire an outside facilitator or not. If people don't have the energy to deal with it, then i think y'all need to acknowledge that you are actively choosing to live with this situation as is. On the other hand, if "i don't have time" said by your members is a euphemism for "i feel too scared to take this on, this situation requires more skills than i/we have," then hiring an outside facilitator may help.

While i am hugely in favor of using local consultants, seeing it framed immediately in terms of cost, combined with the resistance to gathering in circle, makes me worry that your community's ongoing commitment to gaining the skills required to deal with situations like this may be lacking. No matter how this particular situation turns out, in all likelihood it will not be the last time that your community has a tough conflict with one of its members. The communities i've seen that are the happiest and healthiest are the ones that make a strong commitment to "learn how to fish" by gaining core peacemaking skills. This may happen in a variety of ways, such as study groups, internal presentations by community members who have expertise to share, hiring outside trainers, supporting members to attend workshops and report back, etc.

Good luck,



Tree Bressen
1990 Orchard St.
Eugene, OR 97403
(541) 343-3855
tree [at]

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