Re: Conflict Resolution [was: divorce in cohousing
From: Joanie Connors (
Date: Wed, 12 Feb 2014 08:17:49 -0800 (PST)
Yes! Thank you, Sharon!

A community that is not talking about conflicts is a community that is shut

On Wed, Feb 12, 2014 at 9:13 AM, Sharon Villines
<sharon [at]>wrote:

> On Feb 12, 2014, at 9:28 AM, Joanie Connors <jvcphd [at]> wrote:
> > You can't prevent conflict, but with good policies and practices, you can
> > make it growthful so that your community grows stronger.
> I like "growthful". One problem in resolving conflicts is having someone
> who can facilitate this process. A community is as strong as its resources,
> in cohousing, its people resources. This can be an intensive job if the
> community has not developed common assumptions about approaching conflict.
> Another poster asked if we have a conflict resolution policy at Takoma
> Village. No we don't and it's a problem. We have many members who are
> conflict averse they build. We have not had huge clashes like some
> communities that rendered them seriously divided. We do have several people
> who take personal initiative to do conflict resolution on a case by case
> basis. Ann Zabaldo is one of them and she is very good at it. But there is
> no expectation, however, that any of them are responsible for conflict
> resolution.
> Repeating previous discussions:
> 1. Expecting those involved in the conflict to work it out themselves is
> usually unworkable. "If they coulda, they woulda."
> 2. Conflicts are more likely to be the result of unclear community
> expectations, not personal actions. One or more of the people that others
> perceive as being in conflict may not perceive themselves in that way at
> all. The conflict arises because others disagree with the actions of others.
> 3. The best conflict resolution process I have seen work is the formation
> of a conflict resolution team for each conflict. The parties who identify a
> conflict choose one member to represent them. Those chosen then choose one
> person whom they find would be helpful to them. That means there will be at
> least 3 people on the team, which each have chosen a person to express
> their needs/opinions/clarifications. The conflict resolution team decides
> how to respond.
> Rules about face-to-face, binding mediation, the NVC process, etc. are
> usually not applicable to all situations. It's better for the team to
> address each conflict as appropriate and to consult other experts or people
> who might help as appropriate.
> Anyone can initiate this process.
> Sharon
> ----
> Sharon Villines
> Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC
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