Girl with Quiver

Conflict Resolutions Top Level Options

Peer/Self Advocacy Training

  • Meet individually with the client in a place where you can talk confidentially.
  • Explain that you will be asking questions, but that they don't have to answer them. Explain that you will be filling out paper work together, and that it will be kept confidential.
  • Ask the person to tell you the situation in his/her own words. Ask for clarification if needed, but stick to their verbal complaint. Listen carefully to the words that are being said. Your interpretation is not required. We need to be faithful to the person's expressed intent.
  • Separate complaints into:

  Situations that are not
      violations.

  Violations of law and
      regulations.

(Be sure to consult the law, and/or customs relevant to your region and/or culture, or other applicable laws and regulations.) One of the new features of our landscape that I've identified regards privacy about crime. We're already familiar with rules of privacy regarding treatment (Summary of HIPAA Rules, but there seems to be a boundary about reporting crime online too. I wouldn't do so on a social network without taking a really close look at the posting guidelines at a minimum. Even on your own domain, you might lose your privileged control by living with charges of slander or defamation. I've used my examples to teach the boundary, but have needed to tone down that material too at times.

  • Show the person the section(s) of the laws or regulations pertaining to his/her complaint. Read it aloud and discuss how it applies to his, or her situation.
  • Develop options with the person, explaining the Pros & Cons and possible consequences of each option.
  • Stress that the person should try to resolve the problem at the lowest level of authority, or with the other person involved directly, rather than escalating the problem with new challenges.
  • Give the person time to think about his/her situation. If s/he is not certain what s/he wants to do, suggest that s/he think about it and contact you the next day.
  • After discussing the situation and the possible options, if the person chooses to do nothing - their choice must be respected.
  • Otherwise, develop an Action Plan (Please see Problem Solving: Action Plan for an example) .
  • List each step in-order with a target date by which the person plans to have that step completed.
  • Role play if it will help the person. Give the person suggestions as to the most effective ways of presenting his, or her complaint. Phrase all suggestions positively, i.e., "It may help to say it this way," rather than "That's a stupid way of putting it."
  • Offer to be present when the person makes phone calls or talks to someone to offer support. Ask the person what, if anything, s/he would like you to say.
  • Give the person a sample 'call log' to fill out as s/he is making phone calls. Be sure the person documents each call: when it was made, what was said, and any agreements that were made.
  • Assist the person in sending a follow-up letter, if needed, to re-state the agreements made. Use a business letter format. An email will work too. The point is to use several forms of communication to confirm, or establish what may be in doubt.
  • Don't insist that the person do more than he/she is capable of doing in one day. If he/she is too upset or intimidated to act on his/her own, show the person what to do by making the phone call with him/her on an extension, or use a speaker phone so he/she can learn by your example, or return to: Self-examination to work on the emotional issues before proceeding.

What's Your Bottom Line?

Define the problem: Become clear about the problem and your goals will be easier to achieve. Know the law regarding your issues.

Write out the possible options to achieve your goal: Select one or two issues that you would like to work on. Write each down as a clear statement, and follow through with your options and an evaluation of options, or how you would like to see them resolved. Make a list of the possible solutions to your problem.

Evaluate the Options: by writing out the Pros and Cons for each option, and select the option you feel most comfortable with. Please see: Problem Solving Training, or The Core Teaching to problem solve emotional issues.

Develop an Action Plan: We already have a good idea of what the problem is, and what we would like to accomplish. How can we accomplish it? Write a list of actions we can take. Break each task down into manageable steps. This may include documenting your case by keeping a log, or making sure you have a backup plan (in case you need to change your strategy). For example, because I wasn't getting replies to my emails, I chose to write an epistle, or record of my letters online at: Open Letter

Document all your efforts. Record all your calls, emails, text messages, and other efforts to communicate on your log with the date and time of call along with the purpose for doing so.

We need to learn to deal with the people who are controlling our lives. Be they our parents, attorneys, bankers, politicians or agents, we need to be prepared to meet with them, and be clear and concise about our own objectives, such as the need to be safe when we're afforded new opportunities, to have the time to make careful decisions with our funds, rather than confounded by homelessness with a grant, or award, or chased from town to town after ratting out a harassing drug dealer in your building to obtain new housing. You'll find an example of how this is done at: Survival Ground

And finally, evaluate your work: Review what you did, how you did it, and determine if you've accomplished what you set out to do. What further steps do you need to take to be successful in getting want you want? If the solution you originally selected did not work out, what about the other options? Please see: Evaluation Form, and how can you help others? See: Local Agencies

Don't give up! Even if many attempts to reach our goal hasn't worked out, keep trying! Sometimes we have to revise our plan to try other strategies. For example, I found that reporting wasn't always helpful. We are required to report crimes that lead to injury to pay for the treatments we receive, but that's such a dangerous job to do that some of our Churches have chosen to provide free alternatives to State sponsored health care and supplemental food services - replacing the need for government sponsored services that are too dangerous to use. Keep working on your goals until you're satisfied! If we stop before we're resolved and content, we're likely to loose faith in ourselves, and our Creator. We're here for a purpose, and one of them is to do the job we've been given to do: to help our Creator with the task we find most difficult to do (perhaps because he's been unable to do it for himself). We'll know we've accomplished our goal when we've achieved piece of mind, are able to rest transparently in the power that created us, and content with the work we've done for the Creator.