A Restorative Circle is a community process for supporting those in conflict. It brings together the three parties to a conflict – those who have acted, those directly impacted and the wider community – within a chosen systemic context, to dialogue as equals.
Participants invite each other and attend voluntarily. The dialogue process used is shared openly with all participants. The process ends when actions have been found that bring mutual benefit that nurtures the inherent integrity of all those involved in the conflict.
Restorative Circles are facilitated in 3 stages that arise in an approximate sequence and identify the key factors in the conflict, reach agreements on next steps, and evaluate the results. As circles form, they invite shared power, mutual understanding and self-responsibility within community.
Restorative Circles are facilitated by community members who identify themselves as impacted by the conflict at hand. They commit to serving the emergent wisdom of the participants through their willingness to offer agreed upon questions and to track the co-creation of meaning and action by those present.
Upcoming Learning Events in October
PsySR, in collaboration with Restorative C-U, is co-sponsoring two learning events in October in Champaign, IL.
The first event on October 12th (Register Here) is an introductory interactive day of demonstration and experiential learning. Dominic Barter will present an overview of the key elements of Restorative Circles and of the development of a systemic context that supports their use. We will focus on the evolution and practice of the process, and its application to various types of conflict, ranging from family disagreements to criminal conduct. Through exploration of key concepts, grounded in a step-by-step process and illustrated by real world examples, participants will envision ways of bringing it to their own communities.
In the second event from October13th to 16th (Register Here), Dominic Barter will facilitate 4 days of intensive learning designed to foster and deepen the craft of facilitation in Restorative Circles. With a focus on craft work, rather than knowledge accumulation, participants will alternate between conceptual investigation and hands-on exploration, between large group discussion and small group application. Increasing attention to process, and thus effectiveness in achieving results, attendees will unlearn some of the impediments to serving communities in conflict and facilitating transformative action.
Links to Learn More
- Restorative Circles Homepage (Includes videos about restorative circles)
- “Our Justice System Requires Us To Punish Wrongdoers. What If There Were a Better Way?” by Mikhail Lyubansky
- “A Restorative Approach to Interpersonal Racial Conflict” by Mikhail Lyubansky and Dominic Barter
- NESTA Report on Radical Efficiency (for quick access to RC key points, see pages 1-4, 8, 19 and 41-43)