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Reiki and Conflict Resolution

By RMTs, Susan Bradford, Claudia Fischer, and Catherine Roche

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field.
I’ll meet you there. —RUMI

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Claudia Fischer (left) Susan Bradford (middle) Catherine Roche (right)

Although it is not common to associate the healing energy of Reiki with the theories of conflict resolution, we believe that they go together perfectly. In this article, we will introduce you to three popular models of conflict resolution and conscious communication. Reiki can support all of these techniques in a powerful way; however, we will focus on using Reiki as an integral part of a fourth method—one that the authors have developed.

Conflict is an inescapable part of our daily lives, resulting from living in a highly complex, competitive, and litigious society. Everywhere we turn, there is unsettling news at home and abroad, and that creates imbalance and stress in our personal lives as well. The tools of conflict resolution can offer concrete answers to many troubling issues and provide solutions that are badly needed in today’s world.

The power of Reiki can bring greater clarity to any situation in which there is conflict. This can apply to anything from a minor squabble to dissent among nations. We also believe that true peace begins within the heart of each individual and that Reiki can help us reach that place within ourselves. When we are at peace within ourselves, we are able to have a positive impact on our families and friends, the places where we work, our communities, and the world.

At its best, conflict resolution embodies the elements of selfempowerment, clarity, balance, and harmony. Reiki also encompasses these qualities. When Reiki is added to the process of resolving conflict, it provides a calming and centering influence. It can also bring healing and can help foster a positive outcome.

Although there are many different approaches to conflict resolution, some produce a less equitable outcome than others. The traditional way of negotiating has taken the form of bargaining and is used in business/labor, divorce, political situations, and international relations. These methods typically result in a winner and a loser. They involve thinking in terms of “I vs. You” and “We vs. They.” Other disempowering approaches include conquest, role dominance, finding a quick fix or band-aid, and avoidance.

Effective conflict resolution is a process of mediation or negotiation in which the needs and interests of both parties are acknowledged, and an attempt is made to find common ground on which to build a satisfactory outcome. This outcome ideally would meet the needs and interests of both parties. In addition, this process replaces an atmosphere of tension, mistrust, and judgment with one of mutual regard and understanding. Such approaches are called Win/Win models. Intrinsic to this way of approaching conflict resolution is the notion of a mutually beneficial outcome.

Win/Win models produce more sustainable and lasting solutions and also promote an equal sharing of power. It becomes possible to view conflict as an opportunity to actually improve relationships. Especially in recent years, many such models have been developed, with common elements running through all of them. We would like to give you a brief introduction to three of them that we have studied in depth and feel are particularly effective.

The Work of Roger Fisher and William Ury
Roger Fisher and William Ury formed the core of the Harvard Negotiation Project at Harvard Law School, which has been at the forefront of conflict resolution work since the 1970’s. They were among the first to propose the concept of a Win/Win model in conflict resolution and have had a huge influence on much of the work that has come after them. Their ideas and prolific writings have spawned a network of groups and individuals who have revolutionized the ideas of conflict resolution and negotiation.

Fisher and Ury point out that most people try to resolve conflict with a style called “positional negotiation.” Each party takes a side; they try to reach a compromise, and often neither side ends up happy. In contrast, Fisher and Ury believe in the idea of “principled negotiation,” after which a “wise agreement” can be reached. The results of such an agreement ensure that:

Both sides are satisfied
Both have their main needs met
The effects are lasting
The methods used have been fair

The Work of Dudley Weeks
Dudley Weeks has developed a system of conflict resolution that focuses on resolving issues by building effective relationships between the parties involved. By applying his eight Partnership LifeSkills™, the needs, values, goals, and interests of each individual are acknowledged and then used as a basis for identifying shared needs and interests, and common goals. This gives “conflict partners” a vehicle for finding options that can lead to agreements that are mutually beneficial to each party. These skills are just as effective in resolving individual conflicts as they are in dealing with larger workplace or community issues and more serious global crises.

The Work of Marshall Rosenberg
The groundbreaking work of Marshall Rosenberg has been instrumental in changing the way thousands of people relate to each other, from individuals to teachers and students, prisoners, negotiators, and government leaders. It is a treat to be in Marshall’s presence as he shares his total command of the principles of Nonviolent Communication(NVC) with wisdom, humor, and a deep spirituality.

Marshall’s work is not so much a model of conflict resolution as an overall look at the way we communicate and how to improve it. NVC provides a framework within which we can learn about ourselves and relate better to all those around us. At its core it also teaches us to take responsibility for our own needs, values, and feelings. In doing so, we begin to recognize and understand those qualities in others. It is this type of conscious communication that, ultimately, can result in a more successful resolution of conflict.

The Four Main Components of NVC:

Observations: We become aware of how to observe without judgment and to understand that what we observe affects our well-being.
Feelings: We learn to express how we feel.
Needs: We recognize our needs, begin to express them, and then connect them to how we are feeling. The needs create the feelings.
Requests: We gain the ability to request concrete actions to enrich our lives.

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© 2008 Susan Bradford, Claudia Fischer, and Catherine Roche. All rights reserved.


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