Collective Voices provides a structured approach to both healing and to interrupting cycles of misunderstanding, conflict, and even violence by seeking to understand the underlying issues. Our methods begin with building relationships and trust. Together, we uncover what lies at the root of interpersonal dynamics, one's grief, and barriers to wellness. All work in grounded in a Restorative Framework.
Many communities and individuals are deeply affected by systemic and generational cycles of grief, conflict, violence, and harm that shock one's sense of self, security, and connection with others. During facilitated dialogue, and/or yoga or art activities, each person’s narrative, story, and perspective is essential to finding a path forward and restoring one's sense of safety, security, and justice.
Our work focuses on reconnecting, repairing, and rebuilding a using a Restorative approach. Services can be anywhere from 2 hours to 5 days to ongoing – it all depends on what is needed.
All trainings and consulting includes an in-depth study of two different frameworks and the impacts of both on one’s relationships and interactions (a framework being the attitude, lens, and value system one inhabits that guides one's interactions, conflict, repair, and communication.)
Dominant framework = Built on systems of colonization and oppression. One voice, one harm, one point of view. Blame the circumstances/other people. People lack the skills and clarity on how to identify their needs and take initiate to get them met. Belief that there is a right/wrong in every situation.
Restorative framework = Roots are Indigenous in orgin. Grounded in the questions "how am I impacting others?"(positively and negatively), and "how can I create conditions for healing?" Centers accountability, safety, and empathy. All voices and perspectives are valid and deserve to be heard. Explanations are not excuses. The overall desire and courage to seek mutual understand and practice respect - even when serious conflict exists.
The most widely used practice in this framework are Peacemaking Circles. Restorative practices can still include agreements and retribution. What is essential to the process (and is the difference between a bandaid approach or sustained peace) is the dialogue that takes place to allow for all perspective and needs to be heard.
Peace is not the absence of conflict but the presence of creative alternatives for responding to conflict and violence. Collective Voices breaks down assumptions that accompany the word "peace" and in real time, uses a model and teaches tools to allow for dialogue.
Restorative practices are aimed at promoting peace rather than deepening harm, allowing for silence, or promoting violence. Restorative practices build the capacity
within people to identify and solve their own problems. In short, restorative services have been found to be more effective and successful for resolving conflicts and interupting violence than their counterparts.
"If you're like most people, you probably seek first to be understood; you want to get your point across. And in doing so, you may ignore the other person completely, pretend that you're listening, selectively hear only certain parts of the conversation or attentively focus on only the words being said, but miss the meaning entirely. So why does this happen? Because most people listen with the intent to reply, not to understand. You listen to yourself as you prepare in your mind what you are going to say, the questions you are going to ask, etc. You filter everything you hear through your life experiences, your frame of reference. You check what you hear against your autobiography and see how it measures up. And consequently, you decide prematurely what the other person means before he/she finishes communicating. If I were to summarize in one sentence the single most important principle I have learned in the field of interpersonal relations, it would be this: Seek first to understand, then to be understood."
~ Dr. Stephen Covey, American educator, author, businessman, and speaker.