Workshop aimed to help resolve conflicts in a variety of situations

Learning how to respond to conflict in a constructive manner is the purpose of a Restorative Circles (RC) workshop slated for next weekend.

  • Apr. 6, 2011 8:00 a.m.

Learning how to respond to conflict in a constructive manner is the purpose of a Restorative Circles (RC) workshop slated for next weekend.

Taking place at the Mir Centre for Peace, the workshop is being offered to help relationships of all kinds, such as families, students and co-workers, to work through conflict in a way that restores connection.

“When you have a group of people that spend time together, whether that’s a work environment or a classroom … there’s going to be conflict,” Eric Bowers, the workshop facilitator said. “It’s just a part of life.”

He said by practicing RC however, you can look at what’s working what isn’t through your conflict process so you’re able to make more of a conscious choice in how you work through your conflicts.

The workshop takes place over three days. Bowers said the first night will mainly be investigating the idea of conflict.

“The Friday night will be an introduction where we will do a little bit of exploring of what conflict is, and how do we experience conflict now in our lives and then we will talk about different ways to work with conflict and we’ll introduce the restorative circle process for responding to conflict,” he said.

The next two days will involve practising the RC process. By the end of the weekend, Bowers hopes participants will have gained enough knowledge that they’ll be able to continue practising RC.

“There’s a specific way that you can practise the process, it’s what’s called ‘semi-simulated’ so people can get together once a week and take apart conflict in their lives,” he said. The process is semi-simulated as the group sets up a current conflict going on in one group member’s life so they can work through it.

“We used to know how to work with conflict better, long ago, we used to be able to sit in circles and work through things but we’ve forgotten about it,” Bowers said.

This workshop and RC teaches people to deal with conflict instead of avoiding, attacking or turning to the judicial system, he said.

“What I’m really excited about is how Restorative Circles support the principles of shared power and peace and empowerment and accountability and support,” Bowers said.

Randy Janzen, Mir Centre for Peace chair said he’s been looking to bring a workshop like this to the centre for a long time.

Bowers, who lived in Nelson for eight years and co-facilitator Katherine Betts hosted a similar one-night workshop in Nelson in January and collaborated with Janzen to bring the workshop to Castlegar.

The workshop begins on April 15 from 7 to 9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday’s sessions go from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and are only for those who have attended the Friday night session.

The cost is $20 for Friday and $200 for Saturday and Sunday.

If costs present a challenge for you, please contact Bowers at

To register, call 250-365-1208.