Last week the two-day training Facilitating Restorative Circles took place at Knowmads in Amsterdam. A group of nine people and two facilitators came together to learn more about this restorative technique.
Restorative Circles is a way to resolve conflicts that starts with the people who are involved in the conflict, instead of with the conflict itself. Those involved are invited to hear other people about the conflict and to be heard themselves. This brings them back in a relationship with each other, creates mutual understanding and thus it becomes easier to look for solutions together.
The technique was started by Dominic Barter as a reaction to the lawlessness of the favelas in Rio de Janeiro. Restorative Circles are also held in the Netherlands and there are various practice groups throughout the country. The facilitators of this training, Carla Houben and Charlotte Keijzer, are actively spreading the ideas in the Netherlands.
During these two days, there was a lot of practising with the techniques. Various important insights were gained such as the importance of feeling heard in a conflict, the power of giving back what you have heard and the difficulty of listening openly. These insights and learned skills will definitely be used, honed and expanded in daily life now.
It was a good thing to be able to experience the power of restorative circles, not just rationally to know that it works but also that you can experience that it works.