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Core capacities of restorative justice practitioners

February 26, 2010

Let me say first that there seems to be a fundamental paradoxical question here:

How does one maintain a profound respect for whoever and whatever people are – including their needs, priorities, values, directions, stagnations, resistance, armoring, lack of movement, etc. – while at the same time holding space for movement toward “healing,” even seeing opportunity within situations of harm. How does one accept what they are and at the same time make room for them to become something else?

How do we value “repair” or “wholeness” and not impose this agenda on others? If we didn’t value these things, I’d question whether any of us would engage in this work (or am I wrong?). But as soon as we become attached to these values as outcomes, they are likely to elude us. Imposing “healing” on people would only work against the possibility of healing. The notion that our work has to do with BOTH valuing “wholeness” or “repair” or “healing” AND not pushing it on others suggests to me that there is a basic trust inherent in our work – a trust that by just bearing witness, by “maintaining a profound respect for whoever/whatever people are,” there can be a shift towards this wholeness of which we speak, even if it is called differently by different people.

So, what’s at the core of effective practice? Some thoughts.. and know that these ideas stem in large part from consultations with the mentors listed below.

Read the whole entry.


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