Relationships can benefit immensely by using the Heart-Canvas provided that both parties are willing to take short turns expressing themselves and to help each other identify their feelings and needs. Taking turns is often facilitated by using a talking piece (e.g. a stick, a stuffed animal, a stone or sacred object), which grants the holder a turn to speak, while the other person listens with curiosity, empathy and presence. The talking piece is a useful instrument for resolving conflict because it is common to forget whose turn it is to speak in the heat of conflict.
A trained mediator, therapist, or certified Nonviolent Communication trainer are best employed to facilitate high intensity situations (any feelings on the right-side third of the Heart-Canvas in the range of 6-10 out of 10). The remainder of this section can be used for low-intensity conflict for beginners (first third -- intensity from 1 to 3-4), and medium intensity conflict (3-6) for people with some practice.
Conflicts are best resolved when listening and speaking roles change after each need is identified. Therefore, a 2-5 minute timer may be used to limit the amount of time each person speaks without the other person getting a chance. The goal in each turn is to have the speaker clearly identify their needs, and to have the listener acknowledge that need with empathy. Once the needs are reflected in a way that the speaker is satisfied they're understood, roles change. Now the listener becomes the speaker, and vice-versa. The other person now has the opportunity to speak about their own feelings and needs based on what they just heard. This process continues back and forth until both people know that the other understands them... and it is safe to explore strategies to meet everyone's needs.
Conflict Resolution Process using the Heart-Canvas
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