“We, at Bridges, Are Peacemakers”
by Dona Cullen
What Does That Mean?
Peacemaking means processing differences in a way that results in resolution. It’s not the absence of conflict. It’s an appreciation of conflict as an opportunity to rise to a higher level of function and satisfaction.
Conflict comes up naturally within ourselves and in relationship to others. It’s caused by unexamined habits, unmet needs, differences of opinion, personalities, perspectives, interests and values. It arises because of expectations and things that happen in life we can’t control or understand.
Inner conflict manifests as anger, jealousy, fear, anxiety and other conscious or unconscious emotions. Failure to resolve inner conflict results in ways of being that create discomfort for others and dysfunction in relationships.
The coming together in marriage is a time of peace and confidence. We expect to live happily ever after. But this peace is short-lived and is predictably disturbed by life and living in relationship.
Facing conflict is how we learn and grow. Not processing it properly means ongoing personal and relational dysfunction and pain. Learning and using peacemaking skills to resolve conflict results in ongoing growth, harmony and happiness.
In peacemaking, differences are expressed, heard and integrated into a higher peace. This higher peace is based upon new perspectives that are more inclusive. It transcends the personal to larger goals and deeper satisfaction.
How Is a Peacemaking Process Different?
Problem Solving Approach
Mediation and collaborative processes use a method of negotiation called “interest based” problem solving. It’s not the usual thought of bargaining, outwitting, overpowering, puffing, threatening and even bullying.
Interest based negotiation has these steps:
- Information gathering in a neutral way with full and voluntary disclosure
- Each party being able to express their own interests and listen to the concerns of the other in a safe, confidential environment without reaction or criticism.
- Together creating options to meet the interests of each as closely as possible.
- Choosing the best option after analyzing the strengths, weaknesses and feasibility of each.
- Committing to the option chosen.
Getting Help from Other Professionals:
Family issues are emotional, relational and financial as well as legal. Peacemaking processes take all of this into account. We work with families through each of these areas in a targeted and efficient manner, seeking to meet the needs of each situation.
The natural complexity of issues, concerns and experiences for our families is recognized and validated. Coaching is available for each aspect.
Lawyers can now provide what is called “unbundled” services. With informed consent on your part, we can assist where you need help. A high percentage of people choose to go through a court process unrepresented, particularly in family law. This is due to expense and the fear lawyers will unnecessarily polarize and/or complicate matters. That being said there are things a lawyer or other divorce professional can help you with. We can now coach, share information and encourage on an as needed basis.
What Makes Us Different?
Peacemaking being our passion is what makes us different. We have worked together for a long time to build this potential and make this service available. We regularly meet, share and support each other in improving our skills and have for the past 10 years. We believe in peacemaking, in ourselves and in your potential to choose a process that can have enduring positive consequences for your future.
Call one of our professionals to see the difference for yourselves.
Dona Cullen, Attorney at Law / Mediator
Certified Divorce Financial Analyst
5200 Meadows Rd., Ste. 150
Lake Oswego, OR 97035