Process Oriented Conflict Facilitation (also known as Worldwork) offers
powerful and effective tools that can help us to create real
social justice, and community. This exciting and innovative method
is based on the groundbreaking work of Arnold
Mindell, Ph.D. (author of Sitting in
the Fire, Leader as Martial Artist, etc.)
A main concept in this approach is ‘deep democracy’ (Mindell, 1992). Democracy usually means that different points of view are represented but ultimately the majority rules. In most groups and societies, however, some voices are pushed to the margins. They are considered irrelevant, irrational, or too extreme.
Mindell’s idea of deep democracy means supporting both mainstream and marginalized voices. It also sees the emotional experiences at the margins of group life as potentially transformative. It is through the expression -- and especially the interaction -- of all the parts, that the wisdom and creativity of a community can emerge. Deep democracy also includes facilitation of the different dimensions of a group’s experience: the outer themes and issues, the background emotions and polarizations, and the underlying shared human experience. For more on this, check out the websites of the
Deep Democracy Movement and the Deep Democracy Institute.
The facilitator’s task is to bring awareness to what is actually happening in an individual or group. The method recognizes patterns for change that first appear as a disturbance (Mindell, 1986). A teleological approach, Process Work looks not just for the cause of a problem or how to eradicate it; rather when a problem is unfolded with accuracy and heart, a new way forward is discovered that is often surprising, creative and transformative.
Our ability to process outer conflicts and diversity depends
in part on our ability to fluidly process these same issues
when they manifest inside of us. When we open our hearts to
the diversity inside of us - including the parts of ourselves
that we marginalize or don't like - then we can work more
deeply and effectively with the diversity and marginalization
in our groups, organizations, and communities.
For an example of this work in action, Download the article "Transforming Conflict into Community: Post-war Reconciliation in Croatia"
co-written with by Lane Arye, Ph.D. and Arlene Audergon, Ph.D and published in Psychotherapy
and Politics International 3(2). This article vividly describes a six year project, "Building Sustainable Community in the Aftermath of the War," that they co-led soon after the end of the war in the Balkans. The project was funded by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, and brought together Croats, Serbs, and Muslims to work on ethnic tension, reconciliation, democracy building, and human rights.
Lane also offers Process Oriented Conflict
Facilitation workshops and classes. Click here for a schedule
or contact Lane to schedule a workshop.
©2002-2005 Lane Arye,
Ph.D. All rights reserved.
"When Lane worked with the Oakland Asian Cultural
Center, we had just gone through a period of turmoil and painful
staff changes. Lane helped us talk about things we had not
been able to verbalize
or were afraid to express. He gave us space and direction
to have the difficult conversations and helped us deepen
our dialogue. We
worked on personal matters, interpersonal relations, cultural
differences, and organizational structures. He helped us
clarify our individual
goals and our organizational priorities. With his help, we
realized we needed to create an operations manual, which
turned out to be very
useful as our center grew. All of this made our teamwork
more cohesive, enabled us to look at the bigger picture,
and helped us move forward
as an organization. Lane is an insightful and compassionate facilitator."
Anne Huang, Executive Director of the Oakland
Asian Cultural Center
"When I met Lane Arye and Arlene Audergon,
in 1994, my country was torn apart by bloody war. At that
time, Lane and Arlene became our link to
the world, and the world's link to us, and somehow our link
to the future. Over the years, their commitment to understand,
support, and facilitate conflicts and post-war tensions made
a tremendous difference. It takes great skill to transform
such deep conflicts, and it was hard to navigate through
the thick fog of history, myths, prejudice, hatred, violence,
mistrust, and hopelessness. Daring to sit in this fire with
us and facilitate with respect and true love, Arlene and
us to witness in awe moments of change. Hundreds of people
left those conflict facilitation seminars with renewed sense
of hope, which helped to transform their lives and their
communities. Personally, I am grateful for the growth that
me, inside many people I care about, and inside my country
through this process."
Tanja Radocaj - Head of UNICEF in Croatia
"I saw Lane Arye and Arlene Audergon conducting reconciliation
workshops with the groups of Croats and Serbs in Croatia,
just after the war was over, and ever since then
I have had no hesitation to recommend either of them for any
conflict facilitation work. I saw them demonstrating an outstanding
ability to accurately notice and understand
the various dynamics in the group, not necessarily the foreground
ones only. However, I was far more impressed with their courage
and capacity not to understand
and, then, venture together with the group in the process of
unveiling. Still, all this would be in vain without the end
result, which, now from the hindsight,
looks even more remarkable than immediately after the workshops,
when Serbs and Croats were emotionally expressing mutual understandings
and commitments for
dialog and support. Most of the participants did actually live
up to these commitments."
Misko Mimica - United Nations High Commission
for Refugees, Community Services Officer, Pristina, Kosovo
"Lane and Arlene joined us in Croatia during a very hot and difficult
period immediately after the war. They participated in the design of the
project "Building Sustainable Community in the Aftermath of War," and
facilitated many forums for professionals and leaders from all over Croatia.
They also trained, supervised, and supported members and associates of our
organization. Arlene and Lane showed persistence, tolerance and enormous sensitivity to
all our experiences, opinions, emotions and expressions. They helped us to
understand processes and encouraged us to work with horrible conflicts and
traumatic experiences. Their commitment made a change in us, local professionals
- a change away from discouragement, avoidance, and giving up in this difficult
job. We plan to work together more in order to prevent violent conflicts,
promote higher values, and guide more people in building their sustainable
Nives Ivelja, president of the Association "Mi",
President of the Council for Development of Civil Society in Croatia
NOTE FROM LANE: Arlene
Audergon, Ph.D. and I have been co-facilitators, co-creators, and cohorts in the Balkans since 1996.
"Dr. Arye served as facilitator in matters concerning the City of Oakland's Malonga Casquelourd Center for the Arts (formerly the Alice Arts Center), especially conflicting issues involving uses and expectations by a community of performing artists needing low-cost office and performance space, the residents in the low-cost apartments in the facility, and the City itself, with lean budgets and more pressing priorities. Dr. Arye in all matters demonstrated respect for the participants, encouraged open discussion, and led various sessions to solutions that can only come from a thoughtful professional facilitator respected by those with whom he is working. He was a pleasure to work with not only because he found positive outcomes in often tense and difficult situations, but is a warm engaging person who truly cares about his clients.
Dennis M. Power, Ph.D.
Former Director of Cultural Affairs,
City of Oakland, CA
"Something extraordinary about Lane Arye's powerful work
is its clarity. The results he gets in working with people
in conflict may sometimes seem magical, but he's not interested
in mystifying the process; instead, he works with a group
to assist people to see what is really happening. When he
did a weekend for us in Philadelphia, his group was largely
social activists and without missing a beat he adapted his
style to the activist subculture. Afterward, he met with
group of activist trainers and added still more to the transparency
of his work and thinking. Lane Arye is truly about empowerment."
Lakey, Director, Training for Change, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania