NYPI Mediators Can Help with Escalating Tensions At Home
By Michele Kirschbaum, Director of Programs
As Anna Goldfarb observes in Roommates or Partner Getting on Your Nerves? Read This from the New York Times, the lockdown environment of COVID-19 is placing increasing strains on many family and roommate relationships. The article includes some excellent tips about how to manage conflict before it escalates out of control; however, readers should also know that mediation is a viable option to consider when self-help strategies don’t work.
While stay-at-home guidelines are in effect, we are being forced to know ourselves and each other in ways that we haven’t ever before. This health crisis is putting enormous pressure on us, in every corner of our lives, as we no longer have the routine of work and school, the reassurance of friends and family, or the respite of outside supports and interests. Parents, partners, children and roommates must now negotiate how to study, work and live together. This requires a new understanding of each other’s needs, effective communication about how competing interests can be balanced, and investment in managing differences when they arise. As the stressors of this pandemic continue to escalate, so does the need for mediation; having a skilled mediator in the middle can help people sort out their emotions, ease tensions, and work out practical solutions.
Mediators support people to have difficult conversations that they’re not able to manage on their own. The mediation process offers an opportunity for participants to voice their concerns and encourages them to explore what lies beneath the surface of their positions. The end result is often a practical agreement about how to move forward, paired with the benefit of the parties gaining a deeper understanding of one another.
As NYC’s largest civilian peace force and the State-designated Community Dispute Resolution Center (CDRC) for Manhattan and Brooklyn, New York Peace Institute empowers people to find creative and durable solutions to their disputes. Like other CDRC’s across New York State, we offer free mediation, individual conflict coaching sessions, and restorative processes. These services are now being provided through video and audio-conferencing platforms. New York Peace Institute provides conflict resolution services to thousands of New Yorkers each year, and we advance the field by training and certifying mediators and teaching conflict resolution skills to our community through our Training Institute.