|Mary E. Barrett, David Lloyd and Tim Barrett|
Family therapy techniques can be applied to conflicts in groups, organizations and institutions. Mary and Tim work primarily with religious institutions, which sometimes get in conflict. The approach is to hold an all-day retreat and to reframe the issues. The leaders of the church are asked, “Why are you still here?” Participants then tell stories about the good things that happened over the years. They see that in spite of the conflicts, the organization still has deep meaning to them. Next, the group is asked what is wrong with the organization (no finger-pointing allowed). Many problems are identified. Then the group works together to pick the top 10 problems. At the end of the day, the group realizes that they are all “in it” together and they are ready to work things out. One of the issues in organizations is how people communicate when there are differences of opinion. Mary and Tim train participants to communicate about the differences in a positive way. The differences should not become a win-lose situation.
Mary and Tim will continue this program at the January 25th breakfast meeting.