Mediate BC Blog

Conflict in Motion: Mind, Body and Heart

Posted by Walter.Brynjolfson

As part of Conflict Resolution Week, Mediate BC and the Justice Institute of British Columbia (JIBC) collaborated to host this sold-out event on November 5th. The two main speakers, Nancy Cameron, Q.C. and Kat Bellamano, took turns presenting valuable insights from their fields with input from research in cognitive psychology.

We've provided a brief summary of their talks, including their presentation slides. Followed by a reflection piece from our very own administrative assistant, Heverton Oliveira.

Session 1

Nancy, a Vancouver-based collaborative lawyer and mediator, spoke on the topic of Understanding Cognitive Biases and their Impact on Negotiation.

Understanding Cognitive Biases and their Impact on Negotiation Nancy Cameron JIBC

Throughout her presentation, she listed several biases we unconsciously carry in our disputes and provided tips for reducing their effects on our interactions with people. With the permission of Nancy, we have posted her presentation slides below in PDF format. For more information about Nancy and her work, visit her website: www.nancy-cameron.com

Nancy Cameron, Q.C. — Cogni... by on Scribd

 

Session 2

Kathleen Bellamano (Kat), a Victoria-based Social Worker and Mediator, segued beautifully from Nancy's topic by discussing how to incorporate Somatic Based Practices in Conflict Resolution.

Kathleen Bellamano (Kat) Somatic Based Practices in Conflict Resolution. 

With the permission of Kat, we have posted her presentation slides below in PDF format. For more information about her work, visit: http://katbellamano.com

Kat Bellamano — Somatic Bas... by on Scribd

 

Reflections From an Attendee

Heverton Oliveira, one of the staff here at Mediate BC kindly wrote his impressions and takeaways of each session.

I tend to be conflict avoidant. At least, this is how I used to define myself before attending Conflict in Motion: Mind, Body and Heart. This event gave me a new perspective.

The audience not only included experienced conflict resolution practitioners but also laypeople, like me, who shared a general interest in improving conflict resolution skills. After all, conflicts can pop up anywhere and avoiding them typically results in escalation.

As a conflict resolution novice, I was positively overwhelmed with numerous insights from both speakers about where conflicts can come from and what to do when they are already in front of us. Nancy Cameron brought to the stage a great list of cognitive biases and real-life experiences she collected throughout her journey as a collaborative lawyer and mediator. The list is quite long and you can see on her full presentation above, but the ones I most self-identified with were the bias towards certainty, loss aversion, and status quo bias.

I particularly enjoyed when she provided tangible ways to reduce stress. I could pick some useful strategies such as exercising, meditating, and drawing pros and cons while making decisions in conflicts. As well as finding someone I could trust to help navigate through my conflicts and clarify some of my concerns. Personally, I would also add the importance of remembering that, in the moment, a conflict represents a small fraction of my life.

Kat Bellamano, on the other hand, conveyed somatic practices and applications in a very comprehensive way. She started with the definition of trauma and some very interesting data on trauma in Canada, which in most of the cases, causes a form of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The fact that 76.1% of adults in Canada have experienced at least one traumatic event that could lead to PTSD in their lives is somehow alarming and draws attention to how we deal with mental health related issues in our communities, work, and personal lives.

Kat's description of the interaction of the three Nervous Systems—Sympathetic, Parasympathetic and Social—was an excellent introduction to help understanding how our body responds to different kinds of stimulus, especially when under stress. Touch, smell, sounds, silence, taste, movement, all together or distinctly can make you feel better or worse in a tense situation. The question, “which part of your body hurts when you are stressed?” and her emphasis on identifying it and trying to relax, was brilliantly placed during her presentation.

The event ended with a panel discussion facilitated by Monique Steensma. It revealed an amazing synchrony between speakers and the audience with lots of pertinent questions that made me think about the whole purpose of studying conflicts. For this I need to appropriate myself of Kat’s answer when asked the question on stage: “the purpose of understanding conflicts better is that we can help people bringing their best part to the mediation room so that they can also bring their best part to the world”. Now, I can redefine myself as a complete conflict enthusiast and you should too.

 

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