Trademark Five Key Themes
Five key themes for restorative practice
These are the five themes on which we base our model of restorative practice. These themes apply in daily life as well as when things have gone wrong. People have told us that this is why they like our model – it provides a framework for a way of thinking
and being, and not just doing. Our courses explore how a whole environment can be transformed when people bear these five themes in mind in all their interactions with family, friends, neighbours, colleagues, clients, service users and even total strangers.
Theme 1 – Unique and equally valued perspectives
Everyone has their own unique perspective on a situation or event and needs an opportunity to express this in order to feel respected, valued and listened to.There are many ways to invite people to share their perspective of what is going on in a current situation, or of what has happened in the past. Here are a few suggestions:
Theme 2 – Thoughts influence emotions, and emotions influence subsequent actions
What people think at any given moment influences how they feel at that moment, and these feelings inform how they behave. The thoughts and feelings are ‘beneath the surface’ and yet very important to understand. Again there are many ways to invite people to share their thoughts and feelings. Here are a few suggestions:
It’s important to use a variety of different ‘thinking’ questions so you do not sound like a stuck record:
- What was on your mind at the time?
- What was going through your head?
- What were you telling yourself?
But try and avoid asking for opinions –don’t ask questions like “ What did you think about that?”
or “How did you feel about that?”
Opinions and judgements can block effective communication and polarise people..
Theme 3 - Empathy and consideration for others
When there are conflicts or disagreements harm can result – in terms of negative emotions such as anger, hurt, fear, frustration and confusion and in terms of damaged relationships and connections between people. To live in harmony together people need empathy and consideration so they understand who is likely to be, or to have been, affected by their choice of action in any given situation and how.
Theme 4 – Awareness of our own and others’ needs
Unmet needs can be the underlying cause of inappropriate or harmful
Theme 5 – Trust and empowerment
It is the people affected by a situation or event who are best placed to identify what should happen. As far as children and young people are concerned this is in accord with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC)
Children have the right to be heard in all matters affecting them, and for their views to be taken into account.
It isn’t always appropriate to ask all sides what they could do to help move things on, but often even those who have been harmed have ideas and can be allowed to join in the discussion. This can help re-empower them after having disempowered by their experiences.