Reducing Conflicts Among Peers – Learning From Mediators

Today, Dan presented a workshop to a packed room of over 70 peers at the International Association of Peer Supporters Conference in Philadelphia.  For readers who don’t know, in this context a “peer” is someone with  a personal experience of mental health, substance use, or trauma issues.  

The workshop began with Dan’s personal story of disempowerment with bipolar disorder, introducing conflict resolution processes as a way to combat the stigmatizing attitudes that run rampant in the world of behavioral health.  


We then discussed many conflicts peers experience including interpersonal disputes, communication style clashes, workplace bullying, and conflicts in mental health philosophies.


Dan explained how his mediation training helps him navigate conflict in his day-to-day life, and taught four key skills to workshop participants so they, too, could manage conflicts.  


We learned to:


  • Appreciate the Other Person’ Perspective
    Put yourself in their shoes, and imagine how they see the conflict


  • Validate the Other Person’s Perspective
    No need to agree with them – just make sure you are respecting their right to make their own choices, and acknowledging their point of view is valid even if you disagree


  • Strive to Be Impartial
    Manage your biases and do what you can to be fair


  • Demonstrate Your Impartiality
    Do this by saying it, by asking for feedback, and through the use of written policies when you can


Interested in the take-away handouts from this conference? Contact