1. How can I study this if I do not live in Western Massachusetts?
The Distance Learner program is designed for individuals wishing to learn the skills, working with a buddy, CDs, DVDs, and phone consultation with Sandra Boston. See the web page on this website for more details. Materials are for sale in the Product page.
2. What can I realistically expect to achieve in the basic course?
Like a carpenter filling his tool box with a variety of tools to cover any job, you will learn specific skills and when it is appropriate to use which ones. You will feel like no matter what is happening around you, you have an idea of what an effective response would be. You no longer feel stuck, frozen. However, a smooth application of the skills is a lifetime assignment,
just as with any art. Practice, practice, practice is required. Every relationship becomes a laboratory.
One of our most valued skills is the willingness to go back and request to do an interaction over again. Another is our internal map, which measures our success not by what the other person does, but by how we conducted our self, how we created understanding, how we built relationship, and finally how we addressed an issue. We call this a personal victory, which is possible to achieve even when the other person will not meet us with the same desire for respect and peaceful resolution.
3. I’m just so scared of conflict. I’m not sure I would have the stamina to learn how to take the stress and anxiety, let alone learn the skills. Is this course still for me?
Everyone comes to the course with a fear of conflict. This is usually because in important early relationships we
experienced shaming along with differences. What we are really afraid of is not the differences but the shaming. It was a powerful tool used to
get us to give up our ground (self-interest) for the sake of belonging and being close to those we were dependent on.
As we explore how to stand our ground, we look closely at the anatomy of conflict. It is really just
a collision of our self-interest and our need to belong. Once we understand this, we learn how to talk to our self and support our self-interest even
when another might be using shaming to get us to give up or give in.
We learn what a shame attack is, and how to come out of it if we get caught there. We talk about standing our ground, without taking ground from the
other person or giving up our ground. We are developing the capacity to tolerate anxiety in order to stay in the conflict so we can learn more
about what the needs of both parties are.