Counselling and Training for Conflict Transformation and Peace-Building

There has been a strong desire to learn more about establishing peace on a global scale. In order to achieve lasting peace on a local, national, regional, and worldwide scale, it is intended to improve the acquisition of information and skills with objective viewpoints. Before looking at the conceptual frameworks, it is crucial from a strategic standpoint to understand the word "peace building". It is crucial to emphasise that our perception of peace greatly influences our notion of peace building.

Counselling and Training for Conflict Transformation

Farther from heralding a tranquil age following the conclusion of the Cold War, the 1990s were distinguished by a new phenomenon of postmodern conflicts, the bulk of which took the shape of so-called "ethnic strife" — intrastate hostilities predicated on the politicisation of territorial fissures. These disputes were addressed using a "humanitarian" interventionist perspective. These postmodern wars are more complicated than classical modern wars. They have remained impervious to conventional methods of ending armed conflicts, with the death of civilians serving as the central approach for all parties. In the contemporary global, transnational world capitalism known as "globalisation," these new kinds of physical violence are merely the edge of the spear of the emergent social and institutional conflict configurations.

Violence had occasionally resumed even when conventional settlements were finally hit. The continuance of violent conflict over the past few decades has highlighted the necessity for a unique, more complicated strategy, which has resulted in creation of new conflict transformation models. The conventional strategy for negotiating is founded on a win-lose concept of conflict, in which a specific amount of assets must be distributed in some way.

Rise of Track II Approach

The Connecticut Advisory Committee on Inter-group Relations searched for ways to address issues with racial relations in localities in the 1940s. A group of scholars designed a workshop as one of the oldest attempts at creating workshops for addressing conflicts. First, informally convened high-level meetings of contending nations' delegates for analytical problem-solving workshops. This strategy originated in legal and diplomatic circles and the science of social psychology and was initially intended for interstate conflicts but later developed for intrastate conflicts.

These result in "Track II" projects, problem-solving sessions, and negotiation education. Strong Track II proposals can save the day when the parties formally negotiate. These strategies have significantly benefited from the assistance of NGOs and academic institutions in settling intrastate conflicts, where it is challenging for traditional international organisations and governments to get involved.

Counselling and coaching for conflict reformation and peace-building offer fresh viewpoints and variations to tried-and-true methods. It adopts an eliciting training paradigm rather than the more conventional prescriptive training methods. The distinction entails that the conflict/peace worker now acts as a facilitator instead of an expert who lectures the participants and imparts specific knowledge. At the same time, they are immersed in a process-oriented activity. The venue is informal, and the events happen through NGOs and outside government buildings.

It gives the attendees a place to explore constructively without being made liable for what they say during these private meetings. This is crucial when the subject matter is too delicate to discuss publicly. Additionally, the interactions may aid in resolving some underlying trust problems between disputing parties. As a result, it may affect how "ripe" a conflict is for negotiation, opening the door to formal negotiations far quicker than the typical scenario.

Basis of a Good Counselling and Training Approach

A winning strategy must tackle the problems discovered and incorporate the lessons learnt. Counselling and training for peace and conflict resolution typically aim to convey information, skills, and a particular approach to conflict resolution. Some argue that the focus on method in the pursuit of professionalising the area of peace-building has obscured the reality that reconciliation is also an artistry. Attempts at reconciliation and resolution counselling and training typically aim to "rationalise" conflict. The problem is that such counselling and coaching methods frequently miss the opportunity to explain to the conflicting parties that several dispute complexities are "irrational" and unconscious; in specific, they miss the mark of emphasising the importance of creativity, fluidity, self-reflection, and compassion.

Conflicts must be transformed to be resolved. This is what we mean when we talk about a conflict's ability to "TRANSCEND," or the capacity to leave the current reality and enter a new one. We use the phrase "the art of conflict transformation" or "the art of peace-building" to describe our peace and dispute counselling and education methods because they must be both technical and aesthetic. There needs to be more than counselling and technical methodology training to achieve the goal of transcending disputes. A thorough strategy must be multifaceted, integrative, and constantly updated in light of new information and practical work experiences.

An all-encompassing strategy needs artistic ingenuity and a personal connection. Once a participant is in the process, a skilled conflict trainer or worker cannot be readily replaced. Relationships between the parties to the dispute are private. There is no transferable trust or faith in the conflict trainer or worker. Nevertheless, naturally, having positive relationships is not enough. The art and the method must coexist in harmony. Through a discourse with the attendees, the involvement of the conflict resolution workforce, consultant, or trainer is to endorse a process of self-reflection, fortify empathy, arouse the untapped possibilities for envisioning a new reality, and embolden nonviolent strategies—while continuously questioning the framework.

A comprehensive approach to counselling and peace and conflict resolution training must incorporate a praxeology, theory, and philosophy. The conflict worker's or trainer's philosophy describes their worldview, which comprises their opinions and presumptions. It is the conduit for the principles that guide one's behaviour. Conflict resolution specialists/trainers frequently need to consider the values derived from their specific culture. When faced with disputes rooted in other cultures, they will frequently examine the conflict subconsciously through their cultural lenses and attempt to push for possible alternatives that enforce their ideals.

The TRANSCEND Approach

The TRANSCEND approach has been constructed over the last 50 years, starting with the ground-breaking effort of Johan Galtung. It looks for solutions not just for ending aggressive force but also for transforming structural and institutional assault. It has evolved due to the work of several scholars and practitioners from various backgrounds and the research and activities of many peace practitioners. These days, it comprises a philosophy, a collection of ideals and hypotheses continually put to the test using actual data, and a praxeology that includes various methodologies and approaches. It addresses disputes on all scales, including macro and mega, micro and meso.

From a TRANSCEND viewpoint, the objective is to empower people to be independent in resolving disputes amicably. A TRANSCEND conflict instructor or worker aims to interfere as minimally as feasible, mainly while working in foreign settings. When peacemakers from outside move to and subsequently reside in a conflict-ridden nation, they frequently end themselves embroiled in the fight themselves. They frequently lose the ability to separate themselves from the dispute; instead, they see it as their own, turning into "conflict thieves." Consequently, inefficient processes are triggered. The conflict resolution specialists/trainers begin to compete with one another on the one extreme, but when they experience pushback, they feel powerless, disappointed, and cynical. The TRANSCEND strategy primarily focuses on counselling and training to improve local capacities.

The TRANSCEND approach emphasises the value of interacting with warring factions independently when dealing directly with them to foster a self-reflection process that helps the conflict parties fully appreciate one another, the conflicts that distinguish them, and themselves. As a result, parties to a conflict can better establish and reformulate their objectives and develop more effective peaceful ways to accomplish them. In the ideal situation, the parties to the disagreement can participate in a true autonomous discourse and come to a consensus on remedies to their shared issues without needing third-party mediation. The TRANSCEND strategy combines solution-oriented, process-oriented, and behaviour-oriented strategies.


Conflict transformation, in conjunction with peace-building, is a comprehensive process that welcomes conflict as a positive force. As a result, it seeks to lessen violence while preserving and advancing social justice, wholesome interpersonal relationships, and long-lasting peace. A just peace involves prompt interventions that recognise the conflict's larger cultural context and are planned at all societal levels (personal, communal, structural). Conflict transformation is often a lengthy process in this approach. It entails altering attitudes, behaviours, connections, institutions, and structures that promote violence and, when required, stepping up nonviolent resistance.

Updated on: 15-Feb-2023


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