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Partners Poland Mediation Centre was founded in 2001, as a part of Partners Poland Foundation, which is a non-governmental organisation aiming to promote peaceful dispute resolution and democratic ways of decision making. Mediators are well prepared psychologists, sociologists and lawyers. They participated in a number of mediation trainings both in country and abroad (USA, Hungary, Norway, Slovakia, UK); trainings in family rights, marital conflicts, psychological assistance, etc.

We deliver various types of mediation services – Partners Poland Mediation Centre mediates family disputes, intra-organisational cases, work place and business disputes. The majority of cases mediated in our Centre are the family ones. Business disputes are being dealt with at Business Mediation Centre, where Maciej Tanski, head of Partners Poland Mediation Centre, is the director.
We conduct trainings in conflict resolution, negotiation, interpersonal communication, management of organizational change, social communication, and, of course, mediation, including TFT.

Maciej Tanski mob. (+48) 503 306 173

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Oooops! We did it again… How To Prevent Hot Disputes from Boiling Over in Your Relationships

Patricia Porter talks with Maciej Tanski on Blog Talk Radio

You feel it’s getting hot and you just cannot do anything to prevent the innocent exchange of opinions from boiling over and blowing up like a lump of lava thrown out by a volcano? And it hurts because it happens with people important for you, with whom you have a family, neighbor or work relationship. We bring some examples of conflict escalation and a handful of tips how to prevent it. We discover what it takes to keep focused during hot discussions and be aware of the other person’s and our own hot buttons.

Quarrels, Arguments - AND WHAT NEXT???

(fragments based on Monika Kozak-Czekanowska’s book in Polish “K?ótnia i co dalej” published in 2008 by Partners Poland Mediation Center)

Some Advices And Exercises To Prevent Escalation Of Interpersonal Conflicts

Usually we talk about others, showing them what they should change, what they should do differently: because you should ... if you want it to be good, then you have ... Instead, we should talk about what does not suit us in the behavior of a partner, transferring the accent to OUR needs and emotions: I feel humiliated and frustrated, when you say that to I'm no good, I feel sad, when once again we can not finish our conversation. Think of it: what brings a better effect on changing your behavior - an instruction or information about the feelings and needs of your partner?

Do not think about what you are going to say when your partner finally stops. Do not strategize what the argument will be the best. If you feel that you cannot focus on the words of a partner, ask for a break and write down your thoughts. Just for yourself. But then, when he or she is speaking - listen carefully. Often we do not adhere to this principle and our conversations take the form of a caricature: either we speak, or we already devises a riposte. As a result, we hear only scattered pieces of our partner’s speech, usually the ones that match our previous concept. Follow what your partner says, try to understand his or her way of thinking. You may be able to find a solution to problems in your relationship, if you know exactly what motivates your partner.

When you reply - REPLY ON THE SUBJECT
Try to relate to what your partner said, even repeating verbatim his or her words: you said that ... your position on this issue is such and such ... if I understood you well, you want to ... This builds a sense of understanding without the need to have compatible views. Do not add new topics like: Do you remember – it was last week, yes? - when you did this to my mom?... exactly the same way you act in another case ... By doing so you may reduce the chances for resolving the main issue.

Avoid saying: because you always ... because you never, ... I can never count on you when I need you... etc. Talk about specifics, refer to concrete events or numbers. Generalizing closes the way to any change. For if I always ... then why bother?

Do not criticize the PERSON, but her BEHAVIOR
Try to focus on specific partner's behavior, not his or her personality or character. So do not preach, don’t make moral judgments. Your goal is not to judge, but to find a solution to a specific problem. Showing your partner that you have a bad opinion of him or her as a human being, we make him only to defend himself, which often ends up in attacking the evaluator – us. And it is not about the suspension of any moral judgments, but rather about the effectiveness of speaking about them in a crisis situation. It is better to concentrate on discussing the problematic behavior and its consequences for you and for your relationship. Remember: it’s very hard to change a person, and there are better chances to change somebody’s behavior. See the difference: I accept you, but not your behavior in question, or: I do not accept you. The latter rarely results in real change.

Do not put other people or couples as examples. Contrary to appearances, it does not stimulate a change in behavior, but rather introduces only more stress and tension. Do not mention other couples as examples of solutions that might work in your relationship. Maybe yes, maybe not. You cannot use the ready-made practices in your unique situation. You’d better tell outright, how you imagine the requested change. Do not say: if only you behave like Tom, we would have such an excellent relationship like he and Mary. Remember that other people are very different. They also have other issues that you may not know about.

You do not necessarily have to behave emotionally to convey what you feel. Anticipate such situations, and beforehand describe and name your feelings: I am concerned ... I'm really mad at you ... I'm so sorry ... In this way you give your partner time to reflect and respond appropriately. When you throw pots, it is already too late.

When you notice something positive, praise your partner. In this way, you increase the likelihood that this behavior will repeat in the future. It is much easier to criticize, because it is an automatic reaction to our insatiable need. When the partner is doing something that is pleasant for us we accept it as natural and obvious. But if we want to maintain the desired behavior we need to work on this.

When your partner screams, remember that he or she does it out of powerlessness. The less sure he or she feels the louder he or she cries. Try to understand what this uncertainty means, and respond precisely to this: I see that you are moved when I said that you're lazy. I do not really mean it. The problem is that I feel tired, and I would like you to take some responsibilities from my shoulders. Saying that you're lazy, I wanted to motivate you.

In order to cease the bickering it is best to perform the arduous work of understanding: yourself and the other. The better you understand what you both really want, the more solutions to difficult situations you would see. Contrary to appearances, we are rarely aware even of our own motivations, let alone a partner’s. Do not stop asking: Why?, What is in it?, Why do I want that we go on holiday together?, Why can’t we go separately?, Why does it irritate you that I do not cook meals?, What is difficult for you, that I buy ready-made food?
Do not stop with the obvious answers: it is clear that ... it's obvious that ... after all it always should be like this... Do not talk about how it should be in general, but about your subjective needs and constraints.

Do not worry if despite making various attempts you still happen to argue with your partner. Do not take it as a failure. Conflict can have many positive consequences, the most important of them is the ability to change for the better. Often only the conflict makes us realize what we really want or what our partner needs. The common solution to the serious problems is best binder of our relationship with other people.


Try to recall your fights or outbreaks of your anger. Look for igniters, which usually trigger such eruptions. Are they any specific words or behavior of your partner? For example, judging you, exiting the room in the heat of a discussion, a specific kind of laughter, silence – not answering you. Write down these words, gestures or behavior. Suggest your partner to do the same, then exchange your observations and reflect together on how you can avoid such words or behavior. If the conflict between you is so high that you cannot even talk about it, try to think what you can do to avoid being provoked by these words or behavior. In other words: how to prepare for that detonator is triggered, and how - despite launching it - prevent the explosion.

Example: I get mad when I hear: you're lazy, you're selfish, you do not care. I also let go nerves when my wife begins to laugh in my face when I say something important for me.

Boiling water (boiler)
If arguing or quarrelling often happens in your relationship you may agree with your spouse that you both do not start an argument or even a discussion on the controversial topic until you boil a gallon of water. The condition is that until the water starts to bubble, you must not say a word about the issue. After this time, start the discussion. This exercise can help you prevent violent emotional outbursts. Instead of water you can use an hourglass in which the sand pours through a minimum of fifteen minutes.

The Enchanted
(meet the desires of your partner without changing yourself)

With your partner "cast a spell" for each other for limited time so that the person acts in the way desired by you, and vice versa.

Example: Anna, for one day I enchant you in a wife who does not ask me “darling, who just called you?#8221;. Michael, for one day I enchant you in a husband, who calls me from work and asks how my day goes, how I feel.

Remember, however, that cases in which a spell is cast on, at least in the beginning, were very easy for the other person, that they are not too abstract, or those that could be interpreted in different ways, for example, be good to me, be calmer for one day.

Think about it later, could not you be the enchanted person a little more than a day? But do not worry if for various reasons you will not want to. This exercise is more about taking pleasure of meeting the expectations of a partner than to declare a major change in your behavior.