Trauma Release

I am busy with material updates for 2016 for our ADR and Mediator Training

Although mediators do not assume the role of counsellor, it is important that they understand how individuals and groups behave during trauma and what the residual effects of trauma might be.

Trauma is said to be anything that overwhelms our natural coping skills. So whether we are dealing with parties going through a divorce, workplace conflict, business dissolution or more patently high conflict community or political disputes, we are dealing with probably dealing with traumatized individuals or groups

A book I have found very useful in its practical application in restorative circle work as well as personal practical application (as a mediator one is regularly exposed to high conflict and traumatic circumstance) is Trauma Release Exercise by Dr David Berceli. It’s easily available on Amazon Kindle.

Happy holidaying and much peace

Sheena Jonker

Mediation Training including Court Annexed Mediation:

Mediation Processes:

ADR, Restorative Justice and Arbitration processes:

Access to Justice and public interest matters:



Am I violent?

As a proponent of non-violence and non-adversarial methods of getting to justice, I spend a lot of time looking around me, glancing within and recognizing the violent impulses that I too have to dismantle and unlearn that obviously emanate from living in a violent world.

On our mediation training programs one of the first things we do is a bit of soul searching. We ask ourselves the big question: am I violent? We are invited to take a few steps back and think, really think about this.

Do I entertain violent thoughts?

Do I use violent words?

Do I ever act out violently? Violence is not limited to punching someone in the face or stabbing someone in the heart. No. Violence lives on a spectrum.

Do I ever use anger to subdue or control others?

Have I ever put my foot down on the accelerator in a rage and with passengers in my car?

Do I call people names?

Do I ever intentionally or recklessly cause others to feel “less than” or humiliated?

All of these things are born out of violent impulse that we have learned to use to survive or to navigate the world around us. There is plenty more I can add to the list.

But as a would be mediator or even as a seasoned mediator, this is one of the most crucial journeys we can go on. The journey of “am I violent” and “in what way am I violent?”. We cannot obliterate violent impulse in an instant. What we can do is be aware and go about intentionally limiting the permission we give ourselves to think violently, speak violently and act out in violent ways.

And it’s one of the most powerful ways we can go about building peace in the world around us.


Sheena Jonker

Mediation Training and ADR Training:

Mediation processes:

ADR Processes including arbitration and restorative justice settlement processes:

Access to justice and public interest matters:



Those who celebrate Christmas in terms of the Christian Story, understand to a greater or lesser degree, the season to be a time of patient expectation of the advent of Peace. The Christian hope is wrapped up in that Peace showing up in a baby person born a homeless refugee amidst a genocide. Those of us who believe that baby person to be God himself showing up get to re-assess all our notions of power in this world. Everything is turned upside down. Strength shows up in ultimate vulnerability.

Much of my time is spent teaching Alternative Dispute Resolution processes, primarily mediation, through the lens of transformative justice. In our mediation training times, and in my own life, one of the key things I work on is the dismantling of our tendency to make assumptions, to label and to stereotype. Assumptions, labelling, stereotyping and categorizations all tend to be anti-peace building. They tend to be borne out of a sense of fatalism and fatalism rails against hope.

As many will know, we have been part of helping to build towards a permanent solution for a group of displaced foreigners at Hope Farm, Cato Ridge.

It has been an extremely difficult situation and you may have seen the matter in the news over the past days with a fire at the farm being portrayed as an attack on some of the foreigners. The truth is, right now we have little evidence around what caused the fire. You can take a look at the Press Statement of Access to Justice here:

The news reports have caused widespread reactionary sentiment which has been negative towards the owners’ of the farm having responded to the crisis in the first place at all, has reverted to stereotyping ethnic groups, Africans and the poor and traumatized that need help.

None of this is peace building. It’s actually the opposite. Not just for the owners at Hope Farm or for the refugees, but for the world around us in general.

This season of Advent, with only a few days to go, is a really good time to re-assess how each of us can build peace in the world around us. It starts with our thinking and shows up in how we speak and act. Over the next few days, I will be sharing some very simple practical action each of us can take each day to help build peace in the world around us.

To be a part of this check into our facebook page here and add your ideas and experiences if you will:

As always


Sheena Jonker


Mediation Training:

Mediation Services:

Access to Justice: