The first thing I will do when I meet with you is take the time needed to get to know you a bit better. It will be helpful to know about your background with the College, your department, and the people with whom you work. I will explain how my role as a neutral and independent resource can benefit you. I will commit to total confidentiality in our discussions and explain the rare exception to that— those instances where there is risk of significant, imminent harm.
We’ll then get into the specific matter that is causing you concern. I will ask you to describe the situation, giving you the time you need to explain it.
Together we will explore the set of issues and challenges present in the situation. For instance, a conflict with a colleague might have the following issues:
- Differences in communication style and a sense of not “being heard”
- A sense that neither party is fully respecting the other
- Fears that confronting an issue may create further problems, or even retaliation
- Lack of clarity in roles and expectations
- Lots of emotions coming up that are difficult to sort out
Once we fully understand the important issues present, we will brainstorm about what can be done to address these issues. While there are rarely easy solutions, there are almost always some actions that can help. We will usually explore the specific goals you have in the situation. Getting clearer about these can really help. These steps alone can create a greater sense of optimism.
In many instances, people seem to benefit most from our jointly developing a specific plan for a discussion they will have with one or more of the involved parties—their supervisor, for example, or department chair, or colleague.
We may sometimes need more than one meeting to get through all this, and it’s not uncommon for me to meet several times with someone. I am available to take whatever time is needed to help you get to a place where you feel more ready and confident.