The IIRP Presidential Paper Series highlights leading thinkers and new voices in the field of restorative practices, the science of relationships and community.

In this series, the IIRP looks forward to pushing the boundaries of this new social science. Papers explore innovative theory and applications in fields such as education, community health, social justice and organizational leadership, pointing to new directions for civil society advocates around the world.

Processing trauma using the Relational Care Ladder

Frida C. Rundell, Ph.D., LPC

Sparking Creativity Cover ImageDownload the paper.Abstract: While the process of dealing with trauma is complex, the Relational Care Ladder offers a helpful framework that focuses on supporting the need for safety, awareness, the expression of feelings, and empowerment for children growing up. The Relational Care Ladder allows practitioners to recognize developmental gaps in children or youth, address immediate behavioral issues, and prevent or ease trauma following them into adulthood. Grounded in the work of developmental theorists, the Relational Care Ladder was developed by the author based on years of experience in educational psychology and restorative practices.

When working with young people who’ve experienced trauma, it is critical that adults and other professionals are accountable for creating structure, nurturing, and supporting engagement and appropriate confrontation skills. If adults neglect or fail to provide the rungs of the Relational Care Ladder, children and youth may experience trauma and a deregulation of the central nervous pathways. Support and regulation from professionals and parents are pivotal in trauma proofing our developing youth. This paper offers an explanation of the rungs in the Relational Care Ladder as a quick and easy framework that adults, professionals, and parents may use. Further, restorative processes are shown to be supportive of this work. The Relational Care Ladder provides appropriate guidance when one’s emotions demonstrate implicit trauma memory experiences. Adults, whether parent or professionals, communicate equal accountability for meeting and attending to children’s or client’s respective needs. The range of applicability of the Relational Care Ladder framework will be discussed.

Rundell, F. C. (2021, Summer). Processing trauma using the Relational Care Ladder. IIRP Presidential Paper Series, 4, 1-20.

Sparking creativity: Workplace applications of restorative practices

Linda Kligman, Ph.D.

Sparking Creativity Cover ImageDownload the paper.Abstract: Businesses that embrace restorative practices have the advantage of creating intentional workplaces where it is safe to innovate. Studies have shown that diverse perspectives, shared learning, and experimentation are factors that spur innovation. In a restorative work environment, high support is provided to learn and grow, raise concern, and try new things. With high levels of inclusion and energy, restorative practices can help establish group norms, manage expectations, and develop essential interpersonal skills for collaboration. The author draws on Keith Sawyer’s research in group creativity and Sunnie Giles’s studies that scaffold leadership skills to support global innovation, and shares stories that help translate theory into practice. Examples from the International Institute for Restorative Practices depict principles, habits, and team builders that illustrate how restorative practices can spark creativity. The power of connections, conversations, and collaboration explicitly creates an innovative participatory work culture.

Kligman, L. (2021, Spring). Sparking creativity: Workplace applications of restorative practices. IIRP Presidential Paper Series, 3, 1-22.

Sexual assault, corporate crime and restorative practices

John Braithwaite, Ph.D.

Bailie Cover Image Presidential PaperDownload the paper.

Abstract: Recognizing that punitive approaches to inappropriate behavior were ineffective in producing desired change, schools employed restorative practices to learn with students how to recognize harmful actions, deal with conflicts effectively and change behavior. Historically, societal responses to criminal behavior also intended to educate and change behavior, but have had limited success in this outcome, often ending only in warehousing offenders. But I argue that learning remains a viable, if unrealized response, that I illustrate in the areas of corporate crime and sexual and gender-based crime. Punitive criminal law certainly has a place in addressing crimes of this kind, but restorative justice responses offer an opportunity to learn with offenders how to change behavior for the future so as to prevent these crimes. Innovative research and development can show us how to integrate punitive criminal law with restorative justice and other completely new justice strategies.

Braithwaite, J. (2020, Fall). Sexual assault, corporate crime, and restorative practices. IIRP Presidential Paper Series, 2, 1-23.

A science of human dignity: Belonging, voice and agency as universal human needs

IIRP President John W. Bailie, Ph.D.

Bailie Cover Image Presidential PaperDownload the paper.

Abstract: The desire to be treated with dignity is common to all human relationships. This desire manifests as the need to belong, to have voice, and to exercise agency in one’s own affairs. In its concern for these three areas of human need, restorative practices scholarship is beginning to provide a frame for the concept of human dignity that is communicable across cultures and disciplines via the language of the social sciences and testable through experimentation and research.

Bailie, J. W. (2019, Spring). A science of human dignity: Belonging, voice and agency as universal human needs. IIRP Presidential Paper Series, 1, 1–16.

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