Own Side / Other Side


While conflicts create points of tension, they are also creative opportunities to experience different perspectives and to find solutions that are satisfying for all those involved. However, to fully resolve a conflict and use it as an opportunity of learning, certain needs must be met:

  • Both sides must (at least to some degree) be able to think from the other person's perspective;

  • There must be a space of compassion and empathy;

  • Ability to put personal attachments aside.

This exercise will allow participants to experience a conflict from both sides, enabling them to resolve it by considering all perspectives and understanding the others' view.

Activity Type

Group / Experiential


20-30 min per 1 “conflict” (two people)

Learning Outcomes

  • To learn to see the other side of a conflict

  • To explore the meaning of compromising and to experience the relief that even temporary (rather than perfect) solutions can give

  • To experience conflict as a gift for overcoming blockages and seeing things from different perspectives


Step-by-Step Instructions:

  1. Participants are divided into groups of 3, two people will be on either side of the conflict (Self and Other Self) and one will serve as a facilitator.

  2. The Self in each group is asked to think of a real conflict or difficulty that she/he is currently experiencing with an individual. They should describe/summarize it briefly to their partner (Other Self), putting effort into describing what they know of the other person's perspective.

  3. For the first round, ‘Self’ plays themselves and ‘Other Self’ plays the part of the the other. They should do their best to actually become the other and not be afraid of arguing back and defending ‘their’ position. This is a conflict after all (ex: Where ‘Other Self’ is the mother to the ‘Self’: “You are always so hard on me! I feel like nothing I accomplish is enough for you!” “I don’t know where this is coming from... Everything I do is for you and I support you in everything!”). They should stick to and hold this position until the next round.

  4. As soon as the facilitator witnesses the Self starting to repeat themselves or seem to go round in circles (disregarding what the Other Self says in response), they should end the round.

  5. The Self and Other Self now switch roles (facilitator stays). This is the time to review any guidelines and make any necessary changes (such as the timeout rules etc).

  6. This is where the real change can happen. The original Self now has the opportunity to really inherit and experience the views and ‘side’ of the Other Self, to experience what the other is feeling throughout their conflicts.

  7. Once repetition has been perceived to be happening again by the facilitator, this round ends and this is the moment/opportunity to take a small break.

  8. The original Self should now return to their role. The conflict should be started again, with the expressed intention of using what they just experienced to find a solution.

The facilitator's role throughout is to ‘hold the space’ and moderate. They may find themselves encouraging the Other Self to argue back more, or for the Self to get more angry, it is common and usual for either participant to feel strong emotions, they should be encouraged to follow them. Conflict is an emotional experience after all. To make sure they don’t get caught up in the conflict themselves a ‘timeout’ clause can be introduced so the facilitator can have an opportunity to give this feedback/encouragement. (ex: when the facilitators raise their hands both participants should stop and listen before beginning again).

Participants and the facilitator are encouraged to follow these simple rules:

  • Take responsibility for one's self. Notice when you feel uncomfortable, when it feels okay to push forwards, when it's better to step back.

  • While it is always encouraged to see this activity through to the end and push through any uncomfortable moments, it is okay to stop at any time.


  • Did the original Self find that the process brought the conflict to a resolution by experiencing the other side?

  • Does any participant think being a part of this exercise will help them in future conflicts?

  • How has each person's understanding of the idea of conflict changed, if at all?

  • What was the turning point of the conflict, if any?  If not is there clarity as to why not?

Instructions for Submission

Submit a 200 word reflection on this exercise and impressions on doing it, including comments/quotes from members. Instructions on how to upload photos and how to submit things in Moodle can be found here: Instructions on Submission&Uploading

Instructions for Assessment

Provide feedback to at least one participant that has done this activity. Instructions on providing feedback can be found here: Instructions on Feedback

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