CCR is short for "Creative Conflict Resolution." CCR refers to a set of distinctions and practices which allow individuals and groups to respond very differently to the conflicts which inevitably arise in significant relationships. This essay describes the development of the concepts and the use of the term as a container to hold them.
In 1993 I was invited to return to RAVEN to teach the introductory class. RAVEN is a program in St. Louis which does intervention with men who batter. I had been very active with RAVEN through the 80's serving for much of that time as the Clinical Director. But I had been away from the organization for a few years and decided to review the current class content before I agreed to teach it. What I discovered was that there were a couple of rather important distinctions that were are part of RAVEN's current usage that I would alter.
This discovery started me on a project of developing what I thought would be the best introductory class. It was twelve weeks long and included a set of short lectures that I had developed with my clients and in my therapy groups over the prior dozen years of psychotherapy practice with men who had abused people in the context of an intimate or pseudo-intimate relationship. I arranged these lessons into a logical sequence and presented the course to the person serving as the Clinical Director at that time.
She was impressed with the course and liked the flow and content but it was her judgment that the material was too sophisticated for the staff to be able to teach it. It required someone with clinical training and most of the staff at that time were volunteers. I determined to offer the course through the association I had at that time with a partnership called STAR, Sexual Trauma and Recovery. It was billed as the Abuse Prevention Program.
The course prepared the men to address the issues in their lives which led them to act abusively toward those they said that loved the most. It consisted of a set of distinctions and practices or disciplines which they were invited to apply to their own lives with the promise that doing so would lead to more satisfying and stable relationships.
The course itself has been under continual revision. I doubt I have taught it the same way twice. Back in the 90's the content was displayed on a white board or in printed handouts. In 2001 I started using a PowerPoint Presentation as an aid to the course and would revise the content in some significant way at least once a year. I am currently working on another major revision.
In order to move into the second phase of the program, the participants have to demonstrate their ability to apply one specific tool to the circumstances of their own life. This tool is called the Framework for Creative Conflict Resolution. This discipline is one of the ten which are included in the current course material. The first time I actually charted them out I was in 1997 and at the time there were only seven. The Framework for Creative Conflict Resolution was the seventh.
By 1995 it had become clear to me that I was going to have to find or create a new home for the Abuse Prevention Program. I ended up incorporating as The Conflict Clinic as a way to be fully accountable within the laws of the State of Missouri.
By 1998 there were two programs of the organization that used essentially the same technology for transformation. There was the Abuse Prevention Program for men who were ordered as a condition of some court action, and the Building Healthy Relationships program for women and men who had a concern on their own behalf to improve the quality of their relationships.
Because there were now two programs aimed at different populations which used the same core concepts and practices, we began to use the term Creative Conflict Resolution to describe that core.
We have only recently begun marketing of the program to the public at large. In those days, getting the word out happened in gatherings of other psychotherapists or domestic violence intervention specialists. This would be in the context of an informational presentation at a community meeting or in a workshop at a professional conference. This was the principal form of marketing for the programs. While a part of the presentation would be about the structure of the groups and the referral process, the core was about the transformational technology itself which we identified as Creative Conflict Resolution.
By January 1999 we had become clear that the name "Conflict Clinic" didn't really fit what we were doing. We tried the name Community for Creative Conflict Resolution and by March of 1999 we had settled on Center for Creative Conflict Resolution. It was another year before we amended the Articles of Incorporation in 2000 to legally become the Center for Creative Conflict Resolution.