The Restitution Triangle

Triangle Mini Cards

The Restitution Triangle provides a framework for remembering the steps involved in using Restitution.  Each side of the triangle provides a step in the process.  Restitution is not a linear – it’s not a do this first, then this, then this.  You will find in using Restitution that different situations may require you to start in different places on the triangle, or to return back to steps more than once.

When people are upset and emotional, they aren’t able to access the rational thinking part of their brains.  That’s when we need to Stabilize the Identity.  Before anything else productive can happen, we need to help that person (or ourselves!) to calm down and return to a state of mind where learning and problem-solving can occur.  Giving people time, reminding them that everyone makes mistakes, and that this isn’t the end of the world can help.

Another step of Restitution is to Validate the Need.  Everything we do, we do for a reason.  When we can figure out why a behaviour exists, it opens us up to finding more effective ways to meet whatever need was driving the behaviour.   Check out the page “Our Basic Needs” in the sidebar for more on this!

The third side of the triangle is about connecting to our values and beliefs.  It’s easy to get caught up in thinking about what we should do in difficult situations, and not step back and think about the big picture.  What kind of person do you want to be?  Are you being true to your beliefs and values in this difficult situation?   When we consider these kinds of questions, we tap into our internal motivation, and often find that the answers to difficult problems become clearer.


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