Are you familiar with the in's and out's of Arbinger here on our Brigham Young University- Hawai'i campus? Here is all you need to know about what this amazing program has to offer and how to get involved.
Arbinger is a word that gets thrown around in our IPB program quite often. If you’re an IPB student then you more than likely have read The Anatomy of Peace, have been through a 5 hour Arbinger Anatomy of Peace Workshop and may even be on your way to certification in facilitation. Arbinger is actually an extremely vital part of the Peacebuilding curriculum at BYU-H. As an IPB student myself, I have come to grow a fond admiration for Arbinger and all of the principles and practices it exudes. I’ve sat and pondered and wrestled with the teachings of Arbinger on many occasions. Many times, it was difficult. But because of that struggle, my view of others is constantly transforming and being shown in a much more beautiful and brighter light.
However, there are many people out there, even on our very own campus, who have not been acquainted with the uniqueness of this program. I have found that trying to explain Arbinger to either a friend or a stranger can be tough, as its been hard for me to give it justice with just a simple explanation. I have a desire to give Arbinger a good name and a good explanation, one that will resonate with others when I share about it, even if it’s just a 30 second introduction.
And that’s what has inspired me to do a longer-than-brief write up about the Arbinger Institute, and especially how we utilize it on our wonderful campus of BYU-Hawaii!
From those who have been through the 5 hour Arbinger Workshop, you will probably hear notions like, “It completely changed my perspectives,” “I feel like I have forgiven the person who has wronged me,” or “I feel like the biggest weight has been lifted off of my shoulders.”
“Chad Ford, Professor and Director of the Mckay Center, remarks, ‘One of the clearest things that came out of an alumni survey we conducted with 170 students was that Arbinger’s work and The Anatomy of Peace book and workshop was overwhelmingly marked down as one of, if not the most influential thing that they read or studied in their work’” (arbinger.com)
To give a little background of the Arbinger Institute, here is a list of fast facts. Taken from arbingerinstitute.com
It was founded in 1979 by LDS Dr. C Terry Warner. He was the scholar who “solved the central problem at the heart of the human sciences: the problem of self-deception.”
He discovered that there are two mindsets from which people operate; a self focused or inward mindset and an others inclusive outward mindset.
He believed in changing mindsets for the better.
Through training, coaching, and workshops the Arbinger Institute works with people to aid in changing their mindsets to an others inclusive outward mindset, which Arbinger believes to be a step in the solution to disruption in organizational peace.
This methodology is based on 45 years of research in the fields of psychology and human behavior
This methodology has been utilized for 35 years in working with corporations, healthcare, education, and government across the globe
By facilitating changes in the mindset of the individual, behaviors will then change, and organizational change can be a successful result.
For more information, visit arbingerinstitute.com
So, how does this apply to BYU-H and what we do in the Peacebuilding program?
Gabby Corbett has been the field director over Arbinger at the McKay Center for nearly a year. She explains what we do with Arbinger and the impact it has had on her:
"I was first exposed to Arbinger material as a 16-year-old girl. My parents coerced me into attending a wilderness therapy program, a non-profit organization called the Anasazi Foundation, in Arizona. There I spent six weeks roughing it in the wilderness using only primitive firemaking skills and shelters. We were taught such principles as having a “heart at peace” versus a “heart at war” (terms used in Arbinger’s The Anatomy of Peace), and read from a book titled The Seven Paths written by one of Arbinger’s managing partners, Jim Ferrell. Meanwhile, my parents attended an Arbinger seminar and read The Anatomy of Peace to learn concepts that could help improve our then-deteriorating relationship. My experience at Anasazi--and especially the people I met who worked with me there--forever will be ingrained in my memory as it truly changed my life. Upon returning home, I noticed a change in my parents’ way of being--as well as my own--which resulted in a change in our behaviors towards one another.
To me, Arbinger simply gives us a language to understand why we feel certain ways towards others and ourselves and what we can do to change how we see others and ourselves in order to increase our impact in the world. We sometimes say in our workshop that Arbinger isn’t for everyone but I think the truth is that it is, but maybe sometimes not everyone is ready for it or resonates with it at the time that they receive it. I think it’s easy to be resistant to it or to equate it with principles we already know, but if we really look deep inside ourselves we can most likely find instances of self-betrayal and relationships we can see more clearly and improve. I think anyone who says they don’t have conflict in their lives is probably either blind to it… yeah I think they’re just blind to it. But I don’t know, that’s coming from someone with a lot of conflict in her life so maybe it is possible to not have any conflict!
What I love most about being the Arbinger Student Field Director at the Mckay Center is working with the incoming peacebuilding students who are first being introduced to peacebuilding and Arbinger. Arbinger’s theories are ones we use repetitively throughout the entire peacebuilding program so sometimes it can feel redundant after discussing the concepts for so many years, but it is exciting to see people’s reactions at their first exposure to it. I also think my own comprehension of it and application of it in my own life has increased as I have been forced to ponder the material and “get out of the box” myself. I also don’t want to be a hypocrite so I have to practice what I preach--it’s a humbling job! But it’s so cool because I feel like I’ve learned and grown a lot; it’s not your average on-campus college student job, but it’s really something that will help prepare me for the future.
Arbinger’s Anatomy of Peace workshops are required to be taken by the students in IPB 121 - Introduction to Peacebuilding class, as I mentioned previously. But it is also available to anyone on campus or in the community! We frequently teach student development classes a portion of the workshop in-class, we have taught it to clubs as their career development activity, we have taught various auxiliaries and departments on campus including the Student Advisory Council, and we are always open to requests to teach it anywhere. We think it would be really beneficial for the business department because the Arbinger Institute actually functions as a consulting firm that goes in and provides training for various companies to help them improve productivity through their work relationships, but I personally haven’t taught much Arbinger there yet. We even taught the sixth graders at the Laie elementary school--a simplified version, with games--because the vice principal was complaining there was an excessive amount of bullying and we thought we could help." -Gabby Corbett
If anyone is interested in learning more or knowing how to get more involved, they can always contact Sarah Coles, current field director over Arbinger, directly by email!
Arbinger Field Director
David O. Mckay Center for Intercultural Understanding