Conflict Clinic
About the Conflict Clinic
| Consultation | Workshops and Classes | Research and Evaluation | Between the Lines Blog

About the Conflict Clinic

The University of Illinois Conflict Clinic is directed by Dr. Mikhail Lyubansky. He can be reached at The mission of the Conflict Clinic is to support organizations and communities in transforming conflict into connection. To move towards these goals, we strive to:

  • PARTNER with organizations, schools, and campus units that want to explore more constructive or restorative ways of getting through painful conflicts and events.
  • SHARE knowledge about restorative justice through courses, workshops, publications, media and dialogue.
  • LEARN about restorative ways of working through conflict through research, study, teaching, and practice.

Since we started over 10 years ago, we have worked with organizations, schools, and campus units in Champaign-Urbana, the surrounding Midwest area (Chicago, southern Illinois, Missouri, Indiana, and Ohio), and other communities around the United States, including Virginia, North Carolina, and Florida.

Conflict Consultation

The Conflict Clinic offers confidential conflict consultations to organizations, schools, and campus units. As “students of conflict", we will listen to you and offer resources and recommendations, with no pressure to work with us.

Conflict Workshops and Classes

  • The Conflict Clinic team can create a unique workshop on restorative practices, restorative justice, restorative dialogues or Restorative Circles for your organization, school or campus unit. Workshops are interactive, hands-on experiences that range from 60 minute introductions to multi-day learning events. Some of the local organizations to whom we have offered workshops include:
  • Cebrin Goodman Teen Institute
  • UIUC Residence Halls
  • Urbana School District
  • UIUC Career Empowerment Program
  • Community Elements
  • READY program
  • Region Office of Education #9
  • Community Circle about Centennial High School event (click here for News Gazette article)
Professor Lyubansky teaches an undergraduate/graduate course on restorative justice every year and periodically offers additional graduate-level seminars and practica. His current teaching schedule and course information can be found here.

Research and Evaluation

The Conflict Clinic’s current research is focused on evaluating school implementation of different restorative practices: We use a combination of survey and qualitative methods in order to (a) identify best practices in implementation and (b) better understand the individual and group-level changes (e.g., social and emotional learning, school climate, discipline referrals) associated with a transition to addressing conflict and harm restoratively.

As part of the above, the Conflict Clinic team has developed a Restorative Evaluation Toolbox for projects that utilize restorative justice principles and approaches. We are also happy to help your organization, school, or classroom consider the best way to approach the evaluation of your RJ project.

Note: Our reports are written for the school districts and are technically their property. Here's one of our published, peer-reviewed studies. We'll post more of our published research when it is available. In the meantime, here are a few restorative justice research reports (authored by others) available online:

Between the Lines Blog

The Between the Lines blog features essays on restorative justice and race relations. Articles and other resources about Dominic Barter’s Restorative Circles (RC) process can also be found in this Restorative Circles article archive, which I also maintain. Below is a sample article from the archive.

The Fight Room
By Elaine Shpungin and Dominic Barter

Originally published in Tikkun Magazine on January 10, 2012

In 1854, Dr. John Snow, an early epidemiological pioneer, interrupted a deadly epidemic of cholera by tracing the source of the “poison” in sewage-tainted water to a specific London water pump. For two decades prior to this, Snow had made unsuccessful attempts to shift the prevailing belief that cholera was caused by “miasma in the air.” The cost of societal failure to embrace a new understanding of the origins and spread of disease was over 10,000 lives.

Today we continue to struggle with other epidemics, such as the widespread persistence of interpersonal violence, structural violence, and violence based in inter-racial and inter-ethnic tensions. Not only is the cost great in terms of lost lives and personal trauma, but considerable resources are also spent on attempts to subdue, redirect, and control the violence. Yet, as in nineteenth-century London, we may continue to make little progress in treating this disease until we are willing to honestly re-examine our deeply held beliefs about its origins.

One such “epidemiological” re-examination comes from Dominic Barter’s work in Brazil, which has led him to posit that violence increases as we attempt to suppress painful conflict. Rather than being dangerous, conflict holds within it vital messages regarding unmet needs and areas of necessary change. Given this understanding, safety is increased not by avoiding conflict, but by moving toward it with the intention of hearing the messages within…

…Continue reading The Fight Room here