Eliminating Microviolence from Everyday Lives

C.S. Lewis wrote “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive … but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience ... This very kindness stings with intolerable insult. To be "cured" against one's will and cured of states which we may not regard as disease.” Lewis may well have been describing the conditions we often unintentionally create as part of our helping relationships. Microviolence is often masked, hidden or disguised in our assumptions, language, expectations and practices yet remains invisible because of a cultural conditioning process. Often, those who choose our services are subjected to brief, subtle and commonplace everyday words, actions, or therapeutic interventions that are done in the name of helping but result in unintended invalidation and oppression. This is microviolence, or as Lewis may have called it, tyranny. Any well-intended helper can unintentionally create conditions where microviolence occurs and interferes with a person's ability to engage in their Everyday Life.


During this full day training we will make visible the microviolence that occurs in people's lives and consider the ways which each of us can engage in a helping relationship that is more likely to be experienced as partnership toward creating an Everyday Life. Through discussion, activities, practice and reflection participants will:

  • Identify the conditions that create microviolence and reduce the likelihood that people's needs are met, thereby increasing the likelihood that they will use problematic strategies.
  • Consider and practice the tools that will help to eliminate microviolence.
  • Practice a culture of listening and feedback that can lead to a truly helpful relationship and the creation of an Everyday Life.
Three Critical Habits