Conflict Clinic


On this page:

About the Conflict Clinic

The University of Illinois Conflict Clinic is directed by Dr. Mikhail Lyubansky.

The mission of the Conflict Clinic is to: (a) explore constructive ways to address conflict and (b) support organizations and communities in transforming conflict and disconnection into empowerment and 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 practices through courses, workshops, publications, media and conversations.
  • LEARN about restorative ways of getting through conflict and living and working together, through research, study, teaching, and practice.

Our diverse faculty and students have worked with organizations, schools, and campus units in Champaign-Urbana, the surrounding Midwest area (Chicago, southern Illinois, Missouri), and other diverse communities around the U.S. (e.g., Virginia, Michigan, Seattle).

Email for more information

Conflict Consultation

The Conflict Clinic team offers confidential conflict consultations to organizations, schools, and campus units.
As “students of conflict”, we will listen to you and offer resources, ideas, and supports with no obligation to engage in any of our services.

Email for more information

Conflict Workshops & Classes


  • The Conflict Clinic team can create a unique workshop on restorative practices, restorative justice, restorative conversations 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 organizations to whom we have offered workshops include:
  • Cebrin Goodman Teen Institute
  • UIUC Residence Halls
  • Urbana School District
  • Possibility Alliance and Dancing Rabbit Intentional Communities (Missouri)
  • UIUC Career Empowerment Program
  • Community Elements
  • Community Circle about Centennial High School event (click here for News Gazette article)

Email for more information

Dr. Mikhail Lyubansky offers a two-semester graduate level seminar on Restorative Justice through the Psychology Department. Please contact Dr. Lyubansky for more information:

Research & Evaluation

The Conflict Clinic’s current research is focused on evaluating school implementation of different restorative practices: We are currently working with the Urbana school district (see intro video) to implement and evaluate Restorative Circles and with the Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of St. Louis to evaluate Virtue Based Restorative Discipline. In both cases, 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. We hope to have de-identified peer-reviewed studies soon. In the meantime, here are a few restorative justice research reports available online:

Restorative Revolution Blog

The Restorative blog features essays on using restorative justice principles in every-day life. It also has a collection of resources about Dominic Barter’s Restorative Circles (RC) process.

You may read a sample blog post below:


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

or visit for more