Family Relationships – the default intimate relationship, parenting and family communication norms of our era are vertical. This is why divorce is common-place, adult children often feel burdened by the demands of aging parents, and we think that teenagers are rebellious and uncommunicative. Love, delight, and rewarding personal growth in the face of the challenge of close relationships truly is achievable once we transition to Horizontal communication styles.

Self-Directed Education Facilitation – SDE facilitators face the challenge of relating in an egalitarian way with young people, in a world that normalises treating young people as sub-human. HC awareness helps us catch ourselves when we slip into the default patterns we learned during our own childhood and schooling experiences, so that we can more easily stay ‘Helpers’ and less often slip into acting as ‘Judges’.

Conflict Resilience – Horizontal Communication practice builds mindful self-awareness as well as skills for positive engagement. It also helps us to analyze the dynamics of stressful situations so that we can make informed choices about our engagement. This means that instead of triggering us into fight, flight, or freeze, conflict can be experienced as an opportunity for growth and adventure.

Transformative vs Restorative and Retributive Justice – Horizontal Communication problem solving does not identify a perpetrator and a victim, but looks at root causes – most often mismatches of underlying needs – and seeks to replace static solutions that meet the needs of only some parties, with dynamic win-win solutions that come progressively closer to meeting everyone’s needs.

Practical Problem-Solving – whether it’s about who gets the donut with the most sprinkles on, or how to save our oceans, competitive approaches cannot hope to match Horizontal collaborative problem solving which allows for unpredictable, creative, customised higher-order solutions to emerge.