If you ever have a chance to speak with or read about several peacebuilders, you might realize that they come from all walks of life. Although their missions are similar in that they want to foster peace for individuals and communities, their experiences vary in many ways. You can read some of our previous peacebuilder highlights on our website. In this spotlight article, we get to know Dr. Gigi Hamilton, her work as a counselor, and what she has been able to accomplish as a peacebuilder.
Background and Peacebuilding Approach
Originally from Ohio, Dr. Hamilton is the Founder of Personal Enrichment Counseling & Consulting Services. She has served as a psychologist for over 25 years and is the author of several books, including Let the Marriage Begin, The Marriage Blueprint, and My Comfort Tree. Prior to beginning her work as an organization peacebuilder, she provided counseling for military personnel, families, and organization leaders. Her work with Pollack Peacebuilding focuses on offering education on how to have difficult conversations in the work environment.
While Dr. Hamilton uses strategies that are common in the field of peacebuilding, her approach is unique. She earned her Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership with a specialization in emotional intelligence. This equips her with the tools to support people as they navigate their emotions and communicate with one another. By truly understanding what they are facing, Dr. Hamilton’s clients can approach their conflicts without being reactionary. She encourages people to address issues without drawing a line in the sand in order to truly reach the core needs of those with whom they are in conflict.
As her company faces the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Hamilton finds that her team continues to thrive with the psychoeducational tools that her clients need. However, she believes that COVID-related restrictions affect the conflict resolution aspect of her work as a physical presence can make an impact on the outcome of the peacebuilding process. To keep herself and her team motivated, Dr. Hamilton maintains a positive outlook by reaching back to her military training. She is aware that she is tending to the emotional wounds of those who seek her services. She especially recognizes the impact her healing work has on couples dealing with marital problems, whether she reaches them through her books or her consulting services.
Advice for New Peacebuilders
Dr. Hamilton advises new peacebuilders to learn how to assess trust levels between conflicting parties. As a transformational leader, she believes that trust is crucial in building relationships and that it is difficult to mend once it has been broken. In order to help clients reach common ground, peacebuilders much do the work to establish trust so that each party is willing to fully participate in the process. For relationships that have completely lost trust, Dr. Hamilton recommends “peeling the onion” to see what is at the core of the issues at hand. In most situations, she has found that parties can reach balanced solutions when the peacebuilder understands when the conflict began and how it has affected the lives of those involved.