Empathy is the Secret Weapon
Having the ability to combat hate requires skills that are also necessary of mediators and other conflict professionals. One such skill is empathy. It is important to note empathy does not require agreeing but more importantly it gives you insight as you move from the way you “see” things to “see” the situation or issue from a different perspective.
Steubenville Tragedy Needs Effective Communication
The divisiveness and acrimony that played out in this past fall's trial of two lacrosse players that sexually assaulted an intoxicated young lady is playing out again in Northeastern Ohio in a similar way. Because of the adversarial nature of the judicial process this has been traumatic for everyone involved, including the victim, the rapists, their friends and families the community at large and even the CNN correspondent covering the trial. The only hope of dealing and restoring the fabric of the community is a restorative intervention, which may also be useful in developing a program of prevention.
Conflict Competency in Healthcare Organizations
Ann Begler describes the interaction between mediators and healthcare organizations. She believes that both fields need each other and could be a benefit to the other field.
When is it "Too Late" for Mediation?
There may be times when mediation is no longer the best option. In these situations a mediator can help to move parties back to a place where mediation is possible. If consensus is impossible, there might be times when a mediator cans till help them achieve understanding.
As we know, the word please is usually meant to be a polite statement that accompanies a request of another. With a drawn out pronunciation and sarcastic intonation, this word can turn quickly into an expression that reflects disgust, disapproval, anger, and disagreement. ‘Puullease’ may be used to dismiss the other person, to criticize, or to put them down. In any case, saying this word in the way just described typically leaves little room for conciliatory dialogue.
"I'm Sorry You Feel Like That . . ."
People often expect an apology in mediation. What they get is sometimes true repentance, and sometimes an insult disguised an apology. This articles helps mediators spot the difference between the two and to guide parties from escalating a conflict to forgiveness.
Negotiating Happiness: Managing Peoples’ Predictably Irrational “Focusing Illusions” - Part 1
This is Part 1 of a two-part series. This first part discusses how most human beings concoct out of their 'messy' human brains, an emotional state, often labeled 'irrational,' which neuroscientists and psychologists identify as a focusing illusion of happiness. Most conflicts can be usefully understood as a collision between peoples' differing notions of happiness an often resistant to remediation by reasoned approaches. The forthcoming Part 2 will consider the 'rationally irrational' negotiation strategies and techniques necessary to manage focusing illusions.
Mediating Between the Mediation Models - Part 2
This article discusses the three most prominent models of mediation: Evaluative, Facilitative, and Transformative. It then compares them with the four mediation stories discussed in Part 1.
When people reframe, they often change the words, but keep the original motivation of a statement. This article helps people to keep the important information in a sentence, but to take out some of the harmful emotion that went along with the original statement.
An Experiential Exercise to Dramatize the Five Modes
Several decades ago, I developed an experiential exercise for classroom and workshop settings in order to accelerate people’s understanding and internalization of the five modes (Competing, Avoiding, Collaborating, etc.). This articles walks readers through that example, and also provides insights for instructors as to why different parts of the exercise works.
Do Children Fare Better in a Mediated or Litigated Divorce?
Sometimes, parents think that only they are getting divorced and the children aren't adult enough to merit being heard. This is a major mistake that may fester and manifest into problems in the future. Poor grades at school, stomach aches, missing school days, getting up late, not listening to teachers, alcohol and drug use are just some of the ways that children and adults react to the stress and acrimony of divorce.
Moving Towards Better Dialogue?
There is little doubt that the win-lose, black-white paradigm is costly, in money, time, opportunity and dignity. It denies the obvious fact that life is complex, that most people are trying their best in difficult circumstances and that creativity, imagination and compassion are more likely to achieve better outcomes than zero-sum games where there are often only losers.
Mediator - Subpoenaed?
“Mr. Lang, my name is Chris Adams. I am a process server and have some papers for you.” With as much calm as I could muster, I asked, “what sort of papers?” He replied, “a subpoena.” And with that simple telephone conversation, the story begins.
Prenups – Don’t Lawyer Up, Mediate!
Prenup articles typically talk about how resolving and clarifying money issues prior to marriage is a good thing. However, they do not take into account the very important component of most good marriages: the sharing of money and resources. So prenups aren't necessarily the best thing since sliced bread -- they can pose many problems for the future spouses.
Third Culture - Creating a Climate for a Successful Mediation
In “Cultural Competence – Transcending Culture Differences in Mediation,” cultural competence was described as an indispensible capability in a mediator’s toolkit. Cultural competence was presented as the ability for a mediator to not only identify, acknowledge and explain cultural influences on parties within a dispute, but to also transcend the cultural differences in a way that serves the dispute resolution process.
Would You Like Fries With That?
An examination of how the various negotiating traps illustrated by the debt-ceiling negotiations and how we can avoid them.
Love Is Never A Mistake
When you came together at the time it was meant to be. It was not a mistake. Your children are not a mistake. The life you built together was not a mistake. If it is time to move on, then let's move on, but let's honor the past as we look to the future
The One (Mediation) That Didn't Get Away
After this mediation I closed the door and cried for the pair’s past, for my gratefulness at being allowed to see such pure emotion, and for the richness this experience brought to my life.
The Power Of An Apology
There are some who find it easy to apologize and there are some who find it extremely difficult. Admitting your mistake is a bitter pill to swallow, yet being able to do so often makes one a better person, more or less.
You are aware that you did something wrong, which is why someone is upset with you. Deep in your heart, you know that you owe the person an apology. Do you apologize?
A Little Bit About Forgiveness
I participated in a good discussion last week about forgiveness. Okay, I admit it was with two of my nieces on Facebook, but it was a good conversation nonetheless. We went back and forth trying to define forgiveness and as it turns out it’s easier to describe what forgiveness isn’t than it is to define what it is. And, that got me thinking.
Dealing With The Pains Of Divorce Through Meaningful And Complete Apology
If you are contemplating divorce, in the midst of a divorce, or already have a divorce decree in hand, you know pressures of the legal process do not compare to the emotional turmoil you are experiencing. The emotional pressures can be quelled when you give a meaningful and complete apology. It has the effect of freeing you from the weight of the divorce, help heal you and the person you offended, restore your relationships, and even provide you direct legal benefits to your case.
“I’m Sorry You’re Such A Crybaby” Isn’t Really An Apology
You’ve more than likely heard one before and you may have even delivered a few yourself--an apology that isn’t really an apology at all. You know the ones; the zingers, veiled threats, and personal attacks that the speaker believes should earn him points for saying he’s sorry.
Singer, Linda: Interpersonal Mediation Builds Skills - Video
Linda Singer describes how her interpersonal mediation experience in the past has helped her to mediate in multi-party, complex cases currently. The rapport-development skills she learned in interpersonal mediation carry over to multi-party disputes.
Michael Lewis: To Admit Wrongdoing Difficult as Mediator - Video
Michael Lewis speaks of mediators' willingess (and lack of) to admitting when they're wrong or that they should have tried a different method. He underscores that it takes experience and self-confidence to admit to wrongdoing in a case.
Bill Lincoln: Mediation Interview - Video
This is an hour-long video with Bill Lincoln, Director of the Conflict Resolution, Research and Resource Institute, Inc. [CRI]. Bill discusses his entry into mediation, and how he has worked with various cross-cultural conflicts, locally and internationally.
Moore, Chris: Changes in World Conflict - Video
Chris Moore shares his opinion on how world conflict has gone down in some arenas, but in others it has not, as new issues for dispute resolution have arisen. Also, he describes how the field has been more effective at the grassroots level than at a global level.
Where Settlements Cannot Go – Towards a Praxis of Reconciliation in Group Conflicts (Part 2 of 6)
To reiterate, my primary interest is in finding true resolution to organizational and community conflict and the reconciliation of conflict-damaged relationships. The empirical data led me to conclude that large-scale reconciliation (the healing of pre-existing relationships damaged by conflict) cannot occur without forgiveness. Though forgiveness happens on an individual level, my quest was to find a process to encourage forgiveness and reconciliation on a large scale. While my work focuses primarily on churches and other religious organizations, the empirical data strongly suggest that my findings are also applicable to secular institutions. This series is a result.
Where Settlements Cannot Go – Towards a Praxis of Reconciliation in Group Conflicts (Part 1 of 6)
It is always difficult to admit that what one is doing is often insufficient, but this is that admission. After 30 years in the field of conflict management, including 16 years as a mediator, I have come to believe that conflict in ongoing relationships cannot be managed—it must be completely resolved or it will live on and reconstitute itself with greater destructive energy than before. Like most mediators, I have seen many conflicts where relationships fairly begged to be healed but have not known how to help the parties get there. Nowhere is this more true than in those conflicts where there is an ongoing relationship. Where I once considered getting a settlement to be the measure of success, I have now reversed myself and believe that stopping with settlement is sometimes the measure of failure. Let me explain.
What It Means To Be Sorry: The Power Of Apology In Mediation
The importance of apology as the acknowledgement of injury
is familiar to some forms of mediation, including victim-offender mediation,
but has been much less understood in divorce mediation. The act of apology
represents one of the core reparative opportunities in damaged relations.
But it's not easy. This article will describe the opportunity that apology
presents, the difficulty we have in seizing that opportunity, and the role
that third parties can have in inviting apology.
Apology: The Post-Debate View
Jerome F. Weiss
This article examines the need for better mediation advocacy through analysis of recent articles on apology and explains how it sets an appropriate tone in certain cases. The article also explains recent clinical experience with respect to apology for medical mistakes and the relationship to mediation advocacy.
Apology: More Power Than We Think
Mediators too often focus on settlement as dispositive of the conflict rather than merely as the issues coming out of the conflict. They often recognize that the relationship needs repair, but do not know how to help the clients get there. Appropriate levels of apology can break logjams. Unfortunately, apology in mediation is underrated because mediators do not understand the four levels of apology and are not trained in the art of helping people apologize.
Apology in Mediation: Sorry To Say, It’s Much Overrated
A simple apology—without admission of liability or fault—can go far to ease tension and promote goodwill in a mediation or negotiation setting. Although rarely used and often misconstrued, when done appropriately and sincerely, they can help effectuate fast, fair settlements.
De-Escalation: The Key to Peace
De-escalation moves parties from emotionality to rationality, allowing them to make sound choices. If parties are pushed too quickly to be rational, they will balk and impasse will result. De-escalation is therefore a key element of peacemaking.
Goodness in Guilt
Barbara Ashley Phillips
The source of guilt is not important. What is important is that while guilt can keep us stuck, it can also heal. When guilt spurs us to action or to response, it is healthy guilt - or primary emotion. Even anger can be healthy, when it spurs us to action that is not destructive.
The Internal Neutral: Why Doesn't Your Hospital Have One?
The National Naval Medical Center (NNMC) in Bethesda, Maryland is the first acute health care institution in the nation to offer a full-time internal neutral for the resolution of health care issues. The data obtained thus far indicates that the presence of a well-trained and properly positioned internal neutral can be a highly cost-effective and efficient resource for resolving patient-provider conflicts.
The Decision to Settle – Balance, Setoffs and Tradeoffs Between Rational, Emotional and Psychological Forces
The line between a ‘yes’ and a ‘no’- to - settlement decision in negotiation is very thin. The last straw is often what it takes to move parties from a persistent “no” to a willing “yes”. It is true for our everyday-life small decisions like buying a pair of shoes as for large-scale government decisions like accepting a peace plan or going to war. What pushes people to their ultimate decision in negotiation? What are the forces that operate and how do they relate to and interact with each other when a party considers whether to accept or reject a settlement at a certain point in time?
Consciously Incompetent: A Mediator’s Cycle of Learning
This article explores the four stages of skill development, from the perspective of the mediator: (1) unconscious incompetence, (2) conscious incompetence, (3) conscious competence, and (4) unconscious competence.
How To Create More Currency In Employment Mediation
When Congress decided to include, as gross income,
settlements made for "non-physical" injury torts, it
reduced the value of such settlements by up to 45
percent. This has been particularly
devastating in employment cases, where emotional-distress
recoveries often helped the employee transition into a
new employment situation. Now that those recoveries are
taxable, it has been difficult for practitioners to find
ways to create more value out of a settlement, aside from
getting the defendant to pay more money.
The Use Of Mediation In The Patient Complaint Process
The time is ripe for a new approach to resolving conflict arising out of a personal and intimate relationship such as health care delivery. With emphasis on listening and empathy rather than legal wrangling, patients and physicians can willingly reconstruct or dismantle their relationship in a manner and fashion wherein they retain control of the outcome with some mutual respect or recognition of needs.
Contributions of Caucusing and Pre-Caucusing to Mediation
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The author argues that pre-caucusing—a separate meeting between the mediator and each of the stakeholders before they are ever brought together into a joint session—can not only overcome many of the negatives often associated with caucusing, but has the potential of becoming a pillar of conflict management. Pre-caucusing affords stakeholders the opportunity to vent and be heard at a critical time in the mediation process, when it can reduce defensiveness and increase creativity. Once in the joint session, stakeholders communicate with each other with less mediator interference.