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Using Email In Couples Counselling

by Colin Rule

From Colin Rule's blog.

Colin Rule

Great new article from ADR pioneer David Hoffman on today. From the conclusion: "Because email is such a new medium {...}the techniques for successful communication via computer may be less intuitive and require more conscious attention...
Experience suggests that there is considerable potential in email communications for both misunderstanding and enhanced understanding. As Collaborative Practitioners, we have the added benefit of working on cases with colleagues who join forces with us in trying to achieve higher levels of understanding in all of our communications – in person as well as in cyberspace. By adding more effective email communication to our toolbox, we can achieve higher level of collaboration and thus better results for our clients."
I think this is a watershed moment, when leading "face-to-face" dispute resolution practitioners are writing articles that could have been written by ODR practitioners just a few years ago. Jim Melamed always said that one day in the future, if you squinted your eyes just a little bit, ODR and ADR would become indistinguishable. This article is an indication that the day may have arrived where that is becoming true.


Colin Rule has worked at the intersection of technology and conflict resolution for the last two decades. He is CEO of, an online dispute resolution service provider in Silicon Valley, and a non-resident Fellow at the Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School. From 2003 to 2011, he served as eBay and PayPal's first director of Online Dispute Resolution, designing and implementing systems that now resolve more than 60 million disputes each year. Mr. Rule is the author of Online Dispute Resolution for Business, published by Jossey-Bass in September 2002. He has presented and trained around the world for organizations including the U.S. Department of State, UNCITRAL, the International Chamber of Commerce, and the CPR Institute for Dispute Resolution, as well as teaching at UMass-Amherst, Stanford, Southern Methodist University, and Hastings College of the Law. He has written and been interviewed extensively about the Internet since 1999, with columns and articles appearing in ACResolution, Consensus, Dispute Resolution Magazine, and Peace Review. He holds a master's degree from Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government in conflict resolution and technology, a B.A. in peace studies from Haverford College, and he served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Eritrea from 1995-1997.

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