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Washington Post: Congress Needs Mediation

by Jeff Thompson
June 2010

From Jeff Thompson's Enjoy Mediation Blog

Jeff Thompson

In today's Washington Post, L. Michael Hager writes about the ever present disfunction of Congress and it it could help if it had a service where a third party neutral helps each party identify the issues and then explore possible solutions which meet, at least partially, each of their needs. He or she helps them make their own decision to determine what is best for them- given the situation.

From the article:

The major challenge of governance these days lies with Congress -- where stalemate is causing some members to flee in frustration. The United States faces many issues that require thoughtful, vibrant leadership. Yet Congress has an approval rating below 25 percent, and a troubling amount of anger (and sometimes violence) increasingly accompanies the articulation of political differences.

...Both Republicans and Democrats need help reaching across the aisle to engage in meaningful debate and to turn bills into sound laws.

...The pathway that individuals use to reach a decision is often as important as the decision itself. The methodology can spell the difference between a good decision and a poor one -- or between one that succeeds and one that fails. Wise process can determine the sustainability of a decision, while poor process can sow the seeds of reversal.

....What if Congress were to establish a politically neutral service for legislative mediation, organized along the lines of the Congressional Budget Office?

Is it possible to develop a more constructive way for Congress to engage in discussion?

Read the full article [here].

Biography


Jeff Thompson, Ph.D., is a professor at Lipscomb University, researcher, mediator, and trainer. He is also involved in crisis and hostage negotiation as well as a law enforcement detective. His research includes law enforcement crisis and hostage negotiation in terrorist incidents. He received his doctorate from Griffith University Law School having researched the impact nonverbal communication has in conflict situations with respect to developing rapport, building trust, and displaying professionalism.

Dr. Thompson has presented and trained on the topic of conflict, mediation, (crisis and hostage) negotiation, communication and nonverbal communication internationally for a variety of audiences including police personnel, government officials, judges, attorneys, physicians, sales people, business professionals, and both graduate and undergraduate students. He has also been published in numerous professional and academic publications.

He is the co-chair of ACR's national Crisis Negotiation Section, and he is an ad-hoc reviewer for multiple academic journals. He received his MS in Negotiation and Dispute Resolution from the Werner Institute, Creighton University School of Law.

(All posts by Jeff Thompson represent his personal reflections and opinions and not that of any organization.)



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