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<xTITLE>Use of music in conflict resolution: Some pieces of the "how to" and "why" puzzles</xTITLE>

Use of music in conflict resolution: Some pieces of the "how to" and "why" puzzles

by Stephanie West Allen
December 2008

From Stephanie West Allen's blog on Neuroscience and conflict resolution.

Stephanie West Allen

B17paul685 Over the last many months, I have been researching the appropriate and beneficial use of music in mediation and other negotiations. If you have been reading this blog for a while, you may recall that I have mentioned before the idea of using music in conflict resolution. And sometimes I mention the possibilities when I give presentations. The idea has been in my head for years.

We know that music can have a very powerful effect on us. A very long time ago, Plato said, "Rhythm and harmony find their way into the inner places of the soul." Today we are learning how music affects the brain. I have for you a video with a good overview of what we know about the brain-music connection. Take a look at this video of one of the top researchers in the field Dr. Aniruddh Patel talking about what music teaches us about the brain and what the brain reveals about music. If you view "Music and the Mind," perhaps you will see why I think music has this dispute resolution potential.

The video is about 50 minutes long and not only informative but also entertaining. I recommend that you watch.

Because music can be so potent and tastes are so individual, the use of music with clients is not a simple matter. That is why I have been doing the research and communicating with experts. I am happy to report that this questioning process has been extremely compelling and nothing short of fascinating.

Next step in my research: Reading Patel's book Music, Language, and the Brain.


Stephanie West Allen, JD, practiced law in California for several years, held offices in local bar associations, and wrote chapters for California Continuing Education of the Bar. While in CA, Stephanie completed several five-day mediation training programs with the Center for Mediation in Law, as well as a two-year intensive with Center co-founder Gary Friedman. She has been a mediator for over two and one-half decades.

She is the author of Triversity Fantasy — Seven Keys To Unlock Prejudice, Creating Your Own Funeral or Memorial Service: A Workbook and many articles on workplace and professional issues for such publications as Lawyer Hiring and Training Report, Colorado Nurse, The Complete Lawyer, National Law Journal, Of Counsel, Law Practice and Denver Business Journal.

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