Dr. Richard Barbieri is a board member of the Association for Conflict Resolution and Managing Editor of the journal ACResolution. He is past president of the New England Association for Conflict Resolution and the Martha’s Vineyard Mediation Program.
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Thoughts on Addressing Racial Injustice
This work juxtaposes an announcement by AAA-ICDR with articles that promote dialogue to address racial: 1) Are We Ever Neutral? Should We Be? 2) Staying with Conflict - Election Edition: A Conflict Practitioner’s Lens on the US Election 3) What's the Right Thing to do When You are Really Angry About What's Happening in America?
Power as Role and Reality in Mediation
The most valuable lesson I learned from the book, and the teacher, was the importance of power in any discussion.
Out of Character? Maybe Not
The results of being pushed out of our character are numerous, and mostly bad. The outcome may be a wrecked mediation, or a more permanent wound in one of our core relationships.
The Election Wasn’t About What You Make, But About Who You Know
Two theories about conflict, and particularly about means of diminishing conflict, hold promise in understanding the election, though not necessarily in ameliorating the conflicts revealed there.
Borderlines: Neutrality on the Edges of Mediation
Mediators have Four Noble Truths, recited to each new set of parties we work with: “This process is Voluntary and Self-Determined; we are Neutral, and everything said here is Confidential.”
Listening to a Different Voice
Listening skills are vital to any mediator. Listening to children is an especially effective way to stretch ourselves by entering into another mental world.
The Future of Mediation: Changing the Default of Fault
Will the future of mediation be, as Woody Allen remarked, “much like the present, only longer”? Given what we know about human nature, systems, and the resistance of each to change, that’s perhaps the safest prediction. But it’s also a less than hopeful prognosis, because mediation has much to offer the future, far more than it has achieved at present.
Presenting Your Presentation: A Few Words
The passing of William Zinsser leads me to offer some suggestions on writing well in a specific context: applying to present at a professional conference, or seeking to attract participants to a workshop, based on over forty years of both writing and reviewing proposals.
The Police and the Public: A Mediator’s Reflections
In a society where media coverage and public concern shift rapidly from one headline to another, tension surrounding the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner seems to have exceptional durability and to be spilling into numerous venues, not least the conflict between New York’s police and its mayor. What insight can mediators offer as we seek to understand, and perhaps avoid, such escalating situations in the future?
Fear Comes to School: Mediating Among Parents Around Ebola
As medical personnel, emergency aid workers, and diplomatic personnel return to the U.S. from West Africa, schools must manage tensions between local families who are fearful for their own children, and parents who have been at the front lines attempting to stem the epidemic. What mediator strategies may prove useful?
Mediators, Transformed and Untransformed
The French have a wonderful term for a common phenomenon: déformation professionelle. Similar to the saying, “If your only tool is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail,” this phrase suggests that people see the world through the lens of their work. This article addresses that concern, and helps mediators to remember their clients are people that cannot fit into a mold.
A Song of Loss for Divorce Mediators
I was recently asked to give a presentation in an advanced seminar on Mediating with Families in Transition. I thought at first of the many film scenes that I have previously utilized, from the opening of Wedding Crashers to The War of the Roses. I then realized that most of my artistic experience of lost love comes through music, rather than film, and so I prepared a new presentation based on favorite songs about the effects of divorce.
Co-Mediation: Training Wheels or Obstacle Course?
Although many training programs and mediation groups start new mediators in pairs, the challenge of learning how to work with a partner may only lengthen the learning curve. Evidence from other fields suggests that group performance depends on first honing individual skills, and that pairs or other teams work best when both parties are already experienced.