Barbara Ashley Phillips

Barbara Ashley Phillips

Barbara Phillips has 19 years of widely varied mediation experience, specializing in complex, technical and sensitive matters. A graduate of Yale Law School, Phillips served as an Assistant United States Attorney and practiced primarily federal civil trial law in Oregon and California prior to becoming a mediator. In Phillips' mediations, parties have successfully resolved sensitive issues such as sexual harassment, discrimination, wrongful termination, environmental issues, personal injury, property damage, partnership disputes and marital property matters. Parties have also achieved resolution in a wide spectrum of practical and technical issues, including all kinds of construction disputes, design and development of computer chips, design and construction of manufacturing facilities, dam construction both for hydro and flood control, toxic torts, insurance coverage, computer software development and licensing agreements, product liability cases, securities fraud, lender liability and collection matters, class actions, medical malpractice, realtor malpractice and legal malpractice and aviation cases.

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Articles and Video:

The Gift of Innocence - Part 1 of Revisiting Guilt and Innocence (10/01/07)
In this issue we're going to explore the dynamics of guilt and innocence and learn how each can be constructive, as well as destructive. These two are major features of conflict situations. To really get the flavor of this, we begin with ourselves, for this is powerful material and benefits greatly from aging within us. By reckoning with the conflicting currents within ourselves, we grow our understanding and at the same time build our effectiveness with others. Once again, we get to re-examine long-held beliefs and assumptions and decide what is worth keeping and what is worth releasing.

The Art of Open Silence & 10 Ways to Apply It (05/01/06)
In a previous article I talked about the Orders of Silence - and how you can bring yourself into a stillness in silence that creates a feeling of openness and spaciousness for yourself and others. In this article, we are looking at the applications of open silence.

Reading For Stretch (11/07/05)
Here's to open minds and open hearts. Let your reading and ruminating integrate greater recognition of newer, more creative, more life-serving possibilities. The more mediation gets institutionalized and formalized, the more difficult it is to think beyond present formulations. The sooner we start getting serious about nurturing our own personal growing edge, the better. Enjoy looking for ways old thinking creeps into your own daily life and work, and letting that go. It's up to us.

Goodness in Guilt - Part 2 of Revisiting Guilt and Innocence (09/12/05)
Not infrequently, coaches, facilitators and conflict resolvers must deal with people stuck in guilt. We feel guilty for a variety of reasons, some internal and some external. 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.

Finding Coherence In Criticism (05/17/05)
What seems now more and more obvious is how much gold there is in criticism that comes from others - even when it is motivated by a distorted sense of self-interest. Little else has done as much to reveal to me how I am being in the moment, and to help me be clearer, kinder and more effective. I've seen time and again how when criticism is well-received, it contributes to a coherence in my relationships. It is as if a weight comes off, that I had not known was there.

Silence (12/06/04)
Much of our lives are lived in a world where culturally speaking, it is generally not okay to say what we think, to share what we know, to be who we are. We approach such a world at arms length, using long antennae to ferret out what is expected or desired of us. In this way, we make our experience of the world about ourselves - always measuring how something will affect us and calculating advantages and disadvantages to ourselves. This is exhausting and under the strain, we generally feel unappreciated and unloved. For many, this drives us into an uncomfortable silence.

Goodness in Guilt (08/09/04)
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.

Words Of Power (07/12/04)
What is it that gives words power? When you say, "no," do you find yourself repeating it again and again, knowing inside of its weakness? When someone has said "no" to you, how have you received it? You discover much about the base for words by letting them work inside of you.

Leading From Any Chair (04/06/04)
You’re sitting in a meeting that’s going nowhere. You’ve heard all the speeches before. You could have written from memory the script that is being played out. You heartily wish you were somewhere else.

New Discoveries In Heart Mind (01/05/04)
Let me share a bit of what we've been learning concerning the heart and mind. The nearest thing to magic is being in our own heart space. Students are reporting quite lovely experiences happening unexpectedly in their lives, as they take up the new tools used in the programs, which serve to integrate heart, body and mind. Resting in the awareness awakened with the tools seems to offer a kind of inherent peace-making quality that affects oneself and others in a variety of situations.

A Perspective On Difficult People (12/01/03)
Many are concerned from time to time about dealing with difficult people. Ever since my days in the San Francisco United States Attorney's office (where word was that I seemed to run the "crazies" department in the Tax Section), I've been fascinated with difficult people - finding most often that the real difficult person is me. Here are some highlights of the program Mediating with Difficult People presented to the Seattle Area Federal Executive Board ADR Consortium.

A Story Of Three Brothers (08/04/03)
Lately, I have come to believe that we in the field have been thinking way too small. We've been thinking that it was enough to resolve disputes, particularly if it is done in whatever is our way of doing that. I am now coming to see mediation as part of a broad spectrum of collaborative processes.

The Big Secret, excerpt from Finding Common Ground, A Field Guide to Mediation (12/20/99)
The secret is that whatever your dispute, it's very likely to settle. Ninety percent of disputes never reach the courts. Nearly ninety-five percent of those that do, resolve without ever going to trial. This suggests that Americans are passionately determined to resolve their own disputes -- despite the biggest and most costly lawsuit industry in the world.

Mediation: Did We Get It Wrong? (11/14/99)
This article explores models for integration of mediation and related dispute resolution tools with the work of courts and other dispute-managing institutions. It explores the roots, nature and role of mediation and examines several examples of building a highly fruitful relationship with mediation, notably the construction industry experience and the Florida experience.