Guest Blog – The Utility of E.A.R: To Mediation and Beyond

October 22, 2012

By Maria Buglar

I was first introduced to the concept of E.A.R. (Empathy, Attention and Respect) when I had the very great fortune of attending a workshop presented by Bill Eddy in Perth, Australia in 2008. As a psychologist and novice mediator I had become acutely aware that the majority of high conflict mediation involved clients with significant personality issues. My ability to successfully intervene was hindered consistently with rigidity, inflexibility, lack of empathy, egocentricity and, a glorious ability to dodge any responsibility for the problem OR resolving the problem!

Bill Eddy’s book, It’s All Your Fault, identified these highly conflicted, rigid and uncompromising clients as High Conflict Personalities (HCPs) and made the links between people living with a personality disorder and their experience with interpersonal conflict. This was incredibly liberating for my practice as I recognized the ability to move from facilitative dispute resolution to a conflict management model of practice.

The C.A.R.S. Method of conflict resolution incorporating E.A.R. and B.I.F.F. sounds like acronym heaven, however, the simplicity of these methods belies the powerful impact they have in the mediation room. When a HCP client feels heard (E.A.R) you can move mountains. When combined with simple practical tasks of creating lists (or ‘listing’ as I call it) to encourage left brain rationality, the mediator has an opportunity to deescalate the tension in the room, refocus to relevant issues and then start working toward solutions. It simply gets things moving forward.

Personality presents across a continuum of functionality. The beauty of the C.A.R.S., E.A.R. and B.I.F.F. interventions presented in the book is that, despite their utility with HCPs, they are also readily applied to client groups beyond mediation. Clients on the ASD spectrum, in particular, Asperger’s disorder, respond very well to E.A.R. The C.A.R.S. Method is easily adapted for relationship counseling communication strategies and left-right brain information is very relevant for anger and stress management clients.

We work with a variety of presenting clients and problems every day. To have the skills to work effectively and confidently may come down to the ‘tools in our toolbox.’ It’s All Your Fault, delivers simple powerful tools that work when it really matters; when our clients need it.


Maria Buglar

Maria Buglar is a psychologist with extensive experience in community and private sectors, supporting individuals and family systems through transitions and life challenges. In her private practice, Maria primarily supports clients experiencing depression, anxiety, trauma, grief and loss. She has also worked extensively within family law sectors and with highly conflicted court ordered families, dealing with significant challenges such as entrenched conflict, domestic violence, parental alienation and parent-child reunification.

Maria is an experienced mediator, clinical supervisor, certified trainer, and co-founder of Professional Development Queensland (PDQ).  As a consultant to the Queensland Police Service, Maria assisted in the drafting of domestic violence training programs, and regularly conducts workplace training to a variety of non-government agencies and workers across the state.

Maria is also currently coordinating a family law professional’s network supporting over 530 industry professionals with legislative information, professional development and social networking opportunities.




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