FINAL_DSC_7171-819x1024Mediating divorce cases can be stressful and draining on the mediator. But what happens when a case shifts gears suddenly and becomes a classic “high-conflict” case in which tensions rise, and you quickly feel like you’ve lost control of the mediation and may not be able to rescue it.

What can you do?
Building structure within each basic mediation step
Step 1 : Signing the agreement to mediate
 spend more time bonding with clients during this stage
 establish that you will have tight control over the mediation process
 thoroughly explain the process and rules of communication
 let them know you’ll pay equal attention to their concerns and proposals
Step 2 : Making the agenda
 have clients raise the issues – not you
 emphasize that it is the parties’ dispute and decisions to be made, not the mediator
 encourage each party to look at and speak to the mediator instead of each other
Step 3 : Making Proposals
 begin the proposal process earlier than usual mediations, to keep highly intense emotions from taking over
 focus on understanding a proposal before allowing the other person to respond
 manage the process with a very direct approach, while not taking responsibility for the outcome
Step 4: Finalizing Your Agreements
 remain calm and remind yourself and the parties that you are responsible for the process, not the outcome
 remember that high-conflict cases may take twice as long to reach final agreement
solving and the other is focused on relationship defensiveness – this may cause them to go round and round several times before signing the agreement
It is possible to help parties in high-conflict cases reach agreement and develop solid parenting plans by using a highly-structured method like this new resource

New Ways for Mediation: More Structure, More Skills and Less Stress for Potentially High-Conflict Cases

Is Divorce Mediation for You?

 

About Unhooked Books
Unhooked Books is the one place for people to find the best and most current information and resources available on personality disorders, high-conflict personalities, divorce, parenting, co-parenting, living healthy, eating healthy, and managing your life. Founder & CEO, Megan Hunter, established one place for people in any type of relationship to find tools to enhance relationships, prevent relationship disaster and handle relationship transition. Her firm belief is that with just a little education, most people can resolve most relationship issues.

By Bill Eddy and Don Saposnek

On the first floor of the Capitol, there is a private dining room for senators, the “inner sanctum,” where Republicans and Democrats used to have lunch (at separate tables, but in the same room). In the seventies, old bulls such as James Eastland, Hubert Humphrey, and Jacob Javits held court there; later, Daniel Patrick Moynihan did. “You learned, and also you found out what was going on,” Dodd said, adding, “It’s awfully difficult to say crappy things about someone that you just had lunch with.”

These days, the inner sanctum is nearly always empty. Senators eat lunch in their respective caucus rooms with members of their party, or else “downtown,” which means asking donors for money over steak and potatoes at the Monocle or Charlie Palmer. The tradition of the “caucus lunch” was instituted by Republicans in the fifties, when they lost their majority; Democrats, after losing theirs in 1980, followed suit. Caucus lunches work members on both sides into a state of pep-rally fervor.

During one recent Republican lunch, Jim Bunning referred to Harry Reid as an idiot. “At least he had the courtesy to do it behind closed doors,” Alexander joked, adding, “We spend most of our time in team meetings deciding what we’re going to do to each other.”

In 2007, Alexander and Lieberman started a series of bipartisan Tuesday breakfasts. “They kind of dwindled off during the health-care debate,” Alexander said. Udall has tried to revive the Wednesday inner-sanctum lunch. For the first few months, only Democrats attended. Then, one Wednesday in May, Susan Collins, the Maine Republican, showed up, joking nervously about being a turncoat; to protect her reputation, her presence was kept secret.

These efforts at resurrecting dead customs are as self-conscious and, probably, as doomed as the get-togethers of lovers who try to stay friends after a breakup. Ira Shapiro, a Washington lawyer and a former aide to Senator Gaylord Nelson, of Wisconsin, put it this way: “Why would they want to have lunch together when they hate each other?” (Packer, 2010).

Who’s in charge here when children, and Senators, feel that they have to keep secrets to protect themselves from their high-conflict families? And, as the boy (in a previous section about high-conflict divorce) above said: “You would never know for sure who is closer to the truth than the other.” Doesn’t this fit many of today’s politicians?

About Bill Eddy
William A. (“Bill”) Eddy, L.C.S.W., J.D. is a family law attorney, therapist and mediator, with over thirty years’ experience working with children and families.  He is the Senior Family Mediator at the National Conflict Resolution Center in San Diego, California.  He is also the President of the High Conflict Institute, which provides speakers, trainers and consultants on the subject of managing high-conflict people in legal disputes, workplace disputes, healthcare and education.  He has taught Negotiation and Mediation at the University of San Diego School of Law and he teaches Psychology of Conflict at the Strauss Institute for Dispute Resolution at Pepperdine University School of Law.  He is the author of several books, including:

Splitting: Protecting Yourself While Divorcing Someone with Borderline or Narcissistic Personality Disorder

BIFF: Quick Responses to High Conflict People, Their Personal Attacks, Hostile Email and Social Media Meltdowns

It’s All Your Fault! 12 Tips for Managing People Who Blame Others for Everything

For more information about Bill Eddy, please visit: www.HighConflictInstitute.com.

About Don Saposnek
Donald T. Saposnek, Ph.D. is a clinical-child psychologist, child custody mediator and family therapist in private practice for over 40 years, and is a national and international trainer of mediation and child development.  For the past 35 years, he has been teaching on the psychology faculty at the University of California at Santa Cruz, and is Adjunct Professor at Pepperdine University School of Law’s Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution.  He is the author of the classic book, Mediating Child Custody Disputes and has published extensively in the professional literature on child custody and child psychology.  He serves on the editorial boards of the Family Court Review and Conflict Resolution Quarterly journals and is the editor of the international Academy of Professional Family Mediators’ The Professional Family Mediator.  As director of Family Mediation Service of Santa Cruz, he managed the family court services for 17 years and has mediated nearly 5,000 child custody disputes in both the public and private sectors since 1977. For more information about Don Saposnek, please visit: www.mediate.com/dsaposnek

ImageExperts see comparisons between current political tone and nasty divorce…with potentially dangerous consequences

Scottsdale, AZ – August 22, 2012 – Could the angry tone of the 2012 Presidential campaign be just the beginning of a dangerous trend of national incivility that will put America’s future at risk?

Yes, say family relations experts Bill Eddy and Don Saposnek, because what’s currently happening in the political arena is similar to what happens in nasty, high-conflict divorces.

In their new book, “Splitting America,” Eddy and Saposnek spell out the parallels between today’s political climate and the way couples act during ugly breakups.

The authors say the lack of respect, the “all-or-nothing” positions and other divisive actions by politicians are the same traits they deal with in family court.  And it’s not good for the country.

“Unfortunately, this is not a game,” they write.  “Voters suffer, and the nation suffers because of it–just as painfully as children suffer in high-conflict divorce.”

Eddy and Saposnek note that the kind of negative behavior we are seeing in politics increases conflict rather than reducing or resolving it.  What’s worse, it’s like a virus, infecting others who are exposed to it, leading the rest of us to act in the same manner.

And they warn this is only the beginning.

“Once the parties form hard positions on opposite ends of an issue and start name-calling the other, they tend to gather up supporters for their positions—and the “tribes” begin the warfare—a contagious effect that leads to escalation and polarization of conflict,” says Saposnek

The authors say that will not only make for nastier politics in the future, but for a nastier nation as well, breeding anger and even potential violence.  They fear it could have a devastating effect on our culture down the road.

But, Eddy and Saposnek add, there is hope if the country takes just a few simple steps; the same ones angry couples need to take to cool down a fiery divorce.

First, politicians — and citizens — must show respect to those with whom they disagree.  Personal attacks and negativity only divide us, while showing empathy and understanding helps bring the two sides together.

Second, we all need to respond calmly and appropriately to negative attacks.  An “eye-for-an-eye” mentality only escalates conflict, Eddy and Saposnek explain.

And finally, voters must elect leaders who reject the high-conflict political methods that cause division and anger.

“We need leaders who can listen; who can collaborate on solving problems; who treat everyone as important, not just those who already agree with them. Let’s elect those who have empathy for everyone, not just one group or party,” says Eddy.

Eddy and Saposnek say they hope their book will help change the destructive direction in which our country seems to be headed.  They want us to avoid the “nasty divorce” that would hurt our nation and strive instead to seek common ground and understanding.  After all, they point out, we are the American Family.

Splitting America is a must read for anyone who is disturbed by the current political situation.  Published by High Conflict Institute Press, $12.95 paperback, and digital format $9.99, Splitting America can be obtained through the following websites: www.hcipress.com,www.UnhookedBooks.comwww.Amazon.com

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About Bill Eddy
William A. (“Bill”) Eddy, L.C.S.W., J.D. is a family law attorney, therapist and mediator, with over thirty years’ experience working with children and families.  He is the Senior Family Mediator at the National Conflict Resolution Center in San Diego, California.  He is also the President of the High Conflict Institute, which provides speakers, trainers and consultants on the subject of managing high-conflict people in legal disputes, workplace disputes, healthcare and education.  He has taught Negotiation and Mediation at the University of San Diego School of Law and he teaches Psychology of Conflict at the Strauss Institute for Dispute Resolution at Pepperdine University School of Law.  He is the author of several books, including:

Splitting: Protecting Yourself While Divorcing Someone with Borderline or Narcissistic Personality Disorder

BIFF: Quick Responses to High Conflict People, Their Personal Attacks, Hostile Email and Social Media Meltdowns

It’s All Your Fault! 12 Tips for Managing People Who Blame Others for Everything

For more information about Bill Eddy, please visit: www.HighConflictInstitute.com.

About Don Saposnek
Donald T. Saposnek, Ph.D. is a clinical-child psychologist, child custody mediator and family therapist in private practice for over 40 years, and is a national and international trainer of mediation and child development.  For the past 35 years, he has been teaching on the psychology faculty at the University of California at Santa Cruz, and is Adjunct Professor at Pepperdine University School of Law’s Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution.  He is the author of the classic book, Mediating Child Custody Disputes and has published extensively in the professional literature on child custody and child psychology.  He serves on the editorial boards of the Family Court Review and Conflict Resolution Quarterly journals and is the editor of the international Academy of Professional Family Mediators’ The Professional Family Mediator.  As director of Family Mediation Service of Santa Cruz, he managed the family court services for 17 years and has mediated nearly 5,000 child custody disputes in both the public and private sectors since 1977. For more information about Don Saposnek, please visit: www.mediate.com/dsaposnek.

About HCI Press
HCI Press publishes books, CDs, and DVDs dedicated to helping people unhook from conflict and other problem life areas.

The Scottsdale, AZ based company publishes titles concerning handling high-conflict disputes in legal cases, divorce, mediation, workplace and neighbor disputes, and any other type of dispute. HCI Press offers several titles about the very specific area of high-conflict divorce and co-parenting.  They also publish titles designed to help professionals deal with the difficult populations they serve and resulting vicarious trauma and compassion fatigue.

HCI Press’ authors are professionals in the fields of law, mental health, psychology, mediation, and medicine.  To learn more about HCI Press, please visit: www.hcipress.com.

This press release was picked up by several major media outlets. Click the links to read their coverage.

Morningstar: http://news.morningstar.com/all/ViewNews.aspx?article=/GNW/10002861_univ.xml

WallStreet Select: http://investor.wallstreetselect.com/wss/news/read?GUID=22097834

Boston Globe:  http://finance.boston.com/boston/news/read/22097834/New_Book_Issues_Stern_Warning_to_America

CBS Money Watch: http://markets.cbsnews.com/cbsnews/news/read/22097834/New_Book_Issues_Stern_Warning_to_America