The following excerpt comes from Bill Eddy’s book, BIFF: Quick Responses to High Conflict People.

HCPs (high-conflict people) appear to have traits associated with personality disorders, which include lack of self-awareness and lack of self-change. Personality disorders are a mental health diagnosis for problems that are part of someone’s personality, including seriously dysfunctional ways of thinking, handling their emotions, and behaving. People with these disorders are stuck in a narrow range of repeated behavior that prevents them from having satisfying relationships and keeps them highly distressed. Yet they are not aware of their own patterns and don’t try to change them. They tend to believe that their problems are caused by someone or something else.

Mental health professionals have been treating personality disorders for many decades and have identified several different types. However, only qualified mental health professionals can diagnose a personality disorder in someone, after careful consideration of many factors. One of the characteristics of a personality disorder is that people with such a disorder don’t recognize that they have it, because they lack self-awareness.

People around such a person often recognize that he or she has some kind of mental health problem, but it seems to come and go. People with personality disorders often do well some of the time, such as in school or in a job, but have a hard time in close relationships or dealing with people in authority positions. It’s often not obvious until you get close to the person and there is a conflict or a crisis.

Personality Disorders Appear To Be Increasing

Recent research suggests that more and more people are growing up with personality disorders. This may explain why there appears to be an increase in the number of high-conflict people. A recent study done by the National Institutes of Health between 2001 and 2005 suggests an increasing trend in the percentage of people who meet the criteria for a personality disorder. The researchers interviewed over 35,000 people, who were considered representative of the United States population. They analyzed the results by four age groups.

To read more, please click here to purchase a copy of BIFF. Or, you can buy a Kindle version at Amazon.com

 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 DisorderBIFF: Quick Responses to High Conflict People, Their Personal Attacks, Hostile Email and Social Media MeltdownsIt’s All Your Fault! 12 Tips for Managing People Who Blame Others for EverythingFor more information about Bill Eddy, please visit: www.HighConflictInstitute.com

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Imageby Bill Eddy, LCSW, CFLS;  Author of Managing High Conflict People in Court

Bill Eddy’s latest book addresses the difficulties and possible solutions to dealing with high-conflict parents in family court. Although written for judicial officers, anyone dealing with the family court can benefit from reading this book. Available in hard copy from HCI Press.

Parenting Coordinators
One of the ultimate solutions to removing high–conflict families from the Family Court adversarial process is to mostly remove the case from family court after the big decisions are made. Since high-conflict parents often return to court many times after the divorce is over, Parenting Coordinators are a valuable alternative for parents who still cannot make their own decisions. By ordering or encouraging the parents to stipulate to a Parenting Coordinator, they will have someone they can go to with petty complaints without incurring the cost of court and without the court having to deal with such petty matters.

Parenting Coordinators are usually trained mental health professionals or lawyers who have some degree of authority to resolve minor disputes between the parents. They can hear the parents on short notice and make decisions with little expense. Depending on the jurisdiction, Parenting Coordinators’ decisions are enforceable or are considered recommendations which the parents can challenge at court if they feel strongly enough about the decision.

Parenting Coordinators can also recommend or order further counseling, parenting classes and/or skills-building programs, to help them strengthen their own conflict resolution skills and parenting skills. Remember, with high-conflict parents, “the issue’s not the issue.” If they are primarily seeking validation, revenge, dominance, and so forth, they should do it outside of court as much as possible.

To read more of The Future of Family Court purchase your copy today, simply click here!

ImageHigh Conflict Institute provides training and consultations, as well and books, DVDs and CDs regarding dealing with High Conflict People (HCPs) in legal, workplace, educational, and healthcare disputes. Bill Eddy is the President of the High Conflict Institute and the author of It’s All Your Fault!, Splitting, BIFF: Quick Responses to High Conflict People, Their Hostile Emails, Personal Attacks and Social Media Meltdowns and Don’t Alienate the Kids! He is an author, attorney, mediator, and therapist. Bill has presented seminars to attorneys, judges, mediators, ombudspersons, human resource professionals, employee assistance professionals, managers, and administrators in 25 states, several provinces in Canada, France, Sweden, and Australia. For more information about High Conflict Institute, our seminars and consultations, Bill Eddy or to purchase a book, CD or DVD, visit: www.highconflictinstitute.com

ImageAbout Unhooked Books
unHooked Books is based in Scottsdale, Arizona, USA. We’re not just an online bookstore. I opened unHooked Books after seeing a need for one place for people to find the best and most current information available on personality disorders and borderline personality disorder in particular, living healthy, eating healthy, and managing your life. After 15 years in divorce and child support law in a county prosecutor’s office and the Arizona Supreme Court, I co-founded High Conflict Institute which helps people in high-conflict disputes of any kind. This bookstore stemmed from the needs of the people who contacted us out of desperation. Our books are written by people who are experts in their fields. I’ve personally met and worked with most of them, and those who I haven’t met, come highly recommended by those whom I have met. Enjoy perusing our bookstore and contact us with questions or comments. Thanks for stopping by! Megan Hunter unHooked Books megan@unhookedbooks.com

ImageThe 49th Annual Association of Family and Conciliation Courts Conference (AFCC) was another fantastic opportunity for Judges, Lawyers, Psychologists and Social Workers to get together to find clues about unraveling the puzzle of high conflict divorces. With this year’s theme “Attachment, Brain Science and Children of Divorce” a lot of research was presented pertaining to attachment.

Two things struck me from the conference. The first point was how lucky AFCC members are to have a forum for learning about the most up-to-date research and practices. The second point was despite all the work being done, that we have only begun to understand the complex dynamics of high conflict divorce and that research is desperately needed pertaining to interventions with high conflict families.

Unfortunately, even the best laboratory research may not generalize to the “real world” and people are so complex that no two families are alike.

My view of families is that they are stuck in a brick outhouse, and a ripe one at that. To explain this, each “brick” is a separate problem, whether the parents own issues from before the relationship, problems in the relationship, communication or problem solving weaknesses, extended family interference, mental illness, or a multitude of other possibilities. Solving issues in such high conflict families involves chipping away at one brick at a time while also teaching the family new skills and processes.

As professionals, we are obliged to keep up with the best possible knowledge of the day, while using “clinical judgment”, which is more of an art than a science, to meet the unique needs of each family we work with. The vast number of excellent programs emerging for working with high conflict divorces is both reassuring and overwhelming. Each program is a tool for the professional’s tool belt, and no one thing is, or ever will be, a cookie cutter solution for such families. This is one area where we do not have to worry about being replaced in the foreseeable future by computers and videos.

Even though professionals in the midst of divorce proceedings appear adversarial, including the mental health professionals at times, events such as the AFCC conference show that we are all on the same team – the one aimed and helping kids be their best.

About our Guest Blogger

ImageStephen Carter, Ph.D., is a Registered Psychologist based in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, specializing in counseling and assessments with adolescents and children, and assessments and interventions with divorcing families. He is the author of Family Restructuring Therapy, which is available for sale via unhookedbooks.com  This book is a “how to” manual for working with families in separation and divorce using an active, directive therapeutic process called Family Restructuring Therapy. This philosophy and effective process works well for the “normal” divorced family who need to learn new practices and patterns, and for the “high-conflict” family whose behavior patterns have become so maladaptive that the children’s well-being is at risk.

A valuable resource for mental health professionals, and also for lawyers and the Court when trying to decide what can be done with challenging parenting battles. It is clearly not a passive approach to counseling. If you’re tired of witnessing the damage that conflict has on children and want to engage in the highly satisfying work of helping parents communicate effectively and seeing children relieved of the burden of picking sides, devour this book and get to work!

To learn more about Dr. Carter, or to explore family counseling options, please visit www.familyrestructuring.ca or send him an email at carter@chvbv.ca.