New Ways for Mediation: More Structure, More Skills and Less Stress for Potentially High-Conflict Cases is a 75-minute training seminar plus 3-hour demonstration for professionals who conduct mediations, particularly those who may potentially be or become high-conflict. [4-disc set]
Potentially high-conflict cases benefit from a more tightly-structured and controlled mediation process. This approach emphasizes the role of the mediator as “guide” – much more directive about the process and much less directive about the actual decisions the parties should make. The mediator provides a few simple skills for the parties to repeatedly apply in more actively asking questions, gathering information and making proposals, while the mediator more actively provides education and options for the parties to consider.
Storytelling about past behavior is stopped and discussions of emotional issues are firmly discouraged, based on the belief that these issues are irresolvable for people with potentially high-conflict personalities and simply reinforce their intransigence. However, throughout this process, the mediator demonstrates empathy, respect and neutrality for both parties, despite angry outbursts, surprise events, tears and rigid positions. The intended result is that the parties have less need to defend themselves, work harder at finding solutions, and are more committed to their own decisions.
This 3-hour demonstration comes with an index to easily locate specific issues and the handling of controversies.
The seminar without demonstration is available by clicking here.
“Bill Eddy translates his vast knowledge into simple understandable language and concepts. This visual DVD demonstration will accelerate the competence and practice building of mediators and collaborative professionals on all levels and give clients an invaluable preview of how to successfully navigate their own divorce.”
- Forrest (Woody) Mosten, Mediator and Collaborative Lawyer, Los Angeles, CA, USA
“In his New Ways for Mediation DVD set, Bill Eddy provides some unique tools and a more directive approach to help those whose level of conflict might otherwise impair their capacity to participate in a more facilitative form of mediation. By narrowing the level of expected participation of those highly conflictual individuals to a level that is tolerable to them, they can reach settlements in their divorces. The easy-to-use tools should help mediators increase their rates of success in such mediations.”
J. Mark Weiss, Collaborative law attorney and mediator, Seattle, WA, USA
“Bill Eddy has created a must-have DVD set for all mediators. What makes New Ways for Mediation so valuable is that it gives the mediator simple, yet powerful skills they can easily implement, but also that the parties can use for themselves. Bill demonstrates a highly structured mediation process model that helps high conflict clients stay focused on solving their own disputes. I use the New Ways for Mediation approach and skills every day in my mediation practice and as a result I am much more effective and confident in my work with high conflict parties.”
Michael Lomax, Family Lawyer, Mediator and Collaborative Practitioner, Victoria, BC, Canada
“The New Ways for Mediation DVD set offers a rare opportunity to observe the types of dynamics and emotions that can be present in mediations, and to gain insight into the skills and approaches that can be beneficially used when dealing with high conflict situations. Whilst the material focuses on divorce mediation, there are many ways in which the approaches can be applied in other contexts. Bill Eddy’s seminar introduces ways of understanding how people’s different personalities and reactions to conflict may impact on their ability to work through issues, and outlines an approach to mediation that can assist in promoting access and participation in mediation processes for people who not otherwise be able to gain the benefits from these alternatives to litigation.”
Lynne Coulson-Barr, NMAS accredited dispute resolution practitioner, Melbourne, Australia
“The techniques Bill Eddy teaches in “New Ways for Mediation®” make perfect sense. Psychologists have long recognized the importance of structure and focus when working with individuals with personality disorders. It is also well-recognized within the psychological community that individuals learn new behavior through conscious or unconscious imitation and therefore it is essential that the mediator model the behavior they would like imitated. Bill also explains the importance of connecting with those in conflict and teaches how to accomplish that through attention, empathy and respect. The final piece of the puzzle is the mediator’s role in providing information and otherwise educating those in conflict regarding their choices and possible consequences. By designing a process that incorporates all of these concepts, Bill significantly increases the likelihood of successfully mediating high conflict cases.”
Mark Baer, Family Law Attorney/Mediator/Collaborative Law Practitioner, Pasadena, CA, USA
“I highly recommend “New Ways for Mediation” video program by Bill Eddy to family law mediators and collaborative professionals. The video provides excellent practice tools that allow the mediator to develop and enhance his or her mediation skills and provides a great demonstration of an actual live divorce mediation.
The mediation protocol that Bill Eddy demonstrates in the video program is divided into two main parts; the first part is how he prepares the client for the mediation, or as he calls it “Pre-Mediation Coaching” and the second part addresses working with the clients through a series of actual mediation sessions. In Pre-Mediation Coaching the mediator will meet separately with each party. In this portion of the video we see how he effectively advises clients to “Check Yourself” by remembering four important ideas: 1) Manage Emotions, 2) Flexible Thinking, 3) Moderate Behaviors, 4) Check in with yourself. This is similar to his New Ways for Families protocol and is equally as helpful to the divorce mediation client. At this early stage of the mediation process he offers helpful modeling of mediator statements such as:
“How do you think he/she will act when we discuss this issue?”
“What will your proposal be about that”
“Is this something you would feel comfortable raising in the mediation?”
“I am a source of information – what others have done, basic legal standards. I give general information not advice.”
This initial pre-mediation coaching portion of the video demonstrates how the mediator can establish trust and rapport with the client as well as with the process. Many valuable mediator practice tools are provided in this part of the video.
In the second section, the video demonstrates how Bill Eddy introduces the client to the five areas of decision making: Parenting Plan, Child Support, Spousal Support, Property Division and When to File the Petition. He has the couple choose the order or make an agenda regarding the sequence in which they would like to approach the five areas.
One “tool” that he incorporates in his process is to have the spouses make proposals to each other and suggest that the other spouse respond with “yes” “no” or “I’ll think about it.” He teaches couples how to turn proposals into decisions. This proposal and response process is effective in keeping the couple focused on decision making instead of arguing. Other highlights include: explaining to the parties that while mediators may be a source of information, i.e. provide examples about what other couples have done, or to provide basic legal standards, the mediator does not have to be persuaded about anything. Whether he is working with the couple to resolve a parenting issue, discussing support or property division, he emphasizes that he is providing the couple information so that they can make “informed decisions.” He lets them know that while he manages the process, it is the parties who will make the decisions.
He models for the clients how sometimes problems and issues between the parties can be solved simply by getting more information. The video includes a session where he was working with the couple to come up with a parenting schedule. In this case, the wife communicated her belief that her husband had a drinking problem and therefore she did not think it was safe for her son to spend extended time with his father. This became a non-issue at a subsequent session because at the mediator’s suggestion, the husband agreed to be evaluated by an expert for his alleged “drinking problem.” The mediator suggested that by meeting with an expert who could assess the situation the parties could obtain an expert assessment and that instead of arguing about whether Dad had a drinking problem, the couple simply got an expert’s opinion on the issue. They both agreed to accept the expert’s opinion as to whether father’s drinking was cause for concern and once it was determined that father’s drinking should not be of concern in shaping a parenting plan, the parties were able to agree on a parenting schedule.
There are a number of other excellent and illustrative examples throughout the video of how couples start in a polarized position and then through the use of the mediator’s “tool box” the parties move towards agreement and ultimately resolve all the issues in their case.
The New Ways for Mediation video is another gem from Bill Eddy’s many valuable resources.”
Terri Breer, J.D., Orange County, CA, USA
About the Author:
Bill Eddy is a therapist (Licensed Clinical Social Worker) and a lawyer (Certified Family Law Specialist), and has been practicing family mediation for approximately 30 years. He is a Founding Board Member of the Academy of Professional Family Mediators and the Senior Family Mediator at the National Conflict Resolution Center based in San Diego, California.
He is also the author of several books including High Conflict People in Legal Disputes and Splitting: Protecting Yourself While Divorcing Someone with Borderline or Narcissistic Personality Disorder. He is the President of the High Conflict Institute, which provides training in the New Ways for Mediation method and other programs for managing high-conflict personalities in many settings.