What is a high conflict personality?
High Conflict Personality (HCP) is a psychological personality disorder. People with HCP tend to initiate and get satisfaction from conflict with others. In fact, they think of conflict as normal and expected in everyday life and approach situations as the “victim” — escalating conversations and chronically blaming others. They have little or no insight into their destructive behavior and feel easily threatened by people and situations that do not align with their beliefs or interpretations of the world.
Standard conflict resolution solutions will work with 90% of the population. But the other 10%—HCPs? These types of people require advanced conflict resolution skills that keep you in clear and in control.
We specialize in teaching our students, audiences, and clients how to understand the predictable behaviors of HCPs so they can confidently impact the most volatile (sometimes dangerous) situations—to protect others without skyrocketing their stress.
Careers that often encounter HCPs:
Lawyers & Judges
Bill Eddy, LCSW, Esq.
Bill Eddy is a lawyer, therapist, mediator, best-selling author, and the co-founder and training director of the High Conflict Institute. He pioneered the High Conflict Personality Theory (HCP Theory) and has become an international expert on managing disputes involving high conflict personalities and personality disorders. He provides training to lawyers, judges, mediators, managers, human resource professionals, businesspersons, healthcare administrators, college administrators, homeowners’ association managers, ombudspersons, law enforcement, therapists and others. He has been a speaker and trainer in over 30 U.S. states and 10 countries.
Megan Hunter, MBA
Co-founder Megan Hunter is a speaker, author, and international expert on high-conflict disputes, complicated relationships, and Borderline Personality Disorder. She has over 13 years experience as the Family Law Specialist with the Arizona Supreme Court, and Child Support Manager of the Dawes County Attorney’s Office in Nebraska. She is CEO of Unhooked Media, a U.S.-based media company focused on relationship and conflict revolution through print, digital and the spoken word. She is publisher at High Conflict Institute Press and its imprint Unhooked Books. She is a frequent guest on Sirius XM Satellite's The Doctor Show (psychiatry).
Meet our team of high conflict resolution experts:
L. GEORGI DISTEFANO, LCSW
Georgi is a best-selling author, international speaker, Licensed Clinical Social Worker, and the recipient the Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Association of Social Workers San Diego chapter. She has extensive experience in the management of substance abuse programs and employee assistance programs, as well as workplace conflict resolution. She is the former Executive/Clinical Director of the Center for Alcohol and Drug Studies and Services for the San Diego State University Research Foundation, managing a budget of $3.7 million with over 3,000 active clients. In the past, she has managed the Employee Assistance Program for Kaiser Permanente hospital system in San Diego, CA and was the coordinator of the Critical Incident Team and worked with the Threat Management Committee.
Georgi specializes in management consultation and executive coaching, in addition to seminars on managing high conflict people in the workplace, healthcare, substance abuse programs and other settings.
JOHN EDWARDS, JD
John began practicing law as a civil litigator in 1977 and started his mediation practice in 2004. In 2015 he became a full-time mediator with West Coast Resolution Group in San Diego, California. He handles real estate matters, professional malpractice, personal injury, employment, probate and business disputes, but his true specialty is dealing with “high conflict” personalities. John’s experience, training and insight provide him with a foundation that enables him to successfully work with high conflict personalities and mediate cases in which the legal issues are not what drive the conflict.
John earned his J.D. from the University of San Diego Law School and received his mediation training at Harvard Law School. He is an in-demand presenter with the High Conflict Institute and co-taught the Psychology of Conflict with Bill Eddy at the Strauss Institute at Pepperdine University where he is an adjunct professor. He frequently guest lectures at California Western Law School and Thomas Jefferson Law School. John also has taught both Introduction to Mediation training and Advanced Mediation training at the National Conflict Resolution Center and has participated as a panelist in numerous continuing legal education seminars.
ANDREA LAROCHELLE, RFM
Andrea is an author, trainer, and speaker with the High Conflict Institute and serves on the board of the Alberta Family Mediation Society. She is a high conflict co-parenting expert and a registered mediator with over fifteen years experience helping families through the challenges of separation and divorce. She teaches co-parenting communication and guides parents to manage conflict more effectively, so their kids can focus on being kids.
Andrea’s published books include: The High-Conflict Co-Parenting Survival Guide; I’m Done!: Take Control of Your High Conflict Divorce; and the Goodbye Bugs children's series (Goodbye Angry Bugs, Goodbye Teary Bugs, and Goodbye Worry Bugs).
TRACEY LIPP, MSW, RSW
Tracey Lipp is a registered Clinical Social Worker with over 25 years of experience working in children’s mental health, developmental services, child welfare, community development and alternative dispute resolution.
As a private practitioner since 2011, Tracey offers individual, couple and family counseling, New Ways for Families Counseling/Coaching, mediation, parenting coordination and consultation and training through her Parent Partner Services.
Tracey has become recognized as a leader in High Conflict Custody and Access matters in the London and Middlesex community. As a Co-chair of the London and Middlesex High Conflict Forum she is actively involved in research, community collaboration and consultation. Tracey offers training in the New Ways for Families program through the High Conflict Institute and has developed and provides training to Children’s Aid Societies and community mental health agencies on working with families experiencing a high conflict custody and access matter.
MICHAEL LOMAX, JD
Michael is a lawyer by profession and a highly experienced mediator/conflict resolution trainer who has helped many individuals, corporations, and government agencies learn how to manage high conflict personalities.
He has conducted hundreds of mediations including family, workplace, multi-party, and court related matters. He also has significant experience leading the design and implementation of workplace conflict management programs for large organizations including serving as the director of a Canadian federal government mediation center, where he supervised a team of mediators and conflict resolution trainers. Michael has designed and delivered many conflict resolution trainings for government, corporations, military and law enforcement agencies, human resources and union organizations.
DEBORAH LYONS, PhD
Deborah is a psychologist with over 30 years experience in the mental health field. For over 20 of those years she has maintained a private practice in Austin, Texas. She specializes in collaborative divorce, parenting coordination, school psychology, and complex high-conflict divorce cases. She holds dual licensure in Texas as both a Licensed Psychologist and a Licensed Specialist in School Psychology. Fluent in American Sign Language, she provides outpatient psychotherapeutic services to both hearing and deaf children, adolescents and adults, as well as psychological and neuropsychological evaluations, and consults with school districts across the state of Texas.
Deborah has been an Adjunct Instructor within the Psychiatry Residency Training Program at the Austin State Hospital/Seton Shoal Creek Hospital since 2001, and previously taught undergraduate Developmental Psychology at Auburn University. She’s mentored, trained, and worked alongside Bill Eddy since 2007.
Regina Schnell has been a senior human resource leader, trainer, facilitator, certified mediator, and career coach for over 20 years. She specializes in effective workplace conflict resolution by introducing instrumental processes that prevent and mitigate organizational risk. To enhance workplace productivity, efficiencies, and to ensure peak performance, Regina works with individuals and cross-functional, departmental, and organizational employee groups to combine individual talents and strengths to create high performing teams.
She has worked in non-profit, academic and research, multicultural and competitive environments, and has successfully worked through and resolved a number of complex workplace matters which led her to open her own practice, Workplace Symphonies.
SHAWN SKILLIN, Esq.
Shawn Skillin is a family law attorney, family law mediator, mediation trainer, and speaker. She has worked with Bill Eddy since 2002 and has been the beneficiary of his theories for many years, putting them to use in her own practice on a regular basis. Now a member of the HCI faculty, Shawn has been trained in New Ways for Families, New Ways for Mediation, and New Ways for Work. Shawn is a popular speaker, trainer, and educational consultant for HCI.
Shawn became a member of the National Conflict Resolution Center Family Law Mediation panel in 2002, where along with Bill Eddy, she is now a senior mediator on the panel. She has successfully mediated hundreds of family law cases since then. Prior to attending law school, Shawn was a registered nurse, specializing in Surgical Intensive Care and Trauma Resuscitation. Her unique blend of education and professional work has given her a wealth of practical experience in working with families in crisis.
TANIA SOURDIN, PROFESSOR
Professor Tania Sourdin is the Dean of the University of Newcastle Law School and was previously the Foundation Chair and Director of the Australian Centre for Justice Innovation (ACJI) at Monash University in Australia. She has led national research projects and produced important recommendations for ADR and justice reform. In the past two decades, she has conducted qualitative and quantitative research projects into aspects of the dispute resolution and justice system systems in 12 Courts and Tribunals and six external dispute resolution schemes. Other research has focused on justice innovation, technology, delay and systemic reforms. Her work outside Australia has included various international consultancies as an expert in relation to justice reform.
Professor Sourdin is the author of a number of books, articles and papers, and has published and presented widely on a range of topics including ADR, justice innovation, justice issues, mediation, conflict resolution, collaborative law, artificial intelligence, technology and organizational change.
She has retained a practice focus and has worked for more than 30 years as a lawyer, 20 years in various senior part time tribunal positions and has since 2014 been the NBN industry dispute resolution advisor.
LOUISE VANDENBOSCH, MSW, RSW
Louise is a registered social worker and accredited family mediator based in London, Ontario, Canada who has been working with families in a variety of settings for over 30 years. She has worked in the areas of adult mental health, children’s mental health, adult and children’s developmental services, system navigation of services, community social work, and alternative dispute resolution. Louise has also worked alongside public health, Children’s Aid Societies and other community agencies. She has a solid and nuanced understanding of the challenges facing families and the services that are available and best-suited for each family’s circumstances.
Louise mediates all matters related to parenting, including decision-making, schedules, and issues related to children’s specific care needs. She is skilled at helping separating couples who have experienced conflict to reach workable, child-focused agreements with respect to their children. Louise is able to support and assist families as they have difficult but necessary conversations. Louise is trained in using the New Ways for Families® method in mediation. Louise also mediates parent-teen conflict, grandparent-parent conflict, and other challenges encountered in contemporary family life.