2014: New Skills for Peace - in Families and in the World!

© 2014 By Bill Eddy, LCSW, Esq.

Happy New Year from High Conflict Institute! We are now 7 years old and continuing to learn, to develop new methods for dispute resolvers, to teach these methods and to grow. We have 7 speakers, 2 Program Directors and support staff. This year brings a new emphasis on providing video trainings, as well as continuing our in-person seminars, consultations, books and articles. To see our list of video trainings, visit our Video Training on Demand page.

New Ways for Mediation

This year we will be rolling out our new approach to mediation which emphasizes teaching simple skills for clients – especially high-conflict clients – to play a bigger role in making decisions in mediation that last. This is all shown on video, with a seminar and 3-hour demonstration mediation [see our Video On Demand page]. It’s also available as a 1-hour demonstration for clients and professionals titled: “Is Divorce Mediation for You?”

New Ways for Mediation includes several paradigm shifts: eliminating opening statements and most “storytelling” about past behavior; teaching clients to ask questions, more than answering our questions; teaching clients to be more responsible for making agendas and raising issues; teaching clients to make proposals and how to respond to proposals; and teaching clients how to refine their decisions so that they are enforceable and lasting.

The New Ways for Mediation method is available as a full Video Training On Demand set (75-minute seminar plus 3-hour demonstration). It is also presented as a Webinar in two parts (90 minutes each) in January (Explanation of Method) and February (Demonstration and Commentary). The Webinar includes excerpts from the full Video Training, plus Webinar commentary. The Webinar trainings will be available from our website beginning January 15th.

New Ways for Families®

Interest has grown in this method, which we developed and began teaching in 2009 in San Diego. We now have very positive research results from two family court jurisdictions in Alberta, Canada, showing a high rate of out-of-court divorce settlements for high-conflict families – as well as more peace in these families for solving future problems, including fewer calls to the police, better sleep for the children and more contact by the children with both parents. Read the full New Ways for Families Social Return on Investment Report from Alberta.

We also trained a new set of counselors and lawyers in 3 counties in the Austin, Texas area, where judges are ordering cases on a regular basis into New Ways for Families. A family court system in Montana is applying our Pre-Mediation Coaching method online and studying it in 2014, to see if parents are more able to settle their cases in mediation after the online training. And we have joined forces for 2014 with Online Parenting Programs to develop a 12-session Co-Parenting course (emphasizing high-conflict issues) and 12-session Parent-Child course, both emphasizing the “4 Big Skills” of New Ways for Families. We finally decided to present our skills training online – in addition to the counselor and lawyer-based skills training of our full New Ways for Families method – because of research results showing that the interactive nature of online education can be equally as successful as parenting classes in person. For more information, go to OnlineParentingPrograms.com starting in February.

New Ways for Work

We began training for this new method in 2013, and expect to roll out a set of Workbook and Coaching Manual materials by Fall 2014. This method teaches “personal skills for productive relationships” in a series of coaching sessions to employees who may be facing discipline for high-conflict behavior in the workplace or who may simply want to strengthen their interpersonal skills to advance in the organization. We also have been training managers, dispute resolvers and others in the C.A.R.S. Method (Connecting, Analyzing, Responding and Setting limits), which is a coaching method for those dealing with other people’s high-conflict behavior. We provide 2-day trainings in both of these methods (New Ways for Work for coaching employees and C.A.R.S. for coaching managers), as well as a 3-day training in those two methods plus New Ways for Mediation of workplace disputes.

The World 

As we see the news starting off the New Year, it is clear that there is a need for more conflict resolution skills on a large scale. Many world leaders, congress members and terrorists see solutions as “all-or-nothing” and “my way is the only right way.” In the past, wars and revolutions were brief and new hierarchies were established which were generally accepted – with dire consequences if you spoke out or resisted. As we learn to live in a larger world, and as we learn that democracies are the better way to go, there is a need for newer and more widespread conflict resolution skills for sharing the planet rather than dominating it.

Our readership is mostly individuals and professional dispute resolvers dedicated to peaceful conflict resolution. We hope that you and those you work with will spread your knowledge widely in 2014. The world needs us all!

Bill Eddy is a lawyer, therapist, and mediator. He is the co-founder and Training Director of the High Conflict Institute, a training and consultation firm that trains professionals to deal with high conflict people and situations. He is the author of several books and methods for handling high conflict personalities and high conflict disputes with the most difficult people.