New Ways For Mediation: A New Method for Potentially High Conflict Cases

New Ways For Mediation: A New Method for Potentially High Conflict Cases

© 2014 by Bill Eddy


High-conflict people are increasing in society and increasingly participating in mediation. New Ways for Mediation is a simple, but tightly-structured process for mediating any potentially high-conflict dispute. It focuses on the teaching and reinforcement of simple skills for the clients to use throughout the 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. It is a very client-centered approach. It was developed by Bill Eddy, President of the High Conflict Institute, which also developed the New Ways for Families method for teaching parents skills in potentially high-conflict divorce cases. New Ways for Mediation can be used in any type of mediation, not just family mediations.


The mediator provides a few simple skills for the parties to repeatedly apply with them more actively asking questions, setting their agenda, gathering information and making proposals, while the mediator more actively provides education and options for the parties to consider. Throughout the process, the parties are jointly making many little process decisions (which mediators usually make) to build momentum for jointly making big decisions.


Storytelling and opening statements about past behavior is stopped and redirected to stating “thoughts and questions” about the future decisions that need to be made. 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 calmly 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, they work harder at finding solutions, and they are more committed to their own decisions.


Bill Eddy developed the method, after practicing as a family mediator for over 30 years. He is also a therapist (Licensed Clinical Social Worker) and a lawyer (Certified Family Law Specialist) in California. He is the Senior Family Mediator at the National Conflict Resolution Center based in San Diego, California, and a Founding Board Member of the Academy of Professional Family Mediators. 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.


High Conflict Institute provides 1 and 2-day trainings in the New Ways for Mediation method and other programs for managing high-conflict disputes and personalities in many settings. In addition, there is a 4.25-hour training video available for learning the New Ways for Mediation method, which includes a 75-minute lecture and 3-hour demonstration. In addition, there is a 1-hour demonstration video titled Is Divorce Mediation for You? which can be used with any potential divorce mediation clients. For more information about the videos here. Our free 4-page New Ways for Mediation article explains the method. For general information, go to:


Reviews of New Ways for Mediation training DVD set:

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


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….

Mark Baer, Family Law Attorney/Mediator/Collaborative Law Practitioner, Pasadena, CA


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….

Michael Lomax, Lawyer, Mediator and Collaborative Practitioner, Victoria, BC, Canada


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 a live divorce mediation….

Terri Breer, Attorney and Mediator, Irvine, CA


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….

Lynne Coulson-Barr, NMAS Accredited Dispute Resolution Practitioner, Melbourne, Australia


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…. 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.