You’ll Need High-Conflict Training for 2017!

© 2017 Bill Eddy, LCSW, Esq. and Megan Hunter, MBA    

Happy New Year! As HCI begins its tenth year and Unhooked Books enters its sixth year, we want to share some of what we’ve learned about high-conflict cases and situations, and what we’re doing this coming year.

HIGH CONFLICT AROUND THE WORLD! High conflict people and the difficulties they cause are increasing throughout society and around the world. Our dozen trainers have now (or will have this year) given presentations and trainings in over 30 states, seven provinces in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, France, Sweden, Austria, England and South Africa. We have learned that the dynamics of high-conflict cases and situations are very similar around the world.

HANDLING THESE CASES IS NOT INTUITIVE! In family law and other legal disputes; in mediation or in court; in workplace, contracts, intellectual property, homeowners disputes; and in estate planning and probate, we have learned many techniques and developed many methods from our collective experiences, both positive and negative, which have been found to make an important difference. Over and over, people tell us that the methods we teach are often the opposite of what they have been doing and they are amazed at how much better their results have been. Here are five of the approaches we’re offering in the new year:

1.            YOU NEED CONSULTATION AND CONTINUING EDUCATION TO DO THIS HIGH CONFLICT WORK! Fortunately, we have an excellent team of professionals who are learning from each other and presenting our skills and methods to those in need. In addition to our trainings, we have provided hundreds of consultations over the past decade to lawyers, mediators, small businesses, human resource professionals, administrators and individuals involved in neighbor disputes, workplace conflicts or legal cases. We are happy to provide consultation to anyone facing a high-conflict situation.

2.            ONLINE TRAINING (With California MCLEs). A significant part of our work is training family and civil lawyers and mediators around the world. This is an easy way to get the type of refined training that you need to deal with high-conflict cases and situations. We now offer numerous online video trainings.

For Lawyers:

•  Managing High-Conflict Clients in Court

•  Dealing with High-Conflict Counsel

•  Personality-Disordered Parents and Alienated Children

•  Understanding and Managing High-Conflict People (done in collaboration with Lawyers Mutual Insurance Co.)    

For Mediators:

•  New Ways for MediationSM (including a 3-hour demonstration mediation)

•  New Ways for Families® Pre-Mediation Coaching Training

•  So, What’s Your Proposal?

For everyone- parents, individuals and other professionals:

•  Calming Upset People with EAR

•  How to Write a BIFF Response®

•  R U Talkin’ to The Wrong Brain?

3.            NEW BOOKS ON RELATIONSHIPS (or avoiding them) WITH HIGH CONFLICT PEOPLE! This September Bill will have a new book published by Perigee/Random House titled: The Five Types of People Who Can Ruin Your Life: How to Spot Them, Avoid Them or Deal with Them. It is for anyone who wants to be careful in choosing who to hire, date, invest with, train with in sports, volunteer with and so forth.  

Megan and Bill are also co-writing a new book that will come out in August by Unhooked Books: Dating Radar: Why Your Brain Says Yes to “The One” Who Will Make Your Life Hell. Can you tell what that one’s about? Help us with the book: anonymously tell us your dating story in this quick survey.

4.            NEW WAYS FOR FAMILIES®!   We now have New Ways providers in 43 cities across 4 countries! Lawyers, mediators, mental health professionals and coaches can choose one or more of our New Ways models to use with clients in separation and divorce, teaching them skills for successful co-parenting. Find out if there are providers in your area.

Our online course, Parenting Without Conflict, has received excellent feedback from both parents and professionals. This 12 session course teaches parents the New Ways skills, techniques for managing high-conflict issues and provides information on child development and alternatives to litigation. Professionals can simply refer their clients to our website to register and complete the course on their own time, from their own home.


The BIFF Response® Method is one of the core techniques underlying all of the methods we teach and it is one of our most popular books and video products. After all, unless you can walk away permanently, you will need to talk to difficult family members, bosses, ex’s, co-parents, customers, clients, etc. Most people feel attacked and blamed by their particular HCP and they are tired of the repetitive onslaught. The temptation to defend, correct, explain and/or retaliate is strong, but it doesn’t work.

Dealing with difficult people means you have to communicate more effectively and do it in a way that will quickly get you out of the conversation, or back in control of it. The four elements of a BIFF Response (Brief, Informative, Friendly and Firm) are simple to remember and they take practice. It may not be what you feel is right though – who wants to be friendly to someone who blames them for everything? BIFF Response® Coaching not only helps you understand the method and why it DOES work, it gives you the chance to practice one-on-one to perfect your own BIFF style that fits your situation.

Best wishes in the New Year!

Bill Eddy, President, High Conflict Institute
Megan Hunter, President, Unhooked Books


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. 

Co-founder Megan Hunter is a speakerauthor, 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.