A Wonderful Week in Wisconsin

This week I had the opportunity to give a 5-morning seminar to 26 mental health professionals sponsored by the Department of Psychiatry of the Medical College of Wisconsin. Also, on Thursday I got to speak for 5 hours to over 100 Wisconsin family law attorneys at their Annual Family Law Workshop. Both of these programs took place in beautiful Door County, overlooking Green Bay and Lake Michigan. I was particularly pleased to be able to discuss ways that mental health professionals can work with family lawyers, and to give lawyers tips for dealing with the mental health aspects of their work with clients dealing with possible personality disorders – either with their clients or the opposing party (or both). The overlap of mental health and legal problems for families appears to be increasing dramatically in today’s world. It’s so important that both groups of professionals understand what to do – and what NOT to do.

Both groups especially seemed to like tips that they can use with their clients, to teach them ways of managing their own communication with other people in their lives, such as E.A.R. Statements and B.I.F.F. Responses (see our book: BIFF: Quick Responses to High Conflict People). These methods empower clients while relieving professionals from having to deal with unnecessary family confrontations and avoiding the escalation of conflict.

It’s interesting to note that when a parent going through divorce uses BIFF Responses, we’re getting feedback that their spouses and former spouses are starting to use this method too. It seems that they realize how much respect a person gets when they use BIFF responses, whether it’s in a court cases, at work or just within a family. This method is easy to learn, although it takes practice. Lawyers and mental health professionals can really support their clients using this method.

We addressed other tips, including the importance of helping clients make proposals, make decisions and accept decisions. I explained out New Ways for Families method and it is my hope that someday Wisconsin family courts will try this method, which really seems to help potentially high-conflict families make better decisions for themselves while reducing the number of court hearings. This method is having this effect in at least four court jurisdictions where it is being used. In 2013 we hope to use the research results on New Ways to help add more jurisdictions to the use of this method. Stay tuned to this website for news about New Ways.

Overall, this week in Wisconsin gives me encouragement that professionals want to learn skills to improve their effectiveness with their clients. Children and their parents need all the help they can get these days, in our world of budget cuts, family conflict and political conflict. (More on that coming soon! Stay tuned to this website.)

High Conflict Institute provides training and consultations, as well and books, DVDs and CDs regarding dealing with High Conflict People (HCPs) in legal, workplace, educational, and healthcare disputes. Bill Eddy is the President of the High Conflict Institute and the author of It’s All Your Fault!, Splitting, BIFF: Quick Responses to High Conflict People, Their Hostile Emails, Personal Attacks and Social Media Meltdowns and Don’t Alienate the Kids! He is an author, attorney, mediator, and therapist. Bill has presented seminars to attorneys, judges, mediators, ombudspersons, human resource professionals, employee assistance professionals, managers, and administrators in 25 states, several provinces in Canada, France, Sweden, and Australia. For more information about High Conflict Institute, our seminars and consultations, Bill Eddy or to purchase a book, CD or DVD, visit: www.highconflictinstitute.com