Happy New Year! HCI at 4!

We’d like to wish all of our readers, followers and customersa happy and productive New Year. High Conflict Institute (HCI) is 4 years oldthis month! What an adventure it’s been, with both ups and downs! When we (MeganHunter and Bill Eddy) established HCI, our goal was to provide trainings tolegal professionals – primarily family law related – in understanding andmanaging high conflict personalities. Megan had worked with the Arizona SupremeCourt on family law programs (evaluating child support guidelines, trainingjudges in family law, etc.) and Bill was a Certified Family Law Specialistattorney in California, with a background as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. SEMINARS

We soon found that many others were interested inour trainings, including lawyers, judges, and mediators in all areas of law; humanresource professionals, law enforcement, healthcare administrators, collegeadministrators and homeowners associations. Then we received requests forseminars from overseas! In 2011, Megan spoke in several cities in Australia andBill spoke in Sweden, as well as giving seminars in several provinces inCanada. About 25% of our seminars are now in Canada.

On the down side, we quickly discovered that it was not productiveto sponsor and promote our own seminars. Partly this was due to the economycrashing the year we began, and partly because live seminars depended on localpeople and our base was international, based on the Internet. Instead, we havefocused on providing seminars to existing organizations that are seeking speakersand trainers on managing high conflict people – including many state andnational bar association conferences, state and federal judicial conferences,mediation conferences, Association of Family and Conciliation Courts, and manyothers. We now have a panel of seven speakers, based in 3 countries.

BOOKS

Publishing books was a surprise development for HCI.At first, we just sold Bill’s books (published by two other small presses), butin 2009 HCI took over publishing Bill’s existing and some new books, and some otherauthors. Megan went to publishing conferences and really learned the field. Sheturned our website into a beautiful Internet business, selling books, CDs, DVDsand even coffee mugs with our sayings on them (“The Issue’s Not the Issue”“Don’t Work Harder Than Your Clients”).

The down side of an Internet business is that we weredevastated when we were successfully hacked early in 2011 and our beautifulwebsite was down for several months, operating on a very limited basis whileMegan and Bill were busy giving seminars. This experience lowered our lowincomes, and Megan realized she needed to spend less time on HCI and more timeearning another income. So we decided to split HCI into two separatebusinesses: Megan now does publishing (now titled “Unhooked Books,” whichincludes “HCI Press”) and Bill does seminars, consulting and developingnew methods as HCI. We find we are each more efficient by focusing our effortsmore narrowly. We are still very interconnected, as Megan is one of Bill’sspeakers and Bill is one of Megan’s authors, and we promote each other’s workthrough our joint monthly Newsletter.

METHODS

A surprising new area was developing simple methodsfor interpersonal conflict resolution with high conflict people in manysettings. Bill developed the “E.A.R. Technique” for calming upset people, the “B.I.F.F.Response” to hostile email and other communications, and the “C.A.R.S. Method”of conflict resolution for the workplace – or any setting. In 2009, wedeveloped the “New Ways for Families” court-based method for managing highconflict divorces, which has been adopted in six cities in the United Statesand Canada, and also adapted for Collaborative Divorce. Bill is now working onthe “New Ways for Work” coaching method, for dealing with potentially highconflict employees to see if they can learn conflict reducing skills (or not).We hope this will be out in 2012, published by Megan with training by Bill.

The downside for New Ways for Families is that it has notgrown yet in the United States as we had hoped. But on the upside, two courtsystems in Canada have been awarded $500,000 grants to use and study New Waysfor Families for 3 years. We are hopeful that it will be successful there, thenit should grow rapidly.

Overall, it has been a very personally rewarding experiencefor us over these past 4 years, helping individuals, families and professionalsdealing with high conflict situations. Our hope for 2012 is to build on what wehave done. We plan to grow into the workplace with our new books and training,while maintaining our strong involvement in the legal field.

We wish you a rewarding and growthful year as well! And we’dlove to hear from you!

Bill and Megan