Exercise: The Angry Client
One Angry Client
A private caucus
1. To practice not getting emotionally hooked by an angry client
2. To practice giving an angry client your Empathy, Attention and Respect (E.A.R.)
The client is really angry about his/her co-parent’s proposal for 50-50 [or 95-5] parenting time.
The client is upset that the professional doesn’t seem to understand how unreasonable this is, and is quite dramatic about it. The client raises his or her voice and says:
A. “You don’t understand how unfair and unreasonable that proposal is. He/she’s not ever getting my children half the time! [or 95% of the time!]”
Professional responds with a statement showing empathy, attention and/or respect (you don’t have to use those words) in response to each of these statements.
Then, debrief each exchange by:
1) Have professional say how it felt to respond with E.A.R. instead of an explanation of law or a criticism of the client’s statement.
2) Have the client say how it felt to hear an E.A.R. statement.
B. “You don’t seem to care about how hard I have worked to provide for my children!” Professional responds with E.A.R. Then, debrief.
C. “I don’t think you’re qualified to handle my case.”
D. “A highly respected professional in the community says that your actions have been unethical in handling my case.”
Article: New Ways for Mediation
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.
Article: When Storytelling Hurts Conflict Resolution: Some Tips for Dispute Resolvers
One of the most common aspects of dispute resolution methods is hearing each party’s story of the case at the start of the process. In court, in mediation, in arbitration and in other settlement negotiations, this “opening statement” gives us a background on the nature of the case and how each party sees the problem(s). Then, most dispute resolvers (judges, mediators, arbitrators, negotiating lawyers and others) immediately start thinking to themselves of solutions for resolving this particular dispute.
Article: Making Proposals
Any problem in the past can be turned into a proposal about the future. Proposals don’t have to be complicated. You can just blurt one out during a conversation with anyone or during a meeting with any group. Proposals get attention, because they are solutions to past problems by focusing on the future. Most of us are relieved to talk about the future, rather than what we’ve done wrong in the past. On the other hand, most of us easily slip into talking about the past – or even get stuck talking about the past – including what everyone else has done wrong. This article focuses on how to make proposals in a way that is easy and can be done at any time.
Article: Should Mediators Make Proposals?
When working with high-conflict cases in mediation – or any mediation – it’s not unusual for the parties to turn to the mediator and ask: “What would you propose?” While we all know that the parties should be the ones to make proposals in mediation, they often don’t have much knowledge or experience in resolving the types of disputes that bring them to mediation. Family disputes, neighbor conflicts, small claims cases, business and workplace disputes, construction defects, personal injury claims, and others are often confusing and stressful for the parties involved – so they often seek a quick solution from the mediator.
New Ways for Families
Parenting Without Conflict (12 sessions)- Online Course for Parents
+ Parent-Child Course (4 sessions)
And coming January 2019 - coaching with the online program
This ONLINE course is for divorcing or separating parents as their families transition into two households and get prepared for many successful years of co-parenting. Each session focuses on building skills for successful co-parenting rather than focusing on past bad behavior. Many parents feel blamed and shamed during family breakups. That’s why New Ways for Families is comes from a positive, “no blame, no shame” perspective! BOTH parents should complete the course individually, so that both parents are using the same skills for co-parenting. However, either parent can register for the course on their own at any time.
See all books by Bill Eddy and Megan Hunter here.
Orders for 10 + copies receive 50% discount.
See all online courses here.
Sign up for the monthly HCI newsletter here.