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Mediation with Separated Parents in High Conflict

June 12, 2018

In advanced driver training there is a simple yet effective strategy to manage your car to avoid a crash when in a skid.

Most drivers, when their car is in a skid, look where the car is going. If your car is headed to a tree, the driver’s eyes are looking towards the tree. The problem with that is that where-ever you look is where you tend to steer. So, by looking at the tree, you continue to steer into it. You inadvertently enable the crash that began with the skid.

Advanced driver training teaches to not look where the car is skidding, but to look where you want the car to go.

So, using the tree example, rather than looking towards the tree, the advanced driver is trained to look down the road. Amazingly, the hands follow and steer the car out of the skid and down the road. It can be quite a challenge to turn your eyes to where you want the car to go. This takes practice.

This lesson holds for getting out of conflict.

When in conflict, most people steer towards it. They argue and fight about who did what to whom. They seek to assign blame. Truth is, no one ever wants to feel blamed. So, as we steer into blame, conflict escalates – we enable the crash.

Rather than steer into the crash, advanced conflict resolution skills teaches mediators to steer towards the resolution. Don’t get caught up in assigning blame but instead help participants move towards offering solutions.

Those mediations that prove unsuccessful, crash because people or the mediator get caught up in the conflict. Those mediators who have advanced training learn to steer the participants towards the solutions and increase the likelihood of success.

The challenge for the mediator is to learn how to redirect the participants respectfully in a better direction and to limit behavior that steers towards the crash. This is what we mean when we say that the mediator directs the process while the participants are responsible for developing the agreement.

Look back down the road. Focus on the agreement. Manage your triggers to stay on track.

I am Gary Direnfeld and I am a social worker. Check out all my services and then call me if you need help with a personal issue, mental health concern, child behavior or relationship, divorce or separation issue or even help growing your practice. I am available in person and by Skype.

Gary Direnfeld, MSW, RSW for counseling and support – to build your successful practice

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Gary Direnfeld is a social worker. Courts in Ontario, Canada, consider him an expert in social work, marital and family therapy, child development, parent-child relations and custody and access matters. Gary is the host of the TV reality show, Newlywed, Nearly Dead, parenting columnist for the Hamilton Spectator and author of Marriage Rescue: Overcoming the ten deadly sins in failing relationships. Gary maintains a private practice in Dundas and Georgina Ontario, providing a range of services for people in distress. He speaks at conferences and workshops throughout North America. He consults to mental health professionals as well as to mediators and collaborative law professionals about good practice as well as building their practice.

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