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Mediating Difficult Situations

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  1. Mediating Difficult Situations How To Work With Challenging Clients Mardi Winder-Adams mardi@poscs.com 903-573-6634

  2. Understanding Anger In Family Mediations • What is anger? • What causes anger? • Is anger healthy or harmful? • What does anger symbolize in men as fathers and husbands? • What does anger symbolize in women as wives and mothers?

  3. Anger ANGER Is ALWAYS a secondary emotion Embarrassment Fear Anxiety Sadness Guilt Humiliation Shame

  4. CHEAP BFV’s • Concerns • Hopes • Expectations • Assumptions • Perceptions • Beliefs • Fears • Values

  5. Why Use Transformative Mediation in Family and Divorce Cases • They have resolved problems in the past. • They will have to continue to resolve problems in the future. • They know themselves and their children the best. • Regardless of what they decide – THEY will have to carry it out, not the lawyers, not the Judge and not the mediator.

  6. Common Problems • Verbally abusive/emotionally explosive • Passive Aggressive • Won’t settle – keep finding additional issues to resolve • Dwelling in the past, not looking towards now and the future

  7. Questions to Get To The Heart of the Matter • How do you want your relationship to look with the co-parent? • What is most important to you in your relationship with your children? • What is your strength in the relationship with the kids? • How would things be better for you and the kids if you could work this out? • How is the ongoing conflict impacting your life, the life of the kids, family and friends? • What options are there to resolve this issue? • What resources need to be consider or consulted?

  8. Mediator Tools • Closed Questions • Closed questions answered with yes, no or another one word answer • Used for clarification and confirmation • Open Question • Used for information and thought sharing • Add detail and substance

  9. Mediator Tools • Paraphrasing and Summarizing • Summarize and repeat back key elements without interpretation or editing • Reframe • Summarize content, emotion, future expectations in a positive (do not don’t do) fashion • Reframes move the insurmountable problem to the resolvable solution

  10. Reframing Practice • Well isn’t that just like you, you can never let go of the past. • You never were a father to the kids, and I don’t believe you want to be now. You just want to make me worry and be away from them. • I put you through school with never a word of thanks, worked double shifts and never complained, now you want half of my stuff? • Who do you think you are? I have been the only income earner in this family and without me you don’t have a thing, just keep that in mind.

  11. Reframing Exercise • Well now you see why we are getting a divorce, he/she is impossible to deal with. • My lawyer has told me that we can request a full home study and a psych examine, maybe you can get the help you need. • If you think your new girlfriend/boyfriend is going to be around my kids, you have another think coming. • I want to move back home with my family in Atlanta, and there is nothing you can do to stop me or the kids from leaving.

  12. Mock Mediation – Role Play Smith Divorce Mediators don’t have any info Parties have same general info sheet

  13. Dirty Little Tricks Clients/ Attorneys Play • Threats – fear based model • Extreme Demands – car buying style • Increasing Demands – I am never letting go • Refusing Responsibility – the kids should decide • Power Imbalances – perceived vs. real • Phony Facts – 78% of all stats are made up on the spot

  14. Dirty Little Tricks Clients/Attorneys Play • Asking for confirmation – as a woman you see my point • Helplessness – I have always relied on the kindness of strangers • Personal Attacks – making the other party look bad makes me look good

  15. Mock Mediation Smith Divorce Mediators have known info Parties have individual information sheets Use tricks and emotion

  16. Points to Keep in Mind • As the mediator you are not there to: • Diagnosis mental illness • Decide which is the better parent • Attempt to resolve their conflict with kind words • Shelter them from each other and the comments made at the table • Stifle emotion • Solve problems for them or suggest resolutions • Give legal advice or give the impression you have legal knowledge

  17. Mardi Winder-Adams www.poscs.com mardi@poscs.com 903-573-6634