Are there essential precursors to change? Professor Fred Hanna believes so. His book Therapy With Difficult Clients: Using the Precursors Model to Awaken Change lays out seven precursors, and gives suggestions on how to enhance them. As you can tell from the book title, Dr. Hanna's audience is therapists. Although mediation is not therapy, knowledge of these seven can help conflict professionals to assess missing ingredients when movement towards resolution seems jammed, dammed, or barred.
Here are the seven:
- A sense of necessity for change
- A willingness or readiness to experience anxiety or difficulty
- Awareness of the problem
- Confronting the problem (...culmination of awareness but is not the same)
- Effort or will toward change
- Hope for change
- Social support for change
Click to read "Overcoming Resistance in Difficult Clients: Techniques and Precursors of Change" for definitions of each of the seven. As you will see, each of them is a precursor to self-directed neuroplasticity: changing the pathways in your brain to make changes in your relationship, your behavior, your perspective, your conflict.
As I read and reread the list, and pondered each item, I liked the list more and more. Partly because it is a good inventory for the parties to conflict, but more because these are essential for mediators, too. Do you agree that mediators need to base their process, regardless of the model they use, on these states and traits in themselves?
What would you add to the list? Would you eliminate any of the elements?