This week I had the pleasure of interviewing long-time mediator and mediation trainer Gary Friedman. The sponsoring organization Purposeful Planning Institute (about which I have blogged here, here, and here; and for which I am Dean of Neuroscience and Contemplative Practices) is one that is close to my heart. The recording of this teleconference with a wise and thoughtful conflict professional was much appreciated and I thank both Gary and PPI. I hope you will enjoy listening.
The PPI announcement of the teleconference with links for listening and reading is below.
Inside Out: How Conflict Professionals Can Use Self-Reflection to Help Their Clients
Audio File: Download/Play Recording
Date: August 11, 2015
Guest Speaker: Gary J. Friedman, Co-Founder, The Center for Understanding in Conflict (formerly the Center for Mediation in Law)
Host: Stephanie West Allen, JD, PPI Dean of Neuroscience and Contemplative Practices
Handout: Introduction & Excerpt from Inside Out by Gary Friedman
Overview: The focus of this interview is on a central tool that all conflict professionals can develop, the ability to use their understanding of their inner lives to help their clients deal with conflict. Using tools of self-awareness, the professional can enhance their ability to bring their full attention to their engagement with the client, work with their own feelings, especially negative reactions, to bring them closer to the clients, understand and deepen their commitment to their work, and open a path between them and their client that will solve the external problem.
- If we limit our focus to the external dimensions of our clients’ problems we are really limiting our ability to effectively solve them. Understanding the internal dimensions of problems (the emotional and human element) is really at the core.
- Effective communication with others requires far more than simply listening to the words of the client, but requires the use of all our senses. Effective listening is a skill and we can all learn to avoid distractions and be truly present with our clients and in the moment with them.
- The professional’s emotional reactions to the client, particularly feelings that are accompanied by judgments, if left unattended can create walls of separation between professional and client. There is no such thing as being nonjudgmental, and the question should not be whether or not we have judgments, but what to do with them when we have them.
Purposeful Quote: “Every conflict begins with thoughts of fear, animosity and aggression which pass through some people’s minds and spread like wildfire. The only antidote to these aberrations is to take on fully the suffering of others.” – Matthieu Ricard
Reading Recommendation: Inside Out: How Conflict Professionals Can Use Self-Reflection to Help Their Clients by Gary Friedman (available online here) [the book is also available here]
Note (added August 27, 2015): Click to learn more about Self-Reflection for Conflict Professionals Intensive (SCPI), the program Friedman describes in the interview and his latest book.