Tuesday, October 25, 2011

What’s Your Proposal?


Recently I spoke at the Texas AFCC (Association for Family and Conciliation Courts) in Ft. Worth about the need for family law professionals to provide more structure and more skills for high conflict families, and about the New Ways for Families program. They are looking for more ways to help high conflict families stay out of court and help their children, instead of  fighting over them. I gave a more thorough explanation than I have in the past about why high conflict families get stuck in conflict, and that professionals need to really shift their thinking from making decisions to assisting parents in learning and practicing their own decision-making skills.

The “BIFF Response” method and “Making Proposals” were particularly appealing to this group for working with, rather than against, their most difficult clients. BIFF Responses focus on how to deal with those angry emails that many reasonable parents and professionals get during high-conflict divorces. By being Brief, Informative, Friendly and Firm, anyone can calm a conflict and feel better about themselves while still being respectful to the other person. (For more on BIFF Responses, see my new book BIFF: Quick Responses to High Conflict People, their Personal Attacks, Hostile Email, and Social Media Meltdowns.)

“What’s Your Proposal?” is a great question to ask when someone is engaged in high-conflict blaming or talking about the past. Whole discussions can be structured around this method, which includes thorough preparation with clients for it to be effective, including explaining how to respond to any proposal. (For more on this technique, see the article Yes, No, or I’ll Think About It at our website.)

The Texas AFCC group seemed to appreciate these specific tips, since many of them attended one of my seminars before on understanding and managing high conflict people. I’ve been to Texas several times over the past few years, including Dallas, Denton and Austin. It’s a real pleasure speaking to people who want more positive methods, given the stress and anger so often associated with working with high conflict families.

High Conflict Institute provides training and consultations, as well and books, DVDs and CDs regarding dealing with High Conflict People (HCPs) in legal, workplace, educational, and healthcare disputes. Bill Eddy is the President of the High Conflict Institute and the author of "It's All Your Fault!", "Splitting", "BIFF: Quick Responses to High Conflict People, Their Hostile Emails, Personal Attacks and Social Media Meltdowns" and "Don't Alienate the Kids!". He is an author, attorney, mediator, and therapist. Bill has presented seminars to attorneys, judges, mediators, ombudspersons, human resource professionals, employee assistance professionals, managers, and administrators in 25 states, several provinces in Canada, France, and Australia. For more information about High Conflict Institute, our seminars and consultations, Bill Eddy or to purchase a book, CD or DVD, visit: http://www.HighConflictInstitute.com

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