Beware of the Darkside?

For a long time now, I’ve been wondering about some disconnect, or lack of congruence, in an area that is a major source of pride for the ADR field (particularly for mediation): Dealing with emotions.

We pride ourselves, as a field, on identifying parties core emotions, dealing with parties’ real concerns, and tapping into their underlying motivations. In teaching and training we teach future practitioners to address emotions, rather than to fear them as disruptive; to see them as a key area to engage parties in, as opposed to something to be brushed under the carpet.

However, it seems to me that we might not be fully preparing – and priming – these practitioners to elicit and deal with emotions that make up the true Dark Side of human experience. By these, I’m referring to emotions and emotional states that are often out of control, un-nameable and seemingly unmanageable.

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Cinnie Noble- Before we engage someone in a challenging conversation, it helps to think out what to say and how to be. We have already discussed this in a previous blog. It also helps to give some thought about what to stay away from in order to achieve what we intend. Our reactions, attitudes, manner, considering the other person’s hot buttons, and other things are all choices we have – that can make or break a conversation.

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