Simplify by Katherine Miller

Often times when people are in conflict, they have worked themselves into a tightly knit knot of right and wrong, black and white, me and you.  The conflict includes many layers of emotion, fact, law, etc. and in that space is impossible to resolve.  One thing that we can do as mediators is to help people sort out the tangle into manageable pieces.  We can do this by helping them see the conflict from a different angle.


For example, people often come into my office with the belief that they need to convince the other that they are right.  When this happens it is often bilateral meaning that both parties are trying to convince the other that they are right.  Of course, neither hears the other and they are locked in an endless dialogue.  Sometimes it is useful to help them understand that they can resolve the conflict without either successfully convincing the other or giving up their view of the situation.  It is usually not necessary to convince the other of the wrongness of their view in order to resolve the conflict.  Not only is it not necessary but it is impossible.