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The Handbook of Family Dispute Resolution: Mediation Theory and Practice

ISBN: 978-0-7879-6281-4
496 pages
July 2012, Jossey-Bass
The Handbook of Family Dispute Resolution: Mediation Theory and Practice (0787962813) cover image


No matter your profession (attorney, clinician, family therapist) or skill level (seasoned professional or novice), The Handbook of Family Dispute Resolution is an invaluable resource that outlines the most effective mediation approaches, techniques, and skills. The Handbook of Family Dispute Resolution is a practical and comprehensive guide that includes
* A review of professional ethics and standards
* Help for attorneys who are not trained in the skills needed for working with families
* Information about cultural issues that affect families during mediation
* Highlights of key legal and negotiation skills
* Guidelines for understanding complex family dynamics and conflicts
* A screening tool for evaluating domestic violence
* A matrix for starting discussions of parenting plans based on children's needs
* An examination of specialized practices for family mediation
* Direction for assessing one's professional approach to family mediation
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Table of Contents




1. Understanding Family Dynamics.

Assessing the Family from the Systemic View.

Basic Tenets of Family Systems Theory.

The Change Process from a Family Systems Perspective.

Normalcy, Health, and Dysfunction.

Dynamics of Personal and Family Development.

Alliances, Legacies, and Secrets 40.

Resilience and the Current Dilemma.

2. Understanding Family Conflict.

The Multiple Levels of Family Conflicts.

Conflict Emergence and Intervention.

Analyzing Family Conflicts.

Reaction to Conflict: Anger, Indignation, and Aggression.

How Families Fight.

Negotiation Within Mediation.

Face-Saving in Family Conflict.

3. Family Mediation Models and Approaches.

Models and Approaches: A Definition.

Stage Theory Models.

Problem-Solving and Negotiative Approaches.

Procedural Models.

Therapeutic Models.

Transformative Approaches.

Narrative Mediation Models.

Interactive Approaches.

Neutrality Concepts Across Models.

Eclecticism, Integration, and Personalizing Models.

4. Family Mediation Skills and Techniques.

Case Assessment and Formulation.

Shaping Client Sessions for Effectiveness.

Mediating with Multiple Family Members.


Power Balancing.

Neutrality and Client Self-Determination.

Transforming Impasses.


5. Special Case Issues.

Control, Abuse, and Violence.

Mental Health Concerns.

Reporting Child Abuse and Neglect.

Framing Agreements for Special Issues Cases.

6. Ethics and Standards, Confidentiality and Privilege.

Ethics and Standards.

Confidentiality and Privileged Communication.

7. Cultural Issues in Family Mediation.

Family Culture.

Assessment of Cultural Factors.

Identity, Adaptation, and Assimilation.

The Mediator?s Cultural Perspectives.

African American Families in Mediation.

Hispanic Cultural Themes.

Asian Perspectives.

Gay and Lesbian Families.

Ethics and Practice Standards for Cultural Issues.

8. Interfacing with Other Professionals and Parties.

Continuity-of-Care Continuum.

Involving Children and Other Parties.

Working with Advocates and Attorneys.

Individual and Marital Therapists.


9. Marital Mediation, Conciliation, and Prenuptial Agreements.

Conciliation: Mediating the Problems of Staying Together.

Marital Mediation Assessment.

Themes of Attachment, Love, and Trust.

Defining the Relationship by Agreement.

Creating Appropriate Consequences.

Prenuptial Agreements: More Than Money.

10. Divorce Mediation.

The Divorce Mediator?s Role.

Mandatory and Voluntary Mediation.

Married Versus Unmarried Separations.

Complete Divorces or Parenting Issues Only.

Describing a Case Using an Interactive Model.

Integrating Children into the Process.

Postdivorce Concerns and Modifications.

11. Parent-Teen Mediation.

Service Provision Considerations.

Power Dynamics During Sessions.

Speaking Naturally.

Practice Dimensions.

Classic Parent-Teen Mediation: Pam and Suzie.

Sequential Family Mediations: The Kents.

Victim-Offender Youth Programs: The Nguyens.

12.Adoption, Abuse, and Placement Cases.

Fitting the Model to the Situation.

Confidentiality and Privileged Communi-cations.

Power Dynamics in Placement Cases.

Child Protection and Placement Cases.


13.Elder Care and Family Medical Concerns.

Mediable Disputes for Elders and Ill and Disabled People.

Issues of the Elderly Population.

Power Issues in Medical Disputes Concerning Elders.

Mediating Family Medical Issues.

Mediating Adult Guardianship.

Case Example: Out-of-Home Placement for an Aging Parent.

Case Example: Placement and Medical Treatment Dilemmas.

Case Example: Postprocedure Medical Complaint.

Case Example: Adult Guardianship of a Disabled Sister.

Appendix A: Household Map.

Appendix B: Report of the Academy of Family Mediators Task Force on Spousal and Child Abuse.

Appendix C: Control, Abuse, and Domestic Violence Screener.

Appendix D: Parenting Plan Rationale and Matrix.

Appendix E: Budget Sheet.


The Author.


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Author Information

Alison Taylor-- mediator, family therapist, author, teacher, and trainer-- is an Oregon Licensed Professional Counselor and teaches mediation-related courses to students and professionals at Portland State University and Marylhurst University. She is coauthor of Mediation: A Comprehensive Guide to Resolving Conflicts Without Litigation and The Making of a Mediator: Developing Artistry in Practice, both from Jossey-Bass.
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"Many case studies are used to illustrate the most effective mediation approaches." (Juvenile and Family Court Journal, Spring 2002)

"Written by a practitioner for practitioners, this book provides a theoretical framework for the process decisions we make as mediators and then offers specific tools and strategies. Especially beneficial for those without a psychological background, this reference guide explores how mediators' understanding of family dynamics and systems has a direct impact on the effectiveness of our interventions. An excellent guide for the beginning or experienced mediator." — Nina Meierding, past president, Academy of Family Mediators

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