WHAT I’VE BEEN READING: Inside Out by Gary J. Friedman

Inside Out: How conflict professionals can use self-reflection to help their clients by Gary Friedman

I came across this book by accident and then couldn’t understand why I hadn’t discovered it earlier! The book is essentially all about managing emotions in conflict (those of the parties, and those of the conflict professional). And by managing emotions, I don’t mean supressing them. Rather, this book is about taking our inner feelings, expressing them, exploring them and explicitly connecting them to the work of resolving conflict.

Gary’s experiences in some ways parallel some of mine – disillusioned lawyer turned mediator and meditator. The book draws on psychology, Zen Buddhism practices, and mediation theory to develop a meaningful and practical framework for bringing emotions into conflict resolution in a constructive way. He provides a range of practices that we can all use to develop our capacity to do this.

The book includes many case studies, demonstrating how engaging with clients’ and our own emotions and connecting based on a strong understanding of others’ emotions, can create an environment in which conflict conversations are likely to be most constructive.

This book is also an exemplar of what reflective practice looks like for a mediator.

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