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Pepperdine | Caruso School of Law

Special Topics in the Psychology of Conflict: High Conflict Cases

Faculty:  Stephanie Blondell and Bill Eddy

Special Topics in the Psychology of Conflict:  High-Conflict Cases is an interactive course designed to enhance the tool kit of the conflict resolver in managing those cases that simply seem impossible to resolve. Using insights from cognitive and social psychology, neurocollaboration, and communication theory, the trainers look at those dynamics and personalities that stymie even the most experienced of mediators. Eddy, the author of four books on high-conflict personalities, will prepare students for the most challenging dispute situations, assist them in identifying the five high-conflict personality patterns, and provide tools to manage the cognitive distortions of such individuals.  Blondell will use insights from working in a clinical setting with pro se populations to examine current issues in dispute resolution, including the psychology of ethical fading, moral disengagement, and deception. The trainers offer a nuanced and sophisticated perspective on the most difficult cases, theirs and yours.

What you will learn:

  • What is personality, and an overview of five high-conflict personality patterns
  • How to identify patterns of behavior in high-conflict cases, and ways in which to manage those patterns
  • Skills in addressing high-conflict personalities, including BIFF responses and EAR statements
  • The psychology of ethics, including moral disengagement and ethical fading
  • The psychology and science of deception

Stephanie Blondell is an assistant professor of law and assistant director of the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution. She supervises the Mediation Clinic and teaches Mediation Theory and Practice, Psychology of Conflict, and Criminal Law. Prior to joining Pepperdine, she served as the manager of the King County Alternative Dispute Resolution Program and Interlocal Conflict Resolution Group, a tri-county labor-management and public policy mediation program in the area around Seattle, Washington. Prior to this she was the alternative dispute resolution coordinator for the City of Seattle where she designed and implemented a labor and employment mediation program for city government. Before joining Straus full-time, Blondell served as an adjunct professor at Straus, the Seattle University School of Law, and the University of Washington master of public administration program. Blondell earned her BA with honors in American civilization from Brown University, and her JD from the University of Washington School of Law.

William A. ("Bill") Eddy, CFLS, LCSW, has practiced family law in San Diego since 1993 (he was a Certified Family Law Specialist for 15 years) and is a graduate of the University of San Diego School of Law. Prior to his legal career, he was a therapist for twelve years (he is also a Licensed Clinical Social Worker). He is presently the Senior Family Mediator at the National Conflict Resolution Center in San Diego, CA. Eddy teaches Psychology of Conflict at the Straus Institute of Dispute Resolution at Pepperdine University Caruso School of Law and has served on the adjunct faculty of the National Judicial College. He is the Training Director and past President of the High Conflict Institute and has been a regular lecturer on managing high conflict personalities for attorneys, judges and mediators in over thirty of the United States, as well as in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, France, Sweden, Israel, Netherlands, England and Greece. Eddy is the author of several books about high-conflict personalities and developer of several methods for managing high-conflict situations. His websites are www.HighConflictInstitute.comand www.NewWays4Families.com.