Archive | December, 2012

The Holidays: Is Avoiding Family Conflict Really Possible?

28 Dec

Segment 1: Perceptions of Reality.

Our guest on this edition of The Doug Noll Show is Roger Frame, President of Frameworks 4 Learning. Roger is an expert on resolving interpersonal conflict, defusing power struggles and preventing bullying. His book is called Don’t Carve the Turkey with a Chainsaw: Resolving Family Conflict. He comes from the psychotherapy perspective and thinks the single biggest cause of human conflict is differences of perspective. People view conflict as based on reality, when in fact it’s based on our perceptions of reality. Conflict is not something you can completely avoid (nor should we try to avoid it, as it usually brings people closer together once it is resolved). If we don’t have resistance, we cannot grow as human beings. The whole point of conflict is to alert us to the fact that there are things to which we need to pay attention.


Segment 2: Adopt a Curious Attitude.

In terms of holiday conflict, when relatives get together there are often repeated patterns that come up every year. It’s difficult for people to recognize these patterns, and the person who brings up the issue usually (unconsciously) has a vested interest in keeping it alive. So why would a reasonable, rational intelligent person do this? Adults play out the conflicts of their childhood and the dynamic stays the same. When you encounter an issue with a family member, ask the question, “I’m curious. What makes you want to keep bringing this up?” Having the presence of mind to ask a question like this takes practice and self-control. The most difficult thing is to stay present with yourself so that when someone pushes your buttons you can respond with compassion and clarity, even when you are angry. Instead of attacking back and reacting with anger, adopt a curious attitude.


Segment 3: Ignore the Words and Focus on the Emotion.

Listening is a powerful skill that needs to be taught. People don’t know how to listen or ask effective questions. Roger thinks we should ignore the words and focus on emotions. Repeat back the emotional experience of the person you’re speaking with at that moment. In doing that, you touch something deep and the brain starts to calm. In the brain, the emotional content goes to one neuropathway and the cognitive content goes to another neuropathway. When you recognize the emotion in a situation – and mirror it back – the emotional centers of the brain deescalate.


Segment 4: In Roger’s book he references many fly fishing analogies for conflict resolution. For example, kids bait their parents and know exactly what lure their parents will bite. As water warms up in a river, fish bite on different insects. Also, there are certain times of day when mom (or dad) is tired and kids know they can ask for and get what they want. Timing is everything. If you draw your fly rod back and start the forward movement too quickly, the fly will snap off. It’s the same with communication: if you interrupt someone too quickly, the conversation will snap off. Lastly, when casting in fly fishing, you must move backward before you go forward. When you are involved in conflict resolution, if you can pause and go backward a bit, it opens up the space to move forward. It creates a safe space for someone to be heard.


To listen to the entire interview:


Segment 1

Segment 2

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Segment 4


Release the Need to be Right. Choose Closeness Instead.

22 Dec

Segment 1: How to Quiet the Negative Voices.

On this edition of The Doug Noll Show we speak with Tom Gagliano. Tom is a successful entrepreneur, life coach, author and public speaker. His website is and his latest book is called The Problem Was Me. Tom grew up in a very volatile, unsafe environment due to an abusive alcoholic father, and although he has been very successful in business he found that he unknowingly continued to sabotage his personal relationships.


Segment 2: Emotional Trauma is the Norm.

Very few people actually achieve true happiness. Why not? Tom thinks that when you feel whole inside, when you feel like you are “enough,” there is no void you need to fill with other people’s accolades. It’s all about inner fulfillment. Emotional trauma in childhood is the norm, not the exception. The most important thing a family can do for their children is to create a safe environment. If a child feels safe at home, he will grow up feeling safe in the world. If a child grows up with explosions – physical or emotional – in the home, and if the version of intimacy they receive is one that is fearful or painful, they will carry that version of intimacy into their adult life and sabotage their relationships.


As parents we naturally want to guide our children. However, occasionally we need to relinquish the need to be right, and instead choose closeness. Our children really listen to us when we really listen to them. Our kids just want to be heard.


There are subtle signs of self-destructive or addictive behavior: when people have abnormal anger, i.e. when the degree of anger doesn’t fit the situation, they need to address the deeper issues. It’s difficult for people to talk about their feelings; they either shut down or they react with anger. To be empathic you need to observe and understand other people’s feelings, but in order to do that you need to first understand your OWN feelings.


Segment 3: Bullying and What to Do About It.

If you are married to someone with deep emotional trauma, there are a few things to do to help. When someone is damaged they are very sensitive. Be compassionate. Say things with love. Use healthy boundaries and don’t accept unacceptable behavior. Be gentle. Let them talk. Listen. Eventually you will get under their fears and under their pain and trust will build.


Tom believes that the ubiquitous computer has made a difference in our kids. They have a destructive “entitlement” view of the world. Additionally, working mothers and fathers may feel guilty so they over-indulge their kids. If the child is not getting (emotionally) what they need from their parents, the child ends up making some victim “pay” for it. Bullies are made, not born. So what can a parent do if they are told their kid is a bully? Talk to the principal and the teacher. There needs to be a coalition. Talk to the child. The kid doesn’t feel safe enough at home to talk about what’s going on at school. If they’re not getting their emotional needs met at home, they’re either going to act OUT in anger as a bully or they’re going to act IN their anger and be a target and a victim for bullies. It’s one or the other.


Segment 4: Choose Closeness Instead.

If you have a kid who is a bully, Tom recommends this approach: listen, share, and reveal yourself. Become vulnerable. Give up the right to be right and choose closeness instead. Let compassion guide what you say and do. Slow down and become more non-reactive. If you have a kid who is the target of bullies, Tom recommends this approach: talk to people you can trust and focus on what’s best for your child instead of reacting with anger. Listen to your child. Protect her. Show her that she is valuable and worth protecting. This takes a lot of presence, self-awareness and patience.


To listen to the entire interview:


Segment 1

Segment 2

Segment 3

Segment 4

Negotiation Mastery for the Legal Pro Approved for California MCLE Credits

14 Dec

Our online course Negotiation Mastery for the Legal Pro is approved for California MCLE credits. Take a moment to visit the website and sign up for updates, pre-launch discounts and a chance to win a Kindle Fire. Drawing is Dec. 18 and you are automatically entered to win when you sign up for email updates.

Negotiation Mastery for the Legal Pro Approved for MCLE Credits

13 Dec

Negotiation Mastery for the Legal Pro, the online course teaching lawyers negotiation skills is California MCLE approved–9 hours of MCLE, including 2 hours of ethics and 1 hour of Elimination of Bias. If you are a young lawyer in California, visit for email updates, and as a pre-launch celebration we will be giving away a kindle fire, drawing Dec. 18. All you need to do is sign up for email updates and automatically entered to win.

Finding Peace in a Multi-Faith World

12 Dec

Segment 1 – Our guest on this edition of The Doug Noll Show is Brian McLaren: author, speaker, activist and public theologian. His latest book is titled Why Did Jesus, Moses, the Buddha, and Mohammed Cross the Road? (Christian Identity in a Multi-Faith World). Brian’s website is


Brian started his career as college English professor and ended up being part of a small congregation, of which he later became the pastor. He recently left pastoral hood in order to devote more time to writing and speaking. Brian grew up as a conservative evangelical, where evolution was not something you believed and the bible was interpreted literally.


A lot of folks frame the world today in broad sweeping terms, as in “it’s a Muslim world against the Christian world.” Why is it that people are so quick to deduce the difficult conflicts in our world down to religious identity? According to our guest, one of the ways we feel safe is by finding a tribe or community where we think we belong. We often define “us” by having opposition toward “them.” We tell stories about how “they” oppressed us, which gives us the feeling of bonding with our tribe.


Segment 2 – Let’s say Jesus, Buddha and Mohammed met up in a bar…what do you think they would talk about? Brian believes they would talk about the religions that have been formed in the world today, and they might talk with great sadness and pain about the things that are being done in their name. The lesson to “love one another” and “love your enemies” is the toughest teaching to follow. It is difficult to accept the feeling of love instead of the biological feeling of hatred for an enemy who is threatening. Security trumps peace. We have forms of religions that in some ways are trying to protect the status quo for the social and political elite, and then we have other forms of religions that are trying to transform the status quo. The latter’s focus is on the people at the bottom of the pyramid. Essentially we have religions of control and religions of transformation. Interestingly, each one sees themselves as the maintainer of peace.


Segment 3 – We consistently do two things already: 1) We either know how to have a strong religious identity and be hostile to people with other religious identities, or 2) We have the opposite approach, which is to have a weak or benign identity (we think the only way to become less hostile is to become less Christian). Brian thinks we need a better alternative to these two approaches. He believes the more committed to Christianity we are, the more dedicated we need to be to peacemaking and to learning the skills of interacting with people of different religious beliefs. Unfortunately, when a person who is a member of “us” advocates that we show compassion and understanding and tries to humanize “them,” that person is often seen as a traitor. In many ways it’s the story of Jesus.


Segment 4 – So how can we rethink the concept of Eucharist and instead of having it be a sacrificial, violent exercise, have it be a peace-loving, engaged spiritual practice? Brian tells us that Jesus envisioned a form of religion where (animal) sacrifice was not part of the ritual. To find out more, listen to the complete interview:


Segment 1

Segment 2

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ADR Services in California Lost with Budget Cuts

7 Dec

Los Angeles, Ca…….Doug Noll, professional mediator and award winning attorney has developed Negotiation Mastery for the Legal Pro ( , an online course that fills an essential but unmet need in education and training for lawyers. Coming at a perfect time, as public justice trickles to a near stop now that the Los Angeles Superior Court has discontinued mediation programs and services in LA county, lawyers who complete this course will be armed with skills and strategies to provide resolution through negotiation to those people no longer able to settle cases through the court’s free mediation program. “Without low cost or free mediation services, lawyers must start negotiating with each other in order to meet the needs of people with cases that fell under the umbrella of those free mediation services that settled thousands of lawsuits every year. My online course teaches lawyers how to be efficient, effective and successful in negotiating. Report

Video for Negotiaton Mastery for Mediation

5 Dec

For the attorney facing his first mediation. Here is a step by step video by a master negotiator. Watch it and sign up for the course Mastery Negotiation for the Legal Pro.