This month, the Center is focused on the topic of support as we prepare to begin the 2023 Your Next Steps training series, which will meet throughout the summer to help those considering a career change in the field of conflict resolution and mediation assess themselves, form a plan, and find support taking those critical next steps. This month's episode of The Other Chair offers a comprehensive overview of what to expect, while our featured article encourages us to think about how vital support is when making a significant career change.

Our book review and upcoming Power Imbalance webinar explore the role that positions at work, in society, and within communities play in the power dynamics that shape conflict and how we can leverage our understanding and awareness to help bring people out of it.

We are also excited to share that we are close to announcing the next Self-Reflection for Conflict Professionals Intensive (SCPI) with Heba Nimr, Norman Fischer, and Gary Friedman. The SCPI program focuses on connecting with our deeper impulses that fuel our commitment to working with people in conflict – including compassion and the search for greater self and mutual understanding while dealing with barriers such as judgment, anger, and the desire for control.

As you continue your journey as a conflict resolution professional, please reach out if there is anything we can do to support you or the communities you work in and serve. After all, it all comes down to support.


James Dykeman

Executive Director


The Human Network: How Your Social Position Determines Your Power, Beliefs, and Behaviors, by Matthew O. Jackson

The Human Network by Matthew O. Jackson is a fascinating exploration of the power of social networks in shaping our beliefs, behaviors, and, ultimately, our position in society. One of the book's key themes is the idea that our social position within a network can profoundly impact our behavior and attitudes. Jackson argues that individuals who occupy central positions within a network have greater power and influence than those who occupy peripheral positions because central individuals are better able to control the flow of information within the network and coordinate the actions of others.


This insight is valuable from a conflict resolution perspective because it highlights the importance of understanding the underlying power dynamics in a conflict situation. By identifying the central individuals within a network, mediators can gain insight into the sources of power and influence that drive the conflict and work to address them constructively.



It All Comes Down to Support: Pursuing a Career in Conflict Resolution

Don’t be afraid to try new things and branch out from what you know to new and uncharted territory – that’s what the social media gurus are always saying when talking about going for a promotion or changing careers. Make a change, they say. The realities are often much more complex. What happens when you navigate uncharted waters without an established professional network, technical muscle memory, and forward momentum built over the years, if not decades, in your current career?

In the conflict resolution community, we encounter individuals all the time who have decided to make a change in response to life experience, professional insight, noble ambition, or a deep desire to address the all-consuming specter of conflict that seems to be permeating every part of our life, from the water cooler to the movie theatre, in schools, nonprofits, businesses, and everywhere that our social lives are present. For many, this change means implementing mediation practices into their work as an attorney or starting or joining a conflict resolution training program at a business or nonprofit. Others may branch out and build a career as a professional practitioner, focusing on having conversations of consequence as a full-time job working with couples, communities, professional groups, and individuals languishing in the conflict trap.



Top Tips for Starting an ADR Practice with Catherine Conner and Melanie Rowen

This episode of The Other Chair is for those who have taken a conflict resolution or mediation training, have begun developing the skills needed to serve clients in conflict, and are wondering how to make it their day job.

Trainers Catherine Conner and Melanie Rowen discuss concrete tips for starting your own practice that includes or is focused on conflict resolution or alternative dispute resolution, including mediation and collaborative practice.

Listen for an understanding of the basic steps towards running your own practice, ideas for networking and marketing, and ways to identify opportunities to serve clients.


Want to share your experience bringing together parties in conflict? Contact


Working Creatively with Conflict

40-Hour Basic Mediation and Conflict Resolution Training

Our flagship experiential certificate training program centered around the Understanding-Based Model. 

Realistic simulations, in which participants work through mediations from beginning to end, with coaching from our teachers, offer participants the chance to hone their skills and experience the emotional challenges faced by parties in dispute. Participants describe these different learning modes and their interplay as enjoyable, engaging, and rewarding.

2023 Training Dates

West Coast - Green Gulch, CA

November 15 - 19 


Sept. 27 & 28 and Oct. 5 - 7


Your Next Steps:

Launching Your Understanding-Based ADR Work

You have taken a conflict resolution training and want to add consensual dispute resolution to your existing practice or start a new practice, what next?

This three-part series will help you explore your motivations, professional goals, opportunities and challenges. This will be an interactive process with exercises and briefings on practical aspects of starting and/or incorporating ADR into a practice or your work and bringing people in the door. You will leave with a concrete action plan to develop the next phase of your work.




In every situation, we exist in relationship to others. The groups we all belong to – and our membership and place within them – impact interactions, expectations of each other, options, and outcomes. In a conflict resolution process, we know that awareness of social hierarchies and their impact on parties and us is critical.

Join Gary Friedman and Melanie Rowen on May 8th to learn how to consider these existing social systems in creating the process and address stumbling blocks as they arise.


Power imbalances can skew the entire conflict resolution process in innumerable ways. During the Power Imbalance webinar series, we’ve looked closely at three different kinds of power imbalances: interpersonal styles, access to resources, and relationship to social and cultural privilege.

Join Gary Friedman and Melanie Rowen on June 12th from 12 – 1 PM PST for an engaging webinar that combines core concepts from the last three months into actionable steps for addressing power imbalances when bringing together parties in conflict.



Support the Center for Understanding in Conflict with a CUC Connect Membership and enjoy free interactive webinars, training discounts, and more!

CUC Connect Members

May Featured Webinar

Mediators and other conflict resolution professionals often fear impasse. Impasse is just a word that means stuck. It’s no surprise that people who are in conflict reach places that are challenging and look to professionals for help. 

In this one hour webinar, Katherine Miller talks about some things to do to avoid getting so stuck it feels unmovable and what to do if you get there.


The Center for Understanding in Conflict, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

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