The Insight Approach is the foundation of the mediation training conducted by INSIGHTful Mediation Training. It originated from the masterful mediation practice of Dr. Cheryl Picard and the critical philosophy of Bernard Lonergan, with theoretical guidance of Lonergan scholars, Drs. Kenneth Melchin and Jamie Price. It has become a cutting edge method in conflict analysis and resolution and continues to expand horizons of theory and practice in myriad arenas. The Insight Approach is a method for conflict analysis, resolution and change that emanates from understanding the interiority of an individual’s decision-making. It uses targeted curiosity to elicit both the thinking and the emotions that pattern what we do, opening up transformative, context relevant ways forward. Using the Insight Approach heightens our attention of how we use our minds to come to know, value and decide to act. It’s a method of discovery used to better understand ourselves and others, and facilitate change across a diversity of situations.
Insight Mediation was pioneered by Dr. Cheryl Picard and is the practice that brought Lonergan’s critical realism to the conflict field. It is a third party intervention that focuses on helping parties generate insights that expand what they understand about themselves, and the situation between those they are in conflict with, in order to reduce the sense of threat that is driving the need to defend animating often debilitating conflict dynamics. It has been widely accepted as the fourth pillar of mediation by mediation practitioners worldwide and by the Ontario Association for Family Mediation.
Dr. Picard continues to develop her mastery of this approach to mediation and is the Instructing Trainer and Advisor to INSIGHTful Mediation Training. Cheryl frequently writes, lectures and trains others in this unique approach to mediation and trainings for groups and organizations can be developed upon request. Contact us for more information.
Understanding the Approach
Insight mediators bring conflicting parties together in face-to-face facilitated dialogues that help them learn more about themselves and each other with the aim of discovering less threatening ways of interacting that will change the conflict for the better. The process is creative, flexible, emergent, non-linear, and responsive, taking parties through story-telling, decision-making and closure by way of a 5 phase process: attend to process; broaden understanding; deepen on insights; explore possibilities; make decisions. The theory is that Insights are generated from curious, non-judgmental listening and questioning focused on: 1) what parties think they know about each other’s intents 2) how they are protecting what matters to them and 3) what led them to decide to interact in the way they have. Questions are structured to foster new interpretations, new meanings, and new connections that make space for parties to seek new ways of interacting. Learning more about oneself in relation to others releases conflicting parties from the necessity of threat and the recurrent patterns of interaction that block their ability to craft non, or at least less, conflictual ways of interacting. Helping parties gain insights that transform conflicts through a framework for understanding how to break through closed-minds and move toward less threatening possibilities offers hope for changing a conflict riddled world.
INSIGHTful Mediation Training is founded on an understanding that reducing the level of conflict in communication by helping people generate insights that expand what they understand about themselves in relation to others, brings positive change to the world, whether in families, the workplace, schools, organizations or at our place of employment.
- Conflict emerges from defending behaviours in response to the experience of threats to an individual’s or group’s “cares”. Cares are more than the act of “caring”; they include all that over time have come to be deeply valued.
- To resolve conflict, people need to engage in an interpretive learning process; through learning change happens and through change learning occurs. For conflict to change, threat experiences need to be reduced or eliminated. Deepening the learning conversation helps parties determine if their cares must necessarily threaten others’ cares; differing cares can co-exist when no threat exists.
- Human action is both a response to something and the decisions taken about what to do about something. Communication is interactive and conflict is about the patterns of interaction happening in the present that are linked to experiences of the past .