Working with High Conflict Personalities: Insights and Strategies

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This two-part course is recognised by the Law Society and Family Mediation Council and carries 5 CPD hours.

High conflict personalities constitute a relatively small proportion of the people with whom professionals will encounter in their work (and their lives). They are not easily identifiable and indeed may present themselves reasonably and rationally, and may well achieve high status in professional occupations and in their lives.

This course is intended to assist professionals working with such personalities to recognise when dealing with such personalities and to adapt their strategies as necessary and appropriate. It should provide a greater sense of control over situations which such personalities may otherwise excessively influence.

Session 1:  5th September 2022 – 10.00am–12.30pm (online)

Session 2: 12th September 2022 – 10.00am–12.30pm (online)

Many solicitors and mediators will have the experience that some clients or parties in disputes create more stress, challenges and headaches than much of the rest of their caseload combined.

Certain personalities are marked by their intransigence, their rigidity on matters in issue, inability to agree or even find common ground, rational presentations that may be based on questionable premises, and the certainty of their beliefs. Expectations may be unrealistic, boundaries pushed. These and other manifestations reflect “high conflict personalities”.

Every lawyer and mediator will benefit from an understanding and strategies to deal with this demanding category of clients – for whom one’s usual approach and strategies are unlikely to be effective and may well be counter-productive.

Understanding: Fundamental to working effectively with high conflict personalities is an understanding of the psychological factors that underlie them and an ability to identify them. This is not by way of “diagnosis” but rather of having an appreciation of these factors so that strategies can be appropriate and effective.

Strategies: While a theoretical perspective is essential, it is not sufficient to enable professionals to deal in practice with high conflict personalities. This course will also provide a range of practical strategies for working with these personalities.

This course is designed specifically for lawyers working with clients in all fields of activity, and for mediators irrespective of the practice model they follow or the field in which they work.


Henry is a solicitor, mediator & trainer; FMA co-founding Vice-President; Resolution’s first Director of Mediation; Co-author “ADR Principles & Practice”; “Managing Difficult Divorce Relationships”; and “Psychology, Emotion and Intuition in Work Relationships: The Head, Heart and Gut Professional”

Nigel is a Family Arbitrator, Collaborative Family Solicitor & Accredited Family Mediator, a Resolution Trainer and Professional Practice Consultant and is currently training to be a Family Law Supervisor.

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