June 19, 2019

Mediation Lessons From the Talmud: Leveraging Reciprocation Bias in Mediation

Josh Fruchter
The ancient Jewish legal text known as the Talmud (Tractate Baba Metzia 32b) records the following rule: if Mr. A simultaneously encounters a friend who requires assistance unloading a burden from his animal, and an adversary who needs help loading a burden on to his animal, A is obligated to..
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June 5, 2019

Mediation Lessons From the Talmud: How Can a Mediator Turn Emotional Outbursts Into Opportunities for Resolution?

Josh Fruchter
One of a mediator’s most challenging tasks is managing emotional, high conflict parties. How do you calm them down? Enforce limits on their conduct? Is there value to letting them vent? There are many opinions on the subject. In a previous post, I promised to draw insights from the Talmud..
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May 28, 2019

Principles of Cognitive Dissonance at Play in Mediation

Josh Fruchter
Psychologists tell us that humans prize harmony between their actions and beliefs. Accordingly, when we act contrary to a strong belief, alarm bells go off in the brain, and we feel mental discomfort, or “dissonance.” To eliminate this tension, we can either abandon the belief or change the behavior. To..
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May 9, 2019

Encouraging Empathy in Mediation: Just Because You Are Right Does Not Mean I Am Wrong

Josh Fruchter
For the inaugural post on the Merge Mediation Group blog, I’d like to briefly discuss the role of empathy in mediating disputes where there is a strong emotional component. That is, in disputes where emotions play a central role, what strategies can mediators employ to encourage disputants to step into..
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