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Demystifying Distress (video)

Set Effective Boundaries for Challenging Behavior Without Writing Anyone Off (And Practice Self-Care)

Recorded Tuesday, May 14, 2024

We all experience emotional distress sometimes, especially during conflicts.  And when people experience emotional distress, everything can spin out of control.  Even the most seasoned dispute resolution professionals may find themselves overwhelmed while trying to balance the clashes that occur when some distressed parties start shutting down and others begin blowing up.  The professionals, themselves, may have their own distress – maybe the conflict reminds them of something in their own lives or perhaps they feel personally attacked or nervous that things are escalating beyond what they can handle.  

Amidst these traumatic breakdowns, many practitioners and clients are tempted to disengage, give up, and write some people off as impossible to have a “normal” connection with.  This Demystifying Distress program is all about shifting our normal so we can [1] understand ways distress manifests differently for different people, and [2] take a trauma-informed approach to working with those differences – all while setting appropriate, transparent boundaries for challenging behaviors (ones that are equitable to ensure people aren’t treated differently due to unconscious or systemic biases).  


Clare Fowler

Clare Fowler is Executive Vice-President and Managing Editor at, as well as a mediator and trainer. Clare received her Master's of Dispute Resolution from the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution at the Pepperdine University School of Law and her Doctorate in Organizational Leadership, focused on reducing workplace conflicts, from Pepperdine… MORE >


Dan Berstein

Dan Berstein, MHS is a mediator and trainer known for his work in mental health communication, accessibility, and challenging behaviors. Through his company MH Mediate, Dan provides tools, trainings, and resources to help all kinds of mental health stakeholders talk about mental health, resolve conflicts, and address challenging behaviors in… MORE >

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