Combining CBT with mediation at Crowther Mediation

By 2nd August 2023 No Comments

At Crowther Mediation, Nicola Crowther, has combined cognitive behavioural therapy with mediation to achieve great results for her clients.

Following a career in dispute resolution spanning twenty years, Nicola trained as a cognitive behavioural therapist in 2020. Driven by a need to gain a greater understanding of her client’s thoughts and emotions when going through conflict, Nicola feels this additional element to her skill set gives her an obvious advantage.

Nicola says: As an accredited CBT I now have the ability to identify personality types and understand why certain individuals behave the way they do. This insider knowledge allows me the advantage of knowing how they will respond in certain situations so I can be prepared to counteract their behaviour and avoid the conflict escalating.

Some personality types are more prone to conflict than others, but why is this?

Our conflict management training course helps participants to understand conflict is born of fear and if they can identify the fear and address it, they will diffuse the conflict.  But what makes us frightened?

The pressures of society in this modern age will undoubtedly give rise to anxiety on lots of fronts. Individuals are anxious about their finances in this current climate, their homes, their jobs, their children, their health …… it transpires we are even frightened of missing out!

My role as a CBT allows me to understand how easily we can become ‘overloaded’ with anxiety and how our brains will respond to this overload. 

Lots of the clients I meet will be facing multiple issues relating to finances, children, employment etc. Our brains are not capable of processing this much information at once.  A bit like a computer with too many screens open, our brains will begin to slow down and potentially crash.  Have you ever walked into a meeting ready to do a presentation and when someone asks if you want tea or coffee, you just can’t answer?  Maybe you’ve been at the supermarket checkout thinking about your day at work, what to have for tea and a list of tasks you have to do that evening, when suddenly the cashier asks if you have a reward card and it takes you a full ten seconds to answer?  This inability to answer the most simple of questions, is because your brain is overloaded  – you need to close some screens down!

This feeling of being overloaded can then cause us to fall into the trap of self loathing.  We’re so stupid we don’t even know if we want tea or coffee. We suddenly risk feeling totally incapable and inferior. In case this isn’t bad enough, our brains will try to be helpful by presenting us with memories of other occasions when we were totally useless and incapable.  This places us on a downward spiral of negative thoughts and before we know it we have found ourselves depressed and anxious about our weaknesses. 

In that moment, our anxiety or fear could manifest its’ self as anger, lashing out at others in frustration with ourselves.

But don’t worry, most of us are able to take a deep breath, clear our heads, focus on the important tasks and move forward.  When the issues become overwhelming, we can practice self care, perhaps meditation, listening to music, going for a walk or practising a hobby.  Some of us don’t even realise we’re doing it and some of us need to make a concentrated effort to make the time to be kind to ourselves.

Failing to be kind to ourselves, can lead to depression, anxiety and conflict.  I recognise this in my clients and whilst as a mediator I have a duty to remain impartial, I also have a duty to signpost my clients to seek help.  The key for me, is recognising those clients who need help and understanding why they behave the way they way do.  I can then go on to help my clients move forward with their new lives.