Welcome to the Insight approach, an advanced method for changing conflict situations and facilitating mediation sessions.

The Insight approach to conflict and mediation positions conflict as emanating from experiences of threat to deeply held values and beliefs that trigger individuals and groups to protect and defend. These responses are perceived by others as threats to what they believe and value leading them to defend. When threat experiences continue, the resulting “defend patterns of interaction” sustain and escalate the conflict. To change these patterns, Insight practitioners facilitate learning conversations that expand what parties know about themselves and those with whom they are in conflict. The new insights generated reduce threat experiences and empower parties to work together to find more constructive ways of interacting.

This view of conflict differs from conflict being a struggle over claims to scarce resources, or the incompatibility of goals, positions, interests and needs, which has implications for how conflict practitioners intervene.

Insight practitioners take an interpretive approach that engages parties in learning more about themselves and the others involved in the conflict.

Being curious about threats and listening without judgement generates new insights about each other’s intentions and responses. This expanded knowledge enables parties to engage in dialogue and decision-making to change their interactions so their differing views and values can co-exist without threat.

Dr. Cheryl Picard

Dr. Cheryl Picard PhD, MSW, BA


Dr. Cheryl Picard, co-founder of insight mediation, professor emeritus Department of Law and Legal Studies at Carleton University, is an educator, mediator, conflict specialist and coach in interpersonal, workplace, restorative justice and community-based conflicts. Read More

Books on the Insight approach to conflict and mediation

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