Challenging ConflictMediation Through Understanding


Gary Friedman


Challenging Conflict can be purchased along with its related DVD or videotape, Saving the Last Dance: Mediation Through Understanding, at a discounted rate. See above for prices.

Challenging Conflict shows how, through mediation, parties can overcome conflict rather than remain within its grasp at enormous cost to themselves and others. The authors demonstrate how mediators and lawyers can support parties in working together effectively in ways that deeply respect their humanity. Principles and methodologies of the understanding-based approach are discussed through the telling of ten stories of actual commercial mediation.


Challenging Conflict is a must read for any mediator, lawyer or party to a conflict! It eloquently and lucidly presents a model of mediation designed to encourage party choice and empowerment, human understanding and communication, and agreements that honor the needs, interests, and values of parties in dispute. This is the long awaited manifesto of two pioneers in mediation who originated the non-caucus model to ensure party participation and understanding, and minimize lawyer or third party neutral control of outcomes. The transcripts and dialogues of mediation beautifully illustrate the moves and interventions that quality mediators can make to ensure a meditative process with integrity for the parties, and which honors both process choices and outcome selections that are negotiated freely by parties learning how to deal with conflict productively, constructively, and meaningfully. Mediators, parties, lawyers–all human beings will learn how to “deal” (not necessarily resolve) better with conflict and use it to construct new relationships and enhanced self-knowledge. This will be one of the “classic” texts on how to mediate for generations to come.” – Carrie Menkel-Meadow, A.B. Chettle Jr. Professor of Law, Dispute Resolution and Civil Procedure and Director, Georgetown-Hewlett Program in Conflict Resolution and Legal Problem-Solving Georgetown University Law Center

“This book is unusual in that it is very realistic about the complexity and challenges of conflict and still unrelentingly optimistic about peoples’ capacity, with the assistance of skilled mediators, to craft solutions appropriate to their needs and informed by the sense of fairness that can emerge from mutual understanding. The authors illustrate their approach with case examples that demonstrate why their framings have been so effective, they never get caught up in the mechanical application of mediation techniques or a narrow concern with resolution. In their approach at the core of effective mediation is deep understanding.” – Dr. Howard Gadlin, Ombudsman and Director of Center for Cooperative Resolution, National Institutes of Health

“The practical approach to the subject of this example-filled book comes remarkably close to the most convincing argument for mediation: to try it.” – Dr. Francis Gurry, Deputy Director General and Director General Elect of the World Intellectual Property Organization

“Using interesting and at times intriguing case examples, Himmelstein and Friedman show how a focus on deeper understanding and joint problem solving can be the keys to unlocking difficult conflicts. They urge mediators to engage with disputants in looking at their conflicts rather than take away the problem from them. This book is worthwhile and engrossing reading for anyone interested in developing an effective approach to mediating difficult disputes.” – Bernard S. Mayer, Werner Institute, Creighton University, author of  Beyond Neutrality


Co-winner of the 2008 CPR Award for Excellence in ADR (Outstanding Book Category)

PON Teaching Negotiation Resource Center

Close window

Soft copy vs. hard copy

You may order this role simulation in either soft copy (electronic) or hard copy (paper) format. If you select the soft copy option, you will receive an e-mail with a URL (website address) from which you may download an electronic file in Adobe Acrobat PDF format. You will have one week to download your materials from when you receive the email. You are then only authorized to use, print, or share the materials as many times as the number of copies you purchase. The TNRC charges for use of this simulation on a per-participant basis. Therefore, you must purchase a separate copy of this simulation for each person who will be participating, regardless of the number of roles in the simulation. You will only receive a link to one electronic file, which includes all general instructions, confidential instructions, and any teaching notes for the simulation. You should separate out the instructions before distributing to participants.

If you select the hard copy option, you will receive paper copies of this role simulation via the shipping method you select.

For additional information about the soft copy option, please visit our FAQ section, or contact the PON Teaching Negotiation Resource Center at or 800-258-4406 (within the U.S.) or 301-528-2676 (outside the U.S.).

Please note: At the present time, Teaching Negotiation Resource Center soft copies are compatible with the following versions of the Adobe Acrobat Reader: English, German, French, Spanish, Swedish, Portuguese, Japanese, and Korean. If you have a different version of the Acrobat Reader, you may wish to download one of these at, or contact the PON Teaching Negotiation Resource Center at, 800-258-4406 (within the U.S.), or 301-528-2676 (outside the U.S.) for further assistance. This restriction does not apply to the freely available Teacher’s Package Review Copies.

Ordering a single copy for review

If you wish to review the materials for a particular role simulation to decide whether you’d like to use it, a PDF, or soft copy, version of the Teacher’s Package for the simulation is available as a free download from the description page of most role simulations and case studies. All Teacher’s Packages include copies of all participant materials. In addition, some Teacher’s Packages (but not all) include additional teaching materials such as teaching notes or overhead masters.

Ordering copies for multiple participants

To order multiple copies of a role simulation for use in a course or workshop, simply enter the total number of participants in the box next to “Quantity.” There is no need to calculate how many of each role is required.

If you are ordering hard copies, the Teaching Negotiation Resource Center will calculate the appropriate numbers of each role to provide, based on the total number of participants. For example, if you wish to order a 2-party role simulation for use with a class of 30 students, you would enter “30” in the box next to “Quantity.” You then would receive 15 copies of one role and 15 copies of the other role, for use with your 30 participants. As another example, if you ordered 30 participant copies of a 6-party role simulation, you would receive 5 copies of each role.

In the event that the number of participant copies you order is not evenly divisible by the number of roles in the simulation, you will receive extra copies of one or more roles. Participants receiving the extra roles may partner with other participants playing the same role, thus negotiating as a team. So, for instance, if you ordered 31 copies of a 2-party role simulation, you would receive 15 copies of the first role and 16 copies of the second role. One of the participants playing the second role would partner with another participant playing that same role, and the two would negotiate as a team.