Did you have techniques for managing your emotions during case work?


Leo Cardenas


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

What techniques did you have for managing your own emotions during a case?

Answer:
That becomes very difficult. We've always stressed professionalism. We have also stressed to our mediators, that even though we are dealing with community groups, you should dress the part, and typically it's easier to define a male with a coat and tie, and well, now females use something similar. But you not only have to be professional, but you have to demonstrate the image of being a professional so that acceptance of what we're doing is easier. We also constantly remind our people that despite the fact that we sort of pick and choose when we wanted to be the US Department of Justice and when we wanted to be CRS, that at all times we were representing the US Department of Justice and that there was no way to shed that. If it came down to it, we can say, "Well, I'm not Department of Justice, I'm actually CRS." But it's only emphasized by ourselves. If you approach it from a professional point of view, that you're working on a case and you accept the fact that initially the venting is going to be with you and that's all it is, including name-calling, then you can live with it. The other thing we always recommend, is that when the emotions get super-high, of course, call for a caucus. If it gets even worse, get to a telephone, and call the regional director, vent with me, and tell me all the things that are going wrong and I'll listen and do whatever I need to do.






Bob Ensley


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

So I'm interested in how you manage emotions. What do you do with them, how does that affect your family, to whatever degree that you are willing to share.

Answer:
I am very fortunate in that respect, because having a brother in law and a nephew who are both considered outstanding, they have taught me very successfully what they call stress management. It's nothing more than a form of self-hypnosis and at times I go back to my motel room and I go through these exercises and they really work. Sometimes it's absolutely necessary just to back away from the situation and go 15 or 20 miles to some historic site or some place that has some name recognition associated with it and just relax. I don't frequent movies that much and I'm not a movie-goer, but I do like various scenes and scenery and different things and rivers and water in the mountains. I would just go to the parks and engage myself, and forget about the purposes of where I am, and just not think about it. Sometimes I go there to give it a great deal of thought depending upon the situation. The stress management exercises that I go through really relieve all the tension and stress associated with the case.




Manuel Salinas


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
Let me ask you another question about neutrality and impartiality. When you found yourself in a situation like this case where you had feelings about what was happening, what techniques did you use to manage your own emotional reactions?

Answer:
Well mostly, I had to control what I said. I thought at times about things I would want to say, but I wouldn't say them. Because if you said them you'd blow your neutrality. If you say what you totally want to, you could get into the situation where you could no longer perform the function you were supposed to perform, at least not very well. You can't get to be too much a part of the conflict. I think one of the things was I would have protested a little harder, not with the chief of police, but with the city manager. I think they could've gotten more out of him. But I couldn't tell them that. And the other thing that I think they could've done better is that someone should have worked with the family that filed the law suit they should have been more aggressive with that family and maybe gotten the ACLU involved, or the Colorado Bar or some other strong organization. I was disappointed that the family probably got nothing or pretty much got left out of the process. But it was not my role to push that. Maybe I could have moved them in that direction a little more, but I didn't. It didn't cross my mind until you asked the question..






Ozell Sutton


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

I was a different kind of person, even before I was with this agency. Even before, when I was dealing with civil right issues, unlike most people, I never carried my children with me, I never carried my wife with me. It's hard for me to be non-violent when you twisted my child's arm, but you can twist mine.

Question:
So that was how you managed your emotions?

Answer:
That's how I managed my emotions, by not having them around. You see, if my wife's there, I've got to act manly. You get what I mean -- I got to protect her with my life.

Question:
Did you have people that you'd talk to about the things you were feeling? How did you deal with that?

Answer:
People in the movement talk.




Nancy Ferrell


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
Did your role ever get to be an issue?

Answer:
My role?

Question:
As in what role you were going to play in the conflict. Whether you were being a mediator, or an advocate?

Answer:
I talked a little bit about that at the beginning. I only remember two times where someone was just so out of bounds in terms of their arrogance, or their racism, or their overt ignorance that I wanted to be outraged. It took every once of control I had not to just light into them. The only thing that saved me was the greater good. I knew if I did that then I'd lose any potential with that person. I had to figure out some way to bring them around without taking them on or I would lose any possibility of intervention. But it was tough sometimes. I had one situation with a superintendent where I said, "I know now why we don't carry guns." I would have shot him, he was that bad. I was so angry inside, I was so furious with his attitude and the whole business. Generally, what happens with people like that is, I would try to find someone who had influence over that person and go to them. Like in that case, the board president was the one that I was able to intervene with. And the board president was then able to reign that guy in. But if I had taken him on, I would have lost credibility with him and with the president.




Silke Hansen


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

I think almost inevitably in a mediation case, and I am not talking about this one, but in a more long, drawn out mediation, I find myself fluctuating between this side being so reasonable and that side being so obstinate and then that changes. So on any given day, I might have favored "one side" and wished that the other side saw that. But that changes, it doesn't remain consistent through the mediation process. To me, that's just a verification of the fact that I don't have a specific agenda of what I want the agreement to look like. I might have some ideas of what might work, but even if I do, I am very, very careful to inject that in a way nobody will be too influenced. When the agreement is signed, it is very, very important for them to see that it's their agreement. I don't mind them thinking that Hanson helped them reach that agreement, but it's got to be their agreement.






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