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Monthly Member Meeting | High Conflict Solutions – Reducing Parental Conflict Through Professionals

Virtual Event Virtual Event

May 21 @ 12:00 pm 1:30 pm EDT

CLEs Approved for:
1 Credit General Law
1 Credit Marital & Family Law

In order to help families immersed in protracted conflict, it is important for professionals and parents to understand what causes high conflict and the damage it can do to families. The presentation will detail the reasons why parents behave poorly when in conflict with their co-parent. Neuroscience provides many of the answers including how the different parts of the brain interact and what parents and professionals can do to shift their brains to be helpful solving problems in the face of conflict. In doing this work, our goal is to teach skills for resolving conflict and improving parenting. Understanding is not enough. We want to see parents change their behavior, and imparting skills is crucial to behavior change.

These skills include communication skills, emotional regulation skills, and attuning to children’s stress and needs. Parents are taught how the brain works to increase conflict and what they can do to access parts of the brain needed for problem solving, empathy, and mature decision making. When parents are highly emotional when meeting with professionals, we cover methods and phrases professionals can use to shift the parents away from their highly charged state of mind. We motivate parents to make these changes by detailing how conflict negatively impacts their child’s brains and physiology, and how conflict affects their own physical and mental health. Parents are taught how to care for themselves during this highly stressful time in their lives, and the importance of doing so for their children as well as for themselves.

At the end of the presentation, we describe an online program we developed that accomplishes the skill training and explains the concepts around conflict. The content of the program is video scenes of parents fighting, providing an emotional hook and the scenes are personally relevant. This ensures the parents’ attention and interest in the program. Careful consideration went into the instructional design so that the material can be remembered and recalled for use after the course is completed. We used animation to show the effects of conflict on young brains, and we brought in the voice of the child throughout the program.

Key takeaways:

  • Parental conflict is a natural response to threat.
  • Understanding the brain can enable parents to reduce their conflict and protect their children.
  • Methods professionals can use to calm agitated parents and inspire confidence going forward.
  • An online program is available when parents are ready to learn.

Dr. Donald Gordon – Biography
Dr. Gordon is the Executive Director of the Center for Divorce Education and the developer of the Children in Between Online and High Conflict Solutions parenting education programs. Dr. Gordon has worked in the field of psychology for over 40 years with a particular focus on working with families of delinquents and researching the effects of divorce on children.

Dr. Gordon is an Emeritus Professor of Psychology from Ohio University where he was employed for 23 years training doctoral students in family interventions and conducting research evaluating family and parenting interventions that he refined or developed.

Dr. Gordon is widely published and prolific in the area of cost-effective, evidence-based interventions for at risk families, including families with delinquents and those going through the trauma of divorce or separation. He has presented at state and national judicial conferences on educational programs for divorcing families as well as taught family court judges via satellite video conferencing in five states (funded by the State Justice Institute).

Along with the Children in Between Online and High Conflict Solutions courses, Dr. Gordon has also developed the Parenting Wisely program to assist parents of delinquents to make better connections with their children, improve family communication, and reduce disruptive behavior disorders.

Dr. Gordon is proud that both the Children in Between and Parenting Wisely programs, hold the distinction of being SAMHSA model programs and as such, included on the National Registry for Evidence-based Programs and Practices (NREPP) supported by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Children in Between co-parenting course is the only program related to divorce listed on NREPP that shows reductions in parental conflict.

Jaimie MacArthur – Biography
Jaimie MacArthur is the Director of Operations at the Oregon office for The Center for Divorce Education who has worked with the organization for more than 7 years. She helps expand the knowledge of parenting education and maintains customer accounts and helps maintain the websites. Previously she worked for QuickBooks in technical support and attended Rogue Community College for accounting and has an Associates Degree from Southern Oregon University.


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