Services

Select a service below to find out more information.

Mediation/Conflict Resolution

Purpose: Conflict Resolution at El Toyon is based upon the principle that if people approach conflict in a way that reflects their core values they are more likely to be satisfied with the solution they create and can change how they approach future conflicts and other relationships.

Who can benefit: El Toyon's conflict resolution can help people with a dispute who would like help crafting their own resolution.  Some common reasons for seeking out a neutral third party to help resolve conflicts are:

  • Strong emotions make it difficult to communicate about the dispute

  • Staying on topic has been difficult in the past

  • The dispute is complex and requires a complicated solution

  • Parties would rather meet on neutral territory

Topics can include:

  • Family - spending, grandparent visits,  homework

  • Business - customer/client problems, employee/employer

  • Real Estate - Landlord/Tenant, Neighbor Complaints

  • Any topic both parties would like help resolving

How it works:   A person contacts El Toyon and is interviewed about their situation.  If El Toyon’s services are deemed appropriate we will contact the other party to see if they are willing to meet and set an appointment   If the other party is not interested in meeting but the first person is still interested in getting help other services will be offered to them.

Neutral mediators will meet with the parties and listen to both sides of the dispute.   The neutrals will work on uncovering what specific needs each party has and will work to ensure the parties use these to craft their own settlement.  The shift from positions (“I want $100 dollars from him”) to needs (“He will not admit he hurt me and I need an apology”) can expand the range of possible solutions and bring a greater understanding to the parties.

The agreement will be crafted by the parties.  This approach has proven to reduce the potential for further conflict.  The mediator will follow up a month later to see if the agreement has been upheld and if further services are needed.  

Selected Resources:

Getting to Yes by Roger Fischer, William Ury, and Bruce Patton

Getting Past No by William Ury



Mediation Preparation

A low cost way to help parties to a mediation come to the table ready to talk and listen.

ETC will help parties prepare for their mediation by explaining the process of mediation and giving the parties tools to help control their emotions, clearly explain their message, and listen effectively to the other party.

El Toyon will not provide legal advice or attempt to change a party's goals.  Mediation preparation services are to be utilized as a confidential communication facilitation service.

"Make sure you are asking for what you need - not fighting for what you want."

Facilitation Services

Perhaps you have a conversation or meeting that could use an outsider to keep things on track or help diffuse strong emotions.  ETC can help facilitate talks on many different topics, from business issues to family matters.

Below is an example of a facilitation topic affecting many people today.

Facilitation of Discussions with Older Family Members

Purpose:  Many people are faced with aging parents who are not able to drive, live in their own home, or make important decisions on their own.  Unfortunately, needless arguing, conflicts, and extremely hurt feelings can result in destructive damage to family relationships.  A time that should be treasured now becomes time to be regretted.  By providing a comfortable, home location on three landscaped acres and neutral mediators/facilitators to guide the conversations, wise decisions can be reached ensuring that relationships stay in tact.

How it works:   One of the family members would contact the El Toyon Center.  All the pertinent information would be obtained and an appointment set.  If requested the El Toyon Center facilitator would contact other family members either by phone or in person to explain the meeting to them and what to expect.  

On the day of the family meeting, a tour of the premises would be given to break the ice.  The rules and boundaries of the discussion would be determined.  An agenda would be followed and notes taken for the family.  The facilitator would make sure agreements are clear to everyone involved and will help resolve ambiguities as well as help manage emotions.  

If another meeting time would be needed, it could be arranged.  The facilitator would follow-up the next week to ensure the decided upon action items were being met.

Resources:

Beyond Reason, Using Emotions as You Negotiate by Roger Fischer and Daniel Shapiro

Bringing Peace into the Room by Daniel Bowling, David Hoffman

The Peace Maker by Ken Sande 

Classes

Future instructional subjects will include mediation and healthy communication techniques and have been specially designed for specific audiences including:

- Women

- Men

- Churches

- Youth Groups

Upcoming classes will be listed as they are scheduled. 

Below is a sample class description.

Skills for Challenging Conversations

Appropriate for High School aged students, small groups, women’s groups, men’s groups

Purpose of this class: As our lives become more complicated due to work, school, or family situations, we can often find ourselves faced with the need to have a difficult conversation.  A difficult conversation can be anything we find hard to talk about. You will learn how to identify the situations that lead up to such a conversation, to prepare yourself for the interaction, to practice actually carrying out the conversation, and to restore relationships through successful outcomes.

Topics include:

  • What is a difficult conversation:  

  • Identifying the conversation: What happened?: Stop arguing about who is right and explore the other’s story, do not make assumptions, and avoid blaming.

  • Realize the role of feelings

  • How your identity plays a part in the conversation

  • Deciding on your purpose: When to raise the topic and when to let go

  • How to get started

  • Learning by listening

  • Expressing by speaking with clarity and power

  • Problem Solving

  • Getting it altogether

  • Practice it using an actual conversation you desire to have and receive feedback

Structure of Class:  This would be a two hour class with a practice component.  It could stand alone or be grouped with other classes.  It would be fast-paced with video examples to illustrate points as well as role-playing.  Lastly, each participant would be encouraged to practice  an actual difficult conversation they intend to have with the idea of refining and receiving appropriate feedback.

Selected Resources:

Difficult Conversations by Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton, and Sheila Heen

Crucial Conversations, Tools for Talking when Stakes are High by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan, and Al Switzler

Solo Conversation Preparation

Purpose: The goal of Solo Conversation Preparation (SCP) is to use communication techniques to help someone clearly express their message in a way that another person is most likely to understand.

Who can benefit: SCP can help individuals who

  • Feel they are often misunderstood when communicating

  • Feel their emotions take over when having a serious discussion

  • Need mediation but the other party will not attend

  • Need to have a difficult conversation and want help preparing

How it works:  A person who contacts El Toyon is interviewed about their situation.  If mediation is deemed appropriate El Toyon will contact the other party to set an appointment.  If the other party is not interested in mediation or the matter does not give rise to mediation but the first person is still interested in getting help SCP will be offered to them.

Neutral mediators will meet with the single party and listen to their side of their dispute.  Feedback and coaching will be provided on communication style and clarity, as well as phrasing and tone.  Tools and techniques we employ as mediators (shifting from positions to interests, needs discovery, active listening, empathetic understanding, etc.) can help the person gain clarity on what their message needs to be in order for their intended meaning to get across.

We do not try to convince a person to change what they want to say, only how they will say it.  But going “below the line” of their statements often reveals their true needs and can help them ask for what is actually important.

Selected Resources:

Getting to Yes by Roger Fischer, William Ury, and Bruce Patton

Getting Past No by William Ury

Beyond Reason, Using Emotions as You Negotiate by Roger Fischer and Daniel Shapiro

Bringing Peace into the Room by Daniel Bowling, David Hoffman

The Peace Maker by Ken Sande

 

Couples Conversation Preparation

Purpose: Couples Conversation Preparation (CCP) at El Toyon is an amalgam of communication training and conflict resolution.  It is tailored for married or dating couples but it is not couples counseling or therapy, nor is it designed to facilitate a divorce.  

Neutral third parties will work with a couple on a specific conflict with the goal of helping them create a satisfactory and healthy solution.  El Toyon hopes this process will change how they approach future hot button issues or conflicts within their relationship.

Who can benefit: CCP can help couples who would like to learn a healthy way to resolve their disputes or feel they repeatedly encounter barriers to effective communication.  Some common reasons for seeking out a neutral third party for help are:

  • Strong emotions make it difficult to communicate

  • Staying on topic has been difficult in the past

  • The dispute is complex and requires a complicated solution

  • The couple would rather meet on neutral territory

Topics can include:

  • Finances

  • Work/home life balance

  • Dealing with extended family/in-laws

  • Children and parenting

How it works:   A couple contacts El Toyon and is interviewed about their situation.  If El Toyon’s services are deemed appropriate,  we will set an appointment   If one of the couple is not interested in meeting but the other would like help,  other services will be offered to them.

Neutrals will meet with the couple and listen to both sides of the conflict to determine where the couple’s communication breaks down.   The neutrals will work on uncovering what specific needs each person has and find ways for the couple to feel secure in sharing these with their partner and to craft their own solution to their conflict.  Communication skills and techniques will be shared with the couple as they work together through the issue.

The neutral will follow up in an agreed amount of time later to see if the solution the couple created has been honored and if further services are needed.

Selected Resources:

Getting to Yes by Roger Fischer, William Ury, and Bruce Patton

Getting Past No by William Ury

The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman

Fee Schedule

ETC offers services on a sliding scale rate, starting at $25 per hour, with an additional $1 per hour for every $1,000 in annual income a party earns over $25,000, but parties will not be turned away due to lack of funds.  Tuition for training will vary depending on the program.