Forrest (Woody) Mosten

Mediator and Collaborative Attorney

Certified Family Law Specialist

Mediator Supervision and Consultation

“A mediator might want direct supervision in entering private practice or making it profitable once taking the plunge.”

— Forrest S. Mosten, The Complete Guide to Mediation

Mosten Mediation TrainingFor the past 30 years, Woody Mosten has been training law students and mediators to improve their skills and maximize their careers. Of all his worldwide training, Woody most enjoys working one on one with talented mediators who come to him for supervision. Whether the supervision ends after the three-hour assessment or lasts for years in person or by telephone, it is an important relationship in the mediator's life and for Woody.

Having been mentored himself for over two decades by Professor Louis M. Brown (The Father of Preventive Law, 1909-1996) and having learned from many of the world's great mediators, Woody is dedicated to providing quality supervision to mediators who commit themselves to improve both their craft and their cashflow in the challenging and rewarding supervision format.

Joan Skudera

I so much appreciated the wonderful individual training supervision with Woody Mosten! I was expecting a great deal from the session and he exceeded my highest expectations.

I really appreciated Woody’s honesty and compassion with me. I felt comfortable and supported in sharing my information with him because I trusted that Woody was trying to help me become more successful in my Collaborative and Mediation career.

Joan Skudera, , Mediator and Collaborative Attorney
Midland Park, NJ
www.skuderaesq.com

Thurman W. Arnold

“Like many attorneys who’d struggled with the dissatisfaction and destructiveness of adversarial litigation (for three decades), I knew there had to be a better solution to offer the individuals and families who arrived in crisis at my office. I had never heard of Forrest “Woody” Mosten, but as soon as I began to investigate the collaborative law and mediation resources that were pioneered by those who'd earlier come to similar realizations, I bumped into Woody’s name - over and over. I resolved immediately to train with him. Since then I have participated in his Divorce Mediation retreat, have had the honor to partake in supervised training with him in person and via Skype, and I have attended other of his advanced seminars. Within a year my mediation practice has exploded wide open, and I now realistically anticipate a career wholly devoted to family peacemaking.”

Thurman W. Arnold, III
Certified Family Law Specialist
Palm Springs/Palm Desert, California
Collaborative Attorney & Mediator

“I wish to thank Woody Mosten – who introduced me to the importance of ADR and family law and persuaded me how much more useful I could be focusing on family law than civil litigation.” Professor Andrew Schepard

Professor Andrew Schepard
Hofstra School of Law and Official Reporter of Uniform Collaborative Law Act

Upon receiving prestigious ABA Lawyer as Problem Solver Award in San Francisco on April 9, 2010.

Watch Woody’s 7-Part Interview about the Development of his Peacemaking Career on CuttingEdgeLaw.com 

Part 1  Part 2  Part 3  Part 4  Part 5  Part 6  Part 7 (YouTube links)

“Although I have an LL.M. in Dispute Resolution Studies from the Pepperdine University School of Law after over 25 years in law practice, I also highly recommend an advanced course of individual study with a veteran mediator for anyone serious about the subject. I have found Woody Mosten to be an exceptional coach who has inspired me to take my mediation skills and practice development to the next level. He helps me work through my options, decide on my goals, and efficiently direct my efforts to achieving them. He as also been, from time to time, the voice of my conscience in encouraging me to do what needs to be done. I have profited immensely from working with him.”

Kendall Reed

Kendall Reed
Mediator, Los Angeles

Kristina R. Hess

“I am particularly grateful to Woody Mosten. Woody was the first mediator that I contacted after I read his book, Mediation Career Guide. Woody has and continues to be a wonderful resource and mentor and I value his energy and commitment to our field tremendously. Woody is committed to leaving a positive legacy and to helping as many mediators he can to “make mediation their day job.” Woody has studied marketing and business development, been there, done that and has the scars and success to prove it.”

Kristina R. Hess
Estate Planning Attorney
KR Hess Law, P.C.

“Supervision with Woody Mosten has been an adventure. Supervision for an adult can make one feel like a child; but with Woody, it is always two colleagues working together. Woody acts like a mirror for my questions and guides me gently to improve my skills and has even given me ideas to improve my fee collections.”

Peri Drake Coburn

Peri Drake Coburn
Lawyer/Mediator

Barry Davis

“My private supervision with Woody Mosten has been invaluable to my practice development! Not only has he helped me define my target market, he has suggested specific and effective ways to reach this audience as well. Woody’s direction and feedback has allowed me to focus my resources on those approaches that will provide the greatest return on investment—thereby saving me thousands of dollars and dozens of hours of precious time! I have already developed multiple referral relationships as a direct result of implementing his practice development strategies and techniques.”

Barry Davis
Davis Mediation, El Segundo, California
DavisMediation.com

Groups for Mediators and Collaborative Professionals

Every month in Los Angeles and in venues throughout the world, Woody Mosten conducts groups for practicing mediators and collaborative professionals. These groups are generally organized by the professionals themselves and feature in-depth interactive discussion of relevant skills and conflict resolution theory as well as consultation and supervision by Woody on current cases that are ongoing in the practices of the group members. In 2009, a third year law student, Heather Weiner, interested in a collaborative divorce career, was invited to visit the group and wrote a memo to the professionals in the group chronicling her experiences at the session.

“Let me thank you again for allowing me to participate in your meeting this month—it was truly the highlight of my week in Los Angeles. Listening to your collective concerns, ideas, and feedback was invaluable, and helped solidify my interest in becoming a peacemaker.” To read Heather’s full memo about the Monthly consultation group for mediators and collaborative professionals led by Woody Mosten that she visited, please click here.

Heather M. Weiner
Third Year Law Student, 2009

Mediator Career Status Check

Where are you in your career as a mediator?

  • I have completed a Basic 40-Hour Divorce Mediation Training
  • I have completed at least one Advanced Family Mediation Course
  • My skills still need refinement
  • I need a business plan
  • I want to go into private mediation practice
  • I am in private mediation practice and want to make more income.

Woody Mosten, an AFM Approved Consultant, enjoys working with mediators individually to improve their skills at the mediation table and increase their profitability. He believes that craft and cash flow must both be maximized for talented mediators to stay in the field and serve the public.

We offer several opportunities for further training one on one:

  • Individual supervision
  • Small group supervision
  • Video and audio observation of your work
  • Personally observes your work
  • Roleplaying
  • Case conferences
  • Supervision of your writing a business plan, client training materials, articles, and presentations
  • Observe Woody mediate at his office
  • Co-mediate with Woody
  • Customized formats

Woody also offers customized consultations for mediation trainers and teachers, professional practice groups, and mediation organizations.

“A portion or all of the supervision process can be devoted to tackling marketing and practice management issues in the mediator's life. A mediator can receive hands-on help in developing a business plan or in writing a brochure or other promotional materials.”

Forrest S. Mosten
The Complete Guide to Mediation

Supervision Assessment for Mediators and Collaborative Professionals

All supervision and consultation requires an assessment conference with Woody.

  • Review and feedback of your Peacemaker Self-Survey written responses.
  • 3 hour Consultation in Los Angeles including breakfast or lunch. Long Distance Consultation by Skype or Telephone needs custom design.
  • Supervision plan will be developed jointly by you/and your Supervision Colleagues and Woody

You are required to complete Peacemaker Self-Survey in writing and submit it to Woody prior to your assessment conference. If your supervision is semi-private or with a group, each Supervision Colleague should submit a written response to each question on the Self-Survey.

It is recommended that you read Woody's books, Mediation Career Guide (Josses-Bass, 2001) and Collaborative Divorce Handbook (Josses-Bass, 2009) prior to the conference. Lawyers are also strongly encouraged to read The Complete Guide to Mediation, (ABA, 1997) and Unbundling Legal Services (ABA, 2000) as part of their Supervision, not necessarily before commencing the process.

Following the assessment conference, you will either commence the supervision plan that you have developed or follow a self-directed program.

Family Peacemaker Self-Survey

Family peacemakers are lawyers, mental health professionals, and financial professionals who deliver services in a number of roles: Client Representative, Individual and Family Consultant, Mediator, Evaluator, and Decision Maker. The distinction between a peacemaker and traditional provider are the values and goals of the professional and the expectations and long term benefits delivered to the clients and families served.

This self-survey is a working template for professionals to reflect upon the core definition of their practice. It is the foundation for the development of a peacemaker signature, mission statement, and business plan.

The questions presented are generic—and you should modify to customize your own practice and professional goals. It is recommended that you write out your answers—this may be very time consuming but should pay dividends over the years. For maximum benefit, you should discuss your answers with other colleagues individually, with your board of advisors, and with study/book and other practice groups.

I. Current Marketing Practices

  • What are my core personal values that are reflected in my peacemaking family work?
  • What are my key personal attributes are reflected in my peacemaking family work?
  • What services do I offer?
  • What is the target market for my services?
  • How do I communicate the availability and nature of my services to my target market?
  • How do my services provide improvement or diversity from other family professionals?
  • What is my involvement with organized professional associations in my trained profession?
  • What is my ongoing involvement with other family professionals? How is such involvement "cost-effective"?
  • To which professional journal subscriptions and software do I subscribe?
  • What is the extent of my volunteer peacemaking work for the community?
  • How do I help other family professionals develop their professional craft or practices?

II. Components of my Peacemaking Practice

What is my intake model for clients?

How do I describe the different services that I provide?

How do I compare the model of my services with other appropriate services?

What materials or templates do I offer clients for describing and comparing appropriate services?

What criteria do I use in comparing appropriate services?

Cost—how do I estimate?

Privacy and Confidentiality

Time for Resolution

Control over process

Control over result

Emotional and psychological impact

Impact on relationships

Impact on children

Financial Impact

Religious or moral impact

III. Financial and Strategic Planning of my Practice

What is contained in my written mission statement about my peacemaking practice?

What is contained in my written business plan to financially develop my peacemaking practice?

Who is on my Board of Advisors? What issues have they helped me with? What issues do I need to take to them in the next 6 months

What out-of-pocket capital have I invested to develop my peacemaking practice?

How much is budgeted for the next 12 months in direct capital outlay?

How much professional time have I invested to develop my mediation business?

What is the value of that time in foregone income?

What is my budget for professional time in the next 12 months?

What is the rate of economic return on my capital and professional time investment?

What is my record for being paid fairly, adequately and on time for my services?

How do I collect my unpaid fees?

What is the rate and timing of collection?

What are my practices in respect to my willingness to arbitrate or litigate to collect fees?

What are my criteria for arbitrating or litigating fee collection?

If I do not arbitrate or litigate, what corrective steps am I making to reduce unpaid fees?

What are my criteria for writing off a fee?

IV. Management of Practice

Do I want to have a lawyer-mediator partner? (Or steady co-lawyer-mediator?) If so, why? If not, why not?

What is my contribution to the growth of mediation through training?

What is my contribution to the growth of mediation through articles?

What is my contribution to the growth of mediation through development of materials?

In what roles do I work with the following family professionals?

Forensic Accountants:

Actuaries:

Real Estate Appraisers:

Business Appraisers:

"Industry" Specialists:

Individual Therapists

Couple Therapists

System Therapists

Children’s therapists

Vocational therapists

g. Children, Extended Family Members:

How does my retainer contract inform and educate clients as to:

My services?

Rules of my practice?

Financial requirements?

How does my contract protect me:

Financially?

From malpractice and professional disciplinary claims?

V. Client Education

What do I or my staff do to educate (potential) clients about my services?

Do I have a separate client library? How does it work

What procedures have I developed in the office for providing clients with information to educate them to better achieve their goals:

Mailing:

Display:

Showing DVD’s and videos:

Helping clients prepare and succeed at solving their problems?

What is my policy in helping other parties spouses engage counsel and other professionals?

Will I have meetings and sessions mediate by telephone or video conference call? If so, what is my procedure?

How do I communicate outside of sessions with:

Parties?

Counsel?

Experts?

What role do I play in:

Session summary letters?

Drafting agreements?

Interim court orders?

Filing legal documents?

What is my signature as to joint sessions or separate meetings? What criteria and strategies do I employ?

Do I build in preliminary planning sessions?

Once the presenting problem is resolved, what preventive planning do I conduct for the spouses?

What follow-up do I perform in monitoring compliance with signed agreements?

What type of tickle system have I set up to to follow up on future developments?

How do I stay in contact with clients?

What procedures do I have for initiating wellness (annual) check-ups for and with my clients?

How do I engage in preventive professional services?

VI. Training to Improve my Skills and Practice

  1. What are my goals, timeline, and budget for areas in which I need training?
  2. Who are the trainers I most wish to learn from? What does each of these trainers offer me for my practice growth and skill development?
  3. What format should my training be in: Conference workshops, additional basic courses, advanced courses, study group, individual or group supervision?
  4. On what areas of my financial practice development do I wish to concentrate?
  5. On which skills do I wish to focus on in training?
    1. What role will I play in training?
    2. What role will the supervisor play in training?
    3. What type of supervisory style do you believe would be most effective in my training?
    4. What will I do to overcome these obstacles?
    5. What do I want the supervisor to do in helping me overcome obstacles?
  6. What issues or techniques do you wish to focus on in your training?

Adapted from Forrest S. Mosten, Mediation Career Guide (2001, Jossey-Bass)

Trainer Internship in Los Angeles (January and September)

In addition to conducting his own classes and trainings, Woody is recognized internationally as a Master Trainer of Conflict Resolution Trainers. In 1999, the Western Justice Center in Pasadena appointed Woody to serve as Convener for an international symposium on training that involved such training luminaries as Jay Folberg, John Wade, Josh Stulberg, Lela Love, Maria Volpe, Peter Salem, and Robert Baruch Bush. Woody was also requested to serve as Guest Editor of the Family Court Review’s Special Issue, Training Mediators in the 21st Century” (January 2000) featuring articles from participants in the symposium. For many years, Woody teamed up with Lela Love and Josh Stulberg to offer a popular Training Mediators Workshop at the annual ACR Conference attended by professional mediation trainers and professors of conflict resolution. Woody was Chair of the Academy of Family Mediatorss Consultation Institute and has offered Training for Trainers at his institute in Los Angeles and most recently for the Swiss Bar Association in Zurich.

Cathy Daigle and Tracey Langenbahn Assistant Trainer Interns, September 2013

In order to provide hands on education and mentoring for the conflict resolution trainers of the future, Woody offers a Training Internship as Assistant Trainer for every 40 Hour Basic Divorce Mediation Training offered in Los Angeles at his home. Selected by application and phone interview, the Trainer Internship is for those experienced Mediators and Collaborative Professionals who have either started to give trainings or who have a deep commitment to become a professional trainer in the near future.

Trainer Interns receive hands on mentoring from Woody in training design, module objectives and preparation, presentation, observation and feedback of role plays, and managing the many challenges that occur during a five day training. Each Trainer Intern is offered the opportunity to present a 30 minute module on the 5th Training Day. For a review of the experience from the perspective of a Trainer Intern, Read More.

Trainers receive a full tuition waiver for the training course and supervision and are responsible for their own travel and housing expenses.

Past Training Interns include Helen Collins (West Cork, Ireland), Tom Darnton (Ann Arbor, MI — Tom enjoyed the experience so much that he came to LA twice to serve as Training Intern!!), Christian Hartwig (Berlin, Germany), Ken Reed (Past President, Southern California Mediation Association), Kimberly Fauss (Richmond, VA), Glenn Gottlieb (Los Angeles, CA), Kevin Scudder, (Seattle, WA), Michelle Baxter (Westlake Village, CA), Elizabeth Potter Scully (Los Angeles, CA — Liz was so good that she is now my faculty assistant for the Mediation Clinic at UCLA School of Law and she is my co-author for the 2nd Edition of The Complete Guide to Mediation (ABA Forthcoming in 2015).

Kimberly Fauss

“While most of Woody’s interns will comment on the breadth and depth of his teaching abilities, I want to highlight the excellence of his 40-hour mediation curriculum. Mediation trainings are long and challenging to cover all the new skills students learn and practice. These days with Woody fly by because of the expert pacing and natural unfolding of the curriculum. It is entertaining as well as engaging and allows the students to trust each other just as they are learning to trust themselves. The print materials are accessible, comprehensive and essential for any mediation practice.”

Kimberly Fauss, Mosten Training Intern, January 2011
Collaborative Attorney and Mediator
Richmond, VA
www.newgrowthventures.com

Thomas Darnton

“I’ve had the privilege of serving as Woody's intern on two separate occasions. During the first, I joined him believing that, being 15 years removed from my first basic mediation training, my knowledge of the field would be given a more solid foundation if I revisited the basics, which had certainly evolved over the 15 preceding years. During the second, I returned with the intention of preparing myself to present trainings on mediation-related topics. On both occasions, my expectations were exceeded. Woody is particularly adept at working the intended curriculum into an interactive engagement which appears to be driven by the questions and concerns of the students. The result is an engaging flow during which each student contributes from his or her individual life experiences and is lead from those experiences to a new understanding of mediation theory and practice.”

Thomas Darnton, Mediator and Collaborative Lawyer
Ann Arbor, MI
www.windwoodcenter.com

Helen Collins

“I was lucky enough to be chosen as an “Intern” to train in delivering Divorce Mediation Training in September 2011 by Professor Forrest Mosten, renowned Lawyer, Mediator and Teacher at UCLA School of Law in Los Angeles.

In mid September I packed my bag and headed off into the unknown!

I was welcomed into a class (restricted to 18 in number), the majority being experienced trial lawyers (from many parts of the US) and the remainder being established Mental Health Professionals. Forrest’s Trainings book out six to twelve months in advance.

We worked hard together for five very long concentrated days and grew to know each other better during that time.

Forrest encouraged me to talk to our students on day five, about my experience and family background and how I had, to date, travelled the road of conflict resolution.

I found myself giving a brief outline of the Irish War of Independence, the burning of my father’s house by the Black and Tans, the signing of the Treaty, the Civil War and the death of Michael Collins.

I told of my father’s ability for forgiveness, his passion for reconciliation and his service to his clients and his fellow human beings – the more vulnerable the more determined was his protection. I spoke of my 35 years as a Solicitor and the traumas, deaths and suicides I had experienced.

We all have our story! We are the culmination and more of the tapestry of our experience and the experience of those who came before us.

As I stood in the LA classroom telling a little of my story I saw the many successful Lawyers sitting in front of me… there to learn a different way… ready and wanting to step out of the adversarial Court System… to become peace makers!

Our teacher, Forrest Mosten, renowned Lawyer said an absolute “No” to litigation and stepped out of Court many years ago.

I learned from Forrest that the statistics confirm that 90 per cent of Family Conflict settles in private Mediation – 60 per cent in Court directed Mediation. As Lawyers we have the power to strongly encourage and proactively work with our clients to make family focused processed choices such as Mediation and Collaborative Practice.

It is argued that family conflict is 80 per cent emotional and 20 per cent legal. We have skilled “Coaches” available to us to emotionally support and educate our clients. We have the “options” and we have the “tools”.

It is time to say a resounding “No” to adversarial Court based Family Law. Let the exception prove the rule!”

Helen Collins, Solicitor, Collaborative Lawyer, and Mediator
Wolfe and Company
West Cork, Ireland

Kevin R. Scudder

“I had the honor of being Woody’s Assistant Trainer at his January, 2012 40-Hour Basic Mediation Training. Prior to that experience I considered Woody Mosten a Teacher and Mentor and after a week of working together training new mediators I have a deeper understanding of the power of the Peacemaker work that he does. Thank you, Woody, for taking me to a deeper layer of the work that we do.”

Kevin R. Scudder, Collaborative Attorney and Mediator
Seattle, WA
www.ScudderLaw.net

Elizabeth Potter Scully

“My experience as the Assistant Trainer for the January 2013 40 Hour Basic Divorce Mediation Training was profound, inspiring and invaluable. Overall, I was struck by how Woody continuously models the mediation skills he seeks to instill. Though he is not always talking, there is not one moment of this course during which Woody is not teaching. The training I received was varied, substantive and challenging. I had the opportunity to contribute to the class discussions, view presentations by Woody and other experts, observe students in role-play exercises and give them constructive feedback, debrief exercises with the class, and even design and teach my own half-hour module. Woody provided supportive, insightful and detailed feedback. The internship helped me reflect critically on my own skills, gain concrete and substantive experience as a trainer, develop comfort and confidence in a teaching role, and recommit myself to pursuing teaching as an integral component of my professional life.”

Elizabeth Potter Scully, CFLS
Los Angeles, CA

Stacey H. Langenbahn

“As an assistant trainer in Woody’s 40 hour divorce mediation class, I had the singular honor of observing, learning, and experiencing first hand Woody’s dynamic pedagogical style. His brilliant instruction, demonstration, and thorough explanation of key concepts and techniques gave me a new found sense of calm and confidence not only to manage adeptly the toughest mediations and clients, but also to move forward in my own right to train new talent. I will forever be grateful.”

Stacey H. Langenbahn, J.D., Attorney-Mediator, Collaborative Practitioner
Southlake, TX
www.DivorceMediationTexas.com

Gwen Mathewson

“How privileged I was to be Woody Mosten’s intern at his January, 2014, family mediation training in his L.A. home. Each part of the experience was enriching: participating along with the other students in role plays and discussion, conferring with Woody about his pedagogy, coaching students and facilitating discussion, and presenting a discrete module of my own on the final day. Observing Woody’s training would have been enough; sharing in the work and receiving his gracious feedback was a bonus. What an outstanding learning experience!

“Woody is a master trainer, an ability honed in his many years of helping to define the family mediation field as we know it today. There seems to be nothing he hasn’t confronted, no complexity he hasn’t helped to untangle. His skill is humbling, and his commitment to peacemaking is inspiring. Having already transitioned my own practice to mediation, Collaborative Law and unbundled services in recent years, I now embark on the post-Woody phase of my professional life, in which I expect the clarity of my vision will be sharper, my skills will be better refined, my curiosity will be more acute, and my clients will be better served.

“Thank you, Woody, for the superb example you set for us all. And thank you, Jody, for your warm hospitality throughout the week in which the lucky eighteen of us took over your house.”

Gwen Mathewson
Collaborative Attorney and Mediator
Seattle, WA

Enid Miller PonnI was fortunate to have had the privilege of working with Woody earlier this when I served as his assistant trainer in South FL (my community) in his outstanding 2-day course “Developing a Successful Collaborative Practice.” I facilitated the details and was invited by him to “present” a few modules.

I never experienced my fellow practitioners so lit up. This was tremendously gratifying for me to see and was wonderful being “partnered” with Woody in this endeavor. So, when he asked me be his trainer/intern in this 40-hour mediation course, it took me one second to say YES!

I had a feeling that this extended training with him might be even more impactful for me, but in reality it turned out to be in a universe of its own. Throughout the week Woody provided me with the opportunity to mentor participants in the class during their break-out sessions which was a uniquely profound learning experience for me. Through my observations with and suggestions to the students, I realized that I was truly able to confer benefits upon them as a trainer for which I received tremendous gratification. Just as valuable to me, were the new insights and knowledge I received through observing and addressing their process-related inquiries.

I watched Woody attentively during the week as he mindfully and patiently taught the participants in the class through his Socratic method (drawing out responses/answers from the audience, assuring that the participants were continuously engaged, and actively participating). The training participants play an integral role in his pedagogical process as he uses training as a metaphor for actual work in the mediation room.

Prior to serving as a Trainer/Intern , I had only given conference and practice group presentations and speeches. Now, I was learning to be a conflict resolution trainer which is a totally different role. For the first time I was able to truly liveout the distinction in a knowing kind of way and to appreciate how much more difficult this was. My principal objective during the week was to absorb Woody's mediation style and essence through his modeling behaviors. So, on the last day, when I was asked to take over the morning session of the training I had no idea how much had actually sunk in. Could I indeed do this?

I have to say it was a memorable, powerful and exciting experience to be handed the trainer reins. I did not recognize myself but I was hearing my voice and my comments and my inquiries of the class as Woody played his mediator role in “Stump the Trainer.”

Suddenly, I was the trainer in the room. I then understood that only by stepping off the plank will you ever know how you will land, and thank goodness Woody didn't ask if I was ready. He just told me to take over, and luckily I felt I had no choice because I doubt I would have willingly jumped. This was an experience of a life time for me and I wholeheartedly recommend serving as Woody’s Trainer Intern to anyone who may be invited to serve in this role.

Enid Miller Ponn, Collaborative Lawyer and Mediator
Weston, FL
www.theccdm.com

My Week with Woody, Jody and the Peacemakers. 

After over five decades on this planet, over three decades working in law firms and the legal services industry, and over two decades of searching for a way to practice law with a mindset that is about healing and not destruction, I find myself stranded on a bench in the sun at LAX due to a snow storm preventing any airline from delivering me back to my current home in the Midwest to start a multi-day custody trial.Lacking clear guidance on how one should or might act or think under these particular circumstances, I'm left with much time to ruminate.So with four (possibly more) hours until the next scheduled flight, weather permitting, I have taken my IPadMini and stylist in hand to attempt to put into words my experience this past week in Westwood, California, serving as assistant trainer with my mentor and friend, Forrest "Woody" Mosten.

For those who have not yet experienced Woody's 40-hour mediation training, let me first described the setting for the week.Lawyer, mediator, peacemaker, Woody, and his therapist wife, Jody, turn their beautiful family home, on a tree lined street near UCLA, into a mini-campus for five days.Twice a year they host 18 professionals all seeking to explore, expand or start mediation or peacemaking practice.The students and assistant trainers gather in Jody and Wood's family room - converted to a classroom complete with white boards, projector, screen and gong from Tibet used to make the passage of time.The Mostens' patio, garden, dining room, home offices and hallways become breakout spaces for role-plays, debriefs, peacemaking circles and mealtimes. Over the five days the students take a fictional divorcing couple, Linda and John, from conflict to resolution - from turmoil to peace.

The students and assistant trainers come from various disciplines and industries - law, mental health, finance, nursing, business, real estate and even the arts.The trainees and other assistant trainers I was privileged to work with over the five days included accomplished litigators, a cardiac psychologist, a financial planner, and a lawyer turned one-women stand-up performer.Their paths to Woody's home-classroom may be varied but on the first day it became clear quickly that the reasons for being there are quiet similar.The students, bar none, are life long learners in search of ways to live and serve those looking for ways out of conflict.Some of the participants are themselves products of devastating family conflicts - one student poignantly shared how at the age of six she was made testify in her grandparents divorce.Others shared about the "scorched earth" proceedings they, their families, their friends or their clients experienced in courthouses around the country - a few of those proceedings ending with suicide or years of dysfunction for the children or the extended families.

I have participated in and have presented at similar professional trainings over the last twenty years. Typically these types of programs start with the trainer going around the room having the participants introduce themselves to the group.However, from hour one Woody turned the introduction task into a learning and sharing opportunity.Students were divided into pairs and sent to the various breakout spaces for 20 minutes to interview one another - using only open questions.When the large group reconvened each one of the pair introduced the other for one minute summarizing the highlights of the other's life, journey, professional and personal experience.This exercise helped with honing listening, reframing, questioning and reporting skills essential for all proficient mediators.This exercise was a wonderful ice-breaker and created an atmosphere of immediate intimacy with participants not merely sharing their "rank and serial numbers" but also sharing one-on-one details on topics like family, faith and philosophy.

Each morning the students were assigned different seats in the classroom and each role-play allowed students to rotate roles between the mediator, each of the clients, the observer and the reporter.This created a kaleidoscope of perspectives and allowed a simulation of the real world where each family, no matter how similar their circumstances, are unique systems needing individualized attention and tailored outcomes.Break-times and lunchtime (all lovingly curated by Jody Mosten) became gatherings of camaraderie, sharing, and laughter for students and trainers alike.We read aloud, we joined, we literally took baby-steps to the bench in the front yard, we sat in silence, we danced, we learned to mine for needs and interests, we learned to step away when that is the best technique to improve communications between bickering parties.The hours flew by and the flowering of knowledge, friendship, personal and professional growth was amazing to witness and to be part of.The closing ceremony, facilitated by Woody around his family’s outdoor dining table (based on an Quaker sharing circle using an indigenous talking-stick) brought expressions of deep gratitude, of hope, of renewal, of love and of dedication and re-dedication to the healing art of peacemaking and conflict resolution.

For now I am still stranded on the bench at LAX awaiting my return to frozen tundra of the Midwest.But I am warmed, not only by the sun, but by the joy of knowing that because Woody so wholeheartedly shares his home, his knowledge and his wisdom there are now eighteen more professional peacemakers on this planet.Eighteen new friends and list-serve buddies who are committed, as I am, to genuinely helping families and individuals looking to pivot away from conflict and toward healing for themselves, their children and the generations to come.

Sandra Crawford, Collaborative Attorney and Mediator
Chicago, IL
www.lawcrawford.com

Lisa Jacobs’s comments as Assistant Trainer Intern

Serving as Woody’s Assistant Trainer Intern for his September 2015 40-hour Basic Mediation Training was truly a highlight of my professional career, which met my goals of honing my skills as a trainer, facilitator, speaker, mediator, and collaborative professional. I whole-heartedly recommend that all individuals who have similar goals as mine to consider applying for Woody’s Assistant Trainer Intern position. In this role, Woody will support you through the process of developing core training skills, and, at the same time, stretch you beyond your comfort level, which he consistently does with everyone in his workshops. That makes for such a rich learning and growth experience for all participants.

On the final full day of the training, Woody invited me to lead facilitating the workshop for the entire morning. This included presenting a training module for the class. I presented a very condensed and customized version of Woody’s 2-day course on “Building a Profitable and Satisfying Peacemaking Practice.” In my utilizing Woody’s practical methods and practices on how to translate a passion for peacemaking into a profitable full-time professional career, I was able to build a very fulfilling 100 percent peacemaking practice in less than one year, and my revenues continue to climb exponentially and beyond my wildest earlier expectations and forecasts. I humbly attribute much of my success to Woody’s sage advice, which not only can be found in the content in Woody’s 2-day course, but also is generously available in numerous additional places, such as on his website, www.mostenmediation.com, and also in his books, articles, and videos on how to develop a full-time peacemaking career. My training module was very well-received by all.

I still had much to share with the class before I needed to close and move on to the next training module; however, in a short amount of time and by summarizing some key steps, along with Woody, I seemed to have further energized and inspired many in our class to commit to doing more mediation back in their offices at the conclusion of our training. That is an overall goal of mine – as a trainer in the important and relevant work of conflict resolution, I find much joy in connecting with others who share my passion for peacemaking. I will commit to supporting them in their endeavors to make a fulfilling living doing what they love. Like Woody did and is doing for me, I would like to pay it forward for others who want to practice full-time peacemaking and re-assure them that if I can do it, that they could do it at least as well as, or even better than me.

Lisa Wong Jacobs, Collaborative Attorney & Mediator
Better Way Divorce, also known as Pono Divorce
Honolulu, HI
www.ponodivorce.com

When I was accepted to serve as Woody’s intern trainer for his 2016 40-hour mediation course, I was elated! I knew others who had either attended or served as an intern for the course, and all said it was quite an experience. Further, I was just beginning my own training career, and so I looked forward to learning Woody’s training techniques.

When I arrived from Tampa to Los Angeles, Woody and Jody made me feel right at home. They took me out for dinner, told me stories from prior trainings, and prepared me (or so I thought) for an eventful 40 hours.

I arrived early at their home the next morning for the training. It is then that we began what I learned would be our morning ritual for the next several days: take a leisurely stroll with Woody and Jazz – the Mosten’s Katrina rescue dog – around the neighborhood. Having the opportunity to simply hang out, ask Woody questions, and listen to how he built his peacemaking practice was a pleasure and an honor.

And then the training began. I had already conducted a 2-day introductory collaborative training, and had attended quite a few collaborative and mediation trainings, so I thought I had a pretty good grasp of available teaching techniques. Boy, was I wrong!

Day after day, Woody would surprise attendees (and me) with new and innovative learning strategies. There were even a few times when, if the neighbors did not know Woody, I’m sure they would have wondered what the heck was going on in his yard! I could barely take it all in, and I still review all my notes as I incorporate Woody’s techniques into my own trainings.

Woody is a pioneer in unbundled legal services, collaborative law, and mediation, and yet he comes to his training with the excitement and passion of a new law graduate. His energy and joy for training is truly contagious, and I hope that when attendees at my trainings look at me, they also see a bit of him.

Adam B. Cordover, Collaborative Attorney, Mediator, and Trainer
Family Diplomacy: A Collaborative Law Firm
Tampa, FL
FamilyDiplomacy.com

© Forrest S. Mosten

Certified Family Law Specialist
Board of Legal Specialization, State Bar of California