In a recent professional development course attended by Lisa Sirlin, Family Lawyer and Mediator at the Deer Lake Law Group, she was alerted to the concept of “Name it to Tame it”, and it resonated with her so much that she now incorporates this simple exercise into her mediation practice.
The theory, created by Dr. Daniel Siegel, goes something like this:
There is a neurological component to stress and anxiety. The executive part of the brain does not work when there are strong emotions in play. The result is akin to rational thought lockdown. How is one meant to work through conflict in this state of thoughtful paralysis?
In order to restore balance, it has been proven that if you take a step back and ‘name it’, for example: I am feeling threatened; scared; cornered; insecure - the executive part of the brain sifts through and categorizes your emotions. Yes, just by naming it!
When clients are stuck in emotions, there is no way forward. By recognizing this, pausing and identifying the emotion, clients will more easily reach their goal. The executive part of the brain must be fully engaged in order to reach a meaningful agreement in Mediation.