By Steven G. Mehta

There are many cognitive distortions that clients make.  One that commonly happens in mediation is catastrophizing.

Making everything a Catastrophe

Often known as “catastrophizing”, this is when an individual expects the worst scenario to happen. For example, a client might say that every improvement or negotiating point in a mediation is terrible.  They may identify every question or issue as being completely out of hand and threatening to walk out because it will never work.  This person could also object to every thing that is recommend.  They may say that we will never settle this case, even if you are close.

THE SOLUTION: First, it is important to acknowledge the feelings.  More importantly, however, the key to such a person is to always think positive.  Before that person has a chance to place his or her negative view on the topic, identify the positive first.  Explain to them about the process that has happened before.  Let them know that this is a common reaction by others, but in those other cases, you were able to overcome this problem.   Change the topic to a positive topic or a fun topic that they enjoy such as vacations.