Barbara Sunderland Manousso

Name: Dr. Barbara Sunderland Manousso

Status: WMO Fellow Candidate

Entry Date: 27/06/2018

Research Field: Conflict Analysis and Pedagogy

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City / Country: Houston / USA

Field of Expertise:  Barbara Sunderland Manousso, Ph.D., M.P.H. and CEO of Manousso Mediation and Arbitration, LLC, has been in the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) business since 1993 as a 100% woman-owned business. In 2017, she was recognized with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Association for Conflict Resolution Houston Chapter.

Dr. Manousso is a Texas Distinguished Credentialed Mediator for civil and family cases, some court-appointed, as well as a member of many federal, county, and city panels. Her work in the field of alternative dispute resolution has been in training mediators and practicing as a mediator, arbitrator, ombudsman, facilitator, negotiator, conflict resolution coach, as well as author. For many years, she has been a professor of Global Conflict Management at the University of St. Thomas in Houston, TX, training foreign-service officers.

A former president of the Association of Conflict Resolution Houston chapter, she is internationally recognized as a leader and mentor in the field of mediation for upholding the purity of the mediation process, as well as setting a standard for the regulation of mediators.  She was the 2016 and 2017 Chair of the Association for Conflict Resolution International for the Education, Research, and Training Section.  Previously, she had chaired the Health Care Section of ACR (2013 to 2015) and co-chair of the Workplace Sections (2011 to 2012).

She also mediates elder and adult mediations. Dr. Manousso serves on the international ACR Standards Committee for Elder Care Mediation Training and has been a seminal international lecturer and expert on civil, divorce, and elder mediation. In 2008, Barbara was appointed a state Commissioner by Texas Governor Perry to serve on the Texas’ Nursing Facility Administrators Advisory Committee.

Her baccalaureate was from Brown University; Master of Public Health, from the University of Texas School of Public Health; and Ph.D., from Nova Southeastern University.  She is a member of the University of Texas Consortium on Aging, is president of the Houston Gerontological Society, Brown University Alumni, and the University of Texas School of Public Health Alumni association.

She has been listed in the Marquis Who’s Who in the World since 1982. In 2017, she was recognized for a Lifetime Achievement Award in Mediation from the Association for Conflict Resolution.

Research Field:  One of  Dr. Manousso’s research projects was creating the model SOS Sematics of Self in Conflict.  The model represents a visual representation of the impact and issue of conflict within an institution, hospital, or nursing home (long term care facility).  The analysis of conflict is a retrospective of an event. It represents the dance of conflict within organizations. The conflict might not be an event of the person responsible for it, although the person at the top of the organization might have set the tone for how the culture of the organization handles and responds to conflict.

Another area of research centers on the pedagogy of alternative dispute resolution trainings, especially attorney vs non-attorney training instruction and expectations of practice that can change the premise of mediation.

My professional Vision: My professional vision is filled with hope and, at times, anxiety.  The hope is that mediation remains neutral and the parties’ voices are heard within a safe space and replete with solutions, facilitated by well-trained mediators.  The anxiety is that non-attorney mediators are squeezed out of the profession, especially within the opportunity of financial compensation.  Attorneys are often, in America, using less skill and more court bravado to by-pass the parties’ opportunity to negotiate their own solutions.  Attorneys are modifying the process and using negotiated settlement on behalf of their clients, but call it mediation.  The clients are often baffled, angered, or disappointed in not making their own decisions.

As trainers and leaders in the field, we need to be vocal and demonstrate the purity and benefit of mediation being the solution of the parties.  The mediator uses skill to help the parties communicate and find their own solutions, not controlled by their attorneys.

Extending my greetings:  Dr. Barbara Sunderland Manousso is delighted to be part of WMO, a professional organization that is interested and dedicated to promoting the best standard and practice in mediation worldwide.

If you come to America, we invite you to Houston to participate in any of our trainings.  We are also happy to bring our training team to your venue, as well.

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