C.A.R.S. Method for High-Conflict Disputes

C.A.R.S. Method for High-Conflict Disputes


Bill Eddy, LCSW, Esq.

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C.A.R.S. Method® of Conflict Resolution

Downloadable audio file. This is not a CD.

As frustrating as they are, high-conflict people (HCPs) tend to have predictable patterns of behavior which you can recognize once you learn the warning signs. This means that you can learn effective ways of dealing with them at work (or anywhere!) when you recognize their patterns of behavior. One important point is to NEVER tell the person you think he or she is a high-conflict person. It will make your life much worse if you do. Just keep it to yourself and adjust your strategies for dealing with the person.

You CAN Deal with Them

Once you recognize – or even just suspect – that you are dealing with a high-conflict person, there is a four-step method developed by Bill Eddy, LCSW, Esq. at the High Conflict Institute that is generally effective at calming their behavior and focusing them on solving problems.

We call this the CARS Method® and it stands for:

•     CONNECTING with empathy, attention and respect
•     ANALYZING alternatives or choices
•     RESPONDING to misinformation
•     SETTING LIMITS on inappropriate behavior

This method isn’t complicated, but it’s often the opposite of what you feel like doing when you are faced with a high-conflict person. So practice helps. This method is successfully in a wide range of workplace, family, divorce and legal disputes. What is so amazing is that this HCP problem is similar around the world and that this method generally works with all types of people. It even works with those who aren’t high-conflict people, so you don’t have to worry about identifying them. You can use the CARS Method® with anyone.

The CARS Method® is designed to help you organize your responses to reinforce their best behavior, to calm them down and to redirect their energies.

This 30-minute session can be used alone or with these industry and community-specific sessions:

Managing High Conflict People in Healthcare
Managing High Conflict People in Higher Education
Managing High Conflict People in the Workplace: For HR, Ombuds & EAP
Managing High Conflict People in the Workplace: For Managers and Supervisors
Managing High Conflict People in the Workplace: For Employees
Managing High Conflict People in Law Enforcement
Managing High Conflict People in Neighbor Disputes


Bill Eddy, LCSW, Esq., is a lawyer, therapist, mediator and the President of High Conflict Institute. He is an international expert on managing disputes involving high conflict personalities and personality disorders in court. Eddy is a Certified Family Law Specialist in California and the Senior Family Mediator at the National Conflict Resolution Center in San Diego. Previously, Eddy was a Licensed Clinical Social Worker providing therapy in psychiatric hospitals and outpatient clinics. He is on the faculty of the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution at the Pepperdine University School of Law and the National Judicial College.