Engaging Bias in Collaborative Divorce Focus of Presentation
North Hollywood, California
Bias is a normal and natural part of being human. It can be a shortcut for understanding the world and acts as a warning system allowing us to quickly assess good from bad, and safe from dangerous. It is our mind’s way of creating a shortcut for learning something once and then applying the lessons to similar situations in the future.
While bias can work in our favor to ensure survival, it can also work against us, as well as, against the people and society around us. Collaborative Practice professionals need to be aware of their own biases when working with clients in order to gain greater understanding, awareness and empathy for team members and the process.
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Dr. James Walton of Family Divorce Solutions of San Fernando Valley, presents “Bias: The Shadow Behind The Smile” at the upcoming Collaborative Practice California “Conference XI” on Saturday, April 30, in Redwood City, California. Joining Dr. Walton for the presentation are Jaye-Jo Portanova, MD; and family law attorneys Jena Stara, CFLS, Gloria Flores-Cerul, CFLS, and Lissa Rapoport.
“Bias, for the most part, is hidden from our own view,” said Dr. Walton. “We are unaware of its effects on our perceptions, on our communications and on our relationships. Bias is more insidious than prejudice, because it is an unconscious process.
“With prejudice, we are aware that we are unwilling to look at other perspectives. With bias, we lack that kind of conscious awareness. Our bias limits information to only that which supports our perspective. Anything contrary to our perspective is dismissed, or viewed as inauthentic, and unsubstantiated.
Dr. Walton says his presentation is intended to help Collaborative professionals gain a better awareness of their unconscious biases so they can learn to be better and more effective Collaborative team members.
“For us to be able to better serve our clients as well as the other professionals in our collaborative teams, it is important for us to be completely aware that we are capable of having a bias and recognizing how bias could interfere in the process of our work,” said Dr. Walton. “We work with families and their lives. Having a bias and being unwilling or unaware that we are rejecting important information from our awareness could have serious repercussions on the outcome of our clients’ families and lives.”
“We are a mistake phobic society,” said Dr. Walton. “Many people are afraid of expressing or even considering they might have a bias out of the fear they will be seen as having made a mistake in political correctness, or being told that they are wrong.
“So, rather then exploring the possibility of having a bias, most people will consider themselves free from bias. They will go about their daily lives with their biases working in the background preventing them from having a more expanded view of their world,” said Dr. Walton.
“We should not be ashamed of or afraid of our biases,” explains Dr. Walton. “We must learn to work with them and use them as a tool for expanding our awareness of others by being open to seeing their perspectives. I hope our presentation at Collaborative Practice California’s conference will help change perspectives, allowing our attendees to return to their practices having gained new understanding without self-judgment, and allowing them to open their minds for a greater understanding of the perceptions of the people around them,” concluded Dr. Walton.
To learn more about CP Cal’s “Conference XI” April 29 – May 1, visit the Collaborative Practice California Conference website.