Thomas Gordon (March 11, 1918 – August 26, 2002) was an American clinical psychologist and colleague of Carl Rogers. He is widely recognized as a pioneer in teaching communication skills and conflict resolution methods to parents, teachers, leaders, women, youth and salespeople. The model he developed came to known as the Gordon Model or the Gordon Method, a complete and integrated system for building and maintaining effective relationships.
Thomas Gordon advocated a no-lose method, a method of resolving conflicts in which both the parent, coach or teacher and the child get their needs met.
Gordon’s Model is based, is a set of concepts and skills for more collaborative relationships. Core skills are Active Listening, I-Messages, Shifting Gears and No-Lose Conflict Resolution. Knowing which skill to use when is facilitated by the Behavior Window, inviting clarity on “whose problem is this?” Identifying “who owns the problem” is promoted as a big first step in resolving interpersonal conflict successfully.
Active listening is a special way of reflecting back what the other person has said, to let them know that you’re listening and to check your understanding of what he means. It is a restatement of the other person’s total communication: the words of the message plus the accompanying feelings.
There are several types of I messages, all of which communicate information about the self. When dealing with a problem in which the parent owns the problem, use of confrontive I messages is encouraged. These messages should include the behavior that is causing a problem, the effect on the parent, and how the parent feels about the situation. It should also include as little judgement as possible. For instance, instead of saying “you are being rude and inconsiderate” the parent would say something like “I don’t like it when you talk this loud during the news because I can’t hear it.”
No-Lose Conflict Resolution is based on John Dewey‘s six steps to creative solutions for conflicts. The goal is to find a solution that is acceptable to both people involved in the conflict. No one loses, both win.
The Behavior Window is a visual diagram used to determine who owns the problem when one occurs in a relationship. The window is divided into four parts: Child Owns the Problem, No Problem Area, Parent Owns the Problem, Both Own the Problem. Depending on who has the problem, the Gordon Model offers specific communication and conflict resolution skills for resolving it successfully.
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additional sources: http://www.gordontraining.com/thomas-gordon/origins-of-the-gordon-model/
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