Mark Kleiman, Esq.
Since 1983 CMS has made an effort to create humane and empowering ways to enable youth, families and communities better resolve their conflicts and negotiate their lives more effectively. When I was working as an attorney representing children in the family court, I found a system based upon processes that polarize, alienate, judge and criminalize all antithetical to helping families in conflict. I wanted to create approaches more responsive to individual and group needs such as mentoring, coaching, mediation, dialogue, restorative practices, casework and community coalition building. Rather than giving sanctions or demanding correction as the courts do we create a safe space and support for reflection and thoughtful decisions.
Central to our efforts is a focus on a value driven approach inspired by the work of Dr. Viktor Frankl. CMS recognizes that value and meaning are central to decision making as well as to all relationships. We view a response to conflict as a balancing of the needs of self and others. Thus the key to resolution is discovering what life’s experiences and relationships mean to an individual so that they feel heard and can make decisions based upon that meaning and value. How they reconcile this reality determines their success and wellbeing.
Viewing the history, programs and strategies of CMS you will see these common denominators. The applications are limitless from skills training in negotiation to complex dialogues in the community. We have: mentored youth at risk of dropping out of school, held dialogues with those in the criminal justice system, mediated neighbors as well as between intimate family relationships and collaborated with mediation centers in Israel. The approach is universal and emanates from the central forces at work during all conflicts with an objective of the attaining individual integrity and mutual understanding.