What would you do if … ? Stories of conflict resolution.

What would you do in the following situations?

  • You’re a psychiatrist working in a mental hospital. A homicidal patient has hidden in the elevator. Without seeing him, you enter and close the door, which locks. The patient announces that he’s been waiting for you while everyone is at the other end of the ward, and now he’s going to kill you.
  • An illiterate punk robs your uncle, a beloved doctor who has a heart attack and dies, and the DA wants to charge him with a capital crime. The punk plans to plead guilty. The defense attorney asks your family for justice, not vengeance.
  • You’re a kindergarten teacher who learns that a student is ashamed of her father, who speaks with an accent, after you’ve invited the children to bring a parent to school to teach something they do.
  • A woman comes to you alone for couples counseling. She and her husband live together “for the sake of the children” but are estranged, embittered, and distant in every other way.
  • You’re asleep in your bed when a strange man kicks open the door to your bedroom. You’re a woman, home alone, unarmed, and the phone is downstairs.

These are just a few of the 61 real-life stories in the new book Sweet Fruit from the Bitter Tree by Mark Andreas. I highly recommend reading this book if you like being resourceful in situations of conflict and desire more peace in your life and in the world.

By the way, the psychiatrist asked the homicidal maniac exactly where he planned to kill him—in this spot or in that spot. While the would-be killer thought it over, the psychiatrist pulled out his key and unlocked the elevator. Calmly stepping out into the hallway, he points to a chair that the killer could sit in afterward. Then he points out another chair, and another at the end of the hallway.

Eventually they arrive at the station where the attendants are gathered.

The psychiatrist was Milton Erickson.

If you want to find out what happened in the other situations, order the book!

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