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Addressing Basic Conflict


Catherine Wilhoit

Program Description: Addressing Basic Conflict (ABC) is program created by Professor Catherine Wilhoit, an attorney, adjunct professor, and certified mediator, founded upon the understanding that children both want and need social/emotional learning (SEL) and conflict resolution education.  ABC creates and implements engaging and age appropriate dispute resolution lessons and tools, distilled from concepts of law, counseling and education.

Students and educators who encounter Addressing Basic Conflict (ABC) can expect an engaging, creative and exciting experience in applying conflict resolution skills and tools to their every day lives.  From original character based education focused on issues prominent in academic settings, to learning about communication and problem solving, ABC empowers youth to help themselves and one another to make good choices and achieve their goals.

Addressing Basic Conflict creates original tools and fables that bring conflict resolution skills and logic based thinking to your classroom. Working together and with thoughtful instruction, children will encounter characters that struggle with issues to which they can relate, learn about communication, individual problem solving, and learn to problem solve for others.  Students in 4th, 5th and 6th grade will earn their “problem solving certification” and feel capable and ready to help themselves and others creatively tackle problems and achieve goals.  Beloved by students, educators, non-profits, legal and health professionals, ABC is excited to work with you in your classroom!

Addressing Basic Conflict brings effective communication, logic based choices, and dispute resolution to life using fun and original tools appropriate for any classroom.



Sample Experiences:

  • Bring characters alive through storytelling of nonfictional and fictional literature
  • Allow every student an introduction to conflict resolution while gaining important information about the kind of conflict that touches the lives of your students
  • Give children the tools to make well thought out choices and enthusiasm for helping peers make good choices and resolve problems
  • Build understanding of how disputes occur and are resolved

Click link to read responses from the children who have participated in the program Addressing Basic Conflict

ECM Reflection (Responses) for ABC from Daniel Island



Catherine and her team were great with our campers last year! Her activity was educational and informative and our campers loved the interaction with Catherine and her team. We’re looking forward to having her back at Camp Hope again in 2018!” -Ms. Betty, CAMP HOPE Site Leader



Parent: I would like to thank you again for allowing me to observe the training on Saturday 3/22 that my daughter, Brooke, participated in to become a OMS Problem Solver. I was amazed at the students input and feedback. The training was more in depth than I originally anticipated which impressed me. I was also impressed with Catherine Miller Wilhoit, who led the training. Mrs. Wilhoit did a great job engaging the students and clearly has a passion for children and this program.

I was surprised at how insightful the students are at this age. I am glad I opted to stay and listen because I am not sure I realized the level of understanding our OMS students (or children at this age in general) have with real issues which challenge their peers on a day to day basis. More importantly, the solutions the students were able to provide to cope with these issues also surprised me since their suggestions to deal with conflict were applicable at any age.

Equipping our students with a method which involves talking it out, brainstorming, exploring options, then identifying positive and negative consequences to those options, empowers our children to take action when dealing with an issue rather than ignoring it, becoming anxious, or acting out in a negative way. I see so many benefits in teaching our kids these skills sets  (i.e. productive communication, mediation, conflict resolution)! Teaching our students to handle peer issues makes sense. When our children confide in a friend, the friend may want to help but may not know how. Helping the kids identify core issues then providing strategies to explore options not only empowers them to help others but allows them to become more proactive with their own issues. These are LIFELONG skill sets!!

I loved that the students were taught to be neutral and not talk about people who are not present in the room (mediation portion). It was a good reminder to be respectful of one another and to remember there are usually other sides to the issue. I see so many layers of benefits that will be invaluable in their future personal and professional relationships.

I can see why the kids were motivated for further training. I think if parents were able to hear part of the lesson, it may have made a difference in attendance. Also I think offering after-school sessions would be helpful for some parents. And perhaps the half school day idea we discussed may alleviate transportation and scheduling conflicts for most.

I am extremely excited about this opportunity for my daughter and for the other students as well! I feel this is a great age to introduce it too. Please let me know if there is anything I can do to assist your efforts in ensuring the success of Problem Solvers at OMS! I will be happy to provide feedback or answer questions from a parent’s perspective.

Kindest regards,

Traci H.


My name is Jamie Frank-O’connell.  I am the Counseling Director at Oakbrook Middle School.

Catherine is bringing a peer mediation program to our sixth grade students this year.  In addition to providing outstanding faculty training, Catherine has trained 325 of our students in conflict resolution.  She will provide additional instruction to students interested in becoming Problem Solvers in The Problem Solving Center during the winter of 2014.

Catherine’s passion, enthusiasm, and obvious knowledge of the law and legal system make her program and presentation exhilarating, interesting, and unique.  Our students found her to be captivating.  They connected with her quickly and remained actively engaged during her full presentation; 234 students requested additional conflict resolution training after receiving the initial information.

Catherine is determined to use her knowledge of the law and legal system to bring conflict resolution skills and resources to children.   During the first two and a half days of implementation at OMS, within which Catherine taught groups of 22-30 students every 50 minutes, she continued to be energized, flexible, open, and dedicated to making her next presentation more powerful and effective than the last.

Catherine’s success with our students is likely due to her revolutionary program combined with her personable and passionate nature.  Working with her is fantastic.

Yours in Education,

Jamie Frank-O’Connell, M.A.

School Counseling Director

Oakbrook Middle School


For more information visit the Addressing Basic Conflict website