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What is Mediation?


How Can It be Useful? Why try Mediation?

Mediation is:

  1. Pro-Active: It involves issues and relationships that matter to the parties involved.
  2. Short-Term: It is usually completed in 1 or 2 extended sessions of 2+ hours
  3. Focused: It is focused on the present with the goal of achieving a constructive outcome or the best possible solution for the future.
  4. Neutral: Mediators are trained to be neutral, to control the process, but not the outcomes, and to view each participant as they are at the moment, taking no sides
  5. Process Oriented: It requires both parties to be present and willing to negotiate. Mediation occurs between two or more persons, usually in the same room with the mediator present

Class participants in a 2006 Interpersonal Mediation Training prepare to simulate a mediation situation.

Mediation Can Be Useful if Several of the Following Conditions Exist:

  1. The parties know each other.
  2. Maintaining a relationship with the other party is important.
  3. The issues are complicated by a strong emotional component.
  4. One party feels uncomfortable confronting the other side unless someone else is present.
  5. The parties work or live together, or for other reasons cannot avoid the conflict.
  6. A decision must be reached soon.
  7. The parties doubt their own ability to work out the problem.
  8. Many people are involved or indirectly affected.
  9. One or both parties want to avoid formal proceedings.

Mediation is Not Appropriate if Any of the Following Conditions are True:

  1. A serious incident has just occurred and the parties involved are still too upset to carry on a useful conversation.
  2. If the referring person strongly suspects that one party intends to use the mediation to escalate the dispute (to threaten, to gather information, to look good in future proceedings).

  1. One party seems incapable of listening to anything the other party has to say, or seems otherwise too disturbed to negotiate a workable agreement.
  2. The main issue is, in the judgment of the referring party, unremediable.
  3. Key parties are unwilling to participate.
  4. The issue to be addressed stems from long entrenched patterns of individual behavior.
  5. The referral source finds him or herself asking questions to help a party work on his or her own personal issues; and, as a result , sees the need for making a counseling referral instead

Why Try Mediation?

  1. Mediation is a chance for both parties to tell their side of the story.
  2. It is a safe space to be heard, not blamed.
  3. Mediation promotes communication in a safe and confidential space.
  4. Mediation helps people seek agreements, not blame or revenge.
  5. Mediation helps people create fair and satisfying agreements.
  6. Mediation helps people solve their own problems, free from the advice or judgments of others.
  7. Mediation encourages solutions where everyone wins.
  8. Mediation is a chance to turn the corner to a better future.