- Clarifies interests and needs
- Respects emotions
- Builds and strengthens relationships
- Furthers clarity and understanding
- Increases awareness of individual strengths and choice
Individuals and Teams
Leaders and key staff working in teams or with members of the public are faced with sensitive situations and difficult conversations daily. Under-achieving team members, tensions between strong personalities, accusations of bullying or harassment, and difficult attitudes can cause serious stress for managers and teams.
Mediation in these contexts identifies individual positions and interests, encourages active listening and an authentic exploration of the critical issues at hand. Mediation can help re-build broken relationships, increase skills, and strengthen the ability of individuals and teams to work together more effectively.
Family mediation includes relationships between adults, siblings, elders and other extended family members. Mediation encourages open and honest communication and shared decision making. Significant relationships are strengthened and rebuilt through the Mediation process.
Mediation provides couples with a forum for respectful, honest communication. By encouraging compassionate listening, identifying shared values, and clarifying differences, couples explore how they have changed, where they align. When differences are present, they decide together what to do.
Parent – Child
Among the most unique and significant life-long relationships are between parent and child. Children are constantly changing as they go through different developmental stages and our relationships inevitably change with them. Parents can feel stressed and at the limit of their energy, skills, creativity and resources.
Mediation can help at an impasse; when communication has broken down; when emotions are volatile; when we feel estranged from those we love; when we don’t know how to repair what has been a healthy, loving relationship.
Family relationships are most often lifelong. Some of the most challenging changes occur when a family member reaches an age where basic life decisions become more difficult. This can put a strain on everyone as differences surface about how to address major life transitions including health and safety issues, financial concerns, the need for extra support and care and housing considerations. Individual family and economic considerations, and even simple geography can challenge the ability to participate actively in parent care and decisions.
When an important family discussion is needed about a major transition, from handing in the car keys to more complex care needs, mediation is an important option to consider.
MEDIATION – HOW IT WORKS
- The MEDIATION process begins with a phone call with whoever is making the referral or inquiry.
- We assess the situation and determine how to proceed. Options are individual sessions, joint sessions or other formats such as shuttle mediation.
- Because every situation is different it is important to consider the different options available in addressing individual, family, and organizational goals.
Interpersonal conflicts between two people can be completed with a minimum of two to three sessions: a session for individual meetings and a second session for joint meeting. I advise my clients to keep open the possibility that extra time may be needed either to complete the joint session and finalize the agreement and/or to hold a review meeting within a few weeks or months’ time to assess how the agreement is working.
Family or Team meditations, or particularly fraught and long-standing interpersonal conflicts, often need more time. Careful consideration will be given to the timing and configurations of planned interventions.
Agreements can be verbal or written depending on the needs of the parties. However, agreements are not the only goal of mediation. No agreement is better than one that does not address the main concerns and interests of the parties. The mediator will never pressure parties to reach an agreement but rather support all involved to reach a sustainable resolution that addresses their core interests.
Agreements reached in mediation are more likely to be sustainable because the people involved have control over them and agree to them voluntarily. If it becomes apparent during or after mediation that a formal process is more appropriate to the situation (engaging with attorneys, court filings) this can be pursued. In most cases however, mediation will deliver a sustainable and viable resolution acceptable to all parties. If parties are involved in court proceedings, agreements can be presented to the court for filing.