Mediation is an alternative to conflict.
Conflict can arise when individuals or groups pursue positions, interests, needs, or values that cause them to behave in a way that is contrary to the positions, interests, needs, or values of others.
It is the role of the mediator to engage the parties in this process in a way that is fair, reasoned and restorative.
Mediation can be done in any context and format from 2 party exchanges to large group settings. When utilized in the early stages of a potentially conflicted situation mediation can be a proactive process. When mediation is utilized during an actively conflicted situation the process fosters resolution so that all parties can continue to work together effectively.
Conflict is unavoidable. Conflict, when left unresolved, is destructive. Conflict, when resolved properly, can have benefits.
Common Mediation Services:
- Peer conflicts
- Manager and employee discord
- Group dynamics
- Return to work processes
- Grievance processes
- Business negotiation
Personal and Family Mediation is also available. This typically utilizes a family systems therapeutic approach and can often be much less formal, but extremely effective at addressing family dynamic and communication issues.
5 Stages of Mediation
It can be intimidating to enter into mediation. While every mediation is somewhat different based on the context of the situation, it is helpful for people who have agreed to use mediation as their resolution strategy to know what to expect:
Stage 1: Mediator's Opening Statement. After the parties are convened, the mediator introduces everyone, explains the goals and rules of the mediation, and encourages each side to work cooperatively toward a settlement.
Stage 2: Parties' Opening Statements. Each party is invited to describe, in their own words, what the conflict is about and how they have been affected by it, and to present some general ideas about resolving it. While one person is speaking, the other(s) is not allowed to interrupt.
Stage 3: Discussion. The mediator will facilitate the parties to reflect on the opening statements to ensure that they have each heard and understand the other(s) position(s). Together they will determine what issues need to be addressed.
Stage 4: Negotiation. The mediator will assist the parties to come to some agreement(s). This is the meat of the mediation as parties start to see how they can help each other, cooperate with each other and work together to bring resolution to the situation. All points that the parties agree to are determined together and they enter into any agreement(s) completely voluntarily.
Stage 5: Closure. This is the end of the mediation session. If an agreement has been reached, the mediator may put its main provisions in writing as the parties listen. The mediator may ask each side to sign the written summary of agreement. If the parties want to, they can write up and sign a legally binding contract. If no agreement was reached in the first session, the mediator will review whatever progress has been made and advise everyone of their options, such as meeting again at a future date.