Mediation in its simplest terms is where people in an argument meet with a dis-interested person, who helps them to find a way to resolve that argument. The mediator, this “dis-interested person,” does not tell the people how to settle, but instead works with them to help them arrive at the settlement that works best for them. That is called “self-determination”. If the dis-interested person told the people how they should settle, that person is actually an arbitrator, or even a judge: they decide the outcome for the people in dispute.
As a mediator, I come to the conflict without opinion. I work with the parties, sometimes all together and sometimes individually to determine what is most important to each one. We then discuss and negotiate, working with a little give and take to ultimately find the arrangement that works best for everyone. Some mediators call this finding the best-worst outcome. I like to think of it more as maximizing all parties’ options to the best that is available.
Part of this negotiation process is to explore with each person the different alternatives available, along with the potential outcomes if no agreement is reached. Often we will discuss the principal of the dispute or the principal of a person’s position and what that principal would cost to achieve as well as the likelihood of success. It is through these discussions that an agreement is hopefully ultimately obtained.
In high conflict mediations, emotions can and often do run high. Think of a dispute that you have found yourself embroiled in; your heart rate increased, perhaps your temperature became elevated and likely, your speech became louder and you may have even cursed a little (OK, a lot!). That happens in these mediations and it’s the mediator’s role to work with the people to diffuse the situation and ensure that the feelings and understandings of the parties to the dispute are conveyed in a non-threatening manner.
Having mediated literally thousands of cases spanning a time period of over 25 years, I have learned the techniques necessary to bring about a settlement. I have the drive and determination, coupled with the dedication to help parties reach that resolution.
I belong to two of the most prominent mediation based organizations. I have been a member of the National Academy of Distinguished Neutrals, an invitation and nominated organization for roughly 20 years. I have been a member of the Association of Professional Family Mediators for a shorter time, once my practice evolved and started taking on more family-based mediations.
Contact me to discuss how I might assist you in reaching that amicable resolution of your dispute!