What is mediation ,what does it REALLY mean and what does that look like for ME?. Clients often bring such questions when they find themselves being referred by the court to our office for mediation.
Webster defines mediation as the ” intervention between conflicting parties to promote reconciliation, settlement, or compromise “. The mediation process is an opportunity to encourage conversation and the nonviolent resolution of differences between people in pursuit of a more just and peaceful world. It is about sitting down in neutral location outside of the court system and having a conversation about whatever conflict has brought you to this point . It is about managing this conflict, and learning to manage future conflicts, in a more constructive rather than destructive manner. Studies show that the earlier in the conflict parties can mediate the quicker and more likely they are to reach an agreement.
Mediation is NOT about always getting EVERYTHING you want. It is about all parties being able to articulate concerns, needs and wants and then, with the guidance of a mediator, working through a process toward agreement. It is NOT about rehashing every detail of past hurts, it is about moving forward toward a future oriented agreement. It is not about constantly defending your position but rather hearing the other person’s side and working toward solutions that all parties can embrace. It is about only the parties involved crafting a solution- not relatives, not the court, not an attorney, not the mediator- just the people directly involved with the conflict.
Is it always easy? No, it is not easy. It requires all the parties to move from everything being personal to a problem-solving mindset. How can we, working together, make this better? The mediator is trained to guide you through this process and to keep everyone focused on the end goal.
In mediation you will have a safe place to be heard and to listen, to express your feelings and ideas without risk. Most other ways of resolving conflict provide no opportunity for this type of openness and creativity, and some even discourage it.
At CMS we mediate three programs: Victim Offender Reconciliation ( VORP), Teen and Parent Mediation ( TPM) and Visitation Mediation. All three program strive to be forward thinking and to assist parties in coming up with their own solutions.