What is Mediation?
- Mediation is a process for resolving disputes in which the
parties communicate with the assistance of a mediator to reach
- As an alternative to litigation, the mediation process provides
a respectful environment in which to conduct conversations about
- Participation in the mediation process is voluntary and anyone
can terminate the mediation.
- The mediator is a neutral person who assists parties to communicate
in a constructive manner.
- The goal is to achieve a fair and reasonable outcome that meets
the significant needs of all parties.
- Mediation fosters agreements that last because they have been
reached voluntarily, without pressure, and take into account
the unique concerns and creative input of each person.
- Mediation is confidential, flexible, private, informal, and
less expensive than litigation.
As an alternative to costly litigation that can result in damaged
relationships, mediation is becoming an attractive option. Motivated
by the belief that "the people with the conflict are the experts
in the solution," Donna Soules supports the people in conflict to be
in charge of the outcome. Since a judge decides who is the winner
and who is the loser, parties in conflict are seeing that mediation
is less risky. In mediation there is a greater potential for all
parties to create a solution that meets their needs.
What does a mediator do?
- listens non-judgmentally to everyone involved in the dispute.
- facilitates the agenda of issues to be discussed.
- gives each person a chance to discuss clearly the issues needing
- establishes and maintains a safe environment in which to discuss
- keeps the discussion focused.
- insures that the parties express their needs and perceptions.
- helps the parties manage their emotions, encouraging them
to talk to one another.
- establishes a balance of power between
- keeps the discussion focused on the future rather than on
- helps the parties define a solution they can all agree to.
The mediator does not:
- make decisions or impose a final decision.
- take sides.
- give advice.
Does Mediation Always Work?
Mediation is not always successful. If all individuals are not
willing to meet or participate in the mediation, it may not work.
All persons participating in the mediation need to have the capacity
to negotiate the issues that are important to them in the conflict
to generate a fair agreement that represents their best interests.
"In our sameness we connect, in our differences
we grow...." Virginia Satir