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What is Mediation?

  • Mediation is a process for resolving disputes in which the parties communicate with the assistance of a mediator to reach an agreement.
  • As an alternative to litigation, the mediation process provides a respectful environment in which to conduct conversations about conflicts.
  • 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?

The mediator:

  • 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 resolution.
  • establishes and maintains a safe environment in which to discuss the issues.
  • 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 the parties.
  • keeps the discussion focused on the future rather than on the past.
  • 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

(c)2002 Soules Consulting Ltd.