Before the Academy of Family Mediators (AFM) merged with two other organizations to form Association of Conflict Resolution (ACR), it defined self determination as follows:
“The primary responsibility for the resolution of a dispute rests with the participants. The mediator’s obligation is to assist the disputants in reaching an informed and voluntary
settlement. At no time shall a mediator coerce a participant into agreement or make a substantive decision for any participant.”
- Evaluative processes
- Directive processes
Both of these processes usually involve the so called "mediator" giving their evaluation of some aspect of the issues and often times take place with the cleints in separate rooms; these methods fly in the face of real mediation, which is interest based and promotes self-determination. These methods are coercive and adjudicatve processes and clients generally find them to be extremely unsatisfactory.
So the first thing to ask a mediator is: Do you use a facilitave style or an evaluative or directive style?
If they say an evaluative or directive style, or if they do not know what you are talking about, call another mediator who is able to effectively mediate using a facilitative, non-evaluative style...after all...it is your life!
Nancy Hudgins, a San Francisco mediator and lawyer, began specializing in civil litigation in the 1970's. She has represented both plaintiffs and defendants, chiefly in personal injury, medical malpractice, elder abuse and product liability lawsuits, but also in a wide variety of complex litigation, including civil rights, fraud and class actions. She has settled and mediated thousands of cases. In addition to civil litigation mediation, she also co-mediates divorces with John Duda, a marriage and family therapist.
Debra Synovec, a Seattle-based mediator and lawyer, has mediated divorces for 20 years. She believes in empowering the parties to reach their own resolution.