Articles and Video:
This article is the result of switching seats – moving from practitioner to party. Every mediation service I've worked for sends out feedback forms. Sometimes immediately after sessions, sometimes a few weeks later. This experience made me question the importance of mediation evaluation.
How Long Does it Take to Become a Mediator? (06/28/13)
I train mediators. Do these courses turn students into mediators? And the short answer is, of course not. Mediation isn't some mechanical process. All the research points to the primacy of the practitioner's ability to 'do the right thing at the right time' rather than slavishly following a prescribed model. Mediation is a way of seeing, thinking and responding.
I Didn't Leave the Children (05/28/13)
From a mediator's perspective, slowing down, taking care to name truly, and to value messiness, are key elements of our practice. To break the cycle of attack/defend ("You left us/I didn't leave the children") is only possible by creating a space wide enough to encompass the complexity of where they currently stand. These perspectives are gathered from 16 mediators in a recent advanced family mediation training. 2 Comments
"I'm Sorry You Feel Like That . . ." (12/21/12)
People often expect an apology in mediation. What they get is sometimes true repentance, and sometimes an insult disguised an apology. This articles helps mediators spot the difference between the two and to guide parties from escalating a conflict to forgiveness. 2 Comments
Making Mediators More Stupid (11/05/12)
Much of current mediation training is consciously ‘additive’, in that it puts forward various frameworks, theories and models. This article argues, only partially tongue-in-cheek, that training mediators is fundamentally ‘subtractive’. That in order to be effective, trainee mediators need to unlearn much of what they think they already know. The article refers to this process of unlearning as becoming ‘more stupid’.
Mediator Burnout (08/12/12)
Most mediators begin from an idealistic stance – searching for better ways to deal with conflict, to encourage greater collaboration, to promote peace. It’s only after spending years with people locked in conflict, dealing with the minutia of their disputes, that these ideals can begin to slip. It seems that no matter how skilled we become, the world can always generate more conflict. Peace begins to feel an impossible dream. Eventually, with tired hearts, we give up the chase. 2 Comments
On Beating Bullies (05/14/12)
Tackling bullying may involve a counter-intuitive approach. While naming and shaming may leave us feeling morally superior, it might also produce ever more subtle forms of bullying. This article argues that we need to encourage those of us who feel like kicking butts to ‘come in from the cold’. 3 Comments
Powered by Paradox (11/14/11)
Power is an issue no mediator can afford to ignore. This includes the power we have as practitioners. This article argues that much of the power we have as mediators comes from our capacity to embrace a fundamental paradox that lies at the heart of our practice. 1 Comment
The Boundaries Of Engagement (08/27/10)
People come to mediation in pain – and sometimes leave in the same state. Having endeavoured to make a difference – and failed – where does this leave us in terms of our professional engagement? 4 Comments
How About Making Mediators More Stupid? A Training Agenda (08/08/10)
Much of current mediation training is consciously "additive," in that it puts forward various frameworks, theories and models. This article argues, only partially tongue-in-cheek, that training mediators is fundamentally "subtractive." That in order to be effective, trainee mediators need to unlearn much of what they think they already know. The article refers to this process of unlearning as becoming "more stupid." 4 Comments
Turning Parents Into People (11/30/09)
In the world of family mediation, the ‘best interests of the children’ often take central stage. There is much to argue for in this position. While not ignoring the voice of the child, we may also need to spend time reflecting on what it might mean to also work in the ‘best interests of adults’. 4 Comments
On Finding Uncommon Ground (08/30/09)
There’s a prevailing belief that mediation is about ‘finding common ground’ Mediators often exert subtle pressure in trying to squeeze positions closer together in an effort to demonstrate overlapping territory. This article argues that such pressure towards commonality may in fact be counterproductive. 8 Comments