In a recent Fairly Legal episode, I watched Kate Reed on her “mediation high.”
Her face was flushed, her words had accelerated. it was apparent her heart rate had quickened. In the midst of the conflict, the tension, and the anxiety she almost looked like she was . . . enjoying herself?
I have seen this mediation high in both mediators and parties. When the adrenaline starts to rise I have even seen one party unconsciously begin singing to himself. You could tell he was enjoying the moment.
This is a fine line that can quickly be crossed. I don’t know if this is a line that I can get close to–I much prefer a quiet, peaceful environment. But I have seen talented mediators very successfully bring people to the mediation high. I would liken it to riding a roller-coaster where the talented mediator is the seatbelt. Things become scary, almost dangerous. But the parties feel safe getting close to that danger because they know that the mediator will keep them safe.
I have also co-mediated with people that are incredible at keeping their cool in a heated, tense, adrenalin-ridden situation. They even made the choice to keep things at this intense level because it allowed parties to feel safe saying what they wanted to say and then–the truly amazing part–is that they rode the adrenalin high straight into a more creative agreement. I remember once needing to print out a second mediation agreement because the party’s hands were shaking so much–from excitement–that she couldn’t sign her name.
So for those of you who feel comfortable mediating Kate Reed style: I applaud the new technique: Cardio Mediation.