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<xTITLE>Values in Mediation</xTITLE>

Values in Mediation

by Lauren Kominkiewicz
April 2022 Lauren Kominkiewicz

Values are a set of beliefs we hold onto and fall back on whenever we speak or act. They are – or should be – at the root of every decision we make and the lens through which we see the world. After a year of substantial growth, we at West Coast Family Mediation Center sat down to revisit our values and hone in on the defining aspects of our work as mediators. At first, we went straight to our technical knowledge and why clients have chosen us over other mediators in the past. Then we realized that those aspects of our work exist on our resumes but don’t capture the driving force behind who we are, what we do, and why we offer more than other mediators.

We found when we thought about our values this way, it was straightforward for us to sum up our findings in one (slightly run-on) sentence: We are a cohesive group of authentic professionals who possess compassion and encourage openness during mediations while sharing flexible options to guide our clients through challenges. Authenticity, compassion, openness, and flexibility are at the heart of what has made us successful and how we guide clients to satisfying resolutions.

On an individual level, clients in mediation hold true to the basic core components of who they are when making decisions, especially during a difficult and often emotional time in their lives. When dealing with interpersonal issues, clients need to understand how their values may interact, and sometimes conflict, with the values of their partner, co-parent, or family member. For example, someone who lists justice among their values may at first want to pass judgment on the situation and cast their decisions considering who is more – or less – at fault. However, justice can also entail seeing the situation from multiple angles with all the evidence and being equitable when confronted with complicating factors on both sides.

We encourage our current and future clients to view our list of core values here. Then take some time to examine what your list would include and how it may filter your perception of a positive resolution in the mediation process. The values that drive you to make decisions can help the mediator and the other party better comprehend why one outcome is desirable over another. As mediators, we understand that your values are important to you, just as they are to us, and we encourage you to share any of your insights with us during mediation.


Lauren Kominkiewicz

Pronounced Common-Kay-Witz, I hail from the Midwest where everyone knows their neighbors dating back generations. My mother has been a social worker my entire life and we would often get stopped at the grocery store to hear the latest news on a cousin or distant relative. With this long-view of history, I bring optimism and hope to the realities of interpersonal relationships during my practice as a clinical social worker and work as a young lawyer. I always seek to be of service to communities and have done my best throughout life to build the skills to help people in crisis.

I obtained my BSW from Saint Mary’s College in Notre Dame, Indiana, and went on to complete my MSW at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. I moved to Washington to serve in AmeriCorps then entered clinical social work with individuals, groups, and families in community-based settings and hospitals. After obtaining my law degree from Seattle University, I served as a lawyer working with dependent youth and bring a passion for working with families at a crossroads.

In my free time, I am an avid baker and craft enthusiast who finds a new home improvement project every week. I take every other spare moment to enjoy San Diego with my husband, daughter, and 85-pound doggo named Stout.

Why I chose to work in mediation

Throughout my professional life, I have worked on multidisciplinary teams balancing interests that are sometimes in opposition. Moving into law from social work has allowed me to meld clinical skills with the technical knowledge to help clients on many fronts. Mediation has been a through-line in my career and I look forward to continuing to grow that passion with West Coast Family Mediation Center.

My community involvement

I am a member of the State Bar of California, Young Nonprofit Professional Network, and on the board of the Pain-Free Project.

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