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by Charlie Young
October 2021 Charlie Young

I’ve been fortunate to be a part of mediations where there have been healings and complete changes of heart among the parties.  What are the commonalities or are there any?   Is there a dynamism or some type of force present, such as in Star Wars “the force be with you”?  What is it?  

These difficult questions need to be asked.  I’m more than open to input from other mediators.  Their perceptions might provide for a more insightful article and assist me in updating my book “Constructive Communication”.

My thoughts are not the result of a scientific study. They come from personal experiences as a mediator.    

What has been true in all my transcendent mediations, is that the parties present have skin in the game and complete authority to negotiate.  They are not restricted representatives. 

The second item, which usually follows from the first, is that at least one of the parties, possibly due to the above, accepts responsibility and possibly more importantly thinks and feels beyond him/herself.  There is empathy present and a recognition of the role of his/her ego’s role in the negotiation.   If both parties fit into the categories of the first two items, resolution is a matter of both parties having an inclusive dialogue with some possible assistance from a mediator. 

The third item is that the other party, even though centered on their rights, can sense the goodwill of the other party.  This seems to open her/his heart to consider the perceptions of the other party. 

 So what makes the resolution transcendent?  This the $64,000 question.  To date, for me, there are four components. 

  • There is an understanding that there are situations in life that are more important than me.  i.e.,  There is a common good to consider. 
  • The belief that my integrity and/or that of my company have more value than just economic return. 
  • Having a non-judgmental approach to another’s perceptions with the goal of understanding them.  
  • A willingness to build trust with steps for verification.

Note that all four of the above are outside of or involve the will of the parties.  They are truly transcendent.  The negotiations may involve many intellectual concrete considerations but the ultimate decisive elements in a truly transformative mediation are transcendent.  The common good, integrity, non-judgmental and will power are real but transcendent. Expressions of dominance and power have always been absent at the conclusion of my transcendent mediations. 

The real questions are:  why do some have these four components and others don’t, and how do we assure that future generations are given the opportunity to have them?   

Every civilization needs to have citizens who can resolve differences in a transformative way.   We need to assure the presence of the basic building blocks for it to happen.  I would love to discuss this with you.


Charlie Young was raised and educated in MA, and was ordained a priest for the Baker City Oregon Diocese.  Charlie served as a priest in the Baker diocese from 1958 to 1977 and was an assistant pastor and pastor and the Director of the Office of Religious Education from 1971-77.  He left the diocese in 1977 and after a year of discernment, asked to become a lay person.

Since then Charlie has been a flight instructor, corporate pilot and served as a Human Resources Director for several large firms.  In his last position, he was the Head Trainer for a Total Quality Management program.  The goal was to establish the company as a leading electrical contractor in Oregon.   The owners believed that they achieved their goal.

Since retirement in 1997, Charlie has been active as a mediator in the judicial system and the Community Dispute Resolution program, Community Solutions (CS) of Deschutes County.  He has participated in 1,400+ mediations in the last 18 years and has assisted in several basic mediator training programs and has conducted advanced mediation skills seminars.  He is a facilitative mediator who leans toward being a transformative mediator. 


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