Mediation With a Therapeutic Bent – When mediators prioritize self-determination, empowerment results.

Mediation With a Therapeutic Bent – When mediators prioritize self-determination, empowerment results.

When most people hear the word “mediation,” they typically conjure images of a cold legal proceeding in a sterile conference room, focused on obtaining practical solutions to a given conflict (unless, of course, they misheard and thought it was “meditation” that was being discussed, in which case they might imagine people sitting cross-legged on yoga mats chanting “om“). But for Dan Simon, MA, JD, and Tara West, JD, Ph.D., authors of Self-Determination in Mediation: The Art and Science of Mirrors and Lights, mediation is a warm, growth-inducing process that looks more like psychotherapy than anything you might see in a law office.

Simon and West recognize that the mediation process often raises issues that are usually only confronted in psychotherapy—like self-sabotage, vicious cycles, spiteful resistance, and what family systems theorists call “the problem-maintaining solution”—and, for this reason, they’ve written a book to help mediators take a more therapeutic approach to their work. Central to this approach, and to their book, is a concept called “self-determination,” akin to a sense of agency, and helping clients develop self-determination is key to making mediation work for all parties involved.

I had a chance to interview Dr. Simon and Dr. West about their book and came away impressed and inspired.

Read the complete article here.

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