Mediation involves discussing the problem with the other disputant in the presence of mediators. The mediators are neutral and objective. They will act as facilitators to help the parties find solutions themselves but, unlike a magistrate or judge, they don’t make judgements about who is right or wrong, nor make decisions for the parties. They will help the people themselves follow the mediation process, a process that is becoming a powerful way of helping people work through conflict.
Many people think that they should be able to sort out their problems themselves (and many people can, especially after talking them over with a neutral third person), but sometimes:
- emotions have become too intense, or would become so if the person tried to talk to the other person(s) alone;
- the problem has got so out of hand that there doesn’t seem to be any way to solve it;
- the person doesn’t feel that their needs and point-of-view have been heard;
- the person thinks they’ve done all they can and nothing seems to improve or resolve the situation.
In mediation the parties are helped to hear each other’s side of the story, discuss and explore each person’s needs, communicate more effectively, work out possible solutions to the problem and negotiate future actions. At the end of this process there is usually a written agreement drawn up. This is not legally binding, but it can be made so by a lawyer. It is, however, a morally binding document and a record of agreements which have been made.
Page last updated 13/12/2017