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What is mediation?

Neutral third party helps people in conflict solve their own problems within a process that identifies mutually beneficial solutions.

Why does mediation work?

Conflict is inevitable given our different ways and limited resources, so we need to find the most constructive way to deal with it.

Personal responsibility and control avoids an outside authority figure who may impose a solution one or all parties may not like.

Mutually beneficial solutions are the best way for parties to get their own needs met because they avoid retribution from conflict "losers" by meeting everyone's needs, so all are "winners".

Understanding needs of each party is the foundation for identifying mutually beneficial solutions.

Collaboration (win/win) approach identifies better solutions than compromise (win some/lose some) or competition (win/lose).

Ground rules help keep the discussion focused and minimize the chances of emotions getting out of hand and disrupting the process.

How does mediation work?
The Main Parts or Steps of a Mediation Process

Individual problems (problem statements)

What is each party's perspective of the problems?

Check for understanding (NOT agreement) and clarifying questions.

Individual preferences (positions/wants)

How does each party desire to resolve the problems?

Individual needs (interests)

What are the underlying needs that their own solutions would meet?

Joint solutions (willing to do)

Are there solutions that will meet everyone's needs?

Can each party offer to do something that will meet the other's needs and still meet their own needs?

Joint commitment (agreement)

What solutions can the parties agree on (or at least live with--i.e. meet needs if not preferences) that can be documented? What are the Roles of the mediator -- What kind of help occurs?

As a Facilitator--someone who coordinates the process; NOT a judge/arbitrator.

A good Mediator will remain Neutral--impartial and unbiased input; parties should feedback if they don't think this is happenings.

The Mediator will always play the Devil's Advocate in order to introduce different perspectives, not as challenge but as a process of looking at the problem completly.

The Mediator is the Reality Tester. Some ideas may not sound possible; a double-check and source of reality-check is always needed.

The Mediator is generally also the Recorder of what goes on. What is said and communicated. Using visual tools, charts, drawings and maps the Mediator can take the input given from both sides and help to make it understandable.

Confidentiality. Has to be there. Agreeded on by all involved.

Unless both parties agree otherwise, the mediator will never share any information with anyone else. [exceptions: disclosure of plans to harm self or others
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