Preparing for the First Session

While there's no way for us to forecast exactly what will happen during our time together, it is typical to spend a first session mainly "Listening to Each Other" part of the process.

It is important to stress that the process is here to support YOU. You are in control of how much and what you talk about. (Which is also why it is helpful to clarify your goals for mediation.


  • Creating a safe place for us to listen to each other
  • Sharing our stories
  • Listening to understand (not to agree or approve)
  • Identifying the most important issues and needs

  • Introduction and Welcoming: reviewing the purpose, process and role of mediator, making a safe place
  • Sharing Stories: The parties take turns sharing their experience and needs. While you share, your goal is to say to the other party what you most want them to understand in a way that is most likely to be understood. While they share, your goal is to listen to understand - not necessarily to agree or approve of what they did or say.
  • Identifying Key Issues: issues may be generally seen as healing and/or problem solving; hearing each party’s experience points us in the direction we should go. This may include making a list of issues that have been named, checking for understanding, and prioritizing.
  • Deciding What Comes Next: we'll discuss whether and when we should meet again and how to protect the progress we've made.

  • The mediators are resources to you. We have a process, but not an agenda. We are not judges, arbitrators, or advocates. A successful mediation is one in which parties are empowered to handle conflict and stress in more constructive and creative ways.
  • The parties are the experts about this conflict. You know best what your feelings and needs are. We believe in your capacity to handle conflict in ways that best meet those needs and it is your opportunity to use the mediators to support you in your journey of transformation.

How You Can Prepare:

  • Think About: What is my goal in participating in this mediation? What do I hope will change?
  • Think About: When I consider my goals, am I more concerned with solving a problem, healing emotional wounds, or both?
  • Think About: What needs have gone unmet because of the conflict? What are the most important needs I would like met now?
  • Think About: This is my chance to have a safe place and support to say what is on my heart. What is it that I really want the other person to understand about my experience?
  • Think About: How can I express that in the way most likely to get my needs met?
  • Think About: Is there anything I need to be aware of in terms of interacting with the other people? Do I feel uncomfortable about anything? What expectations and assumptions do I have? Are there any topics I am likely to feel angry or sad about? What do I need to do to be in the best possible emotional, physical and spiritual state?