About the mediation process

Most mediations don’t progress from one stage to another in sequential fashion.

Instead, we move from one type of interaction to another, sometimes jumping and sometimes stepping, as our feelings are heard and our needs met. So the following is more like a description of the types of things we do together in a mediation. Not every mediation contains all of these things, though. The process was made to serve us, and not us to serve the process.

1. Private Meetings:

  • Goal: Connecting with each other, clarifying party feelings and needs, setting us up for success
  • Before joint mediation: Initial Intake, conflict coaching and process design
  • During a joint mediation: Connect, explain, appreciate, build confidence, prepare
  • Ongoing: Case Assessment (for Process Design)

2. Listening to Each Other

  • Goal: Creating a safe space to talk; listening to understand (not agree), identifying issues
  • Introduction and Welcoming: reviewing the purpose, process and role of mediator, making a safe place
  • Sharing Stories: begins the mediation in earnest, but we often return to sharing stories as new elements are revealed or understood during the process
  • 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

3. Protecting the Progress

  • Goal: Making plans together for how to honor the work done in mediation
  • Confidentiality: what will be shared with whom? What does confidentiality mean in this setting? Are there any exceptions? When can confidentiality perpetuate injustice? How will you handle that?
  • Interactions: What kind of interactions will you have with each other? What is safe for you? What support do you need? For example, do you need to cc: emails to the mediators?

4. Exploring Issues
  • Goal: Increasing understanding, connecting to feelings and needs
  • For Healing: grieving, addressing trust issues, often relationship-focused
  • For Problem Solving: building consensus, addressing disagreements, often policy-focused

5. Moving Forward

  • Goal: making requests and building agreement; connective instead of coercive
  • Generating options: broadening perspectives, being creative
  • Evaluating options: choosing options that best meet everyone’s needs

6. Follow Up:
  • Goal: Evaluate usefulness of process and determine what continued support is needed, including referrals
  • We use a combination of assessments and personal contact.