In litigation, there will usually be a winner and the other party will leave the dispute feeling that something was lost. Mediation attempts to create win-win situations for the parties so that both (or all) of them leave the dispute feeling that they won something. The mediator listens for the interests that lie beneath the surface. She recognizes that the issues raised in the litigation are not the only issues in the relationship between the parties. Injured workers may be resistant to return to work because they feel unappreciated by their employers. Custodial parents may seek higher child support payments because they resent the non-custodial parents’ freedom to enjoy themselves without the same perceived limitations they have. Parties often seek more money because they view money as power and, when feeling powerless, they believe the money will make them powerful. Alternatively, they believe the loss of the money will weaken their opponents.
Mediation addresses all (or at least most) of the identifiable issues and perceptions of the parties, and it creates possibilities for balance in the disputes and in the relationships. It is not the same as arbitration or adjudication, which result in judgments.
Mediation works best when the parties release the desire to judge or punish based on something that happened in the past. Instead, the parties choose to focus on the present and creating solutions for the future.
Learn more about mediation and how to apply the techniques to resolve any conflict by watching my video, An Introduction to Third Ear Conflict Resolution.
DISCLAIMER: This post is intended only as general information. It is not legal advice and does not establish an attorney-client relationship. If you need specific legal advice, please contact an attorney to discuss your circumstances.