Mediation is a means of resolving disputes with the assistance of an independent third party – a mediator. The mediator helps the parties overcome the obstacles standing in the way of dialogue, restore or improve communication and seek out a solution that satisfies both (all) parties involved to the greatest extent possible.
Mediation is a voluntary and confidential process in which only the mediator and the parties who are in conflict take part, although other persons may also be invited to attend if all parties agree.
Meditation may serve as an alternative way of resolving disputes as well as a safe and constructive tool to communicate and clarify challenging issues.
The mediator is an independent, impartial person working for the benefit of both parties. The mediator does not give solutions, does not take sides and does not prescribe the form of the final agreement. The mediator is an expert on conflict and communication, not on the subjects of the problems themselves.
How mediation works
Mediation takes the form of a meeting between both parties of the dispute and the impartial mediator. The mediator guides the discussion in such a way that both parties have the opportunity to comment on the situation, clarify their points of view, see the other party’s demands from a new perspective, gain an understanding of the options best suited to their circumstances and weigh their potential consequences. Then finally, with the help of the mediator, they together seek a solution that is acceptable to both sides.
The goal of mediation is a sensible, balanced and workable agreement that reflects the options and wishes of both parties. This agreement can serve as a basis for court proceedings regarding matters where a binding court decision is necessary (divorce, custody arrangements, etc.). If the parties wish, they can consult their legal or other advisors with their agreement before signing it.
In order for mediation to work, it has to be voluntary and both parties need to want to find a solution. No one can be forced into mediation.
As a mediator, I am bound to a code of silence, thus the mediation process and information shared is completely confidential. I will not disclose any information shared to any third party entities or elsewhere during the mediation itself and afterwards. To ensure the required impartiality that mediation calls for, I often conduct sessions with a colleague. If necessary, a lawyer or another expert may be called on to take part.
Each mediation session lasts three hours. The number of total sessions necessary depends on the depth and complexity of the conflict.
If you are unsure how to approach the other party and invite them to a mediation session, or if you need more information, please do not hesitate to contact me by email or telephone.
The pros and cons
- When compared to litigation, mediation is faster and cheaper, confidential, and impossible to lose. Mediation is usually completed within a few sessions (2 to 4), while court cases can drag on for many months or even years, cost an inestimable amount of money and prolong a stressful period of uncertainty (without the guarantee of a result you would find satisfactory).
- Mediation offers the opportunity to decide for yourself about your future.
- Mediation knows no losers, nor does it cultivate negative emotions between counterparties.
- Mediation facilitates possible future cooperation.
- Mediation promotes a solution to which each party has equally contributed.
- The mutual willingness to pursue such a solution is much more viable than the willingness to carry out a court-based order.
- Mediation provides a space to solve sensitive matters without listeners, witnesses, or judges.
- In case no agreement is reached or not possible during mediation, litigation still remains an option.
Mediation is not suitable for situations in which one party seeks only to defeat the other, when a crime has been committed, or when one of either party has employed threats or physical violence against the other party.
Facts about conflict
Conflict can be
- a pathway toward information
- a pathway toward innovation and change
- a pathway toward and precondition for development
- a pathway toward the stimulation of interest
- a pathway toward relieving tension
- a pathway toward a reappraisal of relationships
or on the other hand it could be
- a source of fatigue, frustration, insomnia, and illness
- a source of stagnation
- a source of destruction
It all depends on how it is handled.
If conflict is not dealt with, it does not go away but merely changes form or grows stronger. An unarticulated and unresolved conflict is still a conflict, just stripped of its potential.
„The problem is not the problem, coping is the problem.“