Before Mediation is Started
Mediation is a voluntary practice undertaken by individuals or groups that are freely able to participate in the discussion without judgment and free from pressure. Mediation is completely private and confidential, so individuals or groups feel as though the information they share is kept in a close-knit circle and is therefore not shared with others. This is so evidence cannot be used against an individual in court. If any troubling information does come to light, then a referral is made to Social Services and it is taken from there.
If meditation is in relation to financial or money matters then a full financial disclosure is needed so a situation can be discussed in full. However, if criminal activity is suspected, mediation professionals have a duty of care to report any undue situations occur. Mediators are employed to be completely impartial when mediation meetings occur so that decisions are made in a measured and organized way.
Ground Rules for Mediation
Mediation is never intended as an easy alternative. It is intended as a constructive process where solutions can be brought about, meaning both parties can be contented in the decisions discussed and made. Furthermore, it also helps outline plans between individuals if they have children involved in the discussions.
A mediator, who will be attached to an individual or a case, will attempt to convey opinions and facts accurately within mediation meetings. However, from time to time, there may be some problems in relaying information from one party to another because of certain complexities involved. Therefore, it is imperative that stories shared are honest and attempt to move towards a solution, rather than creating more problems.
Groups and individuals need to recognize that maintaining difficult positions will not aid the process and will, therefore, halt any prospective resolution/s. Expressing personal needs and interests are extremely important, but also recognizing another person’s viewpoint is also essential. People involved in mediation must also recognize that although they might not agree with another person’s viewpoint, they must accept that other viewpoints exist.
It is imperative that dwelling on the past is not indulged in because it will not lead to pertinent ways forward. Paying particular attention to the future, clients will be able to move forward. The mediator may not wish to discuss past events, as it may be seen as a backwards step. A mediator is there to constructively resolve the issue and accurately and concisely suggest resolutions that are appropriate for all parties involved.
Mediating with parties in separate rooms allows individuals to express their opinions in a constructive and respectful environment. The mediator may leave an individual alone for a period of time, whilst he/she deals with the other party involved. Individuals must recognize that periods spent alone are essential for reflection purposes.
It is a rule of thumb in shuttle mediation that both parties do not enter the room which the other party is in. Failure to comply with this rule may result in the police being called in order to resolve any issues. Violence or threatening behaviour will not be tolerated under circumstances.
Parties or individuals must talk up if they feel the mediator or the process is doing them a disservice. Contrarily, if a party feels that the mediation could solve an issue around a table and the other party agrees, then this can be arranged.
It is also important to mention if a mediator is not offering or imparting unbiased advice. Mediators are there to listen to and ultimately respect the needs of both clients. This often leads to a healthy resolution for all parties.