Here are some frequently asked questions about mediation and what to expect during your session.
What happens in mediation?
You will meet in an informal, confidential setting together with two mediators and the person with whom you have a dispute. Initially the mediators guide the discussion in order to clarify issues and create a common understanding of what each person wants to accomplish in mediation. The mediators then help participants explore possible solutions to their concerns to help them decide for themselves how to resolve their problem., The mediators are not judges; they do not decide who is right or wrong, nor tell you what to do. The mediators do not provide legal or financial advice.
Why should I participate in mediation?
There are many reasons why you should consider mediation. Mediation is usually less stressful and time consuming than other methods, such as the court system. Mediation offers you and the other participants the opportunity to be in control of the outcome of your conflict. Some research indicates that people are more likely to follow through on agreements that they make in mediation as opposed to ones forced upon them by a court.
Sometimes mediation can help bring people together. If those involved in a dispute are relatives, neighbors, co-workers or friends, talking about and working through conflict can often be an important first step in repairing damaged relationships. People may be angry or hurt when they come to mediation and mediators will try to help everyone understand the differing perspectives of those involved in the conflict. When underlying causes of a conflict are brought to light, people often settle the case at hand, may learn how to avoid future conflicts, and may even heal their broken relationships.
How can I be successful in mediation?
- Have a positive outlook. Go to your mediation confident that you will be able to have a productive discussion and resolve the situation.
- Come prepared to give the mediator and others present a short, clear summary of the situation from your perspective.
- Listen and be respectful to all who are present.
- Respect the ground rules that the mediator provides at the beginning of the mediation.
- Be open to creative solutions.
- Be prepared to compromise and to move forward. Mediation is all about working things out with someone else and getting on with your life.
- Be willing to accept responsibility for the way your own actions may have contributed to the conflict and to apologize and make amends.
- Be willing to forgive when you have been wronged.