I published an article recently about marital mediation in the context of couples who have been working with a family or couples therapist. Since this is such an important and little understood subject, I would like to take the opportunity to explain this process from a broader perspective.
Very little has been written to date about an intriguing and ‘new’ use of mediation in the family setting. Most people have heard about divorce mediation, which gives divorcing couples the opportunity to reach agreements about their property, parenting and support without having to go through a litigated (contested) divorce. The mediator, who is neutral, facilitates the conversations the couple needs to have, and helps them brainstorm options – enabling them to come up with better, win-win solutions for themselves and their children.
In my last blog article, I discussed the role of Active Listening in conflict resolution. The importance of Active Listening cannot be overstated. It is only when both people listen in this way that they can begin shifting from their hard positions to more constructive ground where they are able to meet their own needs as well as those of the other person.
The way you listen – or do not listen – to someone directly impacts the outcome of your conversation with that person, especially if your points of view are divergent. There are two levels of listening that take place when you are in conversation with another person.
As divorcing couples become more and more enlightened, an increasing number of people have become curious about the benefits of mediation and how they might be applied to their unique situation. In thinking about this issue, I’ve compiled a list of seven advantages to mediation over the traditional divorce process.
Divorce is an emotional time for everyone who goes through it.
When most people think of divorce, they think of long, painful litigation on top of the already painful emotions they are experiencing as a result of the separation from their life partner. Mediation provides an alternative approach that is good for parents, and especially beneficial for their children.
It’s fascinating how, as we grow older and wiser, certain ‘truisms’ repeatedly appear in our lives. As I’ve broadened in my professional life from being a lawyer to working as a life coach and mediator, I’ve found this particularly to be the case. I now see clearly how there are certain underlying principles that govern both my professional and personal life. I like to refer to this as Mediator Mind.