Mediation, Arbitration and Conflict Management are confidential processes in which conflicting parties voluntarily meet with an impartial Mediator. The Mediator, a neutral third party, will assist the parties to work towards their own resolution of the conflict.
As a rule, we are not taught how to handle our conflicts. So often relationships end, or are never become what they could have been, had they been able to successfully resolve, usually minor, disputes. Mediation and Conflict Management provide the opportunity for persons to be in a safe setting with a neutral party and communicate. One of the main reasons that this process is so successful is that the parties have the chance to freely and safely discuss feelings along with the issues. Since a Mediator is trained to handle emotional situations, feelings and emotions are not only allowed, but encouraged. As the emotions are addressed and processed, the issue itself can then be addressed and result in a mutually agreeable resolution. Mediation and Conflict Management, therefore, are empowering processes for the participants since the parties come out in a better place than when they came in.
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Confidentiality and neutrality are the two pillars of mediation. In order for parties to feel free to express their issues, they have to know they are in a safe environment. This is done when the mediator is able to establish trustworthiness. Being a Mediation purist, I believe that the role of a Mediator is to empower the parties to determine the outcome of the conflict themselves. Unlike an attorney or arbitrator, a Mediator does not advise or direct the resolution of the conflict but acts, instead, as a facilitator of the process.