Not My Kind of Mediation

21 Jan

Oh my goodness. I happened to catch an episode of the Anderson Cooper show when he featured a couple of New York mediators who host a new mediation reality show called “Staten Island Law.” OK, so my first question is: where is mediation in the title??

That was my first clue.

And then I read the description about the show: “Everyone has a problem, and it turns out, Elura and Michele are pros at telling people what to do.”

So, I knew right away that we were totally different types of mediators.

The kind of mediation that I practice (facilitative) is all about disputing parties coming up with their own mutually acceptable agreement in a collaborative way. It’s not about the mediator, who is working with a couple arguing about the cost of their honeymoon, suggesting to the bride-to-be. “So … does it have to be Bora Bora?” Or making a face, when the groom-to-be suggests getting a used wedding dress.

After watching Staten Island Law’s clip about a pre-nuptial dispute, I am pretty happy with the way I practice mediation – because I have found that when people are empowered through the mediation process to identify and clarify their issues, explore options and negotiate an agreement, without having someone tell them what to do, they will come up with a longer lasting and workable solution and have greater satisfaction with the outcome.

The trained mediator is there to neutral and guide the process – not the outcome. Now … that’s my kind of mediation.



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