Journal Entry: Mediation Chapter 5

05/24/2008

This chapter talks about the when and how of using the basic tools we learned about in Ch. 4. (p. 99) One question to keep in mind: “What do I want to accomplish, or what do I hope will happen, at this point in mediation?” (p. 100)

The concept of the goal triangle is introduced, in which we see the cooperative goals of building empowerment and recognition, building community consciousness, and building commitment. By engaging in mediation, we are perfectly enabled to meet these goals, whereas in other forms of dispute resolution, such as judicial proceedings, these goals are unrecognized and possibly unattainable. For instance if we are given a judgment against us, we may not feel particularly committed to it, but are coerced to follow the orders of the judgment. In transformative mediation, we collaboratively develop solutions and listen to others’ ideas for solution (empowerment and recognition), which potentially makes it easier to commit to them, because they are our collective solutions which benefit the disputants as well as others, potentially (community consciousness); the solutions are ours, and thus we own them (providing an easy path to commitment) (pp. 100-104).

In a section about appreciation, we are reminded to have disputants remember and try to celebrate what makes them interdependent: What is your best vision for the future? What would the situation be like without your differences? (pp. 104-105)

Co-mediation is discussed as beneficial in complex cases, cases where there is a lack of experience with mediation in one of the mediators, high tension disputes, longer sessions, etc. However, co-mediation can introduce problems as well, such as increased costs, and the potential for divergent mediation style (pp. 105-107).

The chapter then goes on to explore issues of diversity and cultural awareness. It suggests the following techniques for meeting diverse cultural needs in mediation. Expect different expectations, don’t assume understanding, listen carefully, seek ways to allow parties to appreciate each other, be patient, go for win/win solutions, do things differently. By keeping an open mind and watching for culturally influenced reactions, mediators can avoid potential new conflicts within mediation (pp. 108-114).

Finally, we are introduced to the LARC Model, which is a mnemonic acronym for listen, acknowledge, respond, commit. Figure 5.2 on page 116 describes the finer points of the LARC model, such as asking questions to clarify as part of the listen directive, and suggesting positive resources for change as part of the respond directive (pp. 114-116).

Domenici, K., Domenici-Littlejohn, & Littlejohn, S. W. (2001). Mediation: Empowerment in Conflict Management, Second Edition. (2nd), 198. Waveland Press.

Personal experiential influence:

I really enjoyed learning about the mediation Goal Triangle, in which we as mediators work on building empowerment and recognition between disputants, building community consciousness through the mediation process, and building commitment in the disputants, or rather helping them to build it themselves.

I think that building empowerment is mostly accomplished by allowing disputants to use their own voice to address the issues, rather than having the stroy told thorugh representatives, like in a legal proceeding.

I think that building recognition is accomplished by mandating active listening as part of the mediation process – what better way to get disputants to hear the others point of view than to require silent active listening and single speakers?

Community consciousness is almost a byproduct of mediation itself – if disputants find success in dealing with the conflict through mediation, they may take those newly found skills out into the world where they can begin to virally infect other conflictors with active listening, collaborative problem solving, and conflict as opportunity.

Because disputants use their own words, and agree throughout with reframed ideas, restatements, and respectful language, it is more likely than other forms of dispute resolution in gaining true commitment.

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