Updated: Sep 26, 2019
Do you know someone who has ever been in an intense conflict? Maybe you are thinking of yourself, a close friend, a relative, a coworker... When these conflicts happen, emotions skyrocket, feelings are hurt, and it seems like reaching an agreement is IMPOSSIBLE!
Have you ever heard of those lawsuits where an employee was discriminated against and pressed charges? What about neighbors who can't agree on where the property line ends and begins? Couples who were together, then they weren't, maybe they even tried to make it work a second or third time, but now they want to divvy their collective assets or negotiate parenting time? We all know someone with a story like this, and most of us have a conflict story of our own.
Usually when situations like this happen, people tend to file a lawsuit. A civil or small claims court case, maybe a family law case... rarely do these everyday disagreements go to the big leagues. Have you ever wondered if there is another way to get what you want without the headache and extensive fees that come with using our court systems? I am here to tell you that there is.
What is mediation?
Mediation offers people who are in conflict another way to make peace and find a resolution. It focuses on helping you and the other person or group come to a genuine understanding. The ultimate goal is to come to an agreement that addresses the needs and interests of all parties involved. Mediation can be a very empowering process.
So what happens, exactly?
A neutral third party, aka the mediator, will sit down with those who are involved in conflict; they will address the issues and you will try to work it out, together. When an agreement is reached, both parties are more likely to abide by it, since it is constructed together. Going through the mediation process can also teach you positive ways to move through a disagreement if you have another conflict in the future. Reflecting about your experience in mediation can be extremely helpful for navigating through possible tumultuous territories in the future.
Who can use mediation?
The short answer? Anyone.
There are no special circumstances or requirements in order to use mediation for most non-criminal cases. Mediation is often useful for disagreements between business partners, neighbors, family members, roommates, landlords and tenants, unions, employee and employer, managers, family members, couples, parents. Mediation can also be used as an alternative to negotiate punishment for minors with issues like truancy, bullying, or even disagreements between teachers and families.
What can mediation do for me?
Choosing mediation as an alternative to litigation can help ease some of the stress that is inevitable when navigating intense conflicts. Using this dispute resolution alternative can help you feel like your voice was heard and may help you feel more at peace with the outcome. With mediation, you have a say in the agreement.