When is mediation useful?
Mediation conducted by a trained mediator experienced in managing communication in a conflict situation can be useful wherever there is conflict that is not resulting in constructive change. Most people do not like conflict, do not handle conflict situations well, or simply try to avoid them as much as possible.
Conflict is all around us and often indicates that a change, which in fact could be positive, needs to take place. Assistance in resolving such a situation can not only relieve the tension of the immediate conflict situation, but also better prepare people to deal more constructively with the next one.
Conflict in general, why being an opportunity for positive change, generally results in a negative and destructive conflict cycle due to the way our brains function. The human brain is wired to protect us from danger and threats, and the older parts of the brain take over quickly when a threat is perceived. Unfortunately, the brain cannot distinguish between an emotional and a physical threat and the physical and chemical reactions in the brain usually take precedence over a more reasoned way of dealing with an emotionally threatening situation. As the negative conflict spiral sets in, it is difficult to be in the presence of the others involved in the conflict without feeling the negative effects of the situation. Transformative or non-directive mediation helps people find their way towards a more positive perspective of the situation, the perceptions of the others involved, and one's own feelings, motives and choices.
Common situations where mediation is useful include :