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.



​​Paz Seeker 

When is mediation useful?




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 :

  • divorce and separation, especially where children are involved and there is a need of ongoing co-parenting or 'parallel parenting'.  Whether parents are married or not, separation and divorce bring important and difficult changes to a family structure and children are usually the most affected, even if they cannot make any decisions.  Studies show that children are mostly affected by contentious situations between their parents, often feel responsible and are troubled by feelings of loyalty or disloyalty,
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  • Cross border family disputes.  Worldwide mobility has increased the number of couples of different nationalities while the number of separations and divorces is also on the rise. The particularity of these situations from other family situations includes the diverse cultures and primary languages of the parties, the frequent desire of at least one of the parties to return to a country of origin with the children making a co-parenting situation much more difficult, and the different legal systems of their home countries.  The Hague Convention treaties of 1980 (on the removal of children from their habitual place of residence) and 1996 (concerning parental responsibility and children's rights) provide a legal structure to address the question of restitution of a child removed by one parent from her or his habitual place of residence, but does not address any of the other pressing questions concerning the relationship of the couple (if not divorced) or their ongoing co-parenting organisation so that both remain present in their children's lives.


  • Marital mediation, where couples find themselves frequently in conflict and are not determined to separate or divorce. This is different from therapy for couples and is not intended as a replacement.  But sometimes 3 to 5 sessions of mediation can help couples better listen to each other, uncover conflicting needs, identify if either party is not willing to work on any identified issues and whether this would be a showstopper for the other.  If this is not the case, they can mediate concrete positive means to address the identified issues for both in ways that both agree meet their needs.
  • Parent - youth conflicts.  Parenting is not an easy task and it is sometimes difficult to understand the changes children are going through and why they behave the way they do.  Again, this is not intended to replace family counselling.  But a few mediation sessions help open up communication channels, and help those involved find more constructive ways to communicate and negotiate different opinions and understand common interests and goals.
     
  • Extended family situations where decisions are necessary and family members are in conflict about what to do.   If family members are willing to come together mediation can assist in ensuring that all members are heard, and alternatives are explored and evaluated.   Mediation can help family members who have avoided each other or those difficult conversations for many years to come together in a more constructive dialogue.

  • Neighbor disputes: in situations where neighbors do not see eye to eye, close proximity can cause ongoing tensions, stress and bad feelings, which can even lead to costly legal disputes or negative retaliatory actions.  A mediated discussion between or among the parties involved can help improve the dialogue among the parties, the understanding of why they behave as they do or what the impact is on the other parties, identify common interests and goals, and improve the ongoing relationship.


  • Workplace Conflict; Similarly to neighbor or family disputes, conflict between people who must continue to work closely together can result in stress and tension, a negative work environment and have a serious impact on the productivity of a business.  
Cross border family disputes.  Worldwide mobility has increased the number of couples of different nationalities while the number of separations and divorces is also on the rise. The particularity of these situations from other family situations includes the diverse cultures and primary languages of the parties, the frequent desire of at least one of the parties to return to a country of origin with the children making a co-parenting situation much more difficult, and the different legal systems of their home countries.  The Hague Convention treaties of 1980 (on the removal of children from their habitual place of residence) and 1996 (concerning parental responsibility and children's rights) provide a legal structure to address the question of restitution of a child removed by one parent from her or his habitual place of residence, but does not address any of the other pressing questions concerning the relationship of the couple (if not divorced) or their ongoing co-parenting organisation so that both remain present in their children's lives.