The Concept of Mediation
Ludwig.F. Lowenstein Ph.D
Southern England Psychological Services
Mediation is an important way of seeking to rectify hostility between parties. There are actually two aspects to it which indicate as to whether mediation is likely to be successful:
- That the parties concerned agree to participate in such a process with an expert in the area of mediation, preferably a clinical psychologist.
- That they co-operate in the mediation process and not merely pay “lip-service”to the fact that they wish mediation to occur.
Parties in dispute often require considerable help to assist them in developing greater harmony where there is currently severe conflict. The author has carreid out a considerable amount of research into this area and has also practiced mediation for many years and report this mediation to Courts and others. As already stated the outcome of mediation depends on the co-operation of the parties concerned as well as the skill of the mediator.
The process in action consists of seeking to understand each of the parties involved and obtaining information as to their willingness to give as well as tke in the process. Only after this has been established can parties be brought together. Failure to do the initial part coul lead to merely “slanging” matches between the antagonists which is totally unacceptible and unlikely to lead to a conclusion to the problem.
It is vital that the parties be informed that whoever makes the decision, such as the Court, hat their co-operation would be measured on the basis of what they do rather than what they say. The mediator must work hard to remove the obstacles that lead to entrenched positions by each of the parties concerned. It is ibvious that the mediator must be viewed as an independent person eager to solve the problem rather than fovouring one side or the other. Unless those in conflict understna and accept this little can be achieved. The way forward however is that mediation is a positive and constructive way of solving problems between hostile parties.