Mediation is not something that is typically considered, because most people are not aware that mediation exists for non-litigated cases. I’ve learned that the type of mediation most effective in family cases is transformative mediation. By definition, transformative mediation seeks to empower the parties to change their relationship with each other by gaining an understanding of each other’s needs and interests.
During a family mediation, all interested parties can attend the mediation. There are ground rules, which I set at the beginning of the mediation. These rules may include: no interruptions, no yelling, no name-calling, and no accusations of lying. These rules serve a very important purpose. It allows for the parties to remain calm and it keeps their brains activated in such a way that they can continue to practice active listening throughout the mediation. I may also use other active listening strategies such as mirroring and reframing as ways to ensure that each side is actually understanding what they are hearing and are able to mirror it back to the other side. Each side is allowed to speak and respond to comments without interruption. The interruptions that are so ingrained in their normal pattern of conversation are minimized, thus de-stressing the speaker.