How does mediation work

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In a mediation process, the mediator goes through various steps on the way to a peaceful solution. Finding out the needs and interests of those involved is a crucial point.

How does mediation actually work?

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How mediation “works” can be explained - greatly simplified - using the following example: A mother comes into the kitchen and sees that her daughters are arguing violently over an orange. Both tug at the fruit and can't agree who should get it. To end the chaos, the mother grabs the object of desire and cuts it in half with a knife. In the hope that there will be peace now, she gives each daughter a half - but far from it! Neither of the daughters is satisfied with half of them and both of them move off to their respective rooms, offended. The mother no longer understands the world. What went wrong here - what could the mother have done differently? Quite simply: If she had asked the two children what they intend to do with the orange, she would have found out that one daughter wanted the orange to squeeze juice from it and the other only needed the peel to make a cake to bake. So there would have been a solution that both children would have been happy with - just ask about their interests.

In a mediation process, the mediator goes through various steps on the way to a peaceful solution. Finding out the needs and interests of those involved is a very crucial point - the core of mediation, so to speak.

Mediation determines exactly which personal concerns must be met to resolve the conflict so that the parties to the dispute can live with it. Of course, you usually do not go to the mediator because of a dispute about oranges, but also in a dispute about an inheritance, with the neighbor or in the context of a divorce, it is crucial to look at the personal concerns of each individual in order to find a good solution. Where, for example, a father vehemently takes the position in a divorce mediation "I definitely want the children to come to me every Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday and stay with me - I will not go into any other solution!", We question in the mediation together why this solution is absolutely wanted, what interest or need is behind it and what is so important to him about the topic. Behind this could be the following concern: "I want to keep close contact with my children, want to continue working intensively on their lives share. "or" I'm afraid that over time my children will become more attached to the ex-wife's new partner than to me. I would like to remain the most important caregiver for the children next to the mother. "Or" I am afraid that the children might think that I am no longer interested in them if I do not see them so often. "Etc.

Once you have made it clear what exactly the respective personal concerns are, it is suddenly much easier to find common solutions that fulfill them. Then an absolute adherence to the rigid original requirement is no longer necessary and one can take steps towards one another. The mother of children may be more willing to compromise after experiencing the father's fears. On the other hand, the needs of the father could also be met, for example, through long stays with the children on vacation, weekends together every two weeks and regular spontaneous visits during the week. Please note: The mediator does not specify the individual solution - he rather helps the parties to the dispute to develop the solution that best suits them and their situation. By considering the personal concerns of everyone involved, a situation can be created in which there are no losers, only winners.

This is actually a very simple procedure that can also be tried out in everyday life without a mediator: If there is a difference of opinion, just ask: "What exactly is so important to you about it? - and then see how the personal interests of everyone involved in the dispute can best be met.

Author: Christina Wenz