Our approach is to facilitate ‘aware communication’ so that participants are attuned with one another in ways that lead directly to the resolution of conflict. We believe that people in conflict are the primary agents of change in mediation and that the mediator can assist in this process by encouraging personal and interpersonal awareness in those who come together.
The mediator sees that conflict is based not only on the facts of what has happened but as well on personal interests, needs, values and concerns created out of the life experience of each person. People involved in a conflict may, to varying degrees, be aware or unaware of what motivates those they are at odds with – and what their own motivations are. The role of the mediator is to aid the participants in clarifying what underlies the conflict on both sides, creating opportunities to view what is at stake differently - more inclusively and constructively - thereby opening up new possibilities for going forward. This is how conflict may be transformed and matters resolved.
The participants themselves determine not only the pace of the mediation, but the directions it will take. While this process may seem less structured than one where an authority decides things, because people are social beings built to communicate and to work out their interests and values, it is actually a simple matter of people agreeing to come together face to face to address their problems.
We strive to be fully ‘at the table’ - through calm presence and active listening, and by making sure that each participant’s story is truly heard. This creates an essential trust among those at the table that fosters mutual listening, and greater awareness, openness and understanding. Once these are established, the mediator takes the participants through the process of problem-solving, so that the conflict may be practically transformed in ways that the participants themselves choose.