Although many have heard about Mediation as an alternative to resolving disputes, a lot of people don't realize that the process has been around a long time. Mediation has been practiced since the earliest of times by chieftains, parents, elders, and wise people who brought fighting parties together, and after listening to their complaints, helped them understand the other party's point of view as well as the futility of prolonging the conflict. Throughout time, Mediation has been an ideal conduit through which broken communications between warring or disputing parties, have been restored.
In today's world, Mediation has helped to make life more palatable between neighbors, siblings, friends, couples and people doing business. It has been used to solve labor conflicts and to end strikes, to settle differences between countries, to bring an end to disagreements in the interactions of people, and ultimately, to help restore peace of mind.
More often than not, conflict arises when one party has misunderstood or misinterpreted another party's comment, and never took the time to clarify what the first party was trying to convey. Assumptions are made, bad feelings escalate and ties are broken. Mediation serves as a vehicle whereby parties have the opportunity to be "heard" in a safe environment conducive to discussion focused on a resolution. It becomes crucial, that the Mediator with the right skills, take charge of the Mediation process at the outset. In short, a succesfull mediatior is one who (a) listens, (b) does not take sides, (c) does not tell either party what they should do or how they should act, and (d) helps the parties find common ground that will lead to the end of conflict.
Norberto Kanner, TCAM
IN Mediation Services
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