Part 3. Mediation skills.
Keywords. mediation counseling, positive environment, bottom line, brainstorm.
Vocabulary. mediator, facilitate, rephrase, accusatory, promptly, role reversal, brainstorm, prioritize.
You're going to hear a lecture on mediation skills. In the lecture, several steps for resolving conflicts are discussed.
First write down the three steps people can use for resolving conflicts, then take more notes.
Today we are going to discuss the steps involved in mediation counseling.
The skills that make up mediation counseling will be useful to you in a variety of situations,
for instance, helping a couple that is having problems in their relationship or parents who are having trouble with a teenager.
Through mediation counseling, people can learn to take a series of steps that will lead them to identify problems and create solutions.
Step 1. Setting up a positive environment.
In step 1, the mediator wants to set up an environment that will help the clients to speak frankly about what has upset them without attacking the other person.
This is first done by clearly stating specific rules about how the clients will be allowed to behave during mediation sessions.
For example, clients must treat each other with respect.
They may not shout at the other person or interrupt them when they are speaking.
After the rules have been established, each client will take a turn speaking directly to the mediator.
They will state their point of view concerning the problem.
If they are having difficulty, the mediator will facilitate the process by asking questions like "What's been going on between the two of you?" or "How has this problem affected you?"
Another thing the mediator will do is to rephrase statements that sound very aggressive and accusatory.
For example, if Robert is mad at Vicky, he might say something like this, the problem is Vicky's always late. She has no respect for my time. She always keeps me waiting.
To avoid having Vicky get angry when she hears this, the mediator would rephrase it, focusing on the real issue instead of how bad Vicky is.
The mediator might say something like this, So you feel really frustrated and impatient when you arrive promptly and then have to wait a long time for the another person.
When both clients have finished sharing their side of the story with the mediator, the mediator will list and clarify the problems.
In the case of Robert and Vicky, the mediator could say, "There seems to be a problem finding a way to organize time that is comfortable for both of you. "
Step 2. Identifying the bottom line.
In step 2, the mediator helps the clients to identify the bottom line.
This is done by breaking their conflict down into the specific issues which are emotional and behavioral.
People might say they are mad about a specific behavior, but what they are really mad about is how it makes them feel.
To look again at the case of Robert and Vicky, the mediator might help them to see that while time seems to be the issue, the real issue is that Robert feels Vicky does not respect him.
At this point, the clients begin speaking to each other.
But they do this by participating in activities that are designed to help them better understand each other.
Maybe they could do a role reversal. And Vicky could talk how she would feel if she and Robert were supposed to have dinner with friends and he came an hour late.
Robert could share reasons why he might be late for something.
Hopefully, this will help Robert and Vicky be more sympathetic with one another.
Step 3. Brainstorm. Now it's time to talk about solutions.
In step 3, the mediator encourages the clients to share every possible solution to their problem, no matter how ridiculous or extreme.
The clients must accept all the solutions either one of them suggests.
They may not criticize each other during this step in the process. As they are making suggestions, the mediator writes down all their different ideas.
When everyone has run out of suggestions, they look at their list.
They try to identify which solution is best, which one is most reasonable and practical, which ones are unworkable, etc, etc.
A prioritize the solutions and discuss which ones would work for them, which ones they would be willing to try.
Using the solutions they have chosen, the clients, with the help of the mediator, write down some very specific steps they would take to solve their problem.