Transformative Mediation



Brenda Reed Mediation Services
BRENDA REED
6276 Acacia Avenue
Oakland, CA 94618
Phone: 510 601-9837
Fax: 510 428-0332


Transformative Orientation
The Mediator with a Transformative orientation believes that conflict presents opportunities for individuals to transform and to change their personal interactions with one another, if they choose to do so by exercising their capacities for decision-making and perspective taking. DESCRIPTIVE TERMS:
Facilitative mediation
Non-directive mediation
Client-centered mediation
Party-centered mediation
Transformative mediation
Optimistic mediation
CONFLICT PRIMARILY REPRESENTS THE FOLLOWING:
Crises in human interaction
Trigger for physical, intellectual, & emotional response
Starting point for destructive interaction
Opportunity to activate self-determination & responsiveness to others
Opportunity to change interaction from destructive to constructive
GOALS FOR INTERVENTION:
Facilitate empowerment & recognition
Support full deliberation & informed decision-making by parties, including decisions to settle and/or resolve the issues
Support voluntary & mutual perspective taking by the parties
Enhance the parties' decision-making process and communication
MEDIATOR DEFINES HER PROPER ROLE AS:
Facilitative
Non-directive
Supportive
THE TRANSFORMATIVE MEDIATOR BELIEVES THAT THE MOST IMPORTANT PRODUCTS OF THE PROCESS ARE:
Shifts from destructive to constructive interaction
Increased capacities for future decision-making & communication
Informed & deliberate decisions by the parties as to whether to agree or to differ






TRANSFORMATIVE MEDIATOR'S GOALS

 

Empowerment:   The transformative mediator aims to foster empowerment by supporting (not supplanting) each party's deliberation and decision-making at every possible opportunity in the session(s). The mediator aims to assist and enhance the parties' decision-making efforts.

Recognition:   The mediator aims to foster recognition by encouraging & supporting (but not forcing) each party's voluntary efforts to achieve new understandings of the other's perspective at every possible opportunity in the session. The mediator aims to assist & enhance the parties' perspective-taking efforts.



EMPOWERMENT & RECOGNITION IN MEDIATION

In the Transformative Orientation the following results can and do occur:
  • Mediation can strengthen the parties' personal capacity for anaysis and decision making (the empowerment effect).
  • Mediation can increase the parties' willingness & ability to see and appreciate perspectives different from their own (the recognition effect).
  • The mediator's work is to help the parties improve the quality of their own decision making and communication subject to their own choices and limits.
  • When mediators foster empowerment and recognition, the mediation process itself can result not only in resolutions of the parties' immediate problems but also in significant changes in their personal capacities for self-determination and responsiveness to others -- decision making & communication -- both in the specific case & beyond. [adapted from R. A. B. Bush, "The Unexplored Possibilities of Community Mediation, " 21 LAW AND SOCIAL INQUIRY 715, 1996.]

AT THE LEVEL OF EFFECTS:

EMPOWERMENT:
Party moves from relative weakness to relative strength.
Party gets clearer, more confident, more decisive.
Party exercises & strengthens capacity for self-determination. 

RECOGNITION:
Party moves from self-absorption to attentiveness to others.
Party becomes more open, more receptive, more responsive.
Party exercises & strengthens capacity for responsiveness to others.
A mediator having a Directive orientation believes that conflict represents only a problem to be solved or a dispute to be settled. The mediator assumes ownership of the problems of the parties and hence the solution. This style mediator directly or subtly engages in activities that drive, determine, or impose the definition of the problem and the solution.

HOW DOES THE TRANSFORMATIVE MEDIATOR WORK:







Mediator identifies and opportunity for empowerment and/or recognition. Mediator avoids overlooking or ignoring the opportunity. Sheand slows down and invites elaboration or reflection. Mediator enacts a supportive response that helps parties capture the opportunity by fostering empowerment or recognition.

The Transformative Mediator:
Listens Supports Encourages Explores Invites elaboration Responds in ways that encourage recognition or empowerment Follows Opens Welcomes







Suggested Reading

THE PROMISE OF MEDIATION; Robert A. Baruch Bush & Joseph P. Folger; Jossey-Bass, Inc., San Francisco, 1994. "The Power of Apology in Mediation", Carl D. Schneider, PhD; www.mediate.com/articles/apology.cfm?plain=t
"The Role of Apologoy in Mediation"; D. Levi; New York University Law Review. 72, (5), November 1997; pp 1165-1210.
MEA CULPA: A SOCIOLOGY OF APOLOGY AND RECONCILIATION; N. Tavuchus; Stanford University Press, 1991, Stanford, CA.
"Go Ahead, Say You're Sorry"; A. Lazare; PSYCHOLOGY TODAY, Jan/Feb 1995, pp 40-43, 76-78.

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