‘All I want is to put it behind me’ - mediation is the best route

‘All I want is to put it behind me’   - mediation is the best route

These were the words of the ‘injured party’ in a recent mediation I conducted, but it became clear at a very early stage of the day that putting the dispute behind him would not be possible for him until he had really had the opportunity to express the extent of his feelings and to be heard.

As a consequence I spent a significant part of the day with the party hearing about the anger, frustration, hurt (his words) he felt about how he’d been treated by his opponent. He found it incredibly difficult to move past these feelings and to look at possible solutions.

Fortunately mediation provides a forum where there is the opportunity to allow parties to express such feelings. Mediators are well trained in listening skills and a good mediator will be able to facilitate the expression of feelings to the other party as well.

Increasingly in my mediation practice I see cases where no progress can be made until there is the opportunity to air feelings and to be heard, more often than not this is the turning point when parties are then able to move on to look at the future. It’s interesting that this can often be a factor even in commercial disputes where feelings , in the view of many, are not supposed to factor.

As a mediator I find this part of the process the most worthwhile – spending time talking through the possibility of life without the all-consuming dispute in it. In the mediation above I spent time helping the party to imagine what it would feel like to walk out of the building without the weight of the dispute on his shoulders; what it would be like to drive past his old business premises and not have to think about the debts for which he was still being pursued; how the future would look if this dispute was over. Once we’d done that we were then able to move on to look at how we might get there.

Instead of a court case where the past is the main focus – looking at what went wrong, how it went wrong and who was to blame - mediation focuses on finding a solution for the future and a way of leaving the dispute behind.

At the better way we provide facilitation and mediation services for disputes of all kinds – workplace, board level and commercial. Please contact us if we can help.

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