‘The Black Cloud Has Lifted’ - The Real Life Benefits of Mediation
There are numerous articles available on the theoretical benefits of mediation, including several on this website, but following a recent mediation it occurred to me that the true benefits, felt by people in real life, are the important ones and aren’t written about enough.
During that particular mediation there were many discussions around the impact that the dispute was having on everyone involved – what we might call the human factor. People weren’t sleeping, their concentration levels were poor, they were dreading going to work, they were taking sick leave which they’d never done in their lives, and all the while hanging over them was the prospect of a court battle which they felt relationships would never survive.
One of the most common break-throughs in a mediation is when the parties begin to think about what it might feel like for it all to be over - one party talked about how it would feel to experience their journey into work without their stomach churning and feeling physically sick as they approached the office; another party talked about waking up on a work day and their first thought not being the conflict they faced when they arrived at work.
In feedback from another recent workplace mediation one party simply said ‘the black cloud has lifted’. They compared their experience of mediation with litigation they had previously been involved – this time the mediation took place within a few weeks of the dispute arising and, to quote the party involved: ‘we managed in a day what had previously taken 2 years. Relationships never recovered from those 2 years, but this time we not only recovered but relationships were better than before’.