In my experience, there is a bit of chaos in people’s minds about what a Mediator does, what happens in a mediation session, and what its purpose is. I have to say, this is not surprising: as the cliché goes, mediation is still in its infancy.
Which, in this case, not only means that the general public has not yet received as much general information as there is about psychology for example (let’s think about it: even in the time of our parents, the “babyboomers”, there were vague images in people's minds about what psychology was ... the word itself seemed a bit mystical, more of a humbug, surely not science ... and let's see where we stand today when psychology studies at universities are among the most popular and renowned ones), but also that even the Mediators don't always agree on the definition of their roles. We are talking about issues like:
should the person asked to be a Mediator be an expert on the subject of the debate?
should the Mediator form an opinion on certain points in the debate?
at the end of the mediation process, does the Mediator tell the parties what to do?
is reaching an agreement the purpose of mediation?
can emotions be introduced into the mediation process, should they be addressed during the process?
I see no reason for Mediators to fight hard and speak out roughly on these issues (if the urban legends are true, there was an example of this at a mediation conference, oh, the irony :)). In fact, it would be much closer to my heart (which is perhaps more in favor of taxonomic classifications than it should be) to accept the decipherment that mediation theory gives us: there are different approaches to mediation.
Aka: different schools.
These, however tempting :), cannot be described by the categories of "right" and "wrong," they rather differ based on creed, methodology, and sometimes the nature of the debate.
Thus, we can talk about evaluative, facilitative, narrative and transformative mediation (yes, the use of serious words with Latin -sometimes Greek - origin is also an important step in the formation of the science of mediation - any science, actually). These different schools will be discussed in my later posts. Follow me!