“Time and again, we’ve seen people prove that mediation does work. Nobody understands their situation better than the individuals involved. Given a safe environment and the opportunity to listen and share their concerns, clients show that they are able to effectively resolve their own conflicts.”
–Karen Horton, LCSW-C, Mediator
What is mediation?
Mediation is a conflict resolution process in which mediators help participants have difficult conversations, get clear about what’s important to everyone, and make decisions that meet the needs of those involved.
Mediators do not decide who is right or wrong, take sides, counsel, or give advice.
Mediators help participants communicate and empower them to create their own solutions.
In mediation, people speak for themselves and make their own decisions.
1. action in mediating between parties, as to effect an agreement or reconciliation.
2. International Law. an attempt to effect a peaceful settlement between disputing nations through the friendly good offices of another power
3. a method of resolving an industrial dispute whereby a third party consults with those involved and recommends a solution which is not, however, binding on the parties
How does mediation work?
- In mediation, the participants control the decisions and the outcome.
- Mediation is generally thought of as a resource to end conflict but mediation is much more than that. It is a means to prevent conflict as well and to assist participants in having a constructive conversation before the lines of communication breakdown.
- Mediation is way for people to resolve disputes or have difficult conversations with the help of a neutral mediator who is trained to help people communicate.
- Mediation is a voluntary process that only takes place if both parties agree.
- Mediation brings people together in a comfortable and safe setting to have a conversation.
- The mediators will help you talk to each other to clarify goals, gather information, and identify options.
- It is up to the individual needs of the participants to decide what will meet their needs.
- The session kept private, confidential and cannot be disclosed or used at a court hearing.
The role of the mediator:
The mediator’s role is to help participants listen to one another so they are able to clarify their needs, gather information, identify their options and helps the parties work out their own solutions to problems.Mediators do not counsel, give advice, guidance, make decisions for the participants, or pass judgments. The mediator does not decide who is right or wrong or make decisions for the participants.Our mediators are volunteers that represent the Southern Maryland community and are helping to build a better and more peaceful community. Our mediators have received formal training in the mediation process and have completed 40 hours of formal syllabus, followed by continuing training, including supervised internship and ongoing peer review support.
- THE BIG 3 OF MEDIATION
- Non-judgmental: Mediators listen, ask questions, and try to clarify what’s important to everyone. They don’t give advice, won’t decide who’s right or wrong, and they won’t take sides.
- Confidentiality: Mediators maintain confidentiality except for issues of child abuse, elder abuse and credible threats of violence. Mediation contents are inadmissible as evidence in civil court hearings. Mediators destroy their notes at the end of the mediation.
- Voluntary: Mediation is voluntary. Participants are at the table of their own free will and can end the process at any time. No one will be forced to do anything they do not want to do. Nobody will be forced to agree to anything they do not want to agree to.
Does Mediation Work?
2014 Mediation participant surveys state:
- 97% agree “I was able to ex-press myself, my thoughts, and my concerns during the mediation.”
- 79% agree “through this process I understand the other people in the conflict better.”
- 74% agree “through this process I think the other people involved in the conflict understand me better.”
- 93% would “recommend mediation to others involved in conflicts.”
Information collected from Community Mediation Maryland Annual Report Nov 21, 2014
Types of Mediations:
Mediators assist individuals with a wide range of issues, including family and neighborhood conflicts, landlord-tenant issues, group and organizational conflicts and family care decisions for elderly adults.
Independent IEP (Individualized Education Program) Meeting Facilitation:
Trained IEP Facilitators use their skills to help IEP team members communicate effectively, and develop an educational program to meet a child’s special needs. This opportunity gives the team members, parents and school staff, a chance to develop and keep good working relationships.
Mediators assist in building communication between the parents and schools in order to improve student attendance. Attendance mediation aids in identifying the issues in which pertain to the truancy of the student, and develop a plan to address these issues.
These mediations are for inmates at the St. Mary’s Detention Center. Many inmates are faced with challenges that can be addressed prior to their release such as housing, parenting and employment. If the inmate can have a conversation with relatives or friends to address those challenges, transition back into society may go more smoothly for everyone. Re-entry mediation programs are currently in eighteen Maryland prisons and detention centers.
Mediators help parents and teens talk together to create their own solutions. Some parent/teen issues that have been discussed in mediation include:
Communication: fighting, talking back, sharing
School: grades, attendance, truancy, behavior
Crisis: assault, pregnancy, death
Home rules: curfew, chores, time with family
Parent & Step-parent relationships
Friends & dating: time spent, choices, activities
Drugs & alcohol: use, covering up, treatment
Identity issues: respect, gender orientation, sexual orientation
Minor criminal behavior
Music, movies, games
Life choices, goals
Separation and Divorce Mediations:
Mediators help parents develop plans for caring for their children when those parents are no longer living together. Assisting divorcing couples in working through issues related to property and support.
In addition to offering free mediation services, the Center also offers facilitation services to businesses, organizations and agencies to help them build stronger teams and work together more effectively.