Alternative dispute resolution has become increasingly popular over the last few years, helping to not only lower court costs but caseloads as well. The practice of conflict mediation allows citizens the important opportunity to play a greater, more directive, role in the resolution of their conflicts.
How Mediation Works
Mediation begins when both sides of a dispute meet with the goal of constructing some sort of workable solution to a mutual conflict. There are many different structures that Mediators use to solve conflicts, as well as different kinds of solutions, but all of these are focused on recognizing the needs and inherent dignity of both sides. This focus on human dignity and personal responsibility allows each participant to exercise a greater amount of control over the outcome of their conflict then either could have hoped for with court adjudication or the continued avoidance of the issue.
The mediator’s job is to facilitate the process by which each side expresses what it wants and considers the needs of the other side so as to find some form of agreement that works for both sides. Mediators protect the rights of each side and ensure that they are heard, while helping the disputants to generate new and creative solutions to problems that may have become unsolvable due to one or both sides refusing to consider all available options. In essence, mediation is a structured communication which allows emotions to be vented, thoughts and ideas to be heard and validated, and the real issues behind a conflict to be brought to light.