What is Mediation Therapy?
Mediation Therapy is designed to resolve conflicts and disputes between close family members. This doesn’t mean that these people have to end up agreeing – for example, one person may want to stay in a relationship and the other may want to leave. Or a husband may want his mother-in-law to move out, while his wife wants to build a granny flat for her.
The goal of true Mediation Therapy is non-adversarial understanding
The goal is not consensus, but for each party to gain a genuine understanding of, and an acknowledgement of, the other person’s way of seeing things. This mutual understanding in turn leads to mutual decisions about the next step – be that the future of a relationship or the outcome to some other problem at hand.
How is It Different from Normal Therapy?
Mediation Therapy takes a narrow focus and has a single goal: to help bring a couple or a family to a decision.
This differs from normal Couples and Family Therapy and Counselling in that in the latter we are always looking for the issues within relationships; we are looking at helping people gain a greater awareness of what they are doing (or not doing), that can free them from earlier patterns of relating that no longer serve them. We are wanting them to improve their communications, overcome specific difficulties that may be sexual, financial, or parenting related, and helping them to re-examine how the relationship can work better for them. Much of this is not up for question in Mediation Therapy.
Working Together on Separating
When a couple is separating, because one person wants to leave the relationship, a common view is that these people should see separate therapists, to work through their private thoughts and, possibly, griefs.
Our view is that there is another way: that with our support within a calm, safe environment, people can become empowered to find a way through, without becoming victim or perpetrator. They can leave the relationship with a greater sense of agency and strength, rather than potentially spiraling into powerlessness, unhappiness and even illness. And, if there are children involved, there is a healthier outcome for them as well.
The Optional Co-Therapy Model
In Mediation Therapy, the Therapist sits in the “middle” position between two or more related persons in crisis, and facilitates their decision making.
We believe, too, that our optional Co-Therapy model (Amanda and Ron working together as therapists) is ideally suited for this process. We are a married couple who are highly skilled in both Mediation and Couples Counselling.
- See also: The Co-Therapist model (both Ron and Amanda in the room).
What Mediation Therapy is Not
Mediation Therapy is not working out the terms of divorce or other settlements. It’s also not a process where one person tries to convince the other to change.
People who enter Mediation Therapy need to be clear on what the goal is. Trying to get someone to stay in a relationship, when they have expressed an intention to leave, is not a valid goal of Mediation Therapy.