Don't stay stressed by interpersonal conflict. Try mediation.
Mediation is a process where a trained neutral third party, a mediator, helps resolve disputes between two or more parties in conflict.
What is mediation and why use it?
Conflict is an inseparable part of people’s life. It arises when individuals or groups have opposing or unclear positions, interests, needs, or values. Other causes of conflict can be communication gaps; personality differences; substandard performance; disputes over approaches, responsibility and authority; lack of cooperation; or competition. Conflict needs to be resolved before it escalates into unrepairable damage to relationships, organizations, and communities.
EYC helps resolve issues between conflicting parties by taking them through a dispute-resolution process called mediation. In mediation, people speak for themselves and brainstorm their own solutions, which may result in a written agreement the conflicting parties craft themselves. Mediation ensures everyone’s voice is heard, in a safe, private space that allows them to speak their mind and be vulnerable.
Advantages of mediation:
(1) Less expensive than court
(2) Participants brainstorm their own solutions for implementation
(3) Ensures confidentiality, impartiality, and neutrality
(4) Improves communication between participants
(5) Clarity is gained concerning participants’ positions, interests, needs, or values
(6) All participants feel heard and validated
(7) Relational transformation
A mediator is not a judge or arbitrator; they do not take sides, place blame, or decide who's right or wrong. They do not provide legal advice as well. They facilitate the discussion to unveil issues, clarify parties' positions and viewpoints, and help parties find common ground. The mediation process is confidential, except in cases of child abuse, elder abuse, and credible threats of bodily harm. The mediator will not share information with anyone who is not involved in the process, unless the mediator has the parties’ consent to do so. Mediation is voluntary, and any participant may terminate the mediation at any time.
EYC offers mediation for all types of conflicts, such as family, landlord-tenant, roommate/housemate, workplace, neighbor, spouse, school, etc. Mediation can be done virtually or in-person.
What to expect from the mediation process:
Stage 1: Mediator’s Opening Statement and Explanation
After all disputing parties are present (virtually or in-person), the mediator introduces himself and everyone participating. The mediator then explains the goals and rules of mediation. Any required paperwork, not yet provided, is completed and signed.
Stage 2: Listening, Information Gathering, and Clarifying
Each party is given the opportunity to give an opening statement and explain the conflict in their own words. Joint discussion then begins. During this stage, the mediator may take notes, ask questions to clarify and further understand issues, and point out areas of agreement and common ground.
Sometimes private caucus becomes necessary at this stage. If the mediator determines private caucus is needed, each party meets with the mediator privately (in a separate physical or virtual space) during the session. The mediator may alternate between the two parties to discuss their positions and offers. Upon the mediator’s own discretion, the parties may reunite to continue their discussion face-to-face.
Stage 3: Listing Topics
Topics are the things the parties are having conflict about (communication, transportation, housekeeping, schedule, etc.). Topics are identified in stage 2. At this stage, the mediator lists the topics identified, which helps the parties see and name the things they need to make solutions about. After the parties confirm the listed topics are the things they would like to make solutions about, the mediation process moves to stage 4.
Stage 4: Brainstorming Solutions
Each topic is focused on one at a time, and the parties begin brainstorming ideas about how to resolve the conflict. All ideas are listed. Participants select the ideas they both agree on. Then they work out details concerning what is needed to make those ideas work.
Stage 5: Written Agreement and Closure
Participants agree to a verbal or written agreement. If written, the mediator writes a summary of all the solutions the parties agreed to. Once satisfied with the summary, the parties sign and receive a copy via DocuSign. The agreement may be a legally binding contract if the parties wish. If the parties do not reach an agreement, the mediator helps the parties determine if another session would be beneficial.
After completing the contact form, sending an email, or calling, EYC will schedule a time to speak with you. During that time, you have the opportunity to discuss your conflict with EYC, in a confidential Zoom video chat or phone call. You will be asked questions to gain clarity about the conflict. After the Zoom or phone consultation, and if you decide to proceed with mediation, either EYC or you contacts the other participant, and then they must schedule a consultation with EYC so he/she can decide if mediation is right for them. Once both parties agree to try mediation, they sign a consent-to-mediate form, sent via DocuSign.
Can a mediation be between three or more participants?
Yes. This does not include someone selected by a participant to simply accompany them. A "participant" must be someone directly involved in the conflict. So if a brother and sister are having a dispute and the sister wants to bring her husband with her, the husband does not count as a "participant." However, before the mediation starts, all participants must agree on who they are comfortable with attending.
Fees for mediation:
The cost of mediation is $110 per hour minimum, $210 per hour maximum for a 3-hour session. The cost is determined by the type of dispute. If the dispute is not resolved within the 3-hour session, participants may schedule additional sessions, for which the price would be the same. Flat fees may be discussed as well. If the participants choose to not have any more sessions, they still benefit from gaining clarity on their values, needs, and positions and often have improved communication and interaction moving forward. No refunds are given if participants terminate mediation.
The mediator also charges a $35 administrative fee.
What does this fee cover? It covers the time and cost for the mediator producing paperwork such as the consent-to-mediate form, forwarding emails, communicating between participants, etc. It also retains the time slot selected for participants and compensates the mediator if participants cancel. All of the aforementioned is work that the mediator must be compensated for. The mediator does not put in work for free.
When do I pay the fee? The fee is added to the invoice sent after the completion of mediation, or the invoice of the first mediation session, if there will be more than one session. If participants cancel before mediation, they are still responsible for paying the $35 fee, to compensate the mediator for the time he has put in.
Contact EYC for more details.