The simple answer is that any type of conflict can be mediated. Don’t wait until a relationship is badly damaged or litigation expenses have become outrageous! Not sure whether mediation is needed? Schedule a free consultation to discuss your questions in person. Call Alexandria Skinner at 803-414-0185 or ask a question on this form:
People to a dispute often think they are arguing over one, specific issue. That’s often not the case. An example might be a teenager who wants to use the family car. The teenager and the parents may both think they are arguing over use of the car on Friday night. The real root of the argument however, has nothing to do with the car. The root of the argument has to do with the teenager’s need for autonomy, for transportation, for social interaction with her peers, and with the parents’ need for safety, control, and sleep.
An analogy might be to a splinter that is causing pain. A party may simply want the pain to go away. A pain relieving medicine may help alleviate the pain, and a bandage may keep the splinters from being more irritated. But the skin will not heal until the underlying source of the conflict, the actual splinter, has been removed. In a similar way, parties to a conflict are often focused on outward symptoms rather than on the cause of the symptoms.
In the car example, the teen just wants the car; the parent just wants to say “no”. A skilled, perceptive mediator will help the parties focus on and address the root causes of conflict. When the root causes are addressed, it’s the same as removing the splinter. Even if there is still some redness and irritation, the removal of the splinter allows healing to occur. In the teenager and car example, the parties might agree on ways the teen could meet his needs in ways the parents were comfortable with. Yet, even if the parties don’t reach specific agreement about the car, they all win in the long run from discussion of underlying issues in ways that give them all insight and make them realize the true needs of the other side. This additional insight will help the parties move closer to their true goal, which is to find a way to meet the needs of all the parties.
The sooner conflict is addressed, the better. Waiting until a conflict is in litigation to consider mediation is similar to waiting for an infection to occur before trying to do anything to remove a splinter. It is much better to address conflict before relationships are badly damaged, before words are spoken which can never be taken back, before tremendous investment has been made in staking out positions and escalation of the conflict.
Some examples of people who can benefit from mediation are:
- Business partners
- Co workers
- Complex commercial matters
- Couples getting divorced
- Families settling estates
- Families in disagreement over any matter
- Parent – Teen
- Families considering adult Guardianship proceedings
- Families confronting long term care issues
- Boards of Directors
- Employer – Employee
- Physician – Patient
- Church Boards
- Banks and Owners in Foreclosure
- Landlord — Tenant
- School discipline
- Special Education IEP meetings
- School 504 Plans
- Groups seeking to balance competing interests
- Almost anyone negotiating anything
Monetary value is not the sole issue: if a conflict is causing you stress, it’s worth a try at mediation!