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Episode 263 Blog: What Emotions Make a Successful Mediation?

Episode 263 Blog: What Emotions Make a Successful Mediation?

Watch Here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eeDiUX-Hg3c&list=UULFk2u7UQTUG2-ZgmyQoHBCwg&index=1

In the recorded episode 263 I discussed why anger doesn’t work in mediation.  The primary reasons are that it destroys the spirit of compromise, it turns off the other spouse, it doesn’t allow the speaker to be heard, and it doesn’t allow the speaker to process the response of the other spouse. Mediation is stalled; no movement forward.

So what emotions contribute to a successful mediation? Empathy, honesty, sensitivity.

When divorce mediations are conducted, it takes the couple a little time to get in the groove of mediation communication (empathy, honesty, sensitivity) because people aren’t used to entering conversations due to a hurtful situation has taken place, dreams for the future dashed, and a fear over how the transition out of marriage is going to take place both financially and emotionally. Lots of challenges exist that can prevent a respectful and open negotiation to take place.

The mediator can help by rephrasing statements for the parties to provide an example of positive communication (empathy, honesty, sensitivity). Communicating calmly through conflict isn’t normal for most people. Mediators learn the art of conflict communication because they have to model it for their clients. But learning this skill is specific to the education provided to mediators.

Outside of mediation, does this training exist? It does through the books of a man named Bill Eddy, Esq., LSW, Mediator, Author. Eddy developed the BIFF method of conflict communication: Brief, Informative, Friendly, Firm. No blame. No dredging up the worst of the past. No insults. Just forward movement to resolution.

If neither spouse in a divorce mediation has a high conflict personality, or an abrasive way of speaking, the mediation goes smoothly. Decisions can be made. Resolution can take place. But if one or both spouses have high conflict personalities, and serious personality disorders, the path forward is very difficult. Perhaps impossible.

When does a mediator decide to throw in the towel and suggest that court and a Judge take the lead in deciding the outcome of the divorce settlement? Mediators will try their best to keep the conversation going through calls in between mediation sessions in order to have more mediation sessions, hoping that more communication will lead to resolution.

And not all mediators agree that some mediations need to end in order for settlement decisions to be made. Some mediators believe that the longer they keep parties engaged, the tone and direction will transform into a communication that is resolution based. These are tough calls. Perhaps if the health and welfare of children hang in the balance of the final decisions for settlement, while they see the relationship of the parties go from bad to worse, the motivation to use court as an option for decisions becomes in the best interest of the children.

But if people could see how communicating in a conciliatory way would get them closer to what they ideally want, I am hopeful that this would be the incentive to learn conflict communication – BIFF – as their new way of speaking interpersonally with people.

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