Party-Directed Mediation: Pushing the Envelope in Interpersonal Disputes
28 Pages Posted: 20 May 2005
Date Written: 2005
Mediator styles vary on a number of dimensions. One such factor relates to degree of mediator directiveness. This paper introduces and defends a model - Party-Directed Mediation - that empowers parties involved in interpersonal disputes to increasingly take more responsibility for the resolution of their conflict.
In recent decades a number of mediation styles have moved away from mediator-directed approaches for conflicts of an interpersonal nature, with the idea of empowering parties. The Party-Directed Mediation approach pushes the envelope in terms of empowering parties and reducing mediator directiveness. This is mainly accomplished through two somewhat controversial techniques: (1) the pre-caucus (where the mediator meets alone with each party before ever bringing both parties together); and (2) the party-directed joint session (where the parties sit facing across from each other and direct their comments to each other rather than to the mediator).
Not all conflicts lend themselves to Party-Directed Mediation. The model is especially designed for conflicts affecting co-workers, neighbors, those involved in family owned businesses and other instances where parties will continue to live or work together after the mediator goes home.
Keywords: Party-Directed Mediation, Joint Session, Pre-Caucus, Pre-Mediation
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