Mediation Styles and Appropriate Use
The mediator does not make any decisions about the outcome; instead, he/she supports the parties in making their own decisions, assuming that they are more informed. Example: After settling a conflict, a manager encourages two disputing workers to reach a consensus on the best way to proceed.
Rather than trying to fix the issue through mediation, therapeutic focuses on the root causes of the dispute and tries to alter the habits that contributed to it. Example: When a counselor is attempting to assist a married couple in deciding why they are continuously quarreling with one another, the focus will be on the problem in the couple’s relationship rather than the disputes.
The mediator is mainly concerned with the conflict’s atmosphere. Rather than interjecting and disrupting the dialogue, mediators try to stay out of the way. Example: The mediator does not get engaged and instead utilizes statements like “who wants to speak first” to inspire and understand the parties.
The mediator takes an active role in mediation, trying to convince both sides to see it from all perspectives. Storytelling is instrumental in this mediation type since it represents ideas, emotions, and belief structures. This school of thought is based on the idea that similarities rather than differences cause conflict. Example: It becomes a narrative mediation when the parent instructs children to convey their experiences and points of view to the other to get along.
Instead of focusing on retribution, restorative mediation focuses on justice. Example: If a judge orders a juvenile to apologize to a store owner for petty theft rather than delivering punishment shows restorative mediation, which is to restore the relationship.
Litigation is helpful when the disputing parties refuse to settle with a mediator or when the stakes are incredibly high. For example, when money is involved, the dispute requires legal precedents, and a binding solution is needed.