Frequently Asked Questions

Why is Mediation Important?

This is the top most asked question on google relating to mediation.

Litigation and adversarial problem solving processes in schools and the workplace foster alienation and separation. On this basis they have the potential to worsen the problem.

Mediation is a process through which we can co-create solutions that serve each party’s needs. Litigation should be used as an absolutely last resort on the basis that it is high cost, high risk (no outcome is guaranteed) and it can further damage the lives of all involved, including the one who ‘wins’ in the end.

Mediation fosters much higher agency in the participants as opposed to adversarial processes which are really very low agency processes.

One of the most important features of mediation is that, if properly done, it is far more supportive of truth telling than litigated or other adversarial processes which tend to be antithetical to truth telling and rather foster denialism.

Adversarial processes are really designed for outcome. In other words, the matter is concluded on the basis that someone wins and someone loses. This is not supportive of actual problem solving.

So in considering whether we are going to litigate or mediate, we should ask ourselves whether we want to solve the problem or whether we are happy to chance an enormous amount of financial and personal resources just to achieve a result understanding that whether win oose may be completely arbitrary in that in litigation it is possible to win when we are wrong and lose when we are right.

Can I mediate with a Narcissist?

This is the second most asked question on google right now. There are three things I wish to address:

  1. We live in very narcissistic culture right now.

Western adversarialism is hyper-individualised culture. Its us against them, you against me and we are trained in competing with one another to get ahead. This will naturally elevate narcissistic characteristics in many of us.

  1. In conflict, many of us exhibit narcissistic characteristics

In high conflict, we can become anxious and afraid and when we are anxious and afraid we can be our worst selves. We may become very self-focused and closed-minded and closed-hearted. Good mediators can deal with this very well and may bring about deep transformation by bringing parties awareness to ways they may be acting out in self-focused ways that may be destructive or harmful to themselves, the other person or the potential for resolution.

  1. We must distinguish between narcissistic characteristics and narcissism as an actual pathology

Individuals with narcissistic personality disorder may be abusive and/or violent. Mediators that specialise in process design, power relations with an ability to read excesses/deficiencies in power and to deal with abuses in power are well able to design and manage processes that take into account that one or more of the parties has this pathology. This is often the case in matters comprising domestic violence or sexual violence. It is recommended that specially trained and experienced mediators are sought out in these types of matters. Classic facilitative mediation may lead to harmful outcomes. If you are looking for a mediator equipped in the skills and experience to deal with such matters, please get in touch with us