“I didn’t do anything wrong!” “Well I didn’t do anything wrong either!” was the quick retort. Is that the end of the mediation? It is if the parties have come to mediation only to assess blame. But determining who is at fault and deciding who is right and who is wrong, is the responsibility of adjudicators and judges, not mediators.
When parties are stuck in the past and stuck in a blaming cycle, they narrow their choices. They can go to a judge or arbitrator, which in this country is costly and time consuming. Or they can ask someone else, to decide for them, losing control over their own dispute and sometimes only making one side very unhappy with the result leading to further resentment and sometimes even more conflict.
A good mediator will focus the parties on where they do agree, instead of where they disagree and move them to the future. They will focus on the what the parties need going forward rather than the facts of what occurred, including increasing the trust between the parties so that the conflict doesn’t arise again.
If you are stuck in a dispute, think about trying mediation. Call 206 367-1994 now or email for more information.
Dee Knapp, J.D.
Resolving conflict by creating conditions that work.