What is Mediation?

Mediation is a voluntary, informal, and structured process in which an impartial third party, called a mediator, helps disputing parties generate and evaluate options for reaching a mutually acceptable agreement. The mediation process is designed to help disputants discuss their concerns and develop options for a mutually satisfactory resolution. The mediator facilitates the conversation, but does not provide advice or make decisions for the parties. One of mediation’s benefits is that it allows the participants to discuss multiple issues in a single forum. Mediation also encourages participants to explore creative solutions and to consider the long-term viability of those solutions. Because the mediation process gives disputants the opportunity to speak directly to each other, it is especially effective when the disputants have an ongoing relationship. Mediation is a confidential process. The mediator is prohibited from discussing the content of the case outside of the mediation session.

Mediation is...

Mediation is not...

  • A Commitment to a voluntary approach
  • A willingness to identify and discuss issues
  • A clarification of roles/responsibilities/expectations
  • A consistent approach
  • A legal proceeding
  • A replacement for the disciplinary system
  • Counseling
  • A place for judgments
  • A Public Airing

The Mediator’s Role
The mediator is an impartial facilitator who is responsible for maintaining the civility and productivity of the discussion. The mediator does not make decisions for the parties or decide who is right or wrong. The mediator will elicit information, help parties identify issues and options, provide reality checks, and encourage future-focused discussions. However, the mediator’s most important role is to act as an “interpreter” who helps the parties to express their thoughts and to understand the opposing party’s viewpoint. Once the parties have come to an agreement, the mediator may also be responsible for drafting the written agreement.

What Mediators Do

What Mediators Don’t Do

  • Play a neutral and confidential role as they attempt to help you resolve or better manage your dispute.
  • Assist disputants in understanding each other and in reaching agreements.
  • Help disputants identify issues and interests in need of resolution.
  • Encourage the respectful exchanges of information
  • Promote a productive level of communication
  • Encourage flexibility
  • Do not make decisions for disputants regarding how the dispute will be resolved.
  • Do not discuss with others without your permission about how the mediation went. 
  • Do not determine who is right or wrong in the conflict.