tekst: Jolanta Pluta, Psychologist, Mediator, Crisis Intervention

Mediation is a method of alternative dispute resolution (ADR). The mediator’s expertise is used to enable the parties to communicate more effectively in problem solving. Mediation can be understood as an aid to communication between parties in a conflict. The mediator, as a person not directly involved in the dispute, independent and impartial, facilitates negotiations between the parties. People in conflict are often unable to express their needs clearly, they are accompanied by strong emotions and focus on their positions, the mediator helps them to reach a settlement. The mediation process does not always end with the signing of an agreement. However just meeting and listening to each other in the presence of a third party (mediator) can improve the relationship between the parties.
Mediation is a voluntary process and either party can opt out at any time. It is also a confidential process, confidentiality is binding on the mediator, who can only reveal as much as the parties agree and what will be agreed with them. If the mediator keeps notes, he or she should inform the parties that they will be destroyed at the end of the mediation. The aforementioned independence and impartiality of the mediator is based on the fact that he does not impose his solutions (opinions), does not give preference to one of the parties, tries not to let his values and prejudices influence the mediation process. Of course, the mediator must be accepted by both sides of the conflict. The mediator keeps an eye on the procedures and makes it easier for the parties to understand each other’s interests. Often in the mediation process, the parties hear for the first time how the other party sees it and what the problem is for them. An agreement, if it is reached, is concluded by the parties.
Mediation as a conflict resolution procedure gives a greater chance of reaching a lasting agreement and the possibility of further cooperation between the parties. In mediation, it is the parties who decide on the shape and scope of the agreement or lack thereof, and retain control over the entire process. There are many benefits of mediation, apart from those mentioned above, such as: improving communication between the parties, concern for meeting the needs of each party, durability of a possible agreement, possibility of further cooperation in the future. The confidentiality of the mediation process also allows for greater openness between the parties. Mediation can be used in virtually any type of dispute (family, inheritance, insurance, business, compensation, employment) if the parties are willing to resolve it. However, some cases are not suitable for mediation, e.g. when violence is involved, when one of the parties is addicted or mentally ill and the illness does not allow for fully informed decision-making.

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