The Transformative Approach to Mediation, Conflict Resolution Training and Education
In 1994, the publication of the book The Promise of Mediation, by Robert A. Baruch Bush and Joseph P. Folger, served as a catalyst for new ways to think about the practice of mediation, which included the understanding that there are different models of mediation and approaches to conflict resolution.
In 2002, the Mediation Center adopted the transformative model for mediation, training, and education. In this model, conflict is understood as a crisis in human interaction. It is based on a relational worldview, meaning we exist in relation to others. A relational worldview and some beliefs that inform the Center’s work are that people want and need to be autonomous balanced with connection to others. Conflict weakens those abilities.
No matter the type of dispute, it’s the “disputing,” that makes conflict difficult. It’s hard to be at our best, think clearly and figure out next steps when we are in conflict with someone else. This view of conflict and its effects also sees that people have the capacity and the motivation to change this negative and destructive conflict cycle. People are able to shift to make decisions, consider options and see the other’s perspective, thereby positively and constructively changing the way that they are within themselves and with each other.
The Mediation Center’s services offer parties in conflict opportunities for getting clearer and more decisive-stronger in self and becoming more open and responsive by considering the other’s perspective-connected to other. People can shift to a greater level of understanding of themselves and others.
As a result of these shifts and new insights, people can and do make decisions that include settlement, but it is one choice available to the parties and no longer the sole outcome for them. People make decisions that result in many outcomes and it is a transformative mediator’s goal to help them make those decisions based on their conversation and what is important to them. For more information about the transformative model visit the Institute for the Study of Conflict Transformation at Hofstra Law School.