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Mediation solves problems with help of those involved.

Mediation isn't a new idea. It is an idea receiving a lot of new attention.

News articles report former presidents and other world leaders acting as mediators to solve some of the world's greatest problems. Business journals describe mediation efforts effective in solving workplace disputes. School newsletters showcase student mediators whose work reduces discipline problems in schools. Many people have heard the term, but few could define or describe the process.

First of all, mediation is a process for resolving differences that takes the power of a jury or a single judge and returns it to the parties involved. Because the owners of the problem craft the solution, a greater degree of satisfaction and enforceability result.

Mediators do not solve problems; they help others solve them for themselves. The solutions are achieved by guiding disputants through a series of steps intended to assist them in identifying individual interests, zeroing in on specific areas of conflict, brainstorming options, reality testing solutions, then selecting the most satisfactory, and planning for implementation of the chosen solution(s).

Roger Fisher and William Ury of the Harvard Negotiation Project in their book Getting To Yes, illustrate how mediation principles have effectively helped people solve problems all around the world. From family squabbles to neighborhood issues, to workplace disputes, to international disagreements the mediation concepts are the same. Be hard on the problem but soft on the people.

Courtesy, respect, and confidentiality are accorded all disputants. Energy is focused on clearly identifying the problem, generating solutions, and reality testing for the do-ability of those solutions.

Mediators believe the people best equipped to solve problems are those most directly involved. Results indicate that mediated agreements tend to hold up better than mandated settlements by an outside party. It makes sense to work to support what you have helped to create.

Mediation is a service, a calling and a tool. As John Kenneth Galbraith, American statesman, said "... relevant for the individual who would like to keep his friends, property, and income and the statesman who would like to keep the peace."

Mediators should have minimum 40-hour basic mediation training. Such training is available through colleges/universities, private agencies and community dispute resolution centers. A basic training in interest-based mediation will include reading materials, practice sessions including full mock mediations, discussion, and written exercises. Beyond that basic introduction class, mediators continue to polish their craft through workshops, additional coursework, reading, and through performance reviews.

Dispute resolution centers usually require mediators to complete additional coursework in family law as well as practicums involving documenting observations of mediations and participations in mocks and finally assisting in real mediations. Trained experienced mediators volunteer their services to community dispute resolution centers throughout the state of Washington.

Training offered in March

Wenatchee Valley Dispute Resolution Center is offering the 40-hour Basic Mediation Training on March 14, 15, 16, 29, 30. This class provides intense, hands on practical training. It is highly experiential and includes lectures, discussions, demonstrations, and role-playing with feedback from instructors and peers. The cost of the 40-hour training is $500.

If you are interested in becoming a mediator or just want to change the way that you relate to conflict in your personal and/or professional life, contact the center at 888-0957 or for information and registration materials. Space is limited. College credit, clock hours, and CLEs are available.

Lynn Yialelis is a certified, practicing mediator who has been executive director of the Wenatchee Valley Dispute Resolution Center since 2004. Concie Luna, who has taught preschool through college courses, also has been a practicing mediator since 1998. She helped design and implement Basic Mediation Training in Kennewick.
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Title Annotation:BUSINESS TOOL BOX
Author:Luna, Concie; Yialelis, Lynn
Publication:Wenatchee Business Journal
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Feb 1, 2008
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