APPENDIX I. RULE 8.1 FAMILY MEDIATION PROGRAM
SUPPLEMENT 1. COMPONENTS OF MEDIATION ORIENTATION
This is a general guide for mediators to consider, leaving discretion with mediators to develop a personal style for orientation sessions.
Pre-mediation orientations help build rapport with parties; help parties make voluntary, informed decisions about proceeding with mediation; provide opportunities for the parties to tell their stories and become clearer about their issues and goals; and encourage the parties' abilities to act and decide for themselves. It is also a time when the mediator begins to screen for violence, capacity, and other issues.
Pre-mediation orientation is primarily to ensure that each party is prepared to participate in mediation. Preparation occurs on many dimensions: emotional, intellectual, financial, legal, etc. Pre-mediation orientation sessions allow mediators to explore their clients goals, issues, fears, and other matters, including screening for violence and issues of capacity.
(1) Introduce yourself and talk generally with the party, setting a friendly, helpful and comfortable tone for the meeting.
(2) Ask if you can get anything for the party (e.g., coffee, water, paper/pen, etc.).
(3) Talk about the purpose of the orientation.
(4) Tell the party you are glad the party are here today and considering mediation. Let the party know you are here to help the party with the conflict.
Listening to the Parties and Explaining the Mediation Process
(1) Answer any questions the party may have about mediation or the orientation.
(2) Listen to the party and discuss how mediation can work with the party's issues.
(3) Screen for issues that are inappropriate for mediation or that may negatively impact the party's decision-making.
(A) Incapable of making decisions (e.g., under the influence).
(B) Magical thinking -- someone thinking the mediator or the process will "solve" the issue for them.
(C) Domestic violence or any fear from the other party (see Form F, domestic violence screening).
(4) Explain the agreement between the mediator and the parties and Form E, How to Prepare for Mediation.
(5) Identify who needs to be at the table and their willingness to mediate.
(6) Help the party understand how the process works.
(7) Explain the role of the mediator (may need to explain the difference between a mediator and an evaluator, advocate or arbitrator).
(8) Explain the role of the parties (decision makers).
(9) Explain the role of outside experts (help parties make informed decisions) and work with parties to determine what experts they may want to talk with prior to mediation.
(10) Discuss confidentiality (mediator, parties, exceptions -- for more information see Section 7) and discuss the need for disclosure (success of the process).
(11) Explain the role of a caucus or separate meeting.
(12) Provide forms for divorce mediation or parental rights and responsibilities mediation as appropriate.
Help Develop Clarity
Help parties become clearer about:
(1) What issues they would like to bring to the table; helping a party reframe an issue in words the party is comfortable saying to the other party or words that can be better heard by the other party.
(2) What will help the party say what the party needs to say and hear what the party needs to hear.
(3) What the party's hot buttons are and whether the party needs guidelines.
(4) What has or has not worked in talking with the other party in the past.
(5) What would improve the party's ability to communicate.
Help Parties Take the Perspective of Other
Help parties become clearer about:
(1) How they view the other party's role in the conflict.
(2) What would help the party be more open and responsive to the other party.
(3) What hot buttons the party pushes in the other party.
Help Parties Explore What They Want
(1) Ask each party what the party hopes to accomplish during mediation.
(2) Explore any goals the parties have for conflict resolution.
(3) Determine if parties want to continue to mediation and support their decision.
Scheduling & Fees
(1) Clearly describe fees to parties.
(2) Discuss availability and scheduling (possible dates and times).
(3) Explain that parties will be asked to complete the Program research and
forms rating their satisfaction with the process following the mediation session (see sample
forms in this section).