Mediation is a flexible process to engage conflict and resolve disputes. Authentic mediation should be voluntary, confidential, and the participants control the outcomes. These elements distinguish mediation from all other forms of dispute resolution.
Adversarial process, especially litigation, steals the voices of the parties. Advocates do the talking. Parties feel left out, out of control, and are usually denied the opportunity to restore relationship with the opposing side.
Mediation, by contrast, is collaborative. It opens the door to personal and relational healing. Participants are guided through difficult terrain by a trained neutral facilitator. The mediator creates a safe container for constructive dialogue, even when emotions run high. This can be done in person or online, in a single session or installments. Results that emerge slowly tend to be more satisfactory to participants and more durable over time.
Mediation has many forms and names, including: facilitation, collaborative conferencing, and conflict coaching. Selecting the best approach depends on the parties, the subject, and the context. However a mediated process may begin, it can adapt to shifting needs with the approval of the participants.