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Becoming a More Effective Mediator

  •  Advanced Skills in Identifying Issues, Generating Alternatives, and Caucusing 

    "The content and approach of this course and the instructors' presentations were excellent, to the point, concise and can be readily applied." 


    Mediation provides disputing parties with a unique opportunity to settle their conflict. The successful resolution of a mediation often depends on the mediator’s ability to help the parties overcome obstacles that arise during the mediation.
    Disputing parties often fail to settle their conflicts because they are unable to identify and focus on the actual problem(s) that needs to be resolved. A mediator's goal is to have the parties themselves take responsibility for their conflict and empower them to create a mutually acceptable resolution to the conflict. The mediator who is skilled in helping parties clearly identify the issue(s), and then generate and evaluate alternatives can greatly increase the chances of resolution.

    Caucusing is a process in which the mediator separates the parties in order to enhance the potential for reaching a positive resolution to the dispute. There are many reasons why a mediator might call a caucus including determining zones of agreements, identifying barriers that could negatively affect the mediation, preventing disruptive communication, allowing constructive venting of emotions, or simply examining the strengths or weaknesses of stated positions. The effective mediator will learn to use caucusing in a way that will not undermine trust, neutrality, or confidentiality and will increase the parties chances for a successful mediation result.



    Competencies Learned:
    • Ability to identify, frame, and prioritize the issues to be mediated

    • Ability to distinguish between presenting and underlying issues

    • Understanding of obstacles to generating alternatives

    • Ability to use multiple methods of generating alternatives

    • Ability to assist the parties in selecting clear and practical solutions

    • Understanding of why, how, and when to use caucusing

    Lead Faculty:

    Scot Dewhirst, Co-Director, Center for Dispute Resolution