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  • Writer's pictureEd Johnson

Psycho Mediation...and other articles

With the continued backlog of cases mediation is now more than ever the best choice to find a resolution for your dispute. Get your dispute resolved now so you can really concentrate on what’s important and what deserves your time and energy.


Northwest Mediation continues to use Zoom, Skype and FaceTime as well as the phone and emails to resolve disputes should we add we also do live in person mediation too! So please do not feel that you cannot contact us if you would like to mediate but wish to do so remotely.


It’s been a quiet week here at mediation towers compared to the “fun” of hospital trips and the recovery therefrom, so I’ve used the time for a bit of contemplation, self-examination and reflection, something we mediators are encouraged to do regularly in professional and private life. It’s what we ask clients to do when we find space is needed for thinking we ask clients to reflect on what’s been said, take time to absorb and understand your reaction to the comments/situation and then work with us and the other party to find a way forward.


In work terms I’ve now got a significant amount of collating to do for an application which I thought was done and dusted and so having reflected why it made me so mad I’ve been able to identify the underlying insecurity and work on a plan to get that moving and overcome the obstacles, it will take a few months but that’s what’s necessary, even if I will still maintain my objections I can either block my own progress or move forward.


This is a great article about how using those steps such as reflection can help with “slow” thinking but I more picked up on it as I’m a big fan of Occam’s Razor – the short version is “the most obvious solution is probably correct” – the difficulty in mediation is that when you as a mediator can see the obvious solution you cannot simply jump to it and expect clients to follow along. You need to lead clients to a solution, and assuming you know the best solution is one of those pit traps you need to avoid in mediation.


It happens most often when I work with clients who have counsel (sometimes it’s solicitors but more often barristers) alongside. The barrister will want to jump straight to the “numbers” or the “crunch” without developing a meaningful understanding of where the client’s needs are, yes a bigger number may be “better” but if it means they have to sacrifice or compromise on something which you think is less worthy but they think is key you won’t find a settlement that works.


In the article Greg Derin does an excellent job of going to explain how counsel (and he means it in the American sense) can help by preparing themselves and their clients for the mediation, even drafting a settlement agreement in advance, I probably depart from agreeing with Greg here I dislike counsel coming armed with what they want to come out with, skeleton wording is fine but until I know the issues from the clients I’d rather you kept your proposed agreement to yourself.


I’m going to show my age now, there was a post on facebook (age verifier number 1) from someone in a group I belong to which is linked to one of my hobbies.


The person said they were the person who was responsible for the “TikToks” from the last meeting. I shuddered, not least because I find the engagement with TikTok bemusing, it’s invariably for me a pointless rabbit hole of wasted time, but also because that hobby is one where I try to get away from the modern world and bringing modern (post 1999) social media in feels like the hobby is beginning to move away from me (age verifier number 2) and from what I enjoyed for the last twenty plus years (age verifier number 3).


And so to this article about the band Fifty Fifty (google tells me they are a popular K-pop band) and their attempts to get out of the exclusive contract with Attrakt (with a K!). Incidentally the picture is a stock image and not one of the members of Fifty Fifty, though it could be for all I know.


I have no previous knowledge of the band, their works or their dispute but it is good to see that even if the high flying modern music culture which takes place on platforms in which I have little interest and even less understanding are being referred by the Seoul Central District Court to mediation to try and get the parties to an agreed position.


I’ve written a few years ago about bands and management using mediation as an excellent tool to strike a confidential deal allowing parties all to move forward and here again we see a court determining it is a potential way forward in this case for a Korean pop band who (and again I’m relying on the internet) shot to fame with Cupid in February this year.


Perhaps, as with many bands, Fifty Fifty want to break the mould from what seems to be machine generated pop nonsense and make something a bit different or better, I can’t imagine they’ll feature on my Spotify playlist (yeah I’m not that old) but you never know.


As click bait headlines go “Psycho Mediation” is a good one, and one I've clearly borrowed this week, but rather than being about knife wielding ADR specialists this article is focused on the psychology of mediation. Reminding us of that mediation seeks to move the focus from the parties to the problem.



Priming (the setting as much as the mind set) of the room is also important, you’ll see mediators have a particular way of setting out a room, no secret it aims to put you at ease remove the table where possible and not be opposite but alongside you. I’d not considered naming the rooms after peacekeepers, given the unknown background of clients I would hesitate to start naming rooms after who you think are important people and advocates of peace (one man’s Tony Blair peacemaker is another man’s Tony Blair warmonger).


And finally the art of reframing, turning a client’s objection into a question to help the other parties and the mediator understand your issue simple but effective psychological techniques which make the business of mediation easier to engage with and reach a conclusion.


The three pillars of mediation remain it’s voluntary (at the moment), it’s confidential, the mediator is independent, by using those pillars to support your work the parties keep control, save costs, save time and energy and reduce stress. Finally this one is mediation, mediator jointly appointed, areas of discussion agreed and intention to be bound by the outcome.


In person or via electronic media as we’ve said before choose to mediate early and resolve your issues effectively, timeously, and with less stress and costs than going to your solicitor so you can get out choose a different path, not quite the road less travelled but perhaps the path less adversarial. You have an interest in the outcome the sooner you get round the mediation table the quicker you can move forward and avoid the grilling a cross examination in court would put you through.


By having a deep and meaningful discussions with parties the mediator elicits what the true “red-lines” are and where there is the potential for compromise, it is with this structured period of reflection that the parties are then able to reach an accord.


The flexible nature of mediation and the possible outcomes make it an ideal way to resolve disputes in an ever-changing world and the open nature of discussions in mediation whilst remaining confidential allows all sides to engage fully in the process and understand the needs of all involved allowing parties to reach a conclusion which both sides can live with and move on.


There are so many situations which could have been resolved by early intervention of mediation it continues to surprise me the lengths the public will go to avoid referral.


Whether you need a mediator to help out with a construction matter in the Northwest, or council’s plans in Cheshire, a civil mediator in London, a commercial mediator in Manchester, a dispute resolution for your family in Liverpool, a neighbourhood mediation in Stockport, then our mediators at Northwest Mediation can help.


Mediation is cheaper, quicker and less stressful than running any case to court, it can help with any dispute whether it's an employment issue or the sale at an under value of a property, a fight with a neighbour, family issues, commercial disputes, civil mediation or inheritance, wills and probate arguments contact me at Northwest Mediation on 0161 667 4418 or via email at ed.johnson@northwestmediation.co.uk

neighbour mediation; commercial dispute resolution; civil mediation; commercial dispute; corporate dispute; commercial mediator; family mediation; inheritance wills probate mediation; property mediator; civil mediator; civil litigation; fast track mediation; injury mediation


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