Monthly Archives: March 2014

Gold Standard for Family Mediators

At Focus we celebrate our successes and the attainment by our mediators of significant professional achievements. Our family mediators work hard towards the achievement of their recognition as a fully competent mediator, qualified to mediate cases for the Legal Aid Agency. Whilst very few of our cases are legal aid these days, we still put our trainees through that competence assessment, simply because it is so demanding and is the Gold Standard for family mediators.

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Our trainees work hard under close supervision with very experienced mediators and this training takes one to two years of intensive work. We have two professional Practice Consultants in our team to help with this training. This year we have got two mediators through their competence portfolio, Geraldine and Joanna. They have been duly crowned and handed their magic wands (essential equipment for every mediator) as well as being supplied with a large amount of ‘Emergency Chocolate’ to help them through those extra stressful and difficult cases. Well done Geraldine and Jo!

When people fight, they are so busy fighting, they give thought neither to ‘why?’ nor to ‘better solutions’.

The physiology of conflict is pre-historic and rooted in our ancient brain area, the part that makes us react fast and instinctively to the threat of the tiger. It is the ‘Shoot first, ask questions later’ response. Fight, freeze or flee – these responses are ideally suited to facing the tiger, but not well suited to modern life in all its complexity.

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The primary fight response escalates the disagreement to the point where the fight has a life of its own and everyone forgets the original trigger. This is how feuds start. How family members stop speaking for years or even forever. This is how peoples of different faiths and cultures end up in conflict that haunts generations, for centuries. Where two or more belief systems clash, forget logic, reason, negotiation and fairness; conflict rapidly descends into chaos, death and destruction. Death to the Different.

Examples of this through the millennia are legion – as well as current.  Human-kind has to learn how to resolve disputes or how to live with them.  Mediation teaches people to live and let live, work out ways of co-existing, of understanding. It can transform a primitive and instinctive first response into a transformative way out of deadlock. Perhaps we should teach it in schools.