Mediation and Conflict Resolution
We offer services in:
- workplace mediation
- neighbourhood and community mediation
- Indigenous dispute mediation
Conflict provides opportunities for creative change
Conflict is a normal part of human life. It arises when people with different perspectives or interests are unable to reach a common understanding. Sometimes the difference at the heart of conflict is structural: it arises from the societal or organisational environment. Sometimes the difference at the heart of conflict arises from differences in personal outlook, personality or life experience. Sometimes the factors leading to conflict are clear. Sometimes we find ourselves in conflict that we didn’t see coming. Many of us are conflict-avoidant, and downplay conflict in the early stages in the hope that it will go away, and then it gets bigger.
Working through conflict is difficult, and can be deeply distressing for one or more of the parties. Sometimes the parties to a conflict can figure out how to resolve it themselves. Other times, people get stuck in conflict situations and can’t find a way out. This is demoralising for them, affects their capacity for engagement, and can have a detrimental effect on others within the community or organisation. This can lead to negative consequences for community objectives or an organisation’s productivity. It can also affect psychosocial safety more broadly within the community or organisation.
Conflict is often an early warning signal about systemic and structural problems within a community or organisation. Finding creative and constructive ways to address conflict can also lead to useful change in the community or organisational environment.
“One reason mediation works is that it makes adversaries human to one another. It allows a dialogue to take place in the language of metaphor. It acknowledges the existence of the emotional needs of the parties, and allows both sides to tell the inner truth, the subjective and emotional truth, along with the supposedly ‘objective’ truth.”
How mediation works
Mediation is a confidential and informal problem-solving conversation between the parties in conflict facilitated by a skilled mediator. The mediator meets with the parties together in a safe environment to enable their conversation, and also may hold separate meetings with the parties as part of the process.
It is a voluntary approach that provides a safe framework for the parties to have a constructive and creative dialogue. The mediator does not decide the issues for the parties. Rather, the mediator assists the parties in conflict to collaborate to clarify the issues, identify solutions and agree on how to implement solutions.
As a participant-centred process, mediation empowers individuals in conflict to better manage their own responses to conflict situations, collaborate on solutions, and restore damaged relationships.
Mediation provides a pathway for restoring trust and constructive engagement within teams, workgroups, organisations and communities that have experienced conflict.