I am often asked what are the benefits of mediation and many contact me enquiring about what makes mediation work when other ways of resolving family disputes have not. I believe the thing that sets mediation apart is that it is a process which enables separating couples to talk face to face, with a professional in the room who is impartial and trained to manage conflict and help communication. It breaks down barriers which might have been built up over time through strong emotions such as anger, regret and sadness taking hold. It enables you to feel heard and to really listen to the others point of view. It helps you understand the other person’s point of view, even if you do not agree with it.
This dreadful virus is stopping us having these conversations face to face but it does not have to stop you talking or finding ways to resolve family conflict in the best possible way. It is important for children who, through no fault of their own, are stuck in the family home which might be filled with conflict, upset and trauma, without the relief of time out at school, with friends or extended family members. It’s also important for you. Living with unresolved conflict and uncertainty is not good for your physical or emotional health. Being in limbo or feeling as though there are no options is not good either.
So, I’m speaking to all those who are divorcing or separating and were contemplating mediation before COVID-19 or even those who weren’t before but are now. I am here to help in my capacity as a family mediator. Aside from professional qualifications and experience as a family lawyer and mediator, I am a believer in the value of an emotionally intelligent approach. This is key to helping families/ individuals get through the trauma of separation or divorce.
Although it is not safe for us to meet face to face, I have the technology and tools to see you and progress your mediation from start to finish through an online video method. Above all, I will continue to offer a place of calm professionalism in that window of time when we meet. Although I cannot be with you physically in the room, I will be with you virtually, practically and emotionally from start to finish. I can manage the conversations you will need to have, the enormity of the decisions you will be faced with and the changes to your life which you will be dealing with remotely.
If you are considering video mediation, a full individual assessment will need to take place initially before concluding not only whether mediation as a process is suitable but also whether online video mediation is suitable. Many factors such as whether you are both in the home together, how you are both coping emotionally, your relationship with one another, the layout of your home and practicalities such as ensuring you both have a suitable space to engage in your mediation meetings, whether you have children at home and where they will be. If mediation is not suitable there are other options which I will also help you explore.
I’d like to end this blog about coronavirus with a quote which I think is particularly pertinent at the moment ‘All pendulums swing back. Be patient.’