Given the huge impact of Coronavirus felt across the world and in our individual lives, my priority is the safety of you, your family, myself and my own family during this time. That remains the case. I have been monitoring the situation closely since March 2020 (can you believe we have been living with this virus for nearly 18 months) considering how I can best support my valued current and future clients in these difficult times whilst putting safety, health and wellbeing as the absolute priority.
I have reviewed my business risk assessment in light of the Government announcing that the current restrictions will end on 19th July 2021. I have taken the decision that, for now, nothing will change.
Coronavirus is not going away anytime soon. We are also entering a period when daily cases are rapidly increasing. Many people are not yet double vaccinated for whatever reason. I remain cautious. I also know from my experience that couples are finding the online video mediation effective and for those who remain anxious or vulnerable it is an effective way of working to ensure those important discussions can take place safely.
I run my mediation practice from my home address in order to provide a completely bespoke, personal, professional service and in pre covid times would usually come into contact with many clients each week, from separate households. It would be too much of a risk for me personally but also for you and your family for me to resume work in the same way as I did pre coronavirus. There is also the question of who has been vaccinated and the risks of working with those who have not or cannot be vaccinated for any reason. I will be continuing to work from home and offer mediation remotely so that you can also safely be at home wherever possible.
I know we are all craving some sense of when life as we knew it might return. I am too. I miss the sense of feeling the emotions in the room, the movement and fluidity of being off screen and the face to face interaction I have with my clients. I also recognise the benefits that online working has brought to many. Family mediation is no exception to this. There is less pressure being in your own home, less time is taken out of your busy schedule as there is no travelling to account for and conversations work just as well on screen as they do in person. I would even go so far as to say that conversations can work better online when you are in a separate space. So, for the time being mediation with me will remain online unless there are exceptional circumstances which require a face to face meeting. I will let you know if those exceptional circumstances apply to you and the protections which will need to be in place for those meetings to take place. One of those protections will be a continuing requirement for you to wear a mask at all times.
My mediation space is created to give you a ‘home from home’ feel to avoid some of the additional stress some clients feel entering serviced offices which can sometimes have a stuffy feel. As we will all be in close contact, I consider it is still appropriate that everyone wears a face mask and the windows would need to be open. I will also require you to complete a lateral flow test on the day of your appointment and may ask you to let me know if you have been double vaccinated.
I recognise that this has been and continues to be a time of immense pressure and stress for families. I know that couples will be and are finding this period hard to manage. Couples who were already on the verge of separating or who had made the decision to divorce prior to coronavirus will be struggling. Even those relationships which were intact before all of this may have found the wide-ranging effects of this pandemic and the terrible loss of loved ones have impacted their emotional health as well as their family life.
Coronavirus continues to require caution having mediation 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, may be stuck in the family home which might be filled with conflict, upset and trauma, sometimes without the relief of time out at school due to isolation, 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.
I am here for you. I have the additional tool of technology to see you and experience of working online to progress your mediation from start to finish. Although I will not currently be with you physically in the room unless there are exceptional circumstances, I will be with you virtually, practically and emotionally from start to finish. Above all, I will continue to offer you a place of calm professionalism in that window of time when we meet.
If you are considering video mediation, a full individual assessment will need to take place initially, as well as possibly a trial video call, before concluding not only whether mediation as a process is suitable but also whether online video mediation is suitable.
In the meantime, continue to take care everybody and I look forward to seeing you (albeit still virtually at the moment) soon.