The ABC’s on Facilitative Mediation and Why it Can be a Good Option

Barbara PaterickAttorney Barbara Block Paterick

When disputes develop between individuals or businesses, Neider & Boucher will often advocate exploring dispute resolution through facilitative mediation.  Mediation is a good alternative to litigation because it is usually quicker and less expensive.  There is no judge, jury or arbitrator to impose a decision.  The parties, with the aid of a neutral mediator, are in control of the topics, timing and outcome of the confidential mediation sessions.  It is important to note that about two-thirds of the cases settle through mediation. 

What is “Facilitative” Mediation?

Facilitative mediation is a mediation orientation that focuses on helping the parties’ identify and share their interests so that they can develop creative options for resolving their dispute. 

1. FOCUS ON THE FUTURE:  Facilitative mediation focuses on mutually satisfying the parties’ interests so they can settle their dispute and move on.  Accordingly, it is particularly appropriate when there is, or a party hopes for, an ongoing relationship.

2. FOCUS ON INTERESTS: The facilitative mediator is trained in active listening and, through methods such as reframing, separating the people from the issues, and reality testing, he/she will help the parties determine their “interests” (what they need to settle the dispute) vs. their “positions” (what they want).

3.  FOCUS ON MAXIMIZING JOINT GAINS:  The parties, with the mediator’s assistance, can prioritize their interests and find creative options for maximizing joint gains in resolving the dispute,  making it a win-win situation

Why Hire a Professional Mediator?

In Wisconsin there are no regulatory requirements to act as a mediator.  Therefore it is always a good idea  to find someone with substantial training and/or experience to do the best job possible.  A professional mediator will take the time to meet with each party prior to proceedings, spend time preparing in order to understand the issues at hand, and allow the parties’ negotiations to determine the parameters and length of the mediation process.