When I say I am a Family Mediator I often hear an “ahhhh”. As if the other side has an idea yet remains in doubt. I explain in a brief and simple way what I do so that no doubts remain. I will never get tired of explaining it to those who want – and even to those who don’t want – to listen.
Family Mediators are not real estate agents. They are not psychologists, therapists, psychiatrists, advisers, lawyers, judges, they do not belong to a religion or a sect nor are they witches. They are something else.
Accredited Family Mediators necessarily have a specific background, normally legal, psychological, social or educational. Yet it is not that background that makes them Mediators. To become accredited Mediators they need do detain one or more specific training recognized or certified by the Ministry of Justice (or other entities that change from country to country).
What Family Mediators do is to assist people in family conflicts to express their concerns and interests, to facilitate communication between them and, if they want, to assist them achieving an agreement or an understanding about the disputed issue.
When the Family Mediator enters the room to start or continue a mediation process, he or she leaves behind other profession(s) he or she might practise, personal problems and concerns, prejudices and believes, family and friends, he or she leaves behind their life. Other mediation processes are also left behind. The Family Mediator is there to work with those specific people that have unique problems and families. To listen to them, to make them listen to each other and to facilitate a solution that is made by the people and that is in the best interest of their family.
Family Mediators practise this profession because they believe Family Mediation is a legal mean to solve or to help solving a family conflict. Usually they know other ways of solving conflicts and they consider that Family Mediation is less expensive, more expeditious and efficient, especially regarding parenting in case of separation or divorce and protecting the best interest of the children. They face conflicts in a natural way and they know it is possible to live in a more balanced and happier way when conflicts and solved. They do not volunteer and they do not intend to change the world. They simply have a profession that can bring positive and necessary changes to the lives of their clients and they want to reach the higher number of people as possible. This is what moves them.
If there are pending legal proceedings to solve a family conflict, Family Mediation can still be used as a parallel process or in a later stage. And the contrary is also true. Family Mediation will address issues that are not addressed in court. The conflict is approached not only in legal but also emotional terms and this approach can be decisive for an effective and extended in time solution to the conflict. The Family Mediator is not against the court, the Attorney at Law, the Judge or other professionals or institutions. On the contrary, he or she is willing to combine efforts and different approaches to solve the conflicts of their clients in the most efficient, prompt and economic way as possible.
Sometimes we need to try something to believe in it. But the most important is to know that that something exists, to know what it is, what it can do for us and to consider it an option if we need it.
Be aware that Family Mediation exists. Know who the Family Mediator is and what she/he does. Consider it, believe in it and choose it, if you need it.