Acknowledging and empathising with the situation and problems of others leads to better mediation outcomes 

Considering the perspective, views and experiences of the other party in a mediation and to be responsive to them is what Bush and Folger mean by recognition.

Recognition, they say, ‘means the evocation in individuals of acknowledgment and empathy for the situation and problems of others’ (Bush and Folger, 2004; pp 156).

As with empowerment, the effect of recognition in transformative mediation is meant to extend beyond a particular conflict and into the disputants everyday lives. Recognition is achieved in transformative mediation where there is a willingness of one party to relate to others in a more understanding and considerate way. Recognition is something one gives, not just something one gets. It is a process of acknowledging ones adversary as a human being with his or her own legitimate situation and concerns (Spangler, B, 2003).

Allowing the disputing party to acknowledge and to be empathic to the situation and problems of each other is bit easy but it can assist to avoid the problem of mediator directedness and can lead to the parties taking greater responsibility for the outcomes of the mediation.


  • Bush, R A. Baruch and Folger, J P., 2004: The Promise of Mediation: The Transformative Approach to Conflict, 2nd ed. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers.
  • Bush, R A. Baruch and Folger, J P., 2007: The Promise of Mediation, pp 266-275
  • Spangler, B, 2003. Problem-Solving Mediation. Beyond Intractability. Eds. Guy Burgess and Heidi Burgess. Conflict Information Consortium, University of Colorado, Boulder. Posted: September.

Tune in for more tips next week… or contact me Shane Smith @ or @


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