In Family Dispute matters where the parties may have to continue to communicate for years in relation to the ongoing concern such as bringing up children, then this potential to change can have lasting and transformative effects. Bush and Folger propose that, ‘mediations greatest value lies in its potential not only to find solutions to people’s problems but to change people themselves for the better, in the very midst of conflict’ (Bush and Folger, 2004), and that mediation possesses the power to change how people behave not only toward their adversary in a particular conflict, but also in their day-to-day lives thereafter.
In contrast to traditional facilitative approach, transformative mediation has a different orientation, both in terms of the understanding of the nature of conflict and the intervention of the mediator.
According to Ardagh, facilitative mediation is characterised as being impositional, non-participatory and settlement focused, where conflict is viewed as a problem to be solved (Ardagh, A; 1999). Transformative mediation on the other hand, is one where ‘…conflict is viewed as an opportunity for individuals to change their interactions with others, if they choose to do so. The choice is to change from a destructive interaction to a constructive one, thus bringing about a conflict transformation’ (Ardagh, A; 1999, p.2).
More on transformative mediation next week.
- Ardagh, A 1999: “Transformative mediation: the opportunity and the challenge,” ADR Bulletin: Vol. 2: No. 1.
- 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
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