Ten good reasons to use distance family mediation

Two posts ago, I wrote about my health care practitioner – the lab-coat clad one who wanted to know what distance mediation was.  The explanation clearly caught his attention because, immediately, he popped the next question.  “Why would someone use this type of service?”  Now, this was my kind of conversation!  I was starting to get really pleasant associations with lab coats at this point.

At least ten good reasons to use distance family mediation come to mind.  But, before I launch into those, this might be a good time to mention the advantages of using mediation generally.  A lot has been written on this topic:  mediation’s privacy, informality, flexibility, cost-effectiveness, and the fact that it allows people to craft their own solutions.  I won’t get into a description of these well known benefits here, largely because that’s already been done by better writers at Mediate BC (see About Mediation).

Rather, what I’d like to point out is the potential that mediation has to effect positive personal change.  Working as a researcher and as Roster Administrator, I heard countless stories about how the interactions and information exchanges which took place during mediation changed people’s lives.  Why this is, I don’t exactly know.  Perhaps it is mediation’s safe and controlled environment which allows people to have conversations they haven’t been able to have otherwise.  Perhaps it is how the mediation process encourages people to listen to another person’s point of view, which also helps people to feel heard.  Or, perhaps the forgiveness a person can give after really listening – or that the feeling of being forgiven – frees them to move on with their lives.  I suspect there are as many reasons for mediation’s effectiveness this way as there are people who’ve been changed by participating in the process.

It seems to me that real, personal change often happens only as a result of an extreme event, as is illustrated in the wonderful TED talk by Ric Elias in the video below.  One of the benefits of mediation, in my view, is that it holds out the possibility that we can make a positive change in our life, without going through such an event.

Those ten good reasons to use distance family mediation coming next!

Meet the Distance Family Mediation team

If there is one thing that can be said about mediation – any kind of mediation – it’s that it is all about people.  People in conflict, people with concerns they are finding difficult to sort through alone, people who want to resolve legal or other issues so they can move on with their lives.

It is also about the people who conduct the mediations.  And this is where I have the privilege of introducing the very fine people who make up the Distance Family Mediation team of mediators!  There are seven of them in total.  Four are private practice mediators and members of Mediate BC’s Family Roster:

Jane Henderson, Q.C.
Carole McKnight
Eugene Raponi, Q.C.
Ronald Smith, Q.C.

Three are Family Justice Counsellors, employed by the province of British Columbia, offering distance mediation services through the Family Justice Centres they work at:

Christina Bahr
Peter Baines
Ayne Meiklem

Not only is this group of seven very experienced in mediation, they are also interesting thinkers.  If you follow this blog, you’ll be seeing where some of their thoughts lead!


What exactly is this thing called “distance mediation”?

Shameless enthusiast that I am about our distance mediation service, I recently gave one of my health care practitioners a copy of our information pamphlet.  (If you’d like a copy, just send me an e-mail and I’ll happily send you one.) (Did I mention that I’m an enthusiast?)

After glancing at it briefly, he gave me an untypically blank look and muttered, “So, what exactly is this distance mediation?”  Wow.  Lucky, lucky me!  How often do you get to talk to someone in a lab coat about something that brings a smile to your face?

Here, in a nutshell, is how we define “distance mediation”:  It is a mediation using information or communication technology in which one or more of the people participating aren’t in the same room as the mediator.  In the case of our distance family mediation service, we are open to considering pretty well any type of technology that allows spouses or partners, current or former, to communicate or share information.  This includes regular landline, cell phones, teleconferencing, videoconferencing, e-mail, text messaging, web conferencing, and dedicated online mediation platforms.  As our pamphlet says, the technology used in mediation is your choice.  (Did I mention that I’d be happy to send you a copy of our pamphlet?)