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Are You Suffering from "Resolution Rate Syndrome"?

By Synaya Jones Published in As a mediator, we oftentimes get overwhelmed with reaching an agreement so much so that we often forget about the true meaning and purposes of mediation. Mediation in its truest form is the opportunity to begin again on level playing field… to open up an opportunity to see the other point of view…to explore possibilities. These are just a few of the true purposes of mediation. Actually, a mediator can lose focus and passion by becoming overwhelmed with reaching an agreement. The bottom line is a resolution is not always possible at the conclusion of mediation and mediators should not be lulled into a falsehood of thinking that a successful mediation ends in an agreement. Neither should a mediator operate under the pretense that resolution is the ultimate goal of any mediation or allow others to operate under the same pretense. Mediators should not lose their passion…the passion for creativity and possibility. Mediation is an opportunity to leave the door open and if nothing else mediation provides stability to a level playing field because parties will come to know how the other person feels. Mediation provides hope and empowerment in a hopeless situation. Mediators must always remember to operate under the standard of self determination by which the parties must reach an agreement themselves. The mediator is the conduit which provides the current between the parties, but the ultimate power resides with the parties! If you are a mediator who is currently overwhelmed with reaching an agreement or thinking that you have not succeeded if there was not a resolution, then you are suffering from the “resolution rate syndrome”. This is perhaps the most debated procedure in mediation. The standards dictate the mediator may not impose or force settlement on parties. Consequently, some mediators, particularly, attorney mediators have difficulty with this standard. “Resolution Rate Syndrome” is where mediators feel as if every mediation ends in an agreement. Mediators should not forget that this tactic is a power struggle that parties will use to draw mediators into their decision-making and self-determination. Mediators cannot interject themselves into a dispute when the dispute is not their dispute. Remember, it is not your case nor is it your decision!

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