During my Mediation Certificate I studied five basic styles or models of mediation: evaluative, facilitative, narrative, transformative and insight mediation, each of which have a slightly different orientation towards the conflict and therefore the role the mediator plays is slightly different. In my own practice I will evaluate which style best fits the situation at hand and the parties involved.
Evaluative Mediation. This style “focuses on providing an assessment to the parties” (Jarret, 2013, para 2). As Boulle et al. (2008) elaborate, in evaluative mediation the mediator guides and advises parties “on the basis of his or her expertise with a view to their reaching a settlement that accords with their legal rights and obligations, industry norms or other social standards” (p. 13).
Facilitative Mediation. This model “focuses on assisting the parties in identifying and recognizing their interests or goals” (Jarret, 2013, para 2). In the facilitative style, the mediator is to be an expert in process - not content, to enable communication and help the parties “avoid common pitfalls in problem solving” (Boulle et al., 2008, p. 13).
Narrative Mediation. This approach “focuses on discovering the story behind the dispute” (Jarret, 2013, para 2). According to Picard and Melchin (2007) narrative mediation is about facilitating the co-creation of a different story. “Mediators look for the social, historical, cultural, and personal factors and assumptions” (p. 37) that are part of the parties’ relationship, helping them to deconstruct and reconstruct their narrative about each other and the relationship.
Transformative Mediation. The main aim of this model is “assisting the parties to feel recognized and empowered in resolving the dispute” (Jarret, 2013, para 2). The transformative mediator’s role is primarily to support the parties “in having constructive interaction to improve the relationship, not settling the dispute at hand” and in doing so “the parties are better equipped to resolve not only the problem at hand, but future conflicts as well” (Boulle et al., 2008, p. 13).
Insight Mediation. Picard and Melchin (2007) developed this approach, which is about “gaining insight into the issues related to the problem itself [which] can, indeed, lead to breakthroughs in perspectives and attitudes that can shift relationships onto new ground” (p. 37). Insight mediation is based on four key assumptions: as people, we are part of a relational web, our actions are guided by values (even self-interest is a value), conflict arises from the values underlying our actions and to solve conflict we need to look at the underlying values and interests (p. 39).
Boulle, L., Colatrella, M. T., & Picchioni, A. P. (2008). Mediation: Skills and techniques. LexisNexis.
Jarrett, B. (2013). Moving beyond brands: Integrating approaches to mediation. Alaska Justice Forum, 29(3-4): 1, 9-12.
Picard, C. A., & Melchin, K. R. (2007). Insight Mediation: A Learning-Centered Mediation Model. Negotiation Journal, 23(1), 35-53.