How Mediation Works

Mediation is a process to assistand  two or more people in resolving conflict with the help of a neutral, trained facilitator.  Also referred to as a form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR), Mediation offers an alternative to litigation in the court system. Mediation offers the client the legal protection of privacy and confidentiality.

When mediating a case, the mediator encourages a frank, civil discussion of each party's concerns.  The mediator guides the dialog facilitating a discussion about the clients' issues, underlying goals, needs, and values.  A skilled neutral mediator works with the parties as they reach for common ground in their dispute.  The mediator looks for solutions that could meet both party's needs while diffusing hostility. At the conclusion of the session, the mediator will usually draft a memorandum detailing agreements made by the parties.

Mediation is used to resolve disputes about a wide range of issues.  Over the past several years, mediation has evolved to now having become the process of choice for settling disputes and avoiding the high cost of litigated settlements.  Over the past several years, for example, elder mediation has been used in assisting families resolve sensitive and difficult issues related to aging or disability.  Below is a list of several common venues where mediation is used to resolve issues and disputes:

*  Separation & Divorce

*  Workplace & Labor

*  Neighborhood/Community

*  Business & Small Business Family Issues

*  Schools

*  Consumers

*  Government

Mediation encourages people to make the decisions in a civil and respectful manner that are appropriate and fair for their given dispute. 

The mediator may take several approaches to their process depending upon the nature of the dispute.  The four main approaches include:  

Narrative, Facilitative, Evaluative, Transformative, or a combination of these approaches.

Parties going into mediation to settle their disputes usually enter into a Mediation Agreement.  Mediation is a voluntary process, except when ordered by the court.


Maryland Council for Dispute Resolution
10319 Westlake Drive, Suite 247
 Bethesda, Maryland   20817

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MCDR is the oldest membership-based organization in Maryland dedicated to promoting the use of mediation and supporting

the mediation profession.  We have a proud history of successfully advocating for allowing multiple professions to practice mediation,

halting attempts to restrict the practice some fifteen years ago.  MCDR is the first organization to establish performance based criteria

now in use as a national model, part of an ongoing dialogue on quality assurance and mediator credentials.

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