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The Mediation Field

The Mediation Field

Is mediation a field in its own right?



Full Transcript

Well, I think we are a field and it’s helpful to think of it but the question is, ‘What is that field?’ I think of our field as a field of conflict intervention and not a field of mediation. You could argue mediation is a field but just like you could argue that play-therapy is a field. But I think it’s far wiser to think of ourselves more broadly as a conflict-intervention field, and that’s the field that I would like to talk about the crisis in. Here is what I think the crisis is. One is, we are supply driven not demand driven, and up to a point that’s fine. As I said a moment ago, there’s far more people to this day who want to be mediators, who want to be conflict professionals than there are jobs available.


While, up to a point, it’s all right to have more who want it than there are jobs available, because people will then go out and find creative ways of doing that work. On the other hand, if it’s too much, it breeds cynicism, discontent, and one of the things that we have done to ourselves is we created the business model, many of us and I include myself in that, where a good part of our income over the years has come from training people to be mediators. We train people to be mediators, but there aren’t jobs to be done.


There’s good skills that come out of those trainings, but still there is a problem there. Not only for a professor in a master’s degree programme. So now we’re putting all sorts of master’s degrees out there in dispute resolution or conflict intervention or peace studies. Again, there’s not that many jobs there.


We do a pretty good job in my programme of making that clear to people from the beginning. They read this book at the very beginning. They know, at the onset, what we’re facing. I think a lot of people are able to use it within their existing jobs, but nonetheless that’s one source of the crisis. A second- go ahead.

About the mediator

Bernie Mayer Profile Pic

Bernie Mayer, Ph.D. is Professor of Dispute Resolution at The Werner Institute, Creighton University. He is without doubt a leader in the field of conflict resolution. Considered by many in the field of conflict resolution as an icon, Bernie has over a quarter century of experience in the field and was a founding partner at CDR Associates, the internationally recognized mediation and conflict resolution organization. Bernie originally trained as ... View Mediator