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Uniting the Mediation Community

Uniting the Mediation Community

Do you think the mediation community need to present a united front in order to move forward as a profession?



Full Transcript

I actually think it’s fine if we’re not united. I don’t think we are united and I don’t think we need to be. There are a lot of different kinds of therapies. There are a lot of different kinds of legal practice. There are a lot of different approaches to most services, professional services, counselling, teaching and medical services.


I don’t think we have to be united. I think we have to be respectful. We have to appreciate diversity. I believe that the problem with coming up with standards of practice is that if we try to force standards of practice onto too a diverse field, it’s not going to help in any way. Firstly, it’s not going to be credible and secondly, it’s going to be about marketing. It’s not going to be about protecting the consumer.


I’ve always felt the problem with a lot of approaches that emphasise standards of practice is, they’re a way of saying, ‘Hey, I’ve met the standard. I’ve been qualified. I’ve been certified.’ It’s not so much standards of practice, maybe but certification. ‘I’ve been certified. Now I’m going to market myself as somebody who has been certified.’ Does that really protect the public in any way or is it simply about marketing? If it is more about marketing rather than about genuinely protecting the public, then it’s dishonest.


Look, if certification where really well-drawn standards of practice were to protect the public in some way, were to upgrade our services, that’s great.


It’s not my thing to get into that. I’m very sceptical at to whether it would do that. But I’m not saying I’m against that, if we could really show that it would upgrade the services the public could expect and the recourse they had if they didn’t get adequate services.


I just don’t believe it’s going to do that. I don’t believe it does that in most professions, I don’t think it’s going to do that in ours.


To get back to what you said a moment ago, yeah, we have to really diagnose what the problem is. Why aren’t we being used more? Instead of saying, ‘Oh, woe is us. We have this wonderful service, why aren’t we use more? People just need to know more about us.’ We had better understand it’s not because the public is perverse and they just are stupid and therefore they’re not using us.


It’s because there’s something . . . They have a need that we are not identifying, that we’re not meeting and the question is: ‘can we?’ and, ‘how can we?’ and then ‘should we?’


In that sense I think marketing is the issue, and that deeper sense of identifying the real need the public has and how we can best meet it, that kind of marketing is where the problem is.


But not marketing as, sort of, selling ourselves, which is how I think people usually think of that.

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