Mediation is not therapy. Therapy, or more specifically, psychotherapy, is a treatment of someone’s mental or emotional issues by talking with a professional. Through talking, the client learns about her own feelings, moods, thoughts, and behaviors. This can be insightful and lead to behavior modification a better sense of well-being.
Family Mediation also involves a lot of talking. When couples come to see one of our mediators at Divorce Mediation Advisors LLC, there is a lot of talking – the mediator talks and listens to both parties and both parties talk to each other and listen to each other. Often times, the clients quarrel or argue with each other. I consider this back and forth part of the process and believe that allowing each client to express their thoughts and feelings is integral to the mediation process. Being able to express “their side of the story” helps the clients to find the strength and willingness to compromise and ultimately reach an agreement.
But the goal of mediation is a focused one. The goal of the divorce mediation is to work out a legal agreement between the parties. So while a mediation session may have some commonalities with a joint therapy session, the goal of mediation is clear – to get the parties to agree on fair and balanced terms for their divorce or family issue.
However, besides reaching a legal agreement, mediation can also have some of the positive side effects that therapy has on clients. The person can gain insights into there own feelings and behaviors, the client can feel better about themselves after sharing their feelings with the mediator and their partner, and often times clients end up changing their behavior in a positive manner. Although mediation should not be considered psychotherapy, this mediator believes that mediation does have some therapeutic characteristics and affects on the participants. This can be a positive not only for the clients but also for their children.