The Role Of Emotions In Mediation: How To Manage And Use Them Effectively
Emotions are almost always a part of the mediation process. Depending on the type of conflict, the parties might have emotional arguments. This is where the real job of a mediator starts. A mediator should always set up things in such a way that the parties keep themselves away from emotions. While emotions are a part of the mediation process, the role of a mediator is to minimize the impact of those emotions on the whole process. Moreover, an experienced mediator can even take benefit of emotions and use them to accelerate the mediation process to create fruitful results for both parties.
Capitalizing on emotions in the mediation process can help the mediator benefit the parties involved. Let’s look at some of the biggest benefits of managing emotions properly during the mediation process.
Build A Safe Environment
The biggest role of a mediator is to create a safe and constructive environment for mediation when both parties are involved and physically present. The process starts with tiny details, like setting up sitting arrangements for the parties during the mediation session.
Another way to keep the environment safe and constructive is always to be neutral as a mediator and keep everything discussed during the mediation session confidential and private.
Moreover, a good mediator always asks both parties to provide feedback about the service. If anyone has a suggestion, the mediator tries to implement it into their service and improve their experience.
When the mediator tries to create a constructive environment for mediation and conflict resolution, it allows all the involved parties to showcase their emotions constructively. Since the mediator is always neutral, the party sitting in front of them can trust them with their secrets and tell them the whole story to seek a good resolution to their conflict.
By filtering out the emotions through constructive discussion, the mediator can convince both parties to accept one another’s rights and interests and find a middle ground to end their conflict.
Learn To Manage Destructive Patterns
If you have already created a safe and private environment for both parties to start mediation, you might be confident that the conflict resolution process will go smoothly. As a mediator, you must always listen to both parties, no matter how they express their emotions and needs. During this process, the mediator can take some time to learn more about the interests and concerns of both parties involved in the conflict.
At some point, the parties might get tired of the mediation process and start screaming and fighting. At this stage, the mediator can use their knowledge of the situation to calm the parties down and to help resume the mediation process.
First of all, you should ask both parties about the success of their mediation process and their concerns. This way, you will let both of them rethink the mediation and whether the process will be productive for them. Moreover, if the mediator knows a lot about the concerns of both parties, they can validate their frustration and then help them come to the main point with their experience. Remember that strong emotions don’t always mean a fight between the parties.
Whenever there’s a heated exchange of words between the parties, the mediator should let them cool down and arrange private sessions with each of them. When the emotions are settled, you can ask them to join the mediation session again.
Capitalize On The Opportunity
The mediator should treat emotions as an opportunity rather than consider them a problem in the mediation process. Strong emotions from both parties can suggest that they are seriously interested in the process. This can act as a catalyst in the conversation if you know how to use emotions. You can also use specific techniques to help people let out their emotions if they keep them to themselves. You can choose various methods to help a party express their emotions. Once a party shows their emotions in the mediation process, you can use those emotions to benefit them.
For example, you can validate their emotions and show empathy. When you start a conversation with the party, ask them how they feel to let them express their emotions if they want to. Moreover, if the mediator feels that a party is avoiding showing their emotions, they can confront them and ask them to be open about their thoughts and feelings. The mediator must understand the perspective of the party showing the emotion, and they must help them overcome their emotions and make the mediation process successful.
Stay In The Present Moment
Conflict happens whenever the parties get stuck in past problems and cannot find a way to get past their problems. Conflict is a part of the blame game people usually utilize to blame others for the wrong wrongdoings. This can lead to a heated exchange of words and might even involve the parties calling each other names.
The mediator should always remind the parties that resolving the conflict is the key reason for starting the mediation process. Whenever the parties try to go off track, the mediator should pull them back into the conversation with the help of their negotiation and mediation skills.
If the parties start expressing their emotions, it can be a great tool to help them come to the actual matter, and it resolves the conflict sooner. However, if the conversation becomes unproductive, the mediator can intervene and pull them back into conflict resolution mode.
So, it is up to the mediator to use the emotions of the parties involved in a conflict to help them get past those emotions and resolve their conflict as soon as possible.