What is Family Mediation?
Mediation is a process used to help people reach agreements with the help of a neutral, trained mediator. The mediator works with people to discuss all of the issues related to their family conflict, to explore possible options for settlement, and to identify solutions that best meet the needs of each person involved. Family Mediation applies the basic principles of mediation to the resolution of issues that arise in families.
Family Mediation is neutral. In mediation, a neutral mediator helps families resolve their disagreement by facilitating their discussions in a safe way and guiding them to appropriate resources and advisors as needed.
Family Mediation can help families to transform. Using family mediation services can result in sound decision-making, reconciliation of divergent views, clearing the air, lessening resentment, greater understanding, improved communication, and transformation of relationships.
Family Mediation reduces pain. Family mediation services can benefit families by increasing understanding and improving relationships through communication. It can also help by avoiding costly and hurtful litigation.
When can Family Mediation be used?
Mediation can take place at any stage in a difficult situation or conflict. The earlier it is considered, the better. since mediation can lead to peaceful and private solutions that most often save time, money, and stress. If mediation is not considered until later in the process, there may have been significant time and money spent without reaching agreements, and emotions can run very high. This lowers the chances of reaching a peaceful agreement.
Unfortunately, families don’t come with manuals for how to safely and effectively navigate the rough waters when stressors arise. Family Mediation offers the assistance of an experienced professional to help you and your family to create solutions that are tailored to your unique situation and family dynamics including the difficulties faced at children’s various developmental stages. We help to assist and educate parents and children regarding the impact of internal struggles and outside influences. We also help to promote healthy and effective communication between family members.
Family Mediation may be a good choice for you if your family needs help with issues such as:
- New parent challenges
- Blended families
- Teen pregnancy
- School dropout risk
- Family conflicts
- Poor family communication
- Extended family concerns
- Marriage challenges
- Separation anxiety
Who participates in Family Mediation?
Mediation can include different combinations of participants at different times. At the minimum, the neutral mediator meets with the two parties to the case, but other family members or professionals may also be present.
Families may at times face stressors or crisis situations that challenge their ability to cope and effectively solve problems without the help of a professional. Our clients often include families who are in crisis, new parents, and adoptive parents, blended families, siblings who are facing decisions about elderly parents and others who need help coping with a difficult situation or transition.
How does Family Mediation work?
A neutral mediator promotes discussion and negotiation that allows the family members involved in a conflict or a dispute the opportunity to exchange divergent views, ask questions, discuss difficult topics and find solutions in a safe way. The mediator assists the participants to explore and find mutually acceptable solutions. Family mediation generally involves a series of meetings with the clients and the mediator that promote effective communication and decision making about the issues that need to be addressed. Family mediators guide the family members through considering possible solutions and options to address various problems through brainstorming, experience, and attentive listening by the mediator. Realistic solutions are proposed and considered. The clients have control over the process. What generally results is the creation of a sound, mutually acceptable agreement to address the parties’ particular circumstances.
What Family Mediation is not.
Family mediation is not psychotherapy, marital counseling, or legal representation. Mediators with backgrounds in law or mental health (or other areas) do not represent or counsel mediation clients during the family mediation process, but rather serve as neutral facilitators of the decision-making process.
In some cases, the Family Mediator may work with the family to provide support and assistance while a member of the family also receives therapy from another professional to address a condition such as anxiety or depression. Family Mediation is not covered by insurance, however it is generally a short term service and a worthwhile investment in the healthy functioning of your family.
How can I find out more about Family Mediation?
Call today to schedule a FREE 30 minute consultation to find out if Family Mediation is right for you. 724-759-7514
Please note that Family Mediation is not for those families who choose the courts instead.
Family Mediation is available with Loretta “Lori” Gephart, M.A., a Licensed Psychologist, Mediator and Collaborative Coach who is available to help you and your family to face your current challenges. Lori is a member of the Academy of Professional Family Mediators. Call 724-759-7514 today to schedule or for more information.
Appointments are available in our Wexford, Robinson Township and Pittsburgh offices.