Many people are not sure what to expect when they inquire about divorce mediation. Often they have been told or heard they will be in two separate rooms with the mediator moving between the two rooms. While this type of “shuttle” mediation can be effective, in my experience as a Phoenix divorce mediator, I have found that having the couple meet in the same room with the mediator is typically more efficient and successful.
You probably remember the old “telephone” game where one person tells another something and then it is passed along until the last person reveals what was said only to discover it has been changed along the way. That can be an issue with mediation conducted in two separate rooms. The mediator is the “telephone” passing on second-hand information filtered by the mediator’s interpretations of what was actually said. On the other hand, mediating a divorce in the same room, each person hears everything said first-hand directly from the speaker. This reduces the chance of miscommunication or misinterpretation. The mediator is then able to act as a true neutral moderating and managing the discussions in “real-time.”
Not only is this effective from a communication standpoint, but, often it is extremely useful from an emotional perspective. Many times couples cannot reach agreement because they feel the other person is not listening to them or they are not being heard. If a divorce mediator is experienced with psychology concepts, the mediator may effectively help each person to express their feelings about the situation in a format where each can be heard and understood. This can be very powerful and important. For all these reasons and more, I urge couples to initially try mediating their divorces together in the same room. You may be surprised at what you really hear…
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