Fostering the 3Rs of relational mediation practice: Respect, Recognition and Reflection

We have all heard of the 3 Rs – reading, writing and ’rithmetic – which are commonly seen as the foundation of a basic education.  Effective mediation skills must similarly be based on three fundamentals.  I propose that mediation is most effective and simultaneously most meaningful and satisfying for disputants when the 3 Rs of respect, recognition, and reflection are fostered and modeled by the mediator. All conflicts, the simple, the complex or the  intractable, involve people.  And all people share similar needs; we all want  to feel  connected, to be accepted, and to be seen and validated for who we are, what we do and what we say. For conflicts to be resolved, disputants move off of their stated positions and become willing to let go of “getting it all”: mediation enables needs and interests to be uncovered and then met.   When a mediator comprehends that the relational aspect of conflict, the way…

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