When people first come into our mediation room, it is for a free initial consultation. This is an opportunity for Rob and me to share our professional skills and ethical responsibilities within the mediation process and for the people seeking mediation services to have their questions answered.
At the time the initial consultation is scheduled–usually over the phone with Rob or me and with one of the parties to the matter–we do not ask any questions. All we need to have to set up at day and time is an affirmative statement that there is an interest in learning about and (possibly) pursuing mediation.
Why not get details?
Because we’re better off with a blank page to begin on. TOGETHER.
Let’s say I get a call from a husband who tells me that he and his wife are looking to get divorced and they are considering mediation. That’s where I ask, “When can the two of you come in for a free initial consultation?”
Here’s where the husband provides me with a date and time or where the husband wants to “share a few important things.”
In order for the fair and unbiased process of mediation to be successful, I have to politely decline hearing about those “few important things.”
You might be thinking: “But why? Why not get a jump on the gathering of information?”
Well, if you were the wife, how would you feel knowing/suspecting that your soon-to-be ex-spouse had gone into detail with one of the mediators? Also, as Holistic Mediation employs the co-mediation model, Rob and I are equal participants. If I take information from the husband absent Rob, then Rob is at a “disadvantage” in being able to fully apply his skill set to the matter at hand.
When people come to us, we have no preconceived notions because we didn’t allow ourselves to know any “important things” before the initial consultation. As such, we presume nothing.