When working as a counsellor, it will soon become very apparent that there is no perfect or set way of helping a client because client situations can be very different and far apart. Clients may ask for direct advice for their problems, but to be a clear and effective counsellor you need to find the best way to assist in empowering a client with the skills to make their own solutions. Most counsellors will borrow from many different frameworks, known as an integrative approach, as different clients have different needs. The best predictor for success is the quality of the relationship between a counsellor and the client. A counsellor will play many different helping roles throughout their career including scenarios of mediation or advocacy.
There may come times as a counsellor when you need to face conflicts between two or more parties and play the role of a mediator. Mediation is a voluntary, private and confidential process, with the counsellor as the impartial third party promoting uncoerced agreement without prejudice. A mediator assists parties in making unforced and informed decisions and the mediation process should be clearly explained where parties to the mediation control the outcome. The process of mediation is a guided negotiation, helping the parties to communicate with each other in a neutral environment, exploring the issues which are of real importance to them. The parties are encouraged to find ways to address their present and future needs, rather than dwelling upon which aspects of the situation may have been right or wrong in the past.
There are many cases where a counsellor or client may feel that mediation be necessary. The mediation role is used when dispute resolution is needed between two or more parties, and a neutral party is needed to assist in coming to an agreement. When mediation occurs, conflicting parties are encouraged to communicate with each other. This process will assist in the effort to achieve the best possible settlement that truly expresses the efforts of the involved parties. Having a counsellor as a mediator can really help because a counsellor also focuses on emotional needs attatched to the case and not just the case itself.
The mediator does not take sides but encourages parties to find common ground by first listening to them and noting what it is that the involved parties feel is of most importance to them. The mediator then assists them in looking at their options and encouraging communication among the parties. Everyone is addressed and listened to in a respectful manner and if the process is deemed unsuitable for the situation, it can be terminated at any time either by any of the involved parties, including the mediator.
Once issues, wants and needs are out in the open, it then allows the exploration of the parties’ positions. Questions can then be raised in accordance to possible weaknesses that may not have been recognised before the mediation process. It is also the role of the...