THE BEAUTY OF MEDIATION or why we all need a witness in the room
We all have filters for each other. Every day we hear people from the place that we are listening from. And then we get wrapped up in our stories and we often stop listing completely because we are planning our response.
It would be lovely if, once we're aware of this, we can keep this concept in the foreground of our minds as we engage with our spouse. When we speak with our children. When we have a dialog with a friend or colleague. But it's not that easy.
Here is where mediation comes in.
Think about a difficult conversation you just had. Or a painful dialog. Or an emotional interaction. And think about how great it would have been if someone, outside of the emotional sphere that you were engaging in, could slow the process down, point out the triggers and reactions, help rephrase the sweeping statements and angry accusations. Imagine being in dialog and having someone outside of the emotional sphere you are engaging in, offer up new ways to share your emotions, create new structures to speak your experiences, suggest new ways to listen.
This is what happens in mediation.
A lot of how we hear each other, especially when we are in stressful situations, comes from a place of fear, of abandonment, of the need to survive, of not being taken advantage of, not being appreciate, or being mistrusted, disrespected or dismissed.
In mediation, my role is to slow the process down and give you each the opportunity to see how the communication is unfolding so that you can begin to break the patterns that are preventing you from truly having an honest dialog with each other. This is a bit of a hybrid method. The mediator in me helps to facilitate the conversation, while the communication coach helps you create more successful ways to interact with each other.
In every session, I ask that you think about where you are hearing from. And in turn, think about where the other person is coming from, too. Once we are aware of where we are listening from, we are able to change the filter from the one we have on . And the more we practice this, the more we escape from our old ways of handling issues, discussing problems, sharing feelings and experiences. Instead, we become self-aware. We become self-regulating. We start to see our patterns and our triggers. We start to slow down our process and refrain from reacting. We start to really hear the other person rather than listen to our own story about what they are saying. And we allow ourselves to open up to authentic relationships filled with honesty and understanding.