Mediation Overview

Mediation and Conflict Resolution

Resolve your conflicts with mediation. I use breakthrough skills and methods to help you to design agreements out of conflicts and differences between you and important other people.

Conflict resolution happens by means of a number of professional processes. They include arbitration, family and couples counseling, negotiation, and mediation. Mediation, the process to which this website is dedicated, is described below.


Mediation is a process whereby a trained, skilled third person helps two people (sometimes more) to take a journey of communication from a place of conflict, disagreement and discord to a place of cooperation, agreement and harmony. You learn to design an agreement.

Mediation is used for divorced or divorcing parents, business partners, employees in a business or agency, commercial exchanges, family estates, and many other situations. Since I wrote my doctoral dissertation on conflict resolution, it is a process with which I am completely familiar. Below, on this page, are six of the major steps (or phases) in the process I use.

Offered to clients in the Seattle, Washington area, and beyond, these processes bring about agreement effectively in most cases. These processes of conflict resolution are an emotionally rewarding and cost-saving way to get voluntary agreements out-of-court rather than involuntary rulings in court. Here are some of the variations of mediation services I provide.

Conflicts that involve being “Pro Se” or Representing Yourself in Court

I often work with clients who are representing themselves, an approach to court called “pro se by attorneys and judges. This sometimes reduces the costs. For example, divorcing couples may prepare their own documents from those recommended by the state where they live. I work with them through mediation to forge an agreement regarding property, children and other details. I also help them find the forms, and provide guidance in filling them out. I usually recommend that an attorney for one of them at least go over the final documents before they are filed with the court. Another example is divorced couples who want to design a new parenting plan for children as the children get older and have changing needs, or when either parent becomes dissatisfied with the existing plan.

Emotionally Charged Conflicts

I work frequently with emotionally charged situations, such as a painful divorce. By sorting out the problems from the underlying emotions, couples can end up working through their conflicts, even if they are emotionally charged, with an effective mediation process. A way of describing this is on an interactive chart I created.

Dealing with Estates, Wills and Trusts

When families inherit wealth from a parent, conflicts often arise over the details about how to handle the estate. Being an aging parent is stressful and difficult enough. Having to see one’s children arguing about the money and property makes getting older much more difficult. And unresolved conflicts are no fun for the children as well. Unresolved conflicts over the details of a trust, will and the estate generally are not necessary, for mediation provides a process for coming to agreement.

Business and Organizational Mediation for Conflicts

I’ve worked with family members who own a family business; executives as part of an executive team; and members of professional service firms. In each case there are unresolved conflicts. Sometimes people can’t agree on a plan for going forward or how to handle a delicate or difficult situation. Other times people have differing ideas about authority for deciding or for what to do when problems arise.  Business and organizational mediation provides an effective process going forward.

How You as an Individual Will Benefit

Mediation for families, groups or companies is a process for creating agreements between people in conflict. Whether to prevent a divorce, to finalize a divorce, to adjust a parenting plan, or to settle other differences, my mediation process will help you to turn differences into agreements.

How Your Family or Organization Will Benefit

In situations when families disagree, or are going through a divorce, most of the time all the members will benefit from mediation, especially children. That’s because if differences can be settled and win/win decisions can be made, not only are problems solved, but also, the adults set a good example of problem solving for the children. The same applies to other groups such as business partners or a team of any kind. All employees and customers benefit when business leaders resolve conflicts, create agreements and learn skills to prevent and/or resolve future conflicts.

Mediation Objectives

• Creating win/win/win agreements for you, the other person and others effected by your agreement.
• Improved communication in your family or group.
• Greater satisfaction with relationships
• Greater confidence in your ability to deal with any conflict, disagreement or differences with others.

How You Will Pursue Agreement

In the privacy of my office, or at the office of an attorney, I will guide you through the process of mediation so you can design your agreement. This is a process that involves intense listening to one another; the expression of problems and grievances; the formulation of goals; developing options; and making decisions to achieve those goals in such a way that each participant is satisfied. Then each person implements the agreement. Here are the primary steps towards designing an agreement:

Six Mediation Steps

1. PREPARATION: Formulate your ideas, problems, goals and hopes ahead of time and at the first session. It is often helpful to write down what is important to you and give it to the mediator before or at the first session.

2. OPEN COMMUNICATION: The desired atmosphere for mediation is one of open communication, building trust and careful listening.

3. PROBLEMS, GOALS AND VALUES: The participants express their problems, their goals and their values while being heard by the others.

4. OPTIONS: If ways of solving problems, achieving goals and fulfilling values are not known right away, then the group generates options for doing so.

5. DECISIONS: Using the options, the group decides how to go forward in a way that satisfies everyone.

6. ACTION & FOLLOW UP: The group implements the decisions they make and follow up effectively

For more details about mediation, read other sections of the dropdown menus, or look on the articles page on the top level menu.