The satisfaction co-mediating can bring
Since qualifying as a family mediator I have done several co-mediations which have been very rewarding and helpful. Usually family mediations take place with the husband and wife, or former partners, and the mediator in joint sessions to help the couple resolve matters relating to their finances and/or children, or whatever other issues they may want to discuss. Sometimes there can be two mediators, and this is called co-mediation. Co-mediations can be helpful, particularly if the issues are complex, or if another skill set is required which can be brought in by the second mediator. It may be that if the co-mediators are male and female it can help to address any perceived gender imbalance in the room.
I have found the co-mediations I have done to be some of the most enjoyable, and I hope useful to the clients. The discussions between me and my co-mediator before and after the sessions have been useful to learn and provide feedback, and share ideas. During the sessions themselves it has been helpful to share the responsibility for taking the sessions and facilitating discussions. It has been reassuring to have a co-mediator to assist if an impasse arises, or to suggest fresh ideas.
One co-mediation I did was for a very young unmarried former couple who had been in court proceedings arguing over the amount of time the father should spend with their young son. The judge had adjourned the proceedings for the purposes of mediation and in just one session they managed to reach an agreement. Between the two of us, my co-mediator and I helped them to focus on their son, and marshal them through the emotions which were clearly on display. There were some tears, raised voices and silences but ultimately they resolved matters in about an hour and a half and did not need to go back to court. They needed to explain to the other why what they requested of each other mattered to them, so the other could understand the requests made and realise why they were important. They needed to understand that emotionally they were in different places, with one still in love with the other, and the other having moved on to a new relationship, and realise this was making their communications too difficult. They agreed how they would communicate with each other going forward.
I hope to carry on co-mediating to help me continue to learn and to provide, if necessary, the further assistance some clients might require. Mediation as a process offers great flexibility, and co-mediating is one example of this. This is why it can be the best option for clients to choose.