All Things Mediation

November 8, 2016

I have come back to my love for poetry. It was not a deliberate move; rather, it happened during my Mediation work. The feeling and depth of reflection which comes in my Mediation work took me back to the Fall of 1979 when I had Professor Anne Parten for English Literature at Washington & Jefferson College. I can still hear Professor Parten reciting poetry in Davis Memorial Hall and letting my mind travel with the words, and being cognizant of the feelings which the quoted passages stirred within me.

It is amazing how the written word – and now the spoken word – have melded together for me. How a passage in a poem, and now how words spoken in Mediation, can move me is such a familiar feeling. It is like coming home.

As a Mediator, I bring with me a genuine and unwavering belief that a Mediator’s role is not to judge, not to stymie heartfelt conversations which need to come out and not to shortcut the processes needed for decision making. Rather, when I mediate, I listen with an open mind and I move with the conversations to where they need to go – and actually, are destined to go. With parents, I always focus on bringing out parents’ absolute best selves and instill the proven tenant that all children want to be loved by both of their parents.

In my Mediations I have seen the following:

· No cookie cutter families

· No “one size fits all” families

· Uniqueness of each family

· The desire to continue to parent

· The need to think about the future

· The need for understanding

· The need for acceptance

· The need for balance

· Parties bringing their best selves

· No way to predict what will be said or what is important to each person

· Clients moving to “acceptance” and “this is where we are”

· Clients reflecting

· The need for conversations, “this is the only place where we can talk”

· The need to pivot, to transition


I took the time this summer to reflect upon the master mediation trainings, and certifications, I acquired this year. I successfully completed 18 hours of training in Advanced Family Mediation, taught by Cheryl Cutrona, Esquire and Zena Zumeta, Esquire, offered by the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution, Pepperdine University School of Law and received my certificate. I also received my certificate for successfully completing 18 hours of training in Elder Mediation offered by Conflict Resolution Services in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and taught by Zena Zumeta, Esquire. A resonating part of what I learned revolves around “capacity.” Capacity to participate in Mediation, (especially in Elder Mediation), capacity to make decisions, capacity to let go, capacity to learn, capacity to shift, capacity to change, capacity to stay true to who you are. For me, the advanced techniques and skills I have acquired make all the difference in my Mediation work. The passion for my Mediation work was always there. The exposure, and critiques by the true masters in the field of Mediation, have made me realize that this is indeed the best work I have done in my legal career.

What I learned at my master classes and advanced and concentrated trainings is how to bring my best self to my Mediations. I as the Mediator, bring the structure, the techniques, the foundation and the safe environment. The clients, meanwhile, have the conversations with each other and make decisions which will move each of them and their families from the present, to the future.

In my Mediations, the conversations resonate in me, much like the passages in my favorite poem by Lord Alfred Tennyson.


To end, I share my favorite passages in the poem, Ulysses, by Lord Alfred Tennyson:

“I am a part of all that I have met.”

— and —

“Though much is taken, much abides;

and though we are not now that strength which in old days

Moved earth and heaven; that which we are, we are

One equal temper of heroic hearts,

Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will

To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.”


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