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Can't we all just get along? The biggest misconception about Mediation and Collaborative Law

One of the more common comments I hear when I tell people that I'm a mediator is

"It sounds great, but it wouldn't have worked for me." 

When mediation has been shown to be about 85% successful in most studies, why do so many people assume it won't work for their conflict?  The answer is that many people believe that difficult conflicts can only be resolved through compromise; by at least one side giving up something and admitting at least a partial defeat.  When the stakes are high enough, people believe you can only reach agreement or resolution by beating the other side or giving in.  Sure, if you're getting along and you mostly agree then talking it out can work, but if not you may as well prepare for war.  And wars always have clear winners and losers, right?

The power of mediation and collaborative law is how trained professionals
help people find answers when they're NOT getting along.

In actual practice, mediators and collaborative practitioners are specifically trained to help people have difficult conversations, and to find ways to break down conflicts that seem insurmountable.  In order for mediation and collaborative law to work you only have to have an open mind and be willing to do the work to face your conflict instead of hiding from it.

The real reason many people let lawyers negotiate for them or judges decide for them, is because they're unwilling to face the conflict they have with the other side, they're unwilling to have difficult conversations, and they're afraid of failing.  Sure, there are some cases where the other side is unwilling to be reasonable, but if everyone thinks that way, then everyone is unreasonable.  

To think about it another way check out this twitter thread using a conflict over pizza as the example:

For more information on how #mediation and #collaborativelaw actually work check out these articles:

A Collaborative Law Success Story - 4 part Video Series

You're Thinking about Conflict All Wrong

What Does it Mean to Call Yourself a Collaborative Lawyer?

Improving Negotiations using Collaborative Values: A Checklist of Tools

Why do People go to Court to get Divorced? Because that's where the money is...

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