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Peer Consultation for Mediators: The Use of a Holding Environment to Support Mediator Reflection, Inquiry, and Self-Knowing

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In order to help the parties in mediation address their interests, concerns, and responses to the conflict, the mediator must monitor and manage his or her own inner thoughts, emotions, and feelings throughout the process lest they negatively influence the outcomes of the mediation. Peer consultation offers one approach that can be used effectively to support the mediator's inquiry into practice dilemmas and invite self-knowing that benefits the mediator as well as the parties in the mediation. The effectiveness of a group consultation process, however, depends on the development of “a holding environment” that can provide a safe and confidential space within which such an inquiry can occur. The mediation process is improved when the mediator is able to sustain relational and emotional tension within herself and between the parties long enough for new understandings and actions to develop.
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Keywords: consultation strategies; emotions; holding environment; inquiry; mediation; mediator; mindfulness; peer consultation; reflection; self-knowing

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2008-07-01

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