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Neville had referred me to Amelia Renouf’s article about relational mediating, titled ‘The Uneasy 'Sixth Step' in Mediating’ (1992). Renouf referred to a five-step mediation model and had ‘evolving relations’ as a sixth step which is usually not included in traditional mediation.


One version of the mediation process typically used in the ‘Western’ world has been defined as follows:


                                                  I.    Statement of the problem by the parties

                                                II.    Information gathering time

                                               III.    Identification of the problems

                                              IV.    Bargaining and generating options, and

                                               V.    Reaching an agreement.


I endeavour to engage in Neville’s relational mediating process that differs from the above process.


I will explore this difference by revisiting the Daughter on Bail story; I was mediating between three parties:


1.    Parents,

2.    Daughter, and

3.    Life’s possibilities


The aspects:


o   The process is engaging the daughter with her mother and father as a small group.

o   I have no stage-based step-by-step model or way as my way, rather, everything that I do is guided by and emerging from the moment-to-moment unfolding context, not a prescriptive five-step model; following Neville’s poem – ‘The way is searching for the Way’

o   The mother and father have their daughter as their focus; the daughter is focused on her self; and I have the three of them as my focus.

o   The process I’m using does not construe the context as ‘a problem’. None of the participants or their behaviour are defined as a ‘problem’ to be ‘solved’, as in Step 3 in the process.

o   There is no diagnosing and prescribing as implied in Step 3 & 4 in the traditional five-step mediation process outlined above.

o   There is however subtle negotiating of meaning; for example, the quartz become ‘pebbles’ to ‘help with awareness’ for the daughter, and a ‘cross’ for the parents who may have baulked at the idea of my using crystals.

o   My presence in the house is, for the daughter, about ‘flexibility’ at a physical level. I am metaphorically using ‘flexibility’ in much wider senses.

o   I never take sides; though I was asked by the parents to take their side when they teed up the meeting.

o   There is no ‘information-gathering stage’, though the ever-changing context is in-forming me constantly throughout my visit, and I am being informed especially by the non-conscious communicating of the three of them with me have my attending competence attuned to these subtle cues

o   There are no questions asked by me apart from obtaining her okay to support her getting to sleep

o   There is connecting at many levels:


o   With her breathing

o   With her belly

o   Her heart energy connecting to her pelvic area

o   Reconnecting with her mother and father

o   Reconnecting with her inner child


o   There is no bargaining.

o   There is no ‘reaching an agreement’, though all three find themselves more agreeable.

o   There is no blaming, judging, condemning, or demanding. It is all about connecting and relating – their connecting and relating with each other, their relating with me, and all of them relating to life’s boundless possibilities.


The way of relational mediating is woven into this story and best outlined in story and metaphor. Attempting to convey the pervasive richness of the Way by describing and explaining fails; it has to be embodied.




© 1989. May be copied with this acknowledgement

for non profit purposes.

Inma Nelps, Mediation Matters, Yungaburra 4872       


The mediator is a peace-maker. S/he is a middle friend to both sides. S/he helps ease disputes and stop fights.


S/he is neutral – this means not one side or the other, but for the goodness in both.


The mediator is someone who can help people to find the good in each other; and to dream up agreeable new ways. They can then learn to sort things out in a safe, friendly and respectful way. As they solve more problems side by side and in harmony, nasty arguments go away.


Mediators help people to listen to and hear each other, to tune in, to understand and to step into each other’s feelings. They can see eye to eye, feel good and be in balance. People find common ground and begin to trust and respect each other more.


Mediators do NOT judge anyone as right and wrong – they accept the good in each one.


The do NOT pass out ‘justice’ – they help people find, share and decide fair agreements for themselves – and feel good about it.


They do NOT punish – they support cooperation and choice.


They do NOT talk for others – people talk for themselves, and to each other.


People who have argued and disagreed meet with the mediator of their own free will. It is private between the mediator and those who were fighting. There are NO lawyers, NO police, NO officials present.


In the past all societies had priests, monks and others doing mediation work. Now the mediator is coming back into the modern world. Communities find and train their own mediators. They share and exchange mediators to help each other.


In some parts of Australia mediators are being paid to help talk out answers to problems. Also police can refer people to a mediator instead of making an arrest.


Mediators can relieve and ease the workload on police and courts. For suitable community and domestic troubles mediation works well. Its results are fair, cheaper and easier. People feel better, are more satisfied and cooperate more readily in the future.






© 1989 may be copied with this acknowledgement

For non-profit purposes.

Inma Nelps Mediation Matters, Yungaburra 4872


The systems mediation approach is adapted and extended from the model used by the Family Mediation Services of Ontario, Canada, supported by the University of Toronto.


The nelpful approach (neurolinguistic programming) is based on cultural modelling and skill copying of outstanding mediators, negotiators, counsellors, artists and educators.


Context mediation and story performance includes derivatives from therapeutic communities, dance therapy, psychodrama and music therapy.

There are now over thirty texts, many audio-video training tapes, and computer programmes available as backup to this training programme.

The training programme involves developing skills in:


1.    Rapport Building.

2.    Gathering Information, monitoring and precision questioning.

3.    Accurate cue reading; the client disputants and their body language.

4.    Assessing the client’ internal states, strategic and sorting patterns and external relationships.

5.    Establishing well-formed outcomes in mediation and problem solving.

6.    Home and Street mediation.

Techniques for mediation problem-solving skills include:


1.    Anchoring – Few or one trial relearning.

2.    Changing personal history, re-imprinting, future-programming – altering perspectives on previous painful or angry attitudes.

3.    Dissociation – separating memories from bad or violent feelings.

4.    Accessing states and chaining – resourceful habits and good moods, dramatic pattern-interrupt.

5.    Reframing – finding constructive meanings, resolving internal and external conflicts, seeing trouble in a better light.

6.    Mediating Metaphor – storytelling, performance and ideography as parables for healthy tolerance and cooperative living.

7.    Mapping Across – changing limiting beliefs and attitudes.

8.    The Swish, Compulsion Blowout – eliminating bad or rigid habits.

9.    Releasing codependence and dysfunctional jealousy.

10. Responding well to criticism and argument – self mediation skills.

11. Developing ethnic and cultural self-esteem – resolving shame and guilt.

12. Language skills – general/specific mobility. Conversational change.

13. Re-evaluating relationships – mediating to balance common ground, group mediation, community monitoring

14. Time attention and location – for constructive use of time, and organising actions.

These and other skills have been shown to be very effective in rapid release of problems of low self-esteem, jealousy, alcoholism and drug addiction, misunderstanding, anxiety, grief and depression, argumentativeness, abusive behaviour, public disturbance and other problems. They are very useful for those coping with disputes in family and community relationships.


It is considered that a monitor or intake counsellor will need 45 hours instruction and field experience, a mediator 90 hours and a senior mediator 180 hours. A master mediator will need about 360 hours.



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