The author of today’s post is our guest blogger Tricia Lewis. While completing her post-graduate studies at Durham College, Tricia was involved in establishing the Campus Conflict Resolution Service. This service allowed for her to further develop her skills as a Mediator, whereby she participated in on-campus group facilitations and mediations. Moreover, she has training to deal with issues of Bullying, At-Risk Youth and Safe Schools Awareness. Since completing her post-graduate certificate in Mediation/Alternative Dispute Resolution at Durham College last year, where she developed a strong foundation in Alternative Dispute Resolution, Negotiation and Conflict Analysis, Tricia Lewis has become an active member of the ADR community.
Moreover, from her four-year Bachelor’s of Arts degree in Paralegal Studies, Tricia developed a core foundation of understanding and applying legal principles and practices. And with over five years experience in the legal field, spanning across multiple practice areas, Tricia has been able to use her knowledge and experience and apply it to her focused civil mediation practice.
Social media forums have truly become a great avenue for connection and sharing ideas and information. In recent group discussion on Twitter, that evolved from @Lawsagna’s “Games of Conflict”, @BenZiegler, @CINERGYCoaching and myself @TriciaLewis creatively collected words that embodied characteristics of the term Alternative Dispute Resolution. This being achieved by selecting words that started with either an A, D or R.
For the A’s, the words crafted were: access or accessible, acknowledgment, appropriate, alternatives, and accountability.
For the D’s, the words put-forth were: decision, detail, dissect, dialogue, discovery, dynamic and design.
For the R’s of ADR, the group mentioned the following words: rules, roles, ramifications, rewards, and resilience.
From these selected words, a full thesis could be produced to provide a detailed historical analysis linking its relevance to the field of ADR, however, for this purpose, a simple review of how each word fits neatly into the broad-spectrum of dispute resolution practices should suffice.
When we think of a dispute, from inception to dissolution/resolution, each of the terms selected by the group of mediators are applicable at one or more points in the stages of mediation. The basis stages of mediation commonly known are as follows: Pre-mediation consultation, Mediation and Post-mediation/resolution.
Each of these stages having sub-categories and key-points to the process and procedures of standard mediation practices. Using the words gathered through the on-line group discussion, below I have identified the stage of mediation where each of these terms would be most applicable. However, each word is not absolute characteristic of a specific stage in mediation process, as mediation in itself is a very fluid form of ADR.
The words access or accessible, discovery, design, rules and roles are applicable to the first stage of mediation. They are intrinsic to conflict resolution; recognizing the issues, setting the ground-rules, and trouble-shooting for early solutions. Most importantly identifying who the players and decision-makers in the process. Acknowledgment, accountability, dialogue, detail, dissect and dynamic are words that would best meet the characteristics of the second stage of the mediation process. At this stage, the parties are generally engaged in the process, and there is desire amongst them to work to resolve the conflict. The conflict is broken down into its various issues, attempts are made to truly see the other person’s perspective and brain-storming options for a solution. And lastly, alternatives, decision, detail, ramifications, resilience and rewards are words that correspond to the parameters of the last stage of mediation. This stage concludes the efforts put forth by all parties involved and mediator; finalizing the information brought forward by the parties and the methodology used to arrive at a decision and the documentation thereof.
Generally speaking, we can find words to describe or put to mind the context of an issue, but in the end it’s how the word is applied that matters to the disputants. The perspective. The application of words to provide context to a situation may invariably be the commencement and conclusion of any conflict.