By: Lisette Garcia, PhD
While reviewing my training manual, I was reminded of the 8 Core Values of Facilitative Mediation. When I was trained, I was told that all needed to be present for the mediation to continue, all 8 at once, that’s a big deal!
Let’s take the value of ensuring a Quality mediation. This seems simple but it does require a certain amount of humility to know that you are in over your head before you are irreparably over your head. This state of chaos invariably compromises the quality of the mediation.
Then there is physical and emotional Safety. This seems a bit more difficult because it requires one to be empathetic to the degree that one has the ability to look beyond the words and read their client’s body language and perhaps their subtle energetic shifts that happen under fear. And that is just two…
The core value I really want to discuss, however, is Neutrality because it demands all the above in addition to a certain level of personal, emotional insight and balance that allows the mediator to remain “untriggered” by the topics at hand. It’s more than just “not triggered,” it is to remain above opinion! Is that really possible?
As a long time meditator I have found that the best way to combat emotional bias is to follow the same advice given to keep meditators on their object of focus: RELAX, RELEASE and RETURN.
When one is meditating ones habits off the meditation cushion hold while on the cushion—same goes for mediators whether we want to admit it or not. As New Yorkers there is a certain drive and persistence we tend to have that doesn’t help in deeper states of meditation—in other words, we can’t push our way into a calm, still mind. It is a different muscle that allows us to sit back, observe, and indeed, relax! Only then will the emotion pass us by like a cloud crossing the sky.
After one is able to relax and catch the thought as it arises then the goal is to release it. For some things, it will come easily but for the big things it will be more difficult.
Consider that you, the mediator, have just gone through a difficult divorce. Your clients are also going through a divorce. If the parallels are similar you may find yourself like a fish caught in a hawks talons. That is to say, it is incredibly unlikely that the hawk will drop the fish—likewise, it is equally unlikely that you will be able to release yourself from that strong emotion that was triggered.
Once we are in the grip of an emotion we are unable to remain neutral and the quality of our mediation has been compromised.
If we are able to extricate ourselves from the emotion then we must quickly recall what our original goal was for the session. The more practice you have, the more quickly you will return. Because we are human we will need to work through these steps with some regularity. When we become really well practiced, we will be able to go through these steps within a few breaths. This allows us to get back on track without jeopardizing the mediation, thus maintaining the core values of the session as well.