Mediation’s Stress-Reducing Approach to Conflict Resolution

Coping with a legal dispute is stressful.

Duh. You probably didn’t need a lawyer’s blog to tell you that.

Any dispute is stressful. Layer in the rules and procedures that go with a lawsuit, and stress level surges. Not only do you have the disagreement to worry about, but now you have to wade through court hearings and paperwork and legalese that you think you might understand, but can’t quite be sure. All of that while bearing the uncertainty before you arrive at a resolution.

Whether you’re struggling with a personal issue (divorce, child custody, etc.) or a business dispute, you may worry about the emotional, mental, and financial toll. For many, mediation offers a less stressful path to resolution, allowing the disputing parties to negotiate the terms of the resolution and work towards a mutually satisfactory outcome. Let’s take a look at some of the ways that mediation can reduce stress during the conflict resolution process in Minnesota.

Mediation Centers on Collaboration

Unlike litigation, mediation promotes collaboration and negotiation between the disputing parties. In litigation, both sides make their cases to the judge, who ultimately decides the outcome. As a result, both parties feel pressured to strengthen their positions by undermining or discrediting one another. Parties often feel like they can’t admit any weakness in their own argument, or acknowledge any merit in the other side’s. The result? You constantly are on the attack or the defensive.

In mediation, there’s no penalty for openness. The process is confidential — what is said in mediation stays in mediation. That allows both parties to say what they think about their dispute without worrying about their words being used against them later. In that environment, the mediator can guide and encourage parties to listen and collaborate. For many people, the collaborative process reduces stress and bolsters a sense of control and empowerment as the parties determine the outcome.

The Mediator Encourages Constructive Communication

That doesn’t mean there won’t be disagreement — even moments of heated discussion — in mediation. You’re there, after all, because you are at odds over something important to both parties. But mediators expect that and are prepared to help the parties work through any conflicts that arise.

Mediators also understand that not knowing what to expect adds to parties’ worry and tension. So at the beginning of the mediation session — or maybe before the scheduled — the mediator will talk you through the process to help all the parties understand their roles and demystify the process. Knowing what to expect can reduce feelings of stress and anxiety, and the parties can trust that the mediator will step in to help them address issues constructively and collaboratively as they arrive.

Participants Determine the Outcome

One of the most significant benefits of mediation is it lets the parties decide what happens. . You know your family, your business, your life, and your dispute better than a judge ever will. Judge’s know that. They also know that as a judge, they are bound by the law and so have limited options in how they are allowed to resolve your dispute. In mediation, you don’t have those limits. You can agree to any solution that makes sense to both parties. That’s power the judge will probably never have.

That’s why most people come out of mediation feeling encouraged, empowered, and more than a little relieved. They may not get everything they wanted when the dispute started, but they have the comfort of knowing the dispute is done and wrapped up on terms they controlled and know they can live with.


Learn more about how the mediation process can help you resolve a legal dispute by calling the Minneapolis office of Rubric Legal LLC today at (612) 465-0074.

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