Mediation focuses on any sort of dispute between two or more parties. The mediation I offer is focused on child-rearing and family re-organization, elder care, end-of-life discussions, and parent-child disputes. However, the range of disputes which can be addressed in mediation ranges widely, included partnership problems and problems within organizations.
The number of sessions needed and the amount of time between sessions depends largely on the nature of disputes and must be determined on a case-by-case basis.
Sessions are usually one hour and 50 minutes. The cost of mediation is billed at an hourly rate,. Phone consultations longer than 5 minutes, and summaries of agreements and report writing, are billed at the same rate, to the nearest 5 minutes.
I do not mediate financial issues. I do not mediate cases which are currently in court, or which require reports to the court. Only an attorney can provide legal advice, prepare or file court documents.
Structure of the meetings
Generally, parties meet together, especially in the beginning of the process. Under some circumstances, participants will agree to meet with the mediator or counselor separately (in mediation this is sometimes called caucusing).
In general, it should be assumed that information communicated to the mediator individually will be shared with other participating members. However, there are occasions when the mediator or counselor receives information which does not compromise the mediation process, or is relevant to the process, and the sharing of which will likely not facilitate the process. In those instances, the mediator may not share that information with all participants. In either instance, professional ethics require that a psychologist use her best judgment so that such information is shared or not shared in ways that are helpful to all members of the family.
The decision for the mediator to meet with children or other third parties should be made carefully, and with the agreement of all parties, and with the understanding of all parties about the purpose of those meetings.
Types of mediation
Private mediation is confidential by statute: information shared in the course of mediation will not be shared by the mediator with those outside the mediation without the permission of all parties.
Mediation is a process of resolving disputes without litigating them, and mediation is not preparation for litigation. Mediation requires candor. It is most important that all information concerning your situation be available to all participants.
Confidentiality in mediation
Confidentiality in 'closed' mediation operates identically to confidentiality in psychotherapy (see the psychotherapy section for a description). However, in addition, all parties to the mediation are precluded from revealing to the Court in filed documents or orally the substance of discussions in closed mediation.
In 'open' mediation, the mediator is released to communicate a recommendation to the court.
Mary A. Duryee, Ph.D. 2014 San Francisco Bay Area Psychologist and Mediator PSY 7975