Mediation Myth Busters

Early Caucus: Dealing with Stress in Mediation

Traditional facilitative mediation has long been structured as: 1) Joint session, 2) Caucus, 3) Joint session (with additional rounds as necessary). This structure is often found in community mediation settings and was once common in commercial mediation. In recent years, commercial mediation often skips the opening joint session and frequently is conducted entirely in caucus. This change [Read more..]

The Venting Myth

Mediation training has long viewed venting anger as a useful tool for restoring a positive psychological state. This practice has been handed down as received wisdom through several generations of mediation trainers, practitioners, and theorists. Beware, this venting myth can be dangerous Venting negative emotions triggers the physiologic stress response by increasing the level of the [Read more..]

Hear the Mediation Myth Busters Live

Jill and Martha, the Mediation Myth Busters, are presenting at the ABA Dispute Resolution Spring Conference in Washington, D.C. on Thursday, April 5, 2018, 10:00 – 11:00 am.   Our topic is: Staying Neutral in a Biased World: The Neuroscience of Implicit Bias. Humans are not hard wired toward a particular bias but as a [Read more..]

Traditional Mediation Tools Explained by Neuroscience

Mediators have many tools for facilitating an effective mediation. Neuroscience shows how our actions are influenced by stress hormones released when we perceive threats. Understanding the physiological stress response and its triggers helps us see why these traditional tools are effective.   1. Building Trust and Rapport: The stress response is triggered when threats outweigh [Read more..]

Ten Best Practices for Mediators Derived from Neuroscience: Sex and Culture Differences (#9-10)

Biologic differences between men and women result in different reactions to conflict. Normally, men outperform women in seeing a situation from another perspective, but under stress, women outperform men. Culture also influences behavior during conflict.       9. Consider the effects of testosterone levels. Men are subject to daily cycles of testosterone, highest in [Read more..]

Ten Best Practices for Mediators Derived from Neuroscience: Managing Emotions (#6-8)

Strong emotions are common in mediation. Parties often arrive at the session full of resentment and joint sessions can provoke anger, disappointment, or embarrassment. Ignoring strong emotions is risky as it is trigger for the physiologic stress response.     6.Encourage parties to name their emotions rather than labeling them. Mediation training often suggests ways [Read more..]

Ten Best Practices for Mediators Derived from Neuroscience: Managing Stress (#4-5)

Stressors are commonly present at the start of mediation that trigger the physiologic stress response. Stressors include high emotions as well as dealing with an unfamiliar setting or process, meeting an authority figure, facing an adversary, and speaking in front of a hostile audience. When the stress response is repeatedly triggered, hormones build up and [Read more..]

Ten Best Practices for Mediators Derived from Neuroscience: The Start of Mediation (#1-3)

Mediation parties are subject to repeated physiological stress triggers at the start of mediation. The build up of hormones as a result of these triggers can disrupt the mediation process by interfering with a parties’ ability to process information, consider other points of view and make decisions.     Start mediations with a short caucus [Read more..]

Ten Best Practices for Mediators Derived from Neuroscience

We have collaborated for the past five years to find evidence from neuroscience that can help mediators be more effective. Our goal has always been to provide practicing mediators with clear advice on how to improve their skills. Accordingly, we begin by offering our Top Ten Best Practices for Mediators. Future posts will elaborate on [Read more..]

Welcome to Mediation Myth Busters!

Our goal for this blog is to explain how applying neuroscience concepts can improve mediation. While we have given conference and workshop presentations  and published a law review article, we wanted to make our ideas more accessible to a wider audience by breaking them down into small focused topics. Today, we begin by introducing ourselves and [Read more..]