Integrative Mediation (IM) is a progressive approach to conflict resolution that addresses all aspects of a dispute—legal, financial, psychological, and emotional—maximizing the odds of a more efficient, cost-effective process and the achievement of a deeper, more comprehensive resolution. Our approach typically pairs a lawyer-mediator and a mental health professional (MHP)-mediator who jointly attend to all the needs of the parties in helping them to reach a mutually satisfactory and holistic resolution to their dispute. Other professionals, such as financial experts or child specialists, can be brought into the mediation on an as-needed basis.
Unlike the single mediator model, our approach pairs two mediators — one a lawyer, the other a mental health professional — both of whom attend to the emotional, psychological, legal, and financial aspects of a case. Integrative Mediation recognizes the synergistic value of the therapist-mediator and the lawyer-mediator working together co-equally through every phase of the case, addressing all levels of the dispute.
What distinguishes Integrative Mediation from other forms of conflict resolution is its recognition of the central role emotions play in human conflicts, and its holistic approach to disentangling emotional and psychological issues from the legal and financial aspects of a case. Most disputes are a tangled mess of hurt feelings, unconscious motivations, legal positions, and financial concerns. The failure to sort out and address these various components is the chief cause of difficulty and impasse in attempts at resolution. IM takes the position that all legal disputes are human problems as well as legal ones, and recognizes that the best way to resolve such disputes is to disentangle their psychological and emotional as well as their legal and financial facets, and to address each on its own terms.
Integrative Mediation has the following advantages over other modalities:
Choose Integrative Mediation When:
Integrative Mediation Bay Area uses the “integrative team” model, which means that even though each professional has his or her own area of expertise, each is familiar with the domain of the other, and all are trained to work together in a seamless, integrated way. By making sure the professionals are “on the same page,” this approach maximizes team efficiency and harmony, and helps ensure a smooth, efficient, and cost-effective mediation. The attorney-mediator tends to take primary responsibility for providing legal information, ensuring that all necessary legal issues are addressed, describing possible outcomes if the parties were in court, and keeping the process focused and on-track. The MHP-mediator tend to take primary responsibility for facilitating communication between the parties, providing emotional support, surfacing hidden emotional issues and helping the parties to resolve them, and furnishing useful psychological information (e.g., research regarding child development or the effects of divorce on children). Where the parties believe it would be helpful, they can invite a financial analyst to participate in the mediation. In such cases he or she take primary responsibility for explaining different financial options, providing cash-flow analyses and projections, and simplifying complex financial scenarios. In divorce or custody disputes where difficult questions arise regarding children, the parties may elect to bring in a child specialist to the mediation. He or she takes primary responsibility for providing relevant information for assisting in the decision-making process, including interviewing the children.