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What is Mediation?

Mediation involves the intervention of a third party into a negotiation process. The mediator is neutral and does not have decision-making authority regarding the possible settlement of the dispute. The goal of mediation is to assist the parties involved in a conflict to reach a resolution that ideally meets the interests of both parties to the greatest extent possible. The mediator helps to manage the negotiation process by:

  • Identifying, clarifying, and exploring the issues and each party's underlying interests around those issues.
  • Managing the expression of strong emotions in a way that is productive and not destructive.
  • Equalizing, to the greatest extent possible, any power imbalances between the parties.
  • Identifying joint interests and agreements in principle.
  • Assisting the parties in exploring and evaluating possible settlement options.
  • Helping to "reality-test" possible settlement options against procedural, psychological, and substantive interests, as well as against alternatives to a mediated settlement.
  • Developing and implementing a final agreement.


See Learning Opportunities about Relationships to locate a mediator in Boone County.


Department of Human Development and Family Studies, University of Missouri







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Last update: Thursday, August 21, 2008




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