|Mediation and conflict resolution are not subjects about which one can be 'neutral'. Values and concepts such as fairness, truth, power and neutrality etc. will always have a role to play, not just for the parties involved, but also for the mediator.|
The non-model is characterised by being eclectic, though not in the sense that 'anything goes' as long as it works. It is eclectic because it allows for inspiration to be drawn from all the best known mediation models and to use elements of them in practice, since what is of most importance to mediation is the values and assumptions that motivate the mediator and which are developed in the course of the mediation. This means that the non-model is not something external, put on like a coat and taken off again after training; it is internal, concerned with values which are integrated and which are part of the mediator, both in mediation and outside mediation.
This author believes, it is time for mediators to look further than merely discussing skills, techniques and models, and to take up the personal challenge and responsibility of being conscious of the deeper values and beliefs that drive them, and then constantly, during and after each mediation, to evaluate what they did and how they did it. Just as mediators in mediation believe that the ultimate responsibility for reaching a satisfactory outcome to a conflict belongs to the parties, so mediators must be willing to take the responsibility for preserving mediation as a process as unique as it was when they started as mediators.
General knowledge of and understanding about conflicts, and how they are structured and develop, are thus necessary prerequisites for mediators to understand the behaviour both of the parties and of themselves in the face of a conflict and to know how react to appropriately. Thus the understanding of conflicts precedes the chapters on mediation. The book concludes with a chapter which looks at the connection between conflicts at the individual level and at the international level.
Vibeke Vindeløv is trained as a lawyer and psychotherapist and is professor and director of Master in Mediation and Conflict Management at University of Copenhagen. She has written extensively about mediation and conflict resolution and has worked for many years in mediation and conflict resolution as a practitioner, a researcher, a teacher as a volunteer in various NGOs and as both an NGO and an official representative in several international contexts.