Overcoming Client Barriers To Mediation

Overcoming Client Barriers To Mediation
Event on 2013-04-29 10:30:00

Would you like to know which words and phrases are more likely to encourage clients to choose or discourage them from choosing mediation? And when you talk to clients about impartiality, what do you think impartiality looks like from their perspective?

The answers to these questions and a few more will be revealed at what I hope will prove to be two innovative and thought-provoking workshops developed by Professor Elizabeth Stokoe after years of painstaking and detailed research among mediation participants. To attend, go to the bottom of this email and click the "Attend Event" button.

Elizabeth Stokoe is Professor of Social Interaction at Loughborough University. She studies social interaction across a variety of everyday and institutional settings. These settings include simulated interaction, neighbour mediation, telephone calls to mediation helplines, classroom education (in higher education), police interrogations, dating, and friendship groups. She has also developed a training method called the ‘Conversation Analytic Role-play Method’ (CARM – see below) and runs workshops with mediators and the police across the UK, as well as in the USA. 

Professor Stokoe has agreed to put together a special workshop for the first time for family mediators. It is limited to only 30 people and the price per ticket is only £35. The venue is the comfortable four star Burleigh Court Conference Centre & Hotel on the Loughborough University campus. For those who would like to travel the day before, overnight rooms are available from £72.00 at http://www.welcometoimago.com

Registration opens at 10.00 on 29 April, with the first workshop commencing at 10.30. There will be a lunch break at 12.30 with the second workshop running from 13.30 until 15.30. Lunch is included in the price. Please let the organiser know of any special dietary needs. 

Entry to the workshop is by ticket only (which you will be able to print from the confirmatory email you receive when you book). The ticket price is not refundable, but tickets are transferable providing the organiser is notified by the original ticket purchaser in advance of the workshop date.

The event does not come with CPD, but delegates can self-certificate.

For satellite navigation to the venue, please use LE11 3GR


 Aims: The aim of the workshop is to enable mediators to understand and overcoming barriers to mediation in their first contact with prospective clients, in both intake calls and in initial meetings. The workshop materials permit discussion and reflection of other mediators’ practices, in a uniquely beneficial way. 

 Objectives: The workshop’s objectives are to explain the findings from research about what encourages and discourages callers and clients to participate in mediation and allow mediators to discern good and bad practice with regards to those first contact conversations. 

 Learning Outcomes: On completion of this workshop, participants will be able to understand: 

·         the status of mediation as an institution, and the problems faced by callers who make contact for the first time;

 ·         what constitutes the best way to explain the mediation process, without putting potential clients off; and

 ·         the best way to make offers of mediation to clients, in ways that make them more likely to say ‘yes’.



Aims: The aim of this workshop is to investigate what impartiality actually looks like in live encounters and what pitfalls are associated with explaining and displaying impartiality. The workshop materials permit discussion and reflection of other mediators’ practices, in a uniquely beneficial way. 

Objectives: The workshop’s objective is to think through impartiality, both as it is explained by mediators to clients, and as it is displayed in mediators’ responses to clients. Based on research findings, participants will be able to understand ‘what counts’ as impartiality, and what does not. 

Learning Outcomes: On completion of this workshop, participants will be able to understand: 

·         the difference between alignment and affiliation in mediators’ responses to clients’ explanations of their dispute;

·         the best way to explain impartiality to clients, and understand clients’ reasons for resisting the mediation process; and

·         in technical terms, what silence does in interaction.

CARM is the ‘Conversation Analytic Role-play Method’. CARM workshops provide mediators with a rare opportunity to scrutinize actual mediation practice in fine-grained detail, and to reflect on, and discern, good and bad practice. All workshops use the same basic procedure, regardless of topic and focus.

The first step is conducted by Professor Stokoe, prior to any workshop, and as part of her academic work: she researches a setting (in this case, mediation interaction), to identity the robust endogenous practices that comprise it.

The second step is to identify, transcribe and anonymize extracts from live recordings that demonstrate the different ways particular actions (e.g., asking questions, summarizing, displaying empathy, silence) are formulated and organized.

The third step is to use animation software to play the audio/video and transcript synchronously. This means that participants ‘live through’ encounters ‘in the moment’, without knowing what is coming next.

The fourth step is to get workshop participants to ‘role-play’ what they might do next to handle the situation. For example, if party A makes a particular sort of comment, how might party B respond most appropriately? Participants either discuss their likely response in small groups, or respond individually by taking the next turn without time for discussion (as would happen in a real interaction).

The fifth step is to play party B’s actual response. Participants then evaluate what party B did, and the workshop moves on. Participants get to see and evaluate different sorts of responses, gleaning ‘best practice’ on the basis of what people actually do and say.

I hope you can join me in Loughborough.



at Wye Room, Burleigh Court Conference Hotel, University of Loughborough

Loughborough, United Kingdom

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