The Oregon Mediation Association
defines mediation as "a consensual process in which an impartial third person assists two or more participants to reach a voluntary agreement which resolves a dispute or provides options for the future. The mediator helps the participants identify their individual needs and interests, clarify their differences, and find common ground."
Mediation is a collaborative process
, and therefore is not based on "giving in", zero-sum thinking, or the compromise of principles. Rather, through dialogue clients work to move past entrenched positions, allowing them to explore possible ways of meeting their mutual needs and interests.
Mediation is voluntary, and no one can be forced to mediate or come to an agreement. Mediation is for people who want to have a say in how their conflict is resolved. Because agreements belong to clients, not mediators or judges, their terms are more likely to be satisfactory to, and followed by, all parties.
Mediation provides an environment of safety
and good faith
in which the participants are the decision-makers.
Mediation is not arbitration
. The parties determine the issues that need to be addressed and the mediator has no authority to render a decision
The mediator does not judge the participants or give them advice
Mediation is not litigation
Mediation is not therapy