The questions asked are usually, what is the wait time? and how much does it cost?
What concerns me about these conversations is that the caller is asking all of the wrong questions……
The questions they should be asking are:
How long have I been a mediator? and how many hours have I done?
The current requirements for this qualification are:
- Complete the Family Dispute Resolution course
- Pass the National Standards assessment, which are the basic skills required.
- Participate in 10 hours of supervised mediation.
Yes only 10 hours….. this will be changing next year where it will go up to 50 hours but that’s still not a lot of hours when you consider we are working with people and impacting on theirs and their children’s lives.
Obtain registration from the Attorney Generals Department (A Family Dispute Resolution (Mediator) requirement only)
Once you have done the above you can hang up a shingle and start mediating.
As a mediator with over 10 years experience, having completed in excess of 3000 hours of mediation (I stopped counting years ago), having managed National and Local mediation services, trained, coached, supervised and mentored hundreds of new and experienced mediators, rarely have I found a mediator who I would consider to be competent before 150 – 200 hours of mediation. This is just competent not outstanding at what they do.
Mediator’s often use the metaphor of having a toolbox (extent of their skills), the more experience you have the more tools you acquire and therefore the fuller your toolbox. Basic tools/skills are collected during training however because every situation, every client, every dispute is different, exposure and creativity are the ways in which we add to our toolboxes. The benefit to clients of having an experienced mediator is that they have tools and skills to adapt the process to meet the client’s needs and therefore have a higher rate of success of resolving the dispute.
Consider it like other professions, if I was to take my car to a Mechanic I would want to know that they are qualified and experienced not just qualified, my life is in their hands and I am trusting them to ensure my safety and that of my loved ones. An inexperienced Mechanic may not have the ability to think outside the square to resolve my cars issues and may miss something that an experienced Mechanic would have noticed due to their experience.
You often get what you pay for and cheap and quick may not actually resolve the dispute and potentially could escalate the conflict. You may end up paying twice and taking more time when you need to engage another mediator or go to court.
I understand that not everyone can afford to engaged a private mediator, that is where Federally Funded centres such as Family Relationship Centres are wonderful. They provide a cheaper alternative to private mediation and can have a mixture of new and experienced mediators often with great opportunities for new mediators to learn from their more experienced colleagues. There is usually a substantial wait time for these services however at least you can feel more confident with the skill and experience of the Mediator.
Choosing a Mediator is a very important decision please choose wisely.
If you require any further information on the right Mediator for you please feel free to give me a call on 0438 763 787