Frequently Asked Questions about Mediation

Mediation is a voluntary, collaborative, confidential process by which people who are in conflict resolve their disputes peacefully, with the help of a highly trained, neutral, conflict resolution professional.

No. As a mediator, I help you find your own solution to your conflict and will never take sides. The mediator is not a judge or a jury and will not issue a ruling, decision, or verdict of any kind. I will remain strictly neutral throughout the mediation. 

Yes. Mediation is a confidential process. I will not disclose anything that is discussed in the mediation to anyone without the written permission of all the participants. Participants will be required to sign a confidentiality agreement as a condition of mediation. Statements made during mediations cannot be used for or against any of the participants in future proceedings such as hearings or trials. 

Yes. While mediation is a confidential process, there are some situations when I may disclose statements made during a mediation, such as: (1) when I witness, or have reason to believe, that a Participant in the mediation is a threat to him/herself, or any other person, or to the property of others; (2) when I witness, or have reason to believe, that a child is at risk or endangered pursuant to the child protective protocol of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania; (3) a fraudulent statement or document is presented in mediation and relied upon by a Participant in reaching an agreement; or (4) a Participant institutes a suit or ethics complaint against me as relates to the mediation and I need to disclose information from the mediation for my own defense.

No. Although I am a licensed attorney, I do not represent any of the participants and you should not rely on anything I say as legal advice.

As a mediator, I am ethically bound by the Model Standards of Conduct for Mediators and Recommended Guidelines adopted by the Pennsylvania Council of Mediators. ( The cornerstone of these standards is the obligation to remain neutral and impartial throughout the mediation and to always treat the participants with respect and fairness. Ultimately, it will be up to the participants to decide whether I lived up to this standard and they will have the opportunity to provide their candid feedback during and after the mediation. 

It depends. Relatively straightforward disputes between two participants can often be resolved in as little as two hours. Very complex mediations involving numerous participants and multiple issues often require several sessions spanning many hours over several days. Each mediation is unique. I will do my best to keep the process going as long as necessary to meet the needs of the participants. Participants are always free to withdraw from mediation if they feel the process can no longer meet their needs. Similarly, I would terminate the mediation if I felt the process was  no longer meeting the participants’ needs.

Mediations can be in person or virtual depending on the needs of the participants and the mediator. Mediations will be conducted virtually when doing so is recommended by federal, state or local health authorities during the CoVID-19 pandemic. When those authorities allow for in-person mediations, we may convene in person at a mutually convenient place and time. 

No. To maintain confidentiality and privacy, I will not record the mediation sessions and will not permit the participants to do so.

Mediation is always voluntary. Participants may terminate the mediation at any time, for any reason. While I may encourage participants to continue with mediation, I cannot and will not attempt to force it. The mediation will remain confidential even if a participant or I elect to terminate it.

If you reach an agreement through mediation, I will help you memorialize it in a written document called a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). This document will help you understand what you have agreed to and to fulfill your commitments to each other going forward. If, after the mediation, one participant feels the other has failed to honor the MOU, the participants may return to mediation to try to resolve this dispute. Participants should note that the MOU might not be enforceable in court and might not be admissible in subsequent administrative hearings, court proceedings and other such venues.

I will ask each participant to complete a confidential questionnaire prior to the mediation that only I will read. The questionnaire will ask about the nature of the dispute, the participants’ underlying interests and alternatives, what the participants have tried to do to resolve the dispute, and what the parties understand about each other’s interests and perspectives. It will also ask what the participants hope to accomplish in mediation. Participants will find it helpful to think about these questions beforehand. The mediator will not share this document with the other participants.

Please notify me in advance of the mediation if you require accommodations. I will do my very best to provide those accommodations whenever possible.

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Many people today agree that we need to reduce violence in our society. If we are truly serious about this, we must deal with the roots of violence, particularly those that exist within each of us. We need to embrace ‘inner disarmament,’ reducing our own emotions of suspicion, hatred and hostility toward our brothers and sisters.”

Dalai Lama XIV

The most tragic cause of social disharmony is when the speed with which people find mistakes of others outweighs their simple belief that they too are infallible!

Israelmore Ayivor

Each conflict is self conflict.

Raphael Zernoff

The worst battle you’ll have to fight is between what you know and how you feel.

Turcois Ominek

During the flames of controversy, opinions, mass disputes, conflict, and world news, sometimes the most precious, refreshing, peaceful words to hear amidst all the chaos are simply and humbly ‘I don’t know.

Criss Jami

Asking why you should retaliate often solves the problem better than retaliation itself.

Innocent Mwatsikesimbe

We usually learn from debates that we seldom learn from debates.

Mokokoma Mokhonoana

The world is an arena where things represent things. It is a stage where the same thing is seen from different lenses as a different thing.

Ernest Agyemang Yeboah

Before reacting to any conflicting situation in life. Ask yourself a simple question: ‘You want to be happy or you want to be right?

Aditya Ajmera

Conflict occurs everywhere except in the cemetery. Everyone experiences conflict except the dead. Thankful for being alive…

Assegid Habtewold

History is littered with the wars everybody knew could never happen.

Enoch Powell

We seldom learn much from someone with whom we agree.

Mokokoma Mokhonoana

We fight because we fail to understand why really we fight.

Ernest Agyemang Yeboah

Conflict is not necessarily bad. If you can avoid taking conflict personally, it is actually a way to get better decisions and better results.

Sonali Sinha

You can teach people everything except how to get along.

Marty Rubin

Real conflicts between two people, those which do not serve to cover up or to project, but which are experienced on the deep level of inner reality to which they belong, are not destructive. They lead to clarification, they produce a catharsis from which both persons emerge with more knowledge and more strength.

Erich Fromm

Half of the conflicts in your head get resolved when you seek to understand instead of seeking to be understood.

Nitya Prakash

They began to fight, ’cause they didn’t know each other’s stories.

Jaco Strydom

You can observe a lot by just watching.

Yogi Berra

The source of all the conflicts in the world is in trying to convince everyone that you’re always correct.

Mwanandeke Kindembo

People may not remember what you said, but they will remember how you made them feel.

Maya Angelou

Discord is harder to end then to begin.

Edmund Spenser

Ten per cent of conflict is due to difference of opinion. Ninety per cent is due to wrong tone of voice.

Ritu Ghatourey

It is a fact that the bitterest contradictions and the deadliest conflicts of the world are carried on in every individual breast capable of feeling and passion.

Joseph Conrad

In some ways, we will always be different. In other ways, we will always be the same. There is always room to disagree and blame, just as there is always room to take a new perspective and empathize. Understanding is a choice

Vironika Tugaleva

Perhaps one day, all these conflicts will end, and it won’t be because of great statesmen or churches or organizations like this one. It’ll be because people have changed.

Kazuo Ishiguro

What would you have? Your gentleness shall force More than your force move us to gentleness.

William Shakespeare

Do not think of knocking out another person’s brains because he differs in opinion from you. It would be as rational to knock yourself on the head because you differ from yourself ten years ago.

Horace Mann