af Torben Voigt
Mediation is often conducted in a dynamic field, where mediator due to the reflective practise has the task to establish a well suited process to fit the parties, dealing with supporting problem solving and eventually a contract between parties.
In this “field of tension”, where arguments are laid down, needs and interests are put forward, often in a rather sensitive context, it will be a challenge to the mediator to keep calm and with a very precise balance be present in the “here and now”, an in the same moment be able to reflect on his own practice while doing so. Regarding the frames for mediation, including mediators introduction of the “rules of the game” i.e. the expectation about party writes down in silence while other talks, separation of parties, the use of separate meetings and “time-outs”, is rather some of the technicalities that could be used during mediation. But is this, seen from a process perspective always the best for the parties involved? Could it be so, that the frames put forward, and the tools used, in reality is mediators own need for control, or rather, – fear of losing control with the process?
The presented master thesis is an investigation to see if there is any connection between mediators own (inner) conflict dynamic, understood as an intra-psychic defence against fear, that might come into play during the mediation process, and the extend of, – and the type of control mediator uses during the mediation.
To conduct such an investigation there has been made a design, consisting of a number of qualitative research interviews, supplemented with a personality test (NEO PI-R) and a total of 8 respondents (mediators) has given data to enlighten any given connection. The respondents shows during the interviews, that they are mediating within the frames of the “reflective model”, and with a flow divided into certain fazes, – all of them originally taught to do so.
Put in a conflict dynamic perspective this investigation shows among other findings, that a professional knowledge, sometimes affects the mediation frame from a reflective practice to – at best, a narrow evaluative frame, and in some cases to counselling. This investigation shows that the projective pressure from the parties, as well as the respondent’s former professional background can introduce a different frame for the on-going mediation as a result of mediators defence pattern; “negotiation”, “challenging”, “avoiding” or “attacking”.