Human feeling drives decision-making. It is this emotional aspect that converts a conflict of opinion into an intense dispute. Thus, the mediation’s emotional power is the force that can be used to help parties settle their conflicts. Typically, the key goals of the mediator are to ensure a change in mindset on the part of those in disagreement, which can only be accomplished by recognizing the individual characteristics and characteristics behind such conflict circumstances. In such cases, the field of cognitive science offers mediators insight into how they can impact the participants and the way they learn about the dispute, and their opportunities for the solution in the mediation process.
From a psychological context, let’s understand how the mediation mechanism works. Parties show a degree of ego-inflation, which manifests as overconfidence, initially in mediation. Individuals are unrealistically overconfident of the consequences they may obtain. As the negotiating mechanism continues, and the position of the other party comes to light, deflation, and dissatisfaction occur. There is often indignation and outrage at the alleged personal affront. At this point, an impasse can occur. Finally, there is a realistic resolution when the mediation is successful. The sides take a more rational view of the conflict as well as of themselves, and the disagreement is resolved. This is an IDR cycle, explained by the dispute mediation coach, Elizabeth Bader. In this phase, parties usually go into a period of narcissistic inflation, stagnation, and finally, rational resolution at a psychological stage. Thus, explaining how through a vague chain of feelings a technical legal mechanism is regulated.
Some mediators are confident and comfortable working with this level of emotional intensity while others are not. However, there is no escape from the idea that effective mediation involves attention to the psychological processes underlying how individuals perceive, experience, and eventually conduct and make choices since questions and decisions in mediation are ultimately as much about parties as they are about topics
Let’s look at a few points that will give us further insight into how psychology can influence effective mediation.
During mediation, the participants come to the table with profoundly etched images of what happened, embedded in the “documents” that we call stories. These tales do not, of course, include any aspect of what the teller has experienced—the stories are limited narratives of which the teller transmits meaningful details and omits the others. Meaning, however, is subjectively shaped by principles, views, convictions, and allegiance that can differ among individuals. Each group believes that its data collection and analysis are right. The parties also believe the story on the other side is a hoax. Mediators cannot completely reconcile the stories they are narrated, so they need to understand them and for that, understanding the client and how he functions becomes necessary
When we about stories, Ken Cloke, a world-renowned mediator, and a dialog facilitator says that each participant in mediation brings three stories, to the table but shares only one of them. The tale that the parties say is usually the argument of injustice that has happened to them. They are seeking to recruit mediators for their respective interpretations of reality. The second story is usually never told because it causes a sense of guilt and can decrease the willingness of the mediator to rescue. In such a story people themselves are to blame for their misery, possibly because of some other manner they were naive, reckless, too confident, or contributory to the confrontation. The third story is the core or the actual story that explains why the litigant found it necessary to invent the other two stories. The third story is a personal story that caused the narrator to feel unworthy and embarrassed in parts of his psyche. It will include parts that spring up in indignation when the narrator is harassed in vulnerable places. To find the key narrative or the core story of all the events, a mediator must investigate how these individuals are as a person before being a litigant. The activity of people will show and help to identify the strategy to get out of the situation in conflict.
To reach a resolution in mediation, it is mandatory to clarify what the issue is, the participants’ thinking, feelings, and emotions by asking them open questions. In essence, this will allow you to build your case and the central narrative.
It has also been noted that questions of self-identity and self-esteem play an important part in mediation. Often it is said that a party wants “to save face” or that an entity has an “ego” that clouds the mind. Many people directly adopt the disagreement and the product of the mediation represents their identity.
Other accessible psychological constructs include empathy, which allows parties to reconnect with a greater sense of reflective functioning and ability for reflection. Issues of self-identity are present in all facets of human confrontation; mindfulness may provide insight into the individual and the situation. As from space created by the release of anticipation and identification, the resolution had room to emerge.
The most critical advantage of using psychology for the benefit of the mediator is that it assists with innovative ideas. Creative ideas are arrived at whether the parties cooperate in the generation of mutually beneficial outcomes. Where the parties have engaged willingly in the generation of dispute options, the probability of an innovative compromise is very strong. The contention here is that parties usually view it from different viewpoints when they are genuinely interested in seeking solutions to their issues and may end up making adjustments and compromise for the same, which otherwise was difficult.
If mediators may leverage these psychological factors in the process of dispute negotiation, mediation can become a more efficient tool for conflict resolution. So, to summarise, it should be agreed that the disagreement is ever-present and cannot be eliminated, but can be focused on and the mediator’s attitude and position can be of importance to the outcome of the conflict.
AUTHOR – BHUMISHA LODAYA