Family mediation covers a range of difficult conversations.
It helps families communicate their feelings in a meaningful and effective way.
Separating and Divorcing Couples
Separating and divorcing couples can be the obvious one. However there are a range of difficulties which present in a family, which will benefit from the skills of a family mediator.
The teenage years have their own difficulties. Communication, or more correctly the breakdown of communication, is often presented as the cause. However the cause may be more obscure, and often is found to be both more complex, and simpler, than it seems at first glance. Family mediation, and the assistance of a trained mediator with experience of dealing with teens, and young adults, can often be the key to open up the conversation, to provide clarity, and hope to a family. Parents often do not like what they hear, but hearing it still helps, and the family benefits.
Elder mediation is something we need to talk about, because we are an aging population. According to The Alzheimer Society of Ireland there are currently 55,000 people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Research shows that more than 25% of carers are themselves elderly. 70% of carers experience financial strain and two thirds find the job of caring for someone with Alzheimer’s completely overwhelming at times,” (Prof Eamon O’ Shea, director of the Irish Centre for Social Gerontology (ICSG) at the NUIG) Source: (http://www.irishhealth.com/article.html?id=13433)
Human rights are enshrined in various tranches of Irish Legislation, and under various UN Conventions to which Ireland is a party. The Assisted Decision Making – Capacity Act 2015 further attempts to protect the rights of a person. The slogan adopted by organisations such as Sage Ireland ‘Nothing about you without you’ points the way.
Helping Families Communicate
Who is helping the families to communicate their feelings, the elderly person to express their wishes, and the carers to find support within the wider family? Decisions need to be made about the essentials of daily living with an older person with dementia, often in an moment, help may be required to put a plan in place to the satisfaction of all. These moments can be very difficult for families. Family mediation will help, many have specific training in elder mediation and are aware of the possible conflicts. Mediators are trained to manage difficult conversations.
Rooting out the hidden problems, identifying all of the issues, clarifying, challenging perceptions, putting the issues into order of priority, creating an agreed agenda, starting the discussion, and keeping it on track is what a mediator knows what to do. Facilitating the discussion in such a way that everyone is heard – and so that the person with dementia is included as far as is possible. ‘Nothing about you without you’ is a good place to start!
“Difficult conversations are gut wrenching and stressful and confusing. It is a struggle to think clearly through the fog of emotions and uncertainty. Talking about it makes it real. The decisions made may impact the family. Change is difficult. It may feel easier to simply avoid these topics and hope for the best. When it’s your loved one, it’s not just a conversation”. (http://www.mediate.com/articles/SeredayA1.cfm).
Court Based Mediation
A court based mediation service is available through the Family Mediation Service in six locations throughout the country. (Dolphin House in Dublin, which is a walk in service, Nenagh, Clonmel, Limerick City, Cork City and Tralee).
“Going to court is not pleasant and may increase the difficulties between you and your ex-partner. Instead of going to Court you and your child’s other parent could attend a mediation information session in one of the district court based offices and proceed to a joint mediation session” See more on the Court Based Mediation page of the Legal Aid Board website.
This is encouraged by the Court Services, and supported by the Judges of the family courts. Though it is not always possible to resolve every issue in mediation, even partial agreements can have benefits for a family in distress, and their children.