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Answers to your questions about mediation

FAQs for CRC

What is Mediation?
How do I make mediation happen?
It sounds expensive. Is it?
Where does it happen?
When does it happen?
How can I tell if mediation is right for me?
How do I convince him/her to come?
I’d like to try working the situation out myself first. How can CRC help?
Are mediation agreements legally binding?What is the difference between mediation and arbitration?
Is mediation the same thing as Non Violent Communication?
Isn’t mediation like counseling?
How can I become a mediator?

What is Mediation?

Mediation is facilitated dialogue between individuals or groups facing conflict. Mediation supports respectful communication and cooperative problem solving.

How do I make a mediation happen?

If you are interested in using mediation to work out a solution that has eluded you, all you need to do is call us at 831-475-6117. We’ll ask you about it, go over various options for inviting the other person to participate, and guide you through the next steps–or you can read more about the mediation process.

It sounds expensive. Is it?

Our process is designed to be affordable. We believe that fees should not prevent people from using our services. It costs nothing to talk to us about your options and explore mediation as a possibility. For some of our programs, there is a fee only if mediation takes place—usually between $90-150 for the whole session. For our workplace mediation program, the fee is $80/hour, and the process generally takes 3-4 hours. In some cases, grants may cover the cost of your session, and we also have a sliding scale based on income.

Where does it happen?

Most of our mediations take place at our offices at 1414 Soquel Avenue in Santa Cruz. In some cases, we may move to another location. For instance, our restorative justice programs happen in local neighborhoods or at juvenile hall. In any case, we will provide you with directions well in advance so you can plan around your session.

When does it happen?

We do not have a set schedule for our mediation sessions. Rather, we find a time that works for the parties involved, whether that is during normal business hours, evenings, or weekends.

How can I tell if mediation is right for me?

Mediation helps all kinds of people. Landlords, tenants, neighbors, family members, parents, teens, housemates, home owners, coworkers, employers, organization members, contractors, business partners, service providers, customers, friends, Romans & countrymen have all benefitted from mediation. As long as:
a) You are willing to participate in a mediation process with the other party
b) You can advocate for yourself (mediators are not advocates)
c) You are up for some give and take–that is to say, that participating is worthwhile 
even if you don’t get the exact result you are looking for
d) You are willing to follow through on the resulting agreement
then you are a fine candidate for mediation.

How do I convince him/her to come?

Mediation is a voluntary process, so we will need to have both of you be willing to mediate in order to proceed. If you think the other party may not be receptive to your invitation, we are happy to contact him or her and explore the situation over the phone. We can ask what is hard about the situation as it is, how s/he would prefer it to be, what the consequences of not finding a solution might be, and why it has been difficult to resolve the situation directly. Then we can explain how CRC can be useful.

I’d like to try working the situation myself first. How can CRC help?

You may find one of our one-day workshops can boost your communication skills enough to be able to talk with the other person in a way that has not yet been possible. Or perhaps another resource in the county can provide you with the information you need to work things out on your own. You can search our resources page or call and ask who else may be able to help. Maybe talking your situation over with someone would help clarify how to proceed. Or maybe you are looking for tips on how to have the pother party understand you want to work things out. If so, a call to our consultation service may help. All these options start with a phone call to our office at 831-475-6117.

Are mediation agreements legally binding?

The agreement that you compose at our mediation is not legally binding. It is more of a “memorandum of understanding.” However, if you both agree to, we can include in the document that you both agree it can be submitted as evidence or taken to a lawyer to convert in to a legal document.

What is the difference between mediation and arbitration?

In both mediation and arbitration, the people involved take their situation to a third party. In arbitration, communication goes from the people involved to the arbitrator, and the arbitrator decides what should happen. In mediation, the people involved talk with the mediator AND each other. The mediator does not decide what should happen, but assists the people involved in deciding on a solution that is acceptable to both parties. Find out more about arbitration.

Is mediation the same thing as Non Violent Communication?

Mediation and Non Violent Communication share some of the same tools and techniques for facilitating communication. In Non Violent Communication, the emphasis is more on self-examination and intimacy in ongoing communication; in CRC’s mediation, we focus on the give and take of communication and on exploring solutions to a particular situation. Find out more about Non Violent Communication.

Isn’t mediation like counseling?

In both mediation and counseling, people have a chance to be heard in a safe, confidential atmosphere. In counseling, that space is used to explore personal issues and deep-rooted or ongoing situations. Some people find counseling to be useful for several sessions, even years. In mediation, the same secure space is used in conjunction with another person to explore a particular situation for which both people want to find a solution. Most people need only one session to work things out; some people find a second is useful. The Conflict Resolution Center uses a maximum of three sessions to work on an issue.

How can I become a mediator?

Many people who take our Community Mediation Training have the desire either to add mediation to their professional repertoire of services or to become a professional mediator. If this is you, then you may already know you are exploring an exciting, dynamic field. Many people who become mediators find that it is much more than a profession; it can be a way to express their fundamental values in an ongoing way.

The people in CRC’s community are evidence of the inspiring people who choose to become mediators. It takes a special person with the right temperament and values to pursue mediation as a successful profession or meaningful volunteer position. As more people with mediation mindsets inhabit our homes, workplaces, and communities, we believe the world becomes a better place. Thank you for being one of those people.

Currently, in California there are no professional standards for becoming a mediator. We imagine this will change sometime in the future; but right now, there is no standard for declaring yourself a mediator.

We at CRC are committed to maintaining high standards for mediation. Our Community Mediation Training provides a great introduction to mediation skills and gives you a feel for the process. It helps you determine if you like the field and want to pursue further training and experience. We believe it takes more than our excellent training to comfortably call oneself a mediator. It’s best to use our training to practice using mediation skills in your current position, or to apprentice under more experienced mediators.
If you have a question about mediation that you do not see answered here, ask it via email [link] After we answer you, we can add it to this page. You’ll help other people with the same question!


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