Wouldn’t it be great in life if we knew what would happen when we give something new a try? If people knew that mediation could help fix a relationship, then I would have more business than I could possibly handle! I have numbers that I have previously shared with you, about mediation helping approximately 75% of those couples who try it. I think the success of anything has to do with the people involved and their level of commitment. The methods are proven to help those who want guidance and are willing to apply themselves. I will not lie to you, it isn’t easy. It takes work and dedication but I think if we’re honest with ourselves, we know that any relationship worth having requires deliberate, daily steps to ensure its longevity.
Doubt and emotional withdrawal creep into relationships when partners become lazy or careless. Mediation is designed to redefine the priorities of a relationship, and to bring in neutral vocabulary so that couples can identify issues in a proactive instead of negative way. Mediation is not the same as psychiatric therapy, which entails a deeper analysis of fundamental personality issues over an extended period of time. Rather, mediation is a program focused on how to move ahead utilizing a practical framework for your ideal day to day family function, in a matter of a few months.
For example, one couple who recently came to see me were looking for help on how to cope with their joint lack of employment. The husband had been looking for a job for many months, and the wife was recovering from an injury but her disability payments had run out before she felt fully recovered. Each person was frustrated with the other for what boiled down to perceived lack of effort – she felt he could try harder to find a job, and he was impatient that she was not yet able to bring income back into their household – when she still had a job to return to. As you may imagine or experienced yourselves, financial issues are the major stress in most relationships. The loss of job income is at the top of the list of marital stress.
Mediation techniques, such as focusing on using nonpartisan language, helped this couple whose communication patterns had broken down. Also, each was given uninterrupted time to state their side, and then the other person could state their side, and so on. As we worked with them over a number of sessions, each person renewed their commitment to restoring income to the household and stop blaming the other person’s shortcomings. We worked with them to brainstorm about alternate ideas for income – since the woman is a nurse, and she didn’t feel physically ready to return to work, she decided to interview for a job with more desk hours such as nursing scheduler, and he agreed to find a part time job while he continued to search for a career job. Career tip: even a part time job can create an important network of contacts which may lead to future career related jobs.
Does the situation above sound familiar to you? If so, we encourage you to contact West Coast Family Mediation Center. Our techniques are proven to help couples and families work through the worst of life’s challenges. Our center is focused on developing realistic solutions for your family’s unique issues and bringing balance back into your lives.
by: Jennifer Segura