As divorce rates rise, family mediation represents an alternative way of making settlements without involving an already overburdened judicial system. This book presents a discussion of the current North American trends in the burgeoning field of family mediation by featuring both a review of the literature and a model for family mediation practice. The practice model presented here, Therapeutic Family Mediation, stresses an ecological perspective, and considers the feminist critique of the mediation process. The authors also address mediation's role in the important issues of joint custody, ethnicity, and child protection. Future directions in family mediation are examined in the final part.
Proponents of structural models of mediation recognize that a crucial client task is the negotiation of issues in dispute, without which there can be no agreement. Proponents of therapeutic models of mediation, ourselves included, recognize that there are relational prerequisites without which fair negotiation, and thus agreement, is impossible. Accordingly, they focus as much on relational processes as on negotiation outcomes. They also realize that in the absence of these prerequisites, negotiation is a waste of time, with referral for therapy or to the court better options than mediation.
Part II examines one such model, Therapeutic Family Mediation (TFM). On one level, what follows is conventional in all descriptive accounts of a model. That is, chapters 4 and 5 provide an account of ...