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.

Therapeutic Family Mediation: Practice Principles and Ecosystemic Processes

Therapeutic Family Mediation: Practice Principles and Ecosystemic Processes

Therapeutic family mediation: Practice principles and ecosystemic processes


Following the initial work of Coogler (1978), in the 1980s a spate of publications described various models of family mediation (Blades, 1985; Lemmon, 1985; Moore, 1986). Comparing these models with the knowledge base examined in chapters 2 and 3 supports two conclusions. First, these models consistently emphasize the central importance of negotiation (see also Bahr, Chappell, & Marcos, 1987), which is in keeping with recent evidence indicating that many mediators—though not all (see Sargent & Moss, 1987; Shaw & Phear, 1987)—focus on facts, issues, and positions (Donohue, Lyles, & Rogan, 1989; Kressel, Butler-DeFreitas, Forlenza, & Wilcox, 1989).

Second, these models pay correspondingly little attention to relational variation, either across divorcing couples ...

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