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.



Conflict is a universal feature of human groups. This has been so throughout recorded history and is just as likely to be true in the future. Furthermore, this tendency toward conflict holds across all known groups, from family and religious or cultural groups to business and state or government systems. Such universality suggests that conflict is rooted in differences (Moore, 1996, pp. 26–27). Differences in feelings and relationships. Differences in values and principles. Differences in information and misinformation. Differences in interests and present or future goals. Differences in power, authority, competitive urges, and psychological states. In coming together in groups, participants carry their differences into their relationships and, in so doing, ensure the inevitability of conflict (Rubin, Pruitt, & Kim, 1984).

The fact that social ...

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