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.
Family Mediation Practice Skills
Established professions, such as medicine and law, involve a set of practice skills about which there is consensus and an elaborate curriculum to ensure mastery. In a developing profession such as family mediation, this is not the case. There is little consensus about what constitutes an appropriate set of practice skills. Worse, of the texts we consulted in preparing this volume, few provided a list of practice skills, and even fewer described such skills in any detail (see Barsky, 2000, pp. 45–51, 149–157; Boulle & Kelly, 1998, pp. 163–196). It would appear that many authors in family mediation simply assume that practitioners know and have mastered the requisite practice skills and therefore are content to reserve their descriptions ...