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The profession of mediator: questions and answers

marzo 31, 2021

Are you good at resolving conflicts? Do you think your greatest strengths are communication and empathy? Then you may be interested in the profession of mediator or mediator

Educaweb begins today a series of contents that will allow you to know in more detail some emerging professions or difficult to know in depth. For this, it will have specialists who will solve the questions that we consider necessary to guide you properly. On this occasion, Educaweb has had the collaboration of Marta Mozo, Coordinator of the Mediation research group of the Col·legi de Pedagogs de Catalunya (COPEC).

1. What is the profession of mediator?

Mediation offers an alternative tool to manage conflicts where the people involved are the ones who decide what is the best solution, taking into account the situation, the interests and the needs of all those involved. The mediator acts as an impartial third party, applying conflict analysis and communication facilitation techniques, that is, establishing communication bridges between those involved. Mediation aims to influence the better coexistence and the culture of dialogue and peace.

2. What tasks do these professionals perform?

The professionals of the mediation They have a place in different environments and professional fields: community, family, school, penitentiary, penal, health, etc. Its functions are defined around the following axes:

  • Direct action in conflict management between two or multiple parties (the mediation table).
  • Participation actions related to conflict prevention and management.
  • Training related to positive conflict management.
  • Sensitization on the importance of alternative conflict management, the improvement of coexistence and the culture of dialogue and peace.

3. What skills are necessary to work as a mediator?

From the COPEC We think that the mediator must have communicative, social and personal skills. Communication skills, in that it has to facilitate communication between the parties involved, guiding the process towards assertive and positive communication. Even so, the mediation professional must have the ability to identify the key aspects of the information and inquire about them.

Social competences, insofar as we are talking about human relations. The conflicts that are addressed are interpersonal and must be taken into account social skills such as empathy, trustworthiness, emotion management, among others.

Personal competencies, because you have to be a safe person, with the ability to analyze situations and make decisions about the process and the most appropriate interventions in each case.

There are several authors who have developed more specifically what are the competences that a mediation professional must have. For instance, Maria Carme Boqué, with Mediation as a discipline and as a profession. The competence profile of the mediator, or the various deontological codes and published decalogues of good practices.

4. What training is needed?

Training in mediation that can be found in the market is very varied: master’s degrees, postgraduate degrees, certificates of professionalism, medium and short-term courses. This wide range of options can be understood as something positive, because it means that it is a topic that interests and is growing due to the demand it has. On the other hand, it could point out that there is a certain lack of legislation about.

In reference to the training required to access certain jobs, the Mediation and Private Law Center of the Generalitat of Catalunya It does specify the minimum contents of the training courses and which master’s and postgraduate degrees offer approved training for those professionals who want to register in the Mediation and Private Law registers of the Generalitat de Catalunya.

The town hallsIncreasingly, they require master’s or postgraduate training in mediation, although this is not always the case. In professional practice environments in the private sphere, we will surely find a wider range of options that could indicate the need to regularize the minimum training required for the practice of the profession.

5. How important is ethics in training and professional practice?

The ethics and code of ethics they are vital in any profession. In the case of mediation it is even more so. We talk about people, emotions, difficult situations and the repercussions that it can have for people and their environment.

As commented Maria Carme Boqué in the conference ‘The Ethical Nature of Mediation ‘, held on January 20 in Girona, it is very important that we mediators keep the code of ethics in mind and that we practice self-reflection on our actions for constant improvement and good professional practice. Of course, it all starts with training. During the training it is necessary to speak and reflect on the ethics of the profession in order to be aware and acquire the habit.

6. What future does the job of mediator have?

Mediation as profession is still in a phase of growth and definition, despite the fact that, in a way, it could be said that in society it has always existed in one form or another.

We see the future of mediation as something with many forms and possibilities. In fact, it is a necessary profession in the professional environment, educational, community and coexistence environment in general, family, prisons, organizations, etc., because it contributes to the improvement of the coexistence climate and helps to develop social, communication and conflict management skills in the parts that participate in a mediation process.

The figure of the mediator will gradually draw new ways to locate themselves in the different professional and relationship environments, consolidating their presence as the positive effects generated in the context are visualized.

The idea that we understand behind mediation is:

  1. Self-responsibility of my actions and my life: what do I want to do with this situation? Am I still the same? Do I do something to change? …
  2. The action: if you want something to change, you have to act, you have to change something and not wait for others to do it for you
  3. Willingness: you have to want, nobody can force you to dialogue
  4. Empathy and difference: understand that we are all different, that we live and think differently, that what for me is “normal” for someone else maybe not so much. Understand how the other lives, their interests, situation …

In short, take charge of our own and that of others. And, that to live better, we all have to do something.

7. In what lines of research does the COPEC GRM work?

The Mediation Research Group (GRM) COPEC is a meeting space for mediation professionals, collegiate members or people interested in mediation. The GRM works on the basis of 3 axes:

  • Meeting space to share experiences, professional concerns and reflect on one’s own abilities. An example is the supervision and case analysis workshops.
  • Reflection and research on the profession. In this sense, the group carries out several studies to contribute to the development and improvement of the profession. Some examples are the proposals for modifying the regulations that were sent to the Center for Mediation and Private Law when the regulations were published, or the study that we are carrying out this year with which we intend to make proposals to improve the training of professionals of mediation. In the first phase of the study, we analyze which professional competencies are included in the training programs (written document) of the master’s and postgraduate degrees accredited by the Center for Mediation and Private Law. In the second phase, we are asking the mediators what skills are useful or not for the exercise of the profession. We will analyze both information and make training proposals to address the skills necessary for professional practice.
  • Awareness and dissemination of mediation and positive conflict management. Awareness and outreach are essential for change. We come from a tradition of punitive conflict management where a third party tells us what to do. Changing the role of who has the solution, the involvement of the parties in the process, not thinking who is right but how we want our relationship or coexistence to be from now on, all this requires time. In addition, as pedagogues and mediators we have the commitment to walk towards education in and for coexistence, towards the culture of dialogue and peace