"Enhanced Mediation" occurs when the primary mediator refers participating clients to another professional's office to receive specialized help needed to further the work of the mediation. All information is shared by adjunct professionals with the primary attorney mediator, who decides when adjunct professionals are needed.
Depending on clients' ability to communicate, our attorney mediators may refer you to the office of one of our Licensed Mental Health Professionals to mediate the details of an agreement that impacts children, elders, or others. All of our collaboratively-trained coaches are licensed to address communication, emotional and relationship challenges of any kind. Some coaches have specialties in child development, while others may specialize in work with certain disabled populations, for example. An agreement related to such specific concerns may be drafted by the therapist, and would then be sent back to the primary mediator, to be formally written up and included in a broader legal agreement, for clients to review and sign.
Sometimes one client is having a harder time than another with emotionally-charged issues raised in a mediation. The primary mediator may refer that client or clients, individually to one of CCP's Collaborative Coaches for help preparing for mediation sessions. If all clients agree, the Collaborative Coach of one client can communicate freely with the attorney mediator. For example, one client was so filled with self-doubt and so reluctant to assert himself that it was crucial for the mediator to know the client’s struggles if a viable agreement was to be reached. Otherwise, the mediator would have invested time and all the participating clients' resources to reach what they imagined was an agreement, when in fact it would not have been signed at the last minute by the reluctant client. The Collaborative Coach helped to keep the mediation process more informed, while helping the reluctant client process intense fear and grief, clarify needs, and rehearse assertiveness skills enough to participate meaningfully in mediation sessions.
At times, CCP's attorney mediators may send clients first to the office of one of CCP's collaboratively-trained Financial Specialists. The financial data compiled by a Financial Specialist is then sent to the mediating attorney, as the foundation for beginning talks about how to resolve financial concerns going forward. By compiling and organizing all needed financial documents, a single, neutral Financial Specialist may save clients considerable time and money, while increasing participants mutual trust and willingness to work together. Before the primary mediating attorney broaches financial matters directly, if appropriate, the Financial Specialist, in collaboration with the primary attorney mediator, may provide clients with a neutral, detailed picture of the current state of financial matters and concerns.
A neutral Financial Specialist can also ensure that clients, including those less financially savvy, can ask financial questions and fully understand all the financial data at hand, in the presence of other participants. Power imbalances between clients in terms of their experience and knowledge can undermine the effectiveness of a mediation. Because the decision to mediate a dispute is often preceded by a breakdown in trust between clients, it is often cost effective in the long run to have a neutral financial specialist fully explain the finances to a less savvy client, in the presence of other participating clients. The more a less knowledgeable client understands, the less fearful, emotionally reactive and reluctant that client may be, and therefore the more able that client may be to participate effectively and allow the mediation to move towards agreement.