The "A" List Of Emotions In Mediation From Mediation From Anxiety To Agreement - Chapter 9 - AAA Handbook on Mediation - Third Edition
Amy L. Lieberman is the Executive Director of Insight Employment Mediation in Scottsdale, Arizona. She has been repeatedly recognized as one of the “Best Lawyers in America,” “Southwest Superlawyers” and “Ranking Arizona’s Top Lawyers” in ADR. She is a Fellow of the American College of Civil Trial Mediators, and an ACR Advanced Practitioner in both workplace mediation and employment arbitration. She serves on mediator and arbitrator panels of the American Arbitration Association, and various other organizations. The author can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
THE “A” LIST OF EMOTIONS IN MEDIATION FROM ANXIETY TO AGREEMENT
Amy L. Lieberman
Going through employment mediation is an emotional experience that brings to the surface pent-up feelings aroused by a conflict in the workplace. Indeed, I often think that the emotions expressed in mediation can be measured by the number of Kleenex the parties ask for during the process. (I keep a large supply handy.) In my practice as an employment mediator, I have observed many different kinds of emotions in both parties, but particularly in the claimant employee. Sometimes it is fear of seeing the person whose actions led to the mediation: (“You mean I have to see my boss at the joint session? He’s the one who did this to me!”); anger because that person is not at the joint session: (“The company didn’t even bring my boss—and he was the main person involved in all this!”); and, frustration: (“Why don’t they just pay us what we ask?”). For employees who have sued their employers, litigation also takes a huge emotional toll. Litigants often describe it as an emotional roller coaster that can go on for years.
Lawyers who represent employees in mediation must understand the emotional aspects of mediation and how emotions can help lead to resolution. Without this knowledge, they will have difficulty assisting their clients in moving through the different emotional stages of the mediation process. This chapter discusses these emotions and when they tend to find expression. It also offers some helpful hints to deal with them.