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Mediation: I have so many of these conversations a week….

May 4, 2015

Caller: I heard you are the best.

Me:      Best? At what?

Caller: Telling it like it is. Me and my ex are at court and I want you to do an assessment.

Me:      I don’t provide court involved services anymore.

Caller: But you’re supposed to be the best.

Me:      Well thank you. The reason I don’t provide court involved services anymore is because people are too litigious and neither the process nor the outcome actually resolves the underlying conflict, so while you may get a resolution, the fight still continues.

Caller: So what am I to do?

Me:      I can help you resolve things outside of court.

Caller: But you’re supposed to be the best and I want an assessment.

Me:      If I am supposed to be the best and I won’t go to court, but offer you an alternative, what does that tell you?

Caller: So you won’t do an assessment?

Me;      No. I can offer you mediation though and hopefully resolve things without going to court. Court more often inflames problems and that doesn’t really serve children.

Caller: So you won’t go to court.

Me:      Nope, but I am prepared to help you both resolve whatever is going on.

Caller: But you are supposed to be the best. What if I want you to go to court?

Me:      Sorry – I don’t go to court.

Caller: Even if I pay you?

Me:      Everybody pays me, but there is no payment that is going to change my mind. Parents talking each other down at court just isn’t good for children. Would you like help to resolve your issues instead? I can help you with that.

Caller: No. I want someone to go to court and you’re supposed to be the best and you won’t help me.

Me:      I would be pleased to help you and in a way that is typically better for your children.

Caller: But you keep saying you won’t go to court:

Me:      Yes, that’s true. I help people resolve things without going to court. It’s usually far less expensive and people are more apt to follow their agreements.

Caller: If you won’t help me and you’re supposed to be the best, I just I am going to have to settle for someone else.

Me. If you ever want some help to settle your dispute, it would be my pleasure to be of service. Feel free to call back.

Caller: What are you?

Me:      A social worker.

Caller: What’s that?

Me:      A professional who helps people to get along and/or feel better about themselves.

Caller: My lawyer says I need an assessment?

Me:      Why?

Caller: To fight my case. My ex doesn’t listen and I need an assessment.

Me:      What if the assessment isn’t favorable to you?

Caller: Can that happen?

Me:      Yes. That is why I work with people to resolve issues between themselves because then they have some degree of control of the outcome. That’s why I provide mediation.

Caller: My lawyer says mediation is crap.

Me:      Well, your lawyer may think so, but at the end of the day, this is your life and your decision. I can only tell you that I am available if you want help to settle your issues.

Caller: What do you think I should do?

Me:      What you do is your decision, but to help you with that, why don’t you speak to several lawyers, mediators and collaborative lawyers so that you put together your own views and come to a decision about a service that may be best for you.

Caller: So you’re not trying to sell me on what you do?

Me:      No. not at all. I used to provide services for court involved parents but have decided for myself that those services do not provide the best outcomes for the children I am trying to be helpful to. You don’t have to believe me whatsoever though. Call around to other service providers. Read a bit and come to your own conclusion. If you find someone you think you could work well with, then go with that person.

Caller: I think I want to go with you.

Me:      Thank you, but really, I do think you should speak with others so you feel absolutely confident about your decision. Sometimes it is better to go more slowly down the right path than rush headlong down the wrong path. Feel free to call back if after checking things out, you think I can be of service. Please also share my website with your former partner so that hopefully you can be in agreement as to which service you both want. That could be your first act of cooperation.

Caller: Thanks. I’ll look into this more. Can my ex call you?

Me:     Absolutely.

Give people information and let them decide. BTW – My mediation practice is growing.

I am Gary Direnfeld and I am a social worker.

Gary Direnfeld, MSW, RSW

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Gary Direnfeld is a social worker. Courts in Ontario, Canada, consider him an expert in social work, marital and family therapy, child development, parent-child relations and custody and access matters. Gary is the host of the TV reality show, Newlywed, Nearly Dead, parenting columnist for the Hamilton Spectator and author of Marriage Rescue: Overcoming the ten deadly sins in failing relationships. Gary maintains a private practice in Dundas Ontario, providing a range of services for people in distress. He speaks at conferences and workshops throughout North America.

If your relationship is faltering, then set it as your priority.

Read: Marriage Rescue: Overcoming ten deadly sins in failing relationships.

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