Any space where people live is a place where disputes occur which can hinder relations: whether they are in a family, an organization, a neighbourhood or a school. Mediation offers the possibility of opening a space for dialogue to manage problems and the ability to analyse situations in various areas of our society.
Mediators come from different university backgrounds which gives diversity to the viewpoint of conflicts and the basic way to solve them. Architect mediators involved in conflicts that arise in the management of land subdivision or urban problems; psychologist mediators that help disputes that occur within work teams or families going through divorce; medical mediators who work on coexistence in clinical spaces, journalist mediators involved in conflicts that arise in a neighbourhood; therefore many professional mediators work in various fields of our society, from sports clubs to government teams.
Only interdisciplinary training in mediation can guarantee professionals able to intervene in the diversity of situations between individuals and/or groups who have and will have to resolve situations. Mediators are formed in concepts arising from negotiation, communication, coaching, interpersonal psychology, law and anthropology. This allows them to have a broad view of the field of intervention.
Likewise, they should shed previous “professional structures” to incorporate a different way of doing and being as professionals.
Mediation is not more of the same; it is a way to manage and analyse conflicts differently. It is to overcome the paradigm of law, to know who is right, who is good or bad, who tells the truth or lies, to propose entering the paradigm of coexistence: to discuss concerns, interests, needs to be exchanged in an area of safety and confidence that only a trained mediator can provide. It is for this reason that people who enter the “world of mediation” say they know a different method for understanding disputes and how to analyse conflicts, where the protagonist is not the professional but the parties involved.
We live in a paternalistic culture where it is assumed that the leader knows. That whoever has a “superior” role should organize and propose. Mediation leads to a paradigm shift in the sense that the protagonist is the individual with the professional mediator working for co-ownership and involvement in the management and decision making of the person involved. Thus, the mediators involved with work teams to improve the working environment and manage difficulties; in situations where you only money has to be discussed to avoid entering the dynamics of bargaining to find more comfortable and acceptable pathways for the parties; in families that must reorganize after the decision of adults to divorce; in residential communities that must prioritize a safer and calmer way to live, etc.
Mediation training is a challenge, because it is to understand, to operate and be professionally different from the known. Bachelard (1938) spoke of the ideological obstacles that have permeated science, such as the individualistic vision of man (rather than a social perspective), of the instinctivistic concept (instead of a linking concept) and, above all, the acceptance of formal logic as the only possibility.
E. Pichon Rivière said that in the training of a new profession must overcome epistemological obstacles that occur in the production process of a different scientific knowledge. To overcome them involves being open to new knowledge, overcoming beliefs about “truths” that we carry and that make our life easier. But the mediation student must also develop what Mss. Klein called curiosity for learning, love of learning, the epistemophilia.
Encourages the overcoming anxiety of the new, leaving the comfort zone of the previous profession and entering the challenge of learning to help others understand what they live, what they know about them, others and their conflict situation. Help bring about changes that will make life easier and dream of possible scenarios. Mediation brings an opportunity to enter a productive path only if we know how to give confidence, credibility and empathy. Skills that mediators acquire in customized and serious training.
Our teaching/learning model
Learning mediation occurs in classroom interaction, analysis and training cases and in subsequent reflection after practical sessions accompanied by professional mediators. We ensure that the student understands mediation as part of their personal projection of his/her working life, questioning the established, accompanying on innovative projects as a base for training (in mediation there are still many open fields).
Our participants have a tutor who accompanies them throughout the course in the development of this professional role, a team of mentors who are professionals who teach what they do, with training which combines skills and knowledge from different fields (law, economics, management, psychology, sociology, etc.).
Creating a learning path in various forms: classes, online modules, conferences, workshops, practice in different countries, accompanied by trainers who are closely linked to the world of employment mediation. They say that Christopher Columbus said: “You can never cross the ocean until you have the courage to lose sight of land”. Only trust and tranquillity allow us to embark on this wonderful adventure that is mediation. The teaching learning model at UPF makes it possible.