One of the reasons people benefit from mediation is because their emotions get in the way of rational thinking and behavior when they attempt to resolve matters on their own. In the mediation room, however, the mediator must be skilled and sensitive regarding emotions. Emotions are clues as to what is a deep concern for an individual, but it is not a clear and precise clue. One knows how one feels but it is not always clear how to draw analytical conclusions from it. A mediator can be helpful by doing the following:

If the participants in mediation are having an emotional dialogue in the mediation room, ask them whether they feel that the dialogue is helpful to their goals for the mediation. This will often help parties draw a connection between their emotions and their goals. Or it can help parties shift to a more productive dialogue. Sometimes parties will say “no, it is not connected to any goals, but I would like to get this out before we continue.” That might clear the person’s mind and allow them to focus more clearly.

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