Lisa Parkinson, Mediator, Lecturer and Trainer. There are major differences between services which are offered as mediation with objectives, techniques and approaches often contrasting between mediators. This article identifies different breeds of the mediation parentage and analyses the precepts of each. Settlement-seeking mediation is effective where participants want to reach agreement on concrete issues. Transformative mediation encourages participants to gain mutual understanding so they can understand each other's needs, and the focus on reaching a concrete agreement is removed. Family centred, or eco-systemic, mediation is concerned with the family as a whole and family members are encouraged to communicate directly to reach decisions that work for everyone.
Should these identified forms of mediation become established brands, identified to potential participants? Can the different approaches be blended successfully if they are combined appropriately with the particular requirements of the participants in mind? What limitations should there be on the role of the mediator? The article considers all of these questions by way of an analysis of the current approach and a contemplation of what might work more effectively. See March  International Family Law for the full article.