Mediation - More Harm Than Good?
It would be good to think that a responsible mediator, counsellor or impartial observer working with parties involved in a dispute or misunderstanding would be helpful in a reasonable proportion of situations.
As one might expect, experts tend to polarise - even in the field of mediation.
When problems relate to personal feelings and family situations, it is not going to be easy. Through watching Neighbours from Hell or being unfortunate yourself, you'll know that neighbours are not always terribly neighbourly - in fact terrible is an apt description.
Regarding allegations of abuse within the family, scroll down to the section on Counselling or Quackery (William Burgoyne) with reconciliation approaches to try from Mark Pendergrast's book Victims of Memory. A search on Google or Amazon will show a range of publications and views on mediation in general, or on specific aspects or approaches.
Narrative mediation sounds as though it could help here. People may also have to learn to accept a big difference in opinion over what actually happened, and to leave some issues in moratorium or a no-man's-land without resolution for the foreseeable future.
Before Forgiving: Cautionary Views of Forgiveness in Psychotherapy ed. by Sharon Lamb, Jeffrie G. Murphy
Family Therapy in Britain ed. by Eddy Street, Windy Dryden
Forgiveness and the Healing Process: A Central Therapeutic Concern ed. by Cynthia Ransley, Terri Spy
Secrets in the Family by Lily Pincus, Christopher Dare
The Secret Life of Families by Evan Imber-Black
The Trouble with Blame: Victims, Perpetrators and Responsibility by Sharon Lamb
You Can Go Home Again by Monica McGoldrick
I Thought We'd Never Speak Again: The Road from Estrangement to Reconciliation by Laura Davis 'maps the reconciliation process through first-person stories of people who have mended relationships in a wide variety of circumstances. In these pages, parents reconcile with children, embittered siblings reconnect, angry friends reunite, and war veterans and crime victims meet with their enemies... Davis explains how people can make peace in relationships without necessarily forgiving past hurts.'
Note: Laura Davis co-authored The Courage to Heal: A Guide for Women Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse. Although it has been helpful to survivors of abuse, it has recently been the subject of controversy. We feel the views and research in I Thought We'd Never Speak Again are worth considering.
If you have suggestions to make on how people may proceed - with or without help from outside, then please do!