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From Dr. Jochem

Disputes happen. Disagreements between parties are a part of everyday life. Sometimes the nature of the dispute is relatively minor—the classic example being the neighbor's barking dog, although this may not seem a "minor" problem if you happen to be the affected neighbor. At other times the dispute is deeply profound, as in the case of dissolution of a marriage.

The formal management and resolution of disputes was once the sole purview and responsibility of the court system. Now, however, there is increased recognition that the skill set possessed by mental health providers can be helpful in resolving disputes in a manner which is more timely, sensitive and cost-efficient than is available through the courts. Methods which are used to settle disputes in a setting other than a courtroom are often grouped together under the umbrella term of "alternative dispute resolution".


Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution offered by Hawthorn Counseling Group. Mediation is a process designed to help parties resolve disputes, always with the goal of reaching an agreement of some kind.

A defining feature of mediation is that the parties themselves determine the nature of the resulting settlement rather than having an agreement imposed upon them by a third party. Mediators facilitate this process by opening or improving dialogue between the disputants, maintaining a position of impartiality, directing the flow of dialogue between the two parties, enabling them to develop an agreement which is realistic, viable and enduring.

Parties in conflict—couples seeking divorce, businesses involved in a dispute, families in turmoil, tenants embroiled in a disagreement with their landlord—often seek mediation as a means of resolving their differences and reaching an agreement.

People typically choose mediation for the following reasons:

Mediation costs are typically far less than the expense of litigation.

Experience has shown that resolution of disagreements through mediation is a much more efficient and rapid process than bringing disputes to court.

While court cases occur in public, the mediation process is private and typically only the outcome—the agreement between the parties in conflict—is public record.

Mediation offers the disputants the opportunity to be creative in crafting an agreement which best meets their respective needs and interests. By contrast, a decision imposed upon the disputants by a third party (e.g., court) may leave neither party happy with the outcome.

Since the agreement has been developed by the disputants it is more likely to be a viable, realistic and durable resolution with which both parties will comply, requiring less enforcement by a third party in the future.

I am a trained mediator and am available to work with a variety of circumstances, including pre-decree or post-decree divorce disputes, family conflicts and business disputes.

Feel free to contact me with any questions you may have about mediation services. Contact information may be found on the Contact page, elsewhere on this website.