How Does Mediation Work?

Calgary Mediation and Conflict Resolution


Just before the Christmas holidays I sat down with Dr. St. Pierre (Shannon) in her Calgary office to find out how mediation services work. A lot of people in Calgary are going through some kind of dispute with a neighbour, family member, business partner, or other party. This transcript is the beginnings of conflict resolution.

D is my name (David) and Shannon is S.

Imagine this taking place over the telephone.

D:  Hi, I have a problem  with my neighbour – here’s a real asshole, can you help me?
S: Do you want to reach an agreement with your neighbour?

D: I like to sue him but I’m not sure – he’s a lousy neighbour – stuff up against my fence, dirt blowing around. If I sue him maybe things get worse.
S: Would you like for use to meet and try to work out the problem?

D: Should I sue him first?
S: Do you want to fight with him or solve the problem?

D: Solve the damn problem.
S: Let’s set a meeting.

D: How do I get him in?
S: Ask him to come so we can find a way to solve this?

D: Is that going to work?
S: Usually.

D: What problems could we run in to?
S: You always get some consensus. Some things almost always get solved.

D: Is there anything you need to know to help me better?
S: You should know the cost? It’s usually $300 an hour for mediation.

D: How much time are you going to need to fix this problem?
S: Give me a couple sessions? 2 hours. I need time to build a process that will work for both of you.

D: Is there anything more I need to know?
S: Since you may have been frustrated for a while it is hard to see solutions – is there a chance you feel are seeing problems and not solutions? Let’s get you and your neighbour together and find a process that will bring a solution to you both.

D: Thanks Shannon. When can you see me? …