Learning & events

Online Masterclass | Relationship mediation: A new opportunity in Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand

with Mieke Brandon and Linda Kochanski

Wednesdays 27 October, 3 and 10 November 2021 | 10.30am-12pm AEDT | 12.30-2.00pm NZDT | Zoom

Relationship Mediation: A New Opportunity in Australia and New Zealand

Separation is not the only option as Legal and FDR practitioners have an Obligation to establish if reconciliation is a consideration for clients who enquire about a separation and may be distraught as their partner has decided to separate. Many may prefer to stay in their relationship, particularly when there are children involved. Are there other ways to re-establish a functional relationship and learn how to treat one’s partner better than your best friend? Referral to relationship mediation could be the first step, for both partners, to learn to share their expectations openly for their ongoing relationship.

‘Relationships mediation’ (also known as ‘marital mediation’) is for those partners who are interested in reconciliation. It is a facilitative future-focused, short-term mediation approach concentrating on the strengths that each partner brings to the relationship. Exploring their hopes to be able enrich their togetherness through exploration of their goals for their individual and joint interests for their future.

Relationships mediation is also for people in committed relationships who are experiencing difficulties and are willing to work through their issues in a collaborative way. It is potentially appropriate for people, regardless of gender, who wish to remain in intimate ongoing relationships, whether married or not married, with or without children.

Objectives of the three Masterclass Sessions:

  • For mediation practitioners to create a safe place for discussions between the partners and learn communications skills to assist them to make self-determinative decisions to stay together, stay married and/or stay living together as a family.
  • For couples to learn that conflict is normal in any relationship and that they can learn new ways of relating that is meaningful, rewarding and respectful, even if ultimately they decide to go their separate ways.
  • While counselling or therapy can assist, relationship mediation is different in that there is no emotional psychological assessment or diagnosis or therapeutic intervention.
  • The focus is for couples to practice positive ways to relate and negotiate their “we, me and family time” so that those issues that create their arguments are replaced by constructive listening and sharing to feel ‘better, best or good enough’ in their collaboration as partners and/or as parents.
  • Even if they were to separate later on they can use these skills to treat each other respectfully as they now have worked out why and how they can separate. This could help couples with children, during the separation process, and their future roles as co-parents.

The aim of Relationship mediation training is for participants to gain:

  • A deeper understanding of participants, in relationship mediation, individual and relational interests and needs.

  • An understanding where each partner is coming from, to help them to grow closer together

  • Resources for Guidelines for behavioural changes to be able to address friction

  • Skills & techniques to assist couples to resolve their differences and establish their own solutions to their disputes.

The how of relationship mediation:

Process: It is a solution-focused short term facilitative process.

It is similar to any family mediation or FDR Intake, premeditation and facilitative mediation, according to National Mediator Standards, ideally no separate sessions, draft agreements, homework, additional session(s), Template for agreements and review period.

Content: Participants address each other regarding:

  • How each contributes to the well-being of the relationship

  • What about their differences and compatibilities?

  • What they are hoping for from the relationship

  • How can partners improve their communication skills to share underlying emotions to get to interests when trying to manage re-occurring disputes within the family.

About the presenters

Mieke Brandon
Experienced mediator, trainer, coach, assessor, supervisor and author

Mieke became a mediator in 1990 and specialised in family and workplace mediation. From 1993 to 2007 she worked for Relationships Australia in Brisbane as a senior supervisor and trainer.

Being self-employed for the last 30 years Mieke has worked for many universities and non-government organisations and now continues her work as a dispute resolution consultant, supervisor, and author.

She says she is now “post-career”.

Mieke has published many articles and presented workshops here and overseas. She is the co-author of Mediating with Families now in its 4th edition 2018.

Mieke is currently a Director on the Board of the Resolution Institute and the Board of Editorial Consultants of the Australasian Dispute Resolution Journal.

Linda Kochanski

Linda started her professional life as a lawyer specialising in Family and Criminal law. This is where she tripped over mediation in the early 1990s, as a better alternative for families in pain over separation. She has mediated since as a private mediator as well as a consultant to panels and community organisations. In the area of relationship mediation particularly Family Law matters.

Linda is both NMAS Accredited and holds registration as a FDRP.

Linda was elected as a Director of the Mediation Standards Board in 2016. In 2018, Linda was FDRP of the Year and ADR Academic in the ADR Awards.

Linda has been involved in mediation training since 1996 and has held the position of Co-Director of Bond Dispute Resolution Centre (2012–2015) and presently is Practice Leader for Dispute Resolution Programs, College of Law. She has been widely published and presents at National and International Conferences on all aspects of family mediation practice and dispute resolution education.

Timing: Please note this session runs from 10.30am–12.00pm (AEDT) and 12.30–2pm (NZDT)

Technology required: Zoom application, PC/laptop/tablet/smartphone, Internet connection, sound/speakers or a headset and an in-built microphone.