If you’ve never been to a mediation you’re probably wondering what happens at the first session with the mediator. And if the dispute that brings you to mediation is filled with a lot of emotion for some or all of the people involved, you may be feeling the same level of anxiety about a first session as some people feel about going to the dentist for a root canal. So let me help put everyone at ease by explaining what you might expect at the very first session.

Simply put, the first session begins with introductions and ground rules, moves into an explanation of the principles or guidelines for mediation and lays out some suggestions for how to talk to each other and how to listen to each other.

Then everyone will be given a chance to describe what they hope will happen as a result of the mediation, without being interrupted while they’re talking.

Together the parties and the mediator will develop a list of topics to be addressed and determine where to start.

Then the real work begins. More on that in my next post.