Transformative Mediation


You’ve decided to divorce, but you know you’ll see your partner again. Perhaps you share children, or you’ll work together in a business you started when you were married. But you can’t finalize your divorce because you don’t agree on a few core concepts. Transformative mediation could be right for you.

What is Transformative Mediation?

Any mediation is a conversation between two parties who don’t always agree. A transformative mediation involves an innovative approach to that talk. Unlike traditional mediation that focuses on quick solutions, transformative mediation is a process where a mediator acts as a coach, guiding both parties through conversational techniques to help them communicate clearly and develop a deeper understanding of each other.

The transformative mediator uses the following techniques:

  1. Reflecting: The mediator listens and then repeats either the content or the tone of the person’s words.
  2. Summarizing: The mediator recaps each party’s views by emphasizing core points.
  3. Questioning: The mediator asks questions to help couples communicate clearly or understand one another.
  4. Checking: The mediator asks questions to help partners come together.

How Does Transformative Mediation Work?

Couples enter transformative mediation due to conflicts blocking a divorce. They enter the process with a list of topics to resolve, and each one is the center of attention at some point. The mediator aims to help people acquire the skills needed to make constructive changes and communicate clearly.

The transformative mediation process typically involves the following steps:

  1. Introduce the Topic: The mediator sets the stage by introducing the topic to be discussed.
  2. Propose a Solution: One party proposes a potential solution to the issue at hand.
  3. Clarification: The mediator asks questions to ensure both parties understand the proposed solution.
  4. Discuss Pros and Cons: The other party is given an opportunity to discuss the pros and cons of the proposed solution.
  5. Facilitate Discussion: The mediator encourages calm and collaborative communication during the discussion.
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The goal is not to push both parties to agree immediately, but rather to coach them in collaborating skillfully. The lessons learned during transformative mediation can be applied to handle other difficult conversations in the future.

The Main Goal of Transformative Mediation

A typical mediation aims to help a couple settle difficult issues to end their marriage amicably. Transformative mediation, on the other hand, focuses on skill-building as the main goal. Mediators want their clients to improve their relationships so they can work together in the future.

For example, couples who share custody of their children and will need to make decisions regarding their children together might benefit greatly from this coaching.

Pros and Cons of Transformative Mediation

Like any approach, transformative mediation has its pros and cons:


  1. Skill-building: The main benefit of transformative mediation is the opportunity to improve communication skills, leading to more supportive conversations between spouses.
  2. Future Collaboration: Transformative mediation aims to create a stronger foundation for future collaboration between partners.


  1. Not Goal-Oriented: Transformative mediation is not focused on immediate solutions, which might be a drawback for those seeking quick resolutions.
  2. Possible Need for Court: If no agreement is reached through transformative mediation, the parties might have to resort to court proceedings.

Is Transformative Mediation the Right Option for You?

Transformative mediation can be an excellent option if you anticipate having ongoing interactions with your partner and currently face communication challenges. While it may not solve all your problems, it can pave the way for a stronger future together.


Divorce can be a challenging and emotional process, especially when you anticipate continued connections with your former partner. Transformative mediation offers a unique approach that focuses on repairing relationships and developing communication skills. By engaging in this process, couples may find a more constructive way to navigate their divorce and collaborate effectively in the future.

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  1. What is the difference between transformative mediation and traditional mediation? Transformative mediation focuses on skill-building and understanding, while traditional mediation aims for quick solutions to specific issues.
  2. Can transformative mediation guarantee that we’ll reach agreements on all our problems? No, transformative mediation does not guarantee agreements, but it aims to strengthen communication between parties.
  3. How can transformative mediation benefit couples with children? Transformative mediation can help co-parents improve their communication, leading to better decisions regarding their children’s well-being.
  4. Is transformative mediation legally binding? No, transformative mediation itself is not legally binding, but agreements reached during mediation can be used in legal proceedings if both parties consent.
  5. Can I use transformative mediation if I don’t want to go to court? While transformative mediation is not goal-oriented, it’s a valuable alternative for those seeking collaborative divorce resolutions before resorting to court.

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