Source: (2006) In, Harrman, Margaret S., editor, Handbook of Mediation: Bridging Theory, Research, and Practice. Blackwell Publishing pp.309-323

In this chapter, I offer advice to mediators on how to deal with strong negative emotions before they hijack either party’s ability to problem-solve their differences. First, I explain common ways in which strong emotions can jeopardize mediation success. Second, I propose three diagnoses about why mediators often fail to deal effectively with parties’ strong emotions. Third, I suggest strategies to address each of these diagnoses. In the final section of the chapter, I return to the opening story about the conflict over the poplar tree and illustrate the use of this chapter’s strategies in dealing more effectively with the conflict. This chapter argues that the T0 phase of a mediation as described in chapter 2 of this book – before parties meet face to face – is an opportune time to reduce strong emotions and to strengthen the parties’ relationship. (excerpt)