Source: (2006) In, Harrman, Margaret S., editor, Handbook of Mediation: Bridging Theory, Research, and Practice. Blackwell Publishing pp.260-274

When two people enter into informal negotiations of any kind using personal power of persuasion and logic, each attempts to influence the other to his or her point of view. When this takes place in the more formal, restrained context of mediation, the stakes for exercising such persuasive personal power are higher. However, when the context is child custody mediation –which arguably may be considered one of the most intense contexts of negotiation – and each participant-parent feels that he or she is negotiating to maintain his or her relationship and connection with their child, the stakes escalate exponentially. Parents are vulnerable and filled with fear in many ways. The thought of negotiating their relationship with their child feels like a threat to their very survival. (excerpt)