Family mediation is challenging work requiring a commitment to the development of professional skills and practice, an ability to reflect upon and enter into critical analysis of performance and an ability to produce professional documents to tight timescales. Family mediation requires personable, articulate and assertive individuals who have good listening skills and practical experience of working with individuals and couples.
We are very proud of the Family Mediation Standards Board approved foundation training course we provide to new mediators, and of the many wonderful mediators who have trained with us using our robust model of interdisciplinary mediation. If you are interested in becoming a family mediator with FMA, you will first need to think about the following questions.
Why become a family mediator?
Because it’s the hardest, most rewarding thing you’ll ever do. It’s a real opportunity to make a difference, especially in the world of family disputes, where everyone acknowledges the old adversarial system is broken.
Family mediation has now been around about forty years, and it’s really entered the mainstream. Judges and Government encourage it, but, more importantly, it really works. It’s a very rewarding way of combining existing knowledge and expertise with new frameworks and skills. Those with backgrounds in therapy, law and social work are likely to have the right experience, but not exclusively so.
Family mediation has grown up. It is now recognised as a separate, regulated profession. It works best, and is most stimulating, when it is multi-disciplinary – and that is where the Family Mediators Association is pre-eminent, in its training and its community of members.
It can be hard to make a career in Family Mediation, and it works well, certainly in the early years post qualification, in conjunction with other employment, but by joining a community of like-minded people you can give yourself a great start. The FMA Foundation Course, one of the first to be successfully audited by the Family Mediation Council, is the best starting point. FMA members are justifiably proud of what we offer our clients and their families, and the contribution we make to our evolving community.
It helps if:
- You have some connection with other mediators in your community
- You have existingrelated skills and professional qualifications
- You have some existing aptitude in the world of conflict resolution
Why some of our more experienced family mediators are mediators:
- Because I can make a difference to couples who are stuck!
- Because it’s good to support people who want to be able to resolve issues
- Because I want to help people take control of their lives and responsibility for their families
- Because I know there are better ways to resolve conflict and help people move on with their lives
- Having helped a family member to stop spending thousands on a battle between him and his ex- I thought that training could help me to help others do the same thing. It worked
- Because sometimes I can help people who need help
- Because it’s the most inventive, humane and creative thing I do
- The world needs mediators
- Conversation is the start to everything
- It provides dignified, humane answers to conflict, and
- “partnership and cooperation are the only ways to advance our common humanity” (Barack Obama)
So we invite you to:
- Contact us to find out more!
- Come and join us!
Are you eligible to train as a family mediator?
Most candidates who train as family mediators are qualified members of the family law, social work, social science or therapy/counselling professions. Such candidates must be educated to degree level or equivalent and hold a recognised qualification. Candidates must have been qualified for at least three years in one of the above areas and at least 50% of their workload must have been working within family law or working with families and/or couples.
The FMA is a multi-disciplinary community and positively welcomes applicants from other professions. Candidates who are not members of the family law, social science or therapy/counselling professions may also be eligible via our ‘discretionary route’. This route is aimed at those who can demonstrate that their particular professional experience means that they are as suitable to undertake family mediation training as the professionals listed above. All applications will be considered by the training panel made up of professional family mediators, who will be concerned to ensure that the candidate will be able (a) to process and deliver complex legal information, (b) respond sensitively to the range of situations that families going through separation and divorce may face; and (c) provide structured assistance to such families.
The Family Mediation Council Standards also require all applicants to demonstrate the ability to work with conflicts and manage interpersonal relationships at a s professional level, gained either through typically two or three years’ experience as a professional dealing with families, or similar amount of time as a mediator or non-adversarial dispute resolution practitioner in another field.
All candidates should submit a full and detailed application supported by a statement of 1,000-1,500 words describing their relevant experiences and evidencing the reasons why they feel they are suitable for family mediation training by reference to the FMC Standards referred to above.
All delegates are required to provide details of two referees who can comment on professional knowledge and competence as well as personal and professional suitability and attributes. One of your referees may be a personal referee but must not be a relative.
For discretionary candidates evidencing suitability for training through a particular position held, at least one of your referees must have knowledge of and support this particular evidence.
All candidates should complete the section on the application form detailing how they expect to establish a family mediation practice.
When applications are unsuccessful full feedback will be given as to the training panel’s decision. Advice will be given on alternative training courses or work experience that may improve the candidate’s chances of any subsequent application for family mediation training being accepted.
Will you be able to find work as a family mediator?
You will also need to make contacts with related services within your local area, for example legal firms, counselling services, your local Citizens Advice Bureau and the local courts. Membership of a renowned family mediation organisation such as FMA can be essential to starting you on the road to becoming a successful family mediator, but you will still need to do a great deal of work to persuade people to choose you, rather than one of your competitors.
Most people who want to ask the court to decide a family issue now have to see an authorised family mediator to talk through the options before issuing an application. Once established in practice this is an important part of the work you will do as a family mediator but you should be aware that completing a training course does not qualify you to conduct these meetings, which can only be conducted by family mediators with recognised levels of experience who have undertaken further training. Completing an FMA training course is, once again, only one part of the process.
It is important that you consider the cost and time implications of making the move to professional family mediation and of developing your family mediation practice. This can be challenging and needs careful thought. It may be some time before you can recoup the cost of your training. Questions to ask yourself might include . . .
Where will my clients come from?
How will I let them know about my practice?
What about premises?
Additionally, you will need to consider a number of ongoing professional expenses, including FMA or other professional body membership, professional indemnity insurance, supervision and annual professional training. All professional family mediators are required by the Family Mediation Council to complete 10 hours of ongoing professional training a year.
How much will it cost you to become a professional family mediator
How long does it take to become a professional family mediator
What does family mediation training involve?
- the history and theory of mediation and its place within the wider field of alternative dispute resolution;
- conflict management strategies;
- family dynamics with particular reference to those who are ending relationships;
- the importance of the effect of separation and divorce on children;
- the place of family finance issues including property and pensions.
We also look at the current legal framework and Legal Aid Agency requirements.
In addition the course:
- provides an introduction to the popular practice models in family mediation
- opportunities to develop mediation practice
By the end of the course, trainees will be familiar with these theories and should be able to decide how to apply them in the context of different styles, techniques, skills and the practical process of mediation.
Courses have up to 18 participants with a team of experienced and qualified family mediation trainers using a range of teaching techniques and learning aids, ranging from distance learning, lectures, videos, workshops, pair and group exercises, role-plays and case discussion, to individual and group presentations. All FMA trainers are highly experienced mediators and training professionals. Participants are encouraged to develop their skills, knowledge, aptitude and understanding of the mediation process and theory via interactive role-play and exercises designed to give a full understanding of the various models of mediation practice.
The course is very intensive and relies on the participation of the whole group. Anyone missing even part of a day will be affected – subjects are not covered twice and material missed cannot easily be made up. Your training certificate will be withheld if you do not complete your course in its entirety.
What standard do you have to meet to qualify as a family mediator?
Assessment takes place via tutor observation of your active participation in all exercises & sessions and your general ability to demonstrate the acquisition of skills & techniques taught on the course. In addition there are 2 written assignments set. Video recording of exercises may also be used for informal assessment/learning support purposes. The written assignments are an essential part of the course. They help the trainers gauge how well the information provided has been understood, and we believe that they also help trainees to think through some of the theory and practice they have heard and experienced during the training modules.
After successfully completing the foundation course, a certificate will be sent to you confirming that you have successfully completed FMA foundation training in family mediation. You will then immediately be able to start work as a co-mediator with privately paying clients and also to consider the next stage of qualification and the preparation of your portfolio of mediation work.
What support will you get after you qualify as a family mediator?
FMA will allocate a PPC to you at the end of the course, chosen from our register of qualified PPCs. This person will be a highly experienced mediator, specially trained to work as a PPC. FMA chooses the allocated PPC very carefully, in order to meet your particular needs; for example, a newly qualified mediator from a legal background is likely to be allocated a PPC from a social sciences or therapy background. Attention is also paid to the location of the allocated PPC; it is obviously important that you do not have to travel too far to see your PPC, but at the same time we try to avoid allocating a PPC who is in direct competition with you for work. FMA members are not required to stay with their allocated PPC, and may choose an alternative PPC from our register or choose a PPC from another Family Mediation Council (FMC) member organisation. (All FMA PPCs are recognised by the FMC and by the Legal Aid Agency.)
It is not the responsibility of FMA or of the allocated PPCs to find or organise work for mediators. This includes providing opportunities to observe and mediate. Mediators are responsible for their own professional development. However, PPCs are expected to guide and support newly qualified mediators in an enthusiastic way, and to provide links and introductions to others who may be able to help. Most PPCs charge a fee for consultancy, of between £80 and £150 an hour, depending on the area they work in, so one year of support from a PPC will normally cost in the region of £400 to £500.
FMA supports its trainees and other members in a number of other ways, including help with marketing your service, a range of well designed and well delivered training courses to help your development as a mediator, and representation of your interests on a number of important decision-making bodies, including the FMC. To see more about what FMA has to offer professional family mediators, have a look at our guide to the benefits of membership of FMA.
If you are still interested in becoming a professional family mediator, have a look below at our guide to the courses currently scheduled.
About the Family Mediator Foundation Training Course
Eight-day course set over three modules and with the opportunity to observe or co-mediate before completion of your training.
Module I Three Days Intensive Training followed by a written assignment.
Module II Three Days Intensive Training followed by two written assignments.
Successful completion of Module II and the two written assignments, enables trainees to begin co-mediating and to apply for membership of the Family Mediators Association before completing Module III. This enables the trainee to gain some practice, either by way of observation or co-mediation whilst training and to incorporate that experience into their learning.
Module III Two Days Intensive Training. The content of the final two days is tailored to meet the training needs of the trainees as determined by the trainers following the performance of the trainees during the first two Modules and the written assignments.
On average, newly qualified mediators are required to complete a minimum of 10 hours co-mediation before being able to practice solely as a family mediator.
Scheduled Courses 2017
All applications are considered on an individual basis. Eligible applicants will be accepted on a first come first serve basis. You must attend the full 8 days training.
A non refundable deposit of £75 must be paid for your application to be processed. Your details will then be assessed and if you are accepted for the course you will be required to pay the balance. It is advised to apply at least 6 weeks before the course in order to process your application on time. Payment is required prior to the course start date.
Please make sure that your application, supporting documentation and references take account of all the matters set out on the FMA website, including references to the FMC Standards
March 29th-31st, April 26th-28th and May 15th-16th 2017
October 4th-6th, November 1st-3rd, December 11th-12th 2017
Call for free the National Careers Service helpline on 0800 100 900, where careers advisors can talk through the funding options for training.
For more information on training contact the Administration Office
Tel: 01355 244 594
Fax: 01355 249 959