Art and Mediation – Sara Collins

In categories:

Art in Mediation

When I say art in mediation, I am not talking works of great art that might hang in a museum or gallery.  I am thinking of visual representation to assist participants’ engagement and understanding. Teachers and facilitators are encouraged to think of all the different learning styles – auditory, visual and kinetic.  Would it assist us as mediators to consider in greater depth the information gathering styles of our clients?

Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) says we can pick up clues as to a person’s primary learning style by the words they use; “I hear that” or “I am doing.  I wonder if, as mediators, we can gather and take note of the words used a little more during the MIAM, to then use this information to greater effect during sessions?

Mediation by its very nature is auditory-heavy.  There is a lot of talking that goes on.  I wonder how much of it either of the participants actually hears; either what is said by us as mediators or what is being said by the other person in the room.  How much is head and taken on board?  If someone is a visual learner, then the amount that they will absorb may be depleted further – and the same for those who learn by doing.  Would bringing more visual imagery into the mediation process slow it down and help with reflection and integration? Would these approaches promote more creativity – a vital ingredient in generating ideas and options to discuss?

By visual imagery I am thinking photos, videos and, if like me you can draw a little, some stick men or little scenes that depict what it is like from the children`s perspective to be moving between parental houses if the parents are in conflict with each other.

At Kids Come First they have created a fabulous booklet full of practical support for separating parents, made all the more engaging by the cartoon drawings that pack such a punch with their messages.

So, this little article was just an invitation really; to consider incorporating a little art into the mediation process as a way of reaching out to all the visually-biased participants. This could be a further way to impart the messages and guidance about the damaging effects of parental conflict on children, or as a way of looking at equality and need in a financial settlement discussion.

I hope at the very least this has got you thinking – especially in this new world of Zoom meetings where it is possible to share screens and introduce different elements into the process with relative ease .