What is Mediation?

Psychotherapist in Mendocino, CA

Mediation is a facilitated conversation or negotiation, usually designed to explore possibilities for reaching agreements. In the process, participants may develop agreements to govern their interactions, to resolve a dispute or lawsuit including issues involved in a divorce or other family law proceeding or simply to understand why their relationship is not working and how it could work better for all concerned. Mediation is used in many contexts, and the process may be adapted for different situations. In most cases, the mediator is an impartial person who facilitates the process without any decision-making authority and without any vested interest in the decisions made by the participants.

The structure of mediation and the nature of the questions asked by the mediator are designed to open the dialogue, focus participants’ attention on their true priorities, reveal assumptions that may have led to misunderstandings, identify information the participants may need to made decisions as well as any differences regarding that information, and sharpen their clarity about what is possible both at the mediation table and in any alternative forum that may be available to them. Out of that clarity and understanding, participants reach agreements most of the time. Even when mediation does not result in agreements on all issues, it generally results in progress toward clarifying disagreements, gathering information or meeting other participant goals.

In the legal arena, including family law, mediation was the first dispute resolution process designed with the express purpose of helping people maintain control over their own lives by keeping the decision-making power in their hands. There are many different styles of mediation, some more and some less committed to this original purpose.

My style of mediation is facilitative and eclectic, drawing on a variety of legal, psychological and spiritual sources and disciplines. As a mediator, I do not offer legal advice. In the context of a marital dissolution, I offer guidance about the issues to be covered, including approaches and solutions others have used for specific situations and questions to ask legal counsel. I also refer to substantive experts such as lawyers, neutral child specialists and neutral financial specialists when appropriate.

Mediation is not for everyone, because it requires participants to take ultimate responsibility for gathering the information and advice that they need and for making their own decisions. Those decisions may include walking away from the mediation table.

When I serve as mediator for a divorce or other family law proceeding, after each session, I provide a summary including agreements made, issues under discussion, homework and sometimes proposals under consideration. The final summary contains most or all of the information that you, or preferably your legal counsel, need to prepare the packet of documents that gets filed in court.

What is Coaching?

Coaching is a cutting-edge process that supports people in expressing more of their true natures, becoming aligned with their personal aspirations and achieving their goals. Coaching is based upon the premise that our deepest motivations, desires and directions come from within. Coaching goals are set by the client in alliance with the coach. While many tools may be used in coaching, the core expertise of a coach is deep listening and questioning. As a coach, I work with people primarily in the areas of conflict and communication coaching, divorce coaching and relationship coaching.

rebeccaRebecca Picard has been mediating civil and family law cases for eighteen years. She is highly skilled at both substantive and emotional issues. Rebecca embraces the interdisciplinary nature of mediation by drawing on a variety of studies and trainings in psychology, coaching, creativity and spiritual growth as well as law. In her roles as mediator and coach, she creates a non-judgmental context that supports participants to clarify and articulate their perspectives and maximize opportunities for improved relationships and agreement-making.