It’s not easy to blog once a month, even on a subject I love. Often I sit down to write with no real ideas or inspiration. Sometimes I end up that way too (as you may have noticed!). It becomes easy to dread the approach of my monthly publication date. Often the pressure lies in…

Recently, I was ruminating about analogies between cricket and mediation. Cricket is a much-loved sport in Scotland. Sadly, nowadays, changes in the climate mean that cricket in my home country is more often affected by summer rain and damp conditions than a generation ago. Its future is less certain as a result. I have always…

Many of my fellow bloggers on these pages, and perhaps many of the readers, will have found themselves in the position in which friends, colleagues, workmates or others call on your/our mediation experience at short notice, and in circumstances that are perhaps not ideal in terms of planning and preparation. One of the strategies I…

Try this thought experiment: imagine a mediator without empathy. How and what would they do? Would there be drawbacks? Benefits? The response to these questions probably depends on our own experience of empathy. This simple yet often misunderstood term masks a complex and fascinating set of ideas about human connection. Because we believe empathy is…

In 1933 Alfred Korzybski wrote: “A map is not the territory it represents, but, if correct, it has a similar structure to the territory, which accounts for its usefulness.” More recently (2006), James Robertson wrote (to reference him once again, this time from ‘The Testament of Gideon Mack’): “We trust in maps because when we…

Over the Christmas break, I had the pleasure of reading Ken Newell’s memoirs, “Captured by a Vision”. Ken was (until his retirement some years ago) a Presbyterian Church minister in Northern Ireland who, out of deeply held conviction arising out of his Christian faith, played a central role in bringing together representatives of both sides…

Christmas Spirit in Air It is hard to miss that the Christmas is coming, especially if you live in this part of the world. The streets of both major cities and smallest villages are decorated, the trees’ candles lit up and everybody is carrying lots of presents in public transport. If you are lucky enough,…

James Robertson’s novel ‘To be continued…’ introduces us to a character who goes by the name of Mungo Forth Mungo. Mungo is somewhat far fetched, not least because he is a talking toad. In this capacity he engages in many thoughtful and reflective conversations with the main character in the book – Murray Findhorn Elder…

Shortly after the neighbourhood mediation started, one of the parties turned to me her eyes flashed with anger: “Everything that he is telling is false, do not listen to him…” The other party got het up: “Indeed, Mr. mediator, everything I have ever said was a lie…Do not listen to me…” Without even knowing this,…

I was reflecting the other day that in the 25 years that I have been conducting workshops in Negotiation, Mediation and other related areas, most conflict resolution workshops don’t seem to pay a lot of attention to personality preferences and how these can contribute towards conflict. I recently ran a workshop for the Law Society…