Describe three ethical issues involved when taking the role of mediator and provide examples of each

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Describe three ethical issues involved when taking the role of mediator and provide examples of each

Schneider One bitter cold Chicago night, when I was struggling through a snowstorm to get to another meeting of our long-suffering ethics committee, I reflected on what a strange activity we were engaged in: Why would anyone do such an odd activity?

Why, indeed, was I doing this?

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I would like to hazard here some comments, not only on the product of our efforts and the content of the Professional Standards of Practice for Mediators PSPM of the Mediation Council of Illinois, but also on the process of developing and implementing such codes.

The Process The question of why anyone should even bother writing or reading a code deserves an answer before the reader is confronted with yet another such code. How do we account for this flourishing cottage industry?

The answer is that mediation, especially family mediation, is emerging as an organized guild and claiming for itself the status of a profession, and it is precisely the mark of a profession that it be autonomous and self-regulating.

Professions are strange animals.

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They represent various groups of specialists who have made a successful case to the public that the larger society would benefit from granting them autonomy to perform specialized services, which they can do better than any lay or public agency. In turn, the profession asks that society sanction its authority within certain spheres by granting it a series of powers and privileges.

This bargain that the profession strikes with society is a risky one. The autonomy that a profession claims in order to perform its specialized service requires that the profession guarantee not only its skill and competence but also its honor Garr-Saunders, The obvious opportunity for the abuse of such power, and the potential for degeneration of an association of specialists into an interest group lobby, requires that professions develop internal mechanisms for self-regulation and external reassurances that they indeed are subject to structures of accountability.

As Greenwood puts it: The Product The Mediation Council of Illinois PSPM document is the product of a year-long project by an ethics committee of the Illinois state council which had given priority to developing a code of ethics.

Over the previous three years, local and state mediation codes had proliferated, and we considered simply adopting one of the extant codes, but we also felt the available codes had significant omissions or deficiencies.

First, they seemed to be constructed as ad hoc documents. Second, they lacked any provision for sanctions. Many of the codes we considered seemed more thematic than structural.

They spoke to relevant issues but failed to be comprehensive. They seemed to be responses to issues that had arisen in particular localities but had not been sufficiently generalized to represent what could purport to be a general code of ethics for the profession. Some read more like practical advice for the practitioner.

We hoped instead to address the field of mediation in a more organized fashion. To do so, we endeavored to organize our standards in terms of general principles. This decision reflected our understanding of a code of ethics as the embodiment of the range of obligations and responsibilities of a profession, and not merely as a compilation of disparate problems and recommendations for good practice.

An adequate framework of professional ethics needs to go beyond local and case-by-case specifics. We recognized the difficulty of attempting a comprehensive statement in a field as new as divorce mediation. We also recognized that we were not professional ethicists and had limited skill in structuring such a document.

We thus turned for help to the already extant codes from our respective professions, beginning with the Ethical Principles of Psychologists of the American Psychological Association and the Code of Professional Ethics of the American Association of Pastoral Counselors.

While we are not totally successful in organizing these ten sections in terms of principles, clear gains still ensued from our attempt. Thus, although two documents may have similar content regarding the expectation that mediators will participate in ongoing continuing education, one may put this expectation under a section concerning training and education, while the other like the PSPM puts it under the principle of competence.

Thus, instead of the expectation standing as an ungrounded requirement, as it does in the first document, in the PSPM it is firmly rooted in a professional obligation to deliver competent service.

The practice of organizing codes of ethics around principles offers obvious educational advantages. It enables practitioners to get a sense of their basic commitments as professionals and offers them an understanding of the elements that must be weighed in making difficult decisions.

This is preferable to trying to enumerate all the problematic situations that arise in mediation, since none of us can anticipate the myriad forms in which such issues occur.

To give ourselves principles to guide our deliberations about our practice is, indeed, to treat ourselves in a professional manner—that is, as capable of self-reflection and self-monitoring—while to give ourselves instead a laundry list of ways a mediator should behave is to undercut autonomy, foster questionable conformity, and make our code a very time-limited document.Describe three ethical issues involved when taking the role of mediator and provide examples of each.

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Describe three ethical issues involved when taking the role of mediator and provide examples of each

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