What is mediation?: A Student’s Insights


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By Amelia Charles

Amelia Charles is our new summer student. She is at Toronto Metropolitan University working towards a degree in psychology.

I have no history in law or mediation, yet I landed my first-ever job at a family law and mediation office working for mediate 393 this summer. This would be a fantastic opportunity for me to learn about mediation and a little about the court system. As well as learn about the people that make this kind of work happen.

What is mediation? The first thing I questioned on my first day on the job. From my understanding, mediation is where a person sits between two people or lawyers that are having issues and they can’t come to terms on their own. That person that is in mediation will hear both sides out and help them come to a comprise that makes them both happy. Sometimes they can come to a complete deal or partial deal.

When I started here, I did not fully understand mediation because I believe that people could do things on their own. After all, we have the ability to reason but I forgot to factor in emotions. In the first week, Information and Referral Coordinator,  Alisha Cater, told me that emotions are a big part of why they are needed. In the sense that humans’ emotions can easily cloud our ability to reason with others. For whatever reason, a person has to come to court  and  are met with a lot of emotions like uncertainty, anger, and confusion. A person must be there to help them, guide them through this time as well as hear them out. Which is such a simple thing, but it goes such a long way. Mediation is made based on the people that are willing to help other people through a tough time in their life.

Understanding mediation in a few days is not hard, but what I did not understand is why the people that work in this field do what they do. It did not make sense to me why people would want to deal with people when their emotions are at high time. People could be rude, unable to listen, or they could be very difficult to talk to. I spoke to a few different roster members about why they do what they do, and their answers were all the same. The kids. They do what they do the best they can for the kids. When they are helping the parents work out their issues, they do their job well because they think about the kids and what toll it may have on them.

Most of the people that work under mediate393 have a background in social work or law. They have worked with children and have seen firsthand how children become sponges and soak up everything that is happening around them including their parents’ emotions. With the anger they have for each other, the children can sense the tension and change between both parents, and it can be harmful to them. They do their job to make a change in a person’s life easier and they can move on with their life. If everything is smooth, children will be able to move on and live a good life. Even if children are not involved, they still do what they do as if they are involved. These people still need the best mediation that can be offered to them. Most people do it for the kids as they are the next generation of our world, they can’t help themselves, so they need the adults in their lives or the ones that become part of their lives to help them.

Family Law Information Centres (FLIC)

You can learn much more about available services, mediation, court process, separation, divorce and the law by visiting us at one of our Family Law Information Centres (FLIC).


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