Mediation and Harry Potter: Mediators are like magic wands

As fans of the Harry Potter series, my wife and I were excited about the release of the final film, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2. We made an appointment, bought our tickets and were magically transported to the fantastic world of wizards, witches, and Muggles for about 2 hours. It felt great! We loved it so much, the next day, we saw it again with my mother-in-law.

For me, there is nothing like a well-crafted adventure / fantasy movie that takes me away from reality for a much-needed respite from the demands of the day. For those of you who haven’t seen it yet, I won’t spoil it for you. Please keep reading.

Of course, whenever there is a magic story, chances are high that there are magic wands involved. During this movie, the audience gets a more detailed look at magic wands, which I thought might serve as a perfect comparison to mediators. So without further ado …

Magic wands are described as unique. Each one is made with different ingredients. Some are more flexible than others. Some have characteristics like “inflexible”. In fact, it is implied that wands are sensitive. In other words, magic wands have the ability to know and perceive; they have a conscience.

For example, one of the characters, Draco Malfoy, while pointing his wand directly at Harry Potter, explains to Harry that he has borrowed his mother’s wand. Later, Draco expresses that his mother’s wand is powerful, but that he doesn’t really understand it.

So how does all this relate to mediators?

Like magic wands, the spikes are unique. Each mediator brings a different life experience to the mediation table and perceives the world through their unique life filters.

For example, a mediator who had a chaotic or out-of-control childhood due to family dysfunction may feel a strong need to exercise tight control over the mediation process. You may not be flexible enough to consider a creative alternative to the mediation process you have put in place. If your mediation would benefit from a different mediation process than the mediator chooses, you will likely have no luck with this mediator.

NOTE: During my Master of Laws program at the Straus Institute, I had a fantastic course with Bill Eddy entitled “Conflict Psychology”. Bill Eddy is an attorney and licensed clinical social worker and directs the High Conflict Institute. We study groups of high-conflict personality types and the associated conflict-related behavioral traits. Naturally, some mediators exhibit high-conflict behaviors, as in the example above.

Like magic wands, some mediators are more flexible than others. For example, in cases where there is a history of domestic violence, a prudent mediator will seriously consider keeping the parties apart throughout the mediation process to eliminate the possibility of intimidation and provide the victim with a safe environment, where he / she is comfortable opening up, being vulnerable, and communicating effectively.

Personally, I have been involved in mediation where the parties had a history of domestic violence and the mediator did not separate the parties or encourage the parties to meet in the same room. This approach is neither right nor wrong and will depend on the circumstances of a case, and shows that mediators simply have different perspectives and approaches to mediation and domestic violence.

Like magic wands, mediators have characteristics that can affect the success of your mediation. For example, some mediators are dominant or authoritarian, while others may be more relaxed and patient. Some mediators are very outgoing and may speak more than they listen, while others are more introverted and will likely listen more than they speak.

Like Draco’s mother’s wand, your mediator may not understand you. Do you have knowledge or understanding of the theory of personality types? Can you use that knowledge to facilitate communication between the parties? If you are an artist and have a mediator who is an engineer, it is very likely that they simply do not understand you or your perspective on your dispute.

Finally, there are different styles of mediation. Some mediators are evaluative. In other words, he / she will listen to your story and give you his / her best guess on what might happen in court. Other mediators are more facilitators and would prefer to avoid any discussion about your legal rights and what might happen in court. If you choose to go to mediation without an attorney, you may want an evaluating mediator. If you know your legal rights because you have sought the advice of a great attorney, you may prefer a more facilitating mediator.

If you have the opportunity to choose your mediator, choose wisely. Do you want an attorney / mediator, former judge / mediator, psychologist / mediator, accountant / mediator, real estate agent / mediator, life insurance agent / mediator, or engineer / mediator? Do you want someone who knows the law and your rights or someone who knows more about human psychology? Perhaps you can find a mediator with a combination of these qualities!

In short, I have shown you how mediators are like magic wands. Some are more flexible than others. Each one has unique characteristics. Some may understand you, while others may have no idea where you come from.

As a magician using the correct wand, it is absolutely imperative that you work with the appropriate mediator for your dispute. If there is a fundamental ingredient for the success of a mediation, it would be the mediator.

Fortunately, for all of us, mediators are not like wands in one respect. Harry Potter fans know that wandmaker Ollivander has told Harry multiple times that magic wands choose the wizard. Fortunately, a mediator will generally not choose you. It’s up to you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *