Family Mediation Week: My experience as a student mediator
For Family Mediation Week, student mediator Lyndsay reflects on her mediation journey.
At Cyrenians Mediation & Support we are continually striving to improve our practice and develop our staff team. Family Outreach worker Lyndsay has been working hard this last year, on top of her whole-family support work, to train as a mediator through shadowing, accredited training and peer support.
Here, Lyndsay shares her experience as a student mediator thus far:
My experience as a student mediator
I’ve been a family outreach worker with Cyrenians Mediation & Support service for coming up on two years. At the beginning of 2023, I signed up for SCCR mediation skills training. I’m honestly not sure what compelled me to do so; I love working in support and don’t plan on switching over to mediation any time soon. Maybe I wanted to understand mediation better; up to that point, it wasn’t something I was particularly involved in. Maybe I saw it as a good bit of CPD. Whatever it was, I’m glad I signed up!
The course itself was great: we were given plenty of time to role play and even more encouragement from the facilitators. My cohort were from a great mix of backgrounds and experience; some of my Mediation & Support colleagues took part as well. It was really interesting to hear their reflections, and I appreciated their vulnerability in allowing us to watch and constructively critique their practice. It was a great starting point for us newbies to model from.
Since the mediation skills course, I’ve been offered the opportunity to practice my mediation skills alongside my support role. Last year, Mediation & Support introduced a co-mediation model in which those of us who had completed the SCCR training were paired up with experienced mediators on cases. To be able to shadow, listen and learn from my colleagues has been invaluable.
Something that has been key for me in my mediation journey is gradual autonomy. One thing that surprised me about mediation is how mentally exhausting it is to actively listen and at the same time formulate questions to explore a topic further. That’s why gradually building my ‘stamina’ has been vital in this journey.
To improve my stamina, for each meeting I’ve been choosing one thing to focus on and take ownership over for that pre-mediation/mediation. For instance, doing the introduction for a mediation session, or agreeing with the lead mediator that you’ll explore a point that that was brought up during pre-med. This has allowed me to try different styles, and learn what suits me as a mediator without becoming overwhelmed.
In addition, colleagues have really been the most important aspect of my journey so far. I’m incredibly fortunate to be surrounded by not only skilled mediators, but genuinely lovely people who are patient and understanding. My colleagues have been endlessly supportive, while also challenging my choices to allow me to reflect on my practice.
We have also had some peer support meetings for co-mediators. These have brought up some great discussions around practice, being a new mediator, and sharing our experiences with each other. It’s been a great way for us to explore the difficulties of being new to mediation in a supportive environment, with others who are sharing those difficulties.
I’ve definitely still got the ‘L plates’ on when it comes to mediation, but I’m excited to hone my skills and grow as a mediator.