Why I joined the College of Mediators
I’m not like Groucho Marx. I’m willingly a member of many organisations. I’ll come to the College of Mediators in a moment. Meanwhile, I’d like to invite you to take a short journey with me.
My first career was as a debt collector at Harrods in London. Next I was as a union convener. I studied to become a solicitor. Then I became a family mediator. Now, I am in my fifth career as a professional mediator. That is a mediator not tied to any single dogmatic way of working.
As a solicitor, I was a member of the Law Society out of necessity. I am also now a Law Society accredited mediator.
When I started to specialise in family work, I joined Resolution. They trained me in collaborative practice. Then they trained me as a mediator. Then they trained me as a mediation Professional Practice Consultant. It was natural that I remained a Resolution member even after I gave up practising as a solicitor.
I joined the USA based International Academy of Collaborative Professionals in 2010.I wanted to gain a wider understanding of the collaborative process.
Family Mediators Association
Resolution is a large membership organisation with around 6000 members. But with around 80% of their members not trained as collaborative practitioners or as mediators, They focus more on supporting those who work traditionally, not collaboratively or in mediation. So I joined the FMA to be part of an organisation focusing on family mediation. They trained me in direct child consulting.
Association for Conflict Resolution
I joined the ACR when I left the IACP. The ACR is another USA based organisation. They focus on mediation and coaching. They give me another perspective from the UK based one I would otherwise only get.
Meanwhile … the FMC
Mediation is not regulated in England. But, in order to practice as a family mediator, it’s a widely accepted that a mediator should be a member of one of the Family Mediation Council’s six members. (These are ADRg, College of Mediators, Family Mediators Association, Law Society, National Family Mediation and Resolution).
College of Mediators
By the end of May 2016, I had taken full or cross-over training to work in five additional mediation areas. These are civil & commercial, workplace, neighbourhood & community, peer mediation installation and elder.
Most family mediators I’ve met, wrongly in my view, see non-family mediators as their less skilled relations. I couldn’t disagree more. If all family mediators trained in different areas, they would soon realise they are taught a fraction of the skills and techniques taught to all the other mediators combined.
So I wanted to be a member of an organisation which didn’t look down on non-family mediators. That is where the College of Mediators comes in.The College is arguably the only mediation membership organisation which aims to break down the barriers between family mediators. The fit was so good that I am now on the board of directors.
So Why Might You Want to Join?
The College offers members from all backgrounds and trainings the chance to mix at meetings, workshops and conferences. And to do so equally. This improves our awareness of different techniques and skills, helps us become better practitioners, and challenges dogmatism about what is “good” and what is “bad” practice.
For family mediators, the College offers the least expensive required annual membership fee to an FMC membership organisation. This may become more of a benefit now that family mediators also have to pay a subscription to the FMC.
(The IACP is the only organisation in this list I’m not a member of. Not because it’s not good, or because I no longer practise as a collaborative solicitor – it’s annual conference is easily the grandest and best organised of it’s type of the many I’ve been to. But simply because I can’t afford the expense.)
I am Stephen G Anderson. I am a professional mediator.
Stephen G Anderson, family mediator