Challenges of Being an Advocate and Neutral Facilitator
Advocacy and mediation are being incorporated into the human service field, but what happens when both models introduce challenges for one another? Although ethical, moral, and legal challenges of potential dual relationships are normal, certain methods can be applied to help improve the tension. In this paper, I will present my personal opinion on the integration of mediation and advocacy in the human service field. In addition, an explanation of my personal philosophy and individual approach to advocating and mediating within Planned Parenthood will be given.
Dual Relationship Challenges
A mediator is a neutral third-party who helps parties constructively communicate to attain an end to a dispute among the two parties. According to A Bennington Education (n.d.), “A mediator is NOT a decision maker like a judge or arbitrator.” A mediator does not determine the conclusion and does not command the parties to consent to anything. Generally, mediators use problem-solving tactics to address disputes rather than the customary, adversarial approach. In mediation, the decision makers consist of the parties involved and only he or she can choose to enter into an agreement.
There are ethical, moral, and legal challenges mediators confront when assisting the disputing parties. It is the mediator’s ethical and legal duty to keep all communication private because confidentiality adds to the success of the mediation process. As a mediator, it is imperative to remain neutral throughout the mediation process to guarantee proper conduct. Consequently, a mediator’s individual viewpoints and principles can be challenged; therefore, by no means should the mediator ever choose sides. Maiese (2005), “It is commonly thought that if a mediator is unable to maintain a neutral stance, codes of ethics and standards of practice require that he or she withdraw from the case” (What is Neutrality?). The mediator must make certain...