The mediator promotes and facilitates discussion that allows the clients to exchange differing views, ask questions, discuss difficult topics and find solutions. It involves face-to-face meetings between the parties discussing difficult issues with a trained mediator. A mediator is a communications specialist, and has learned techniques that assist in promoting mutual understanding and productive communication.
After a time spent with the spouses, a mediator can identify faulty communication, defensiveness, and misunderstandings that the parties themselves cannot see. A problem in the marriage can be reframed as a mutual problem to be solved together , and not the fault of one or another spouse. When parties in a mediation are encouraged to talk about their interests and needs (and not just articulate the result they think they want), a whole range of options becomes available to the couple. Because marital mediators are generally also divorce mediators, the mediator can help the clients identify and lessen behaviors and communication styles that could lead to divorce.