Advocacy and mediation are continually being integrated into various spectrums of the human services field; but what happens when these two methods of helping present challenges for one another? While ethical, moral, and legal challenges of potential dual relationships are common, there are specific approaches that can be implemented which can help alleviate these stressors. The author will present a personal perceptive on the integration of advocacy and mediation within the human services field, as well as her personal philosophy and individual approach to both advocating and mediating within a specific agency: Planned Parenthood.
Dual Relationship Challenges
By definition, a mediator is a third party that is seeking an alternative dispute resolution (Worldwide Legal Directories, 2010). The mediator’s goal is to assist two or more feuding individuals by helping them reach an agreement; they often facilitate communication between feuding parties in order to reach common ground in a timely fashion. While the mediator does help assist the two parties resolve conflict, the mediator is not the decision maker. Ultimately, the conflict will be resolved by the two feuding parties and not the mediator.
The primary objective as a mediator is to remain neutral; this can present challenges due to personal beliefs and values that do not correlate with either party’s argument (Community Mediation Services, 2010). However, remaining neutral will help the mediation process by preserving its reliability. Although mediators face legal, moral, and ethical issues on a regular basis – they must maintain a neutral standpoint to prevent escalating problems. If, at any time, one or more of the feuding parties finds the mediator as biased or partial, they are encouraged to seek different counsel to complete their mediation services.
Integration of Mediation and Advocacy