The Trainer’s Forum
A conversation with Michael Saini
FDRIO: What is the goal of the Trainers’ Forum this year?
A: The goal of the Trainers’ Forum this year is to provide trainers with an interactive opportunity to explore the use of simulations (standardized actors) while exploring concrete techniques for teaching about trauma-informed mediation (TIM). Trainers will be provided the opportunity to simulate a mediation session to explore different techniques for keeping the conflict in the “window of tolerance” and to practice responding to trigger points within the mediation process.
FDRIO: Why is this important for family and other mediation trainers?
A: There has been growing focus on the prevalence and impact of trauma on the lives of families involved in mediation services. Trauma-informed mediation is an approach that challenges mediators to be aware of potential trauma triggers and to engage in empathetic practices to allow parties to engage within their own individualized window of tolerance to resolve disputes. Trauma-informed mediation is a process-based model of care that accentuates the six trauma-informed principles, namely safety, trustworthiness, choice, collaboration, empowerment and cultural, historical and gender issues. With the help of simulation, this forum will explore the unique features of TIM and provide practical strategies to integrate into mediation training protocol.
FDRIO: What will the afternoon look like?
A: The session will include an introductory to trauma-informed mediation, and a ‘live action’ demonstration to using trauma-informed mediation within the mediation process. Participants will be given the opportunity to work with the standardized actors within a mediation simulation based on a case specific example to consider strategies and techniques to effectively integrate trauma-informed approaches to mediation. With audience participation, the use of simulation will provide feedback about the process, which will further concretize these strategies so that participants can then employ them in their own teaching of mediation.
FDRIO: What will the “take-aways” for mediation trainers be?
A: Participants will learn about the trauma-informed mediation approach with specific techniques to integrate into practice. Participants will learn about the common triggers that can disrupt the mediation process and the movement towards settlement. The training will support increased knowledge regarding the impact of trauma and support the mediation process as a safe environment for the clients to successfully participate.
FDRIO: Is there anything else you would want people to know about the Forum?
A: Trauma-informed practice has recently been integrated in the field of mediation given the prevalence of traumatic experiences among individuals involved in the mediation process. When implementing a trauma-informed approach to mediation is it important to remember that the process of mediation can be triggering for individuals, thus it essential to be mindful of the approaches utilized to question individuals and to ensure transparency about the reasons for such questioning. This session will provide trainers with concrete skills and techniques for integrating a trauma-informed approach to mediation and with practical resources to integrate into teaching about trauma-informed mediation.