Mind Mapping and the Transformative Framework

I have been working with a Dutch colleague, Kees van Eijk, over the past year, to develop training for the use of a particular form of Mind Mapping as part of team and group facilitation. We published a paper on this topic which is available to order (as PDF) for free from me – just email me. In December we offered a two hour, hands on introductory webinar through the Institute for the Study of Conflict Transformation. We are offering the webinar again on April 5th; register here:

We invite you to view a short sample from the December webinar:

Power Balancing in Mediation

Power balancing in mediation basically refers to the goal and the practice of a mediator

a)    determining that there is a significant power differential between the parties

b)    feeling responsible to “even the table”, and

c)     intervening in ways that bolster or offer greater support to the “weaker” or “more disadvantaged” party


NOT power balancing in Transformative Mediation is based on foundational principles and premises for the practice of this model and the underlying beliefs about conflict:

a)    every participant in mediation has the inherent capacity for both self-determined choice and responsiveness to others

b)    every participant knows best how to work through conflict, including what options to consider and what choices to make

c)     each participant is temporarily weakened by the conflict, regardless of the power differentials between the parties

d)    it is dis-empowering to participants for the mediator to make assumptions or to supplant party-choice-making, including choices to comment upon or raise issues, directly or indirectly, related to perceived power imbalances


The theoretical underpinnings of power balancing in mediation, are informed by the idea that the parties must be able to negotiate and work through their conflict in a way that is basically “fair”, with neither party being at a severe disadvantage in relation to the other. But as many mediation practitioners and scholars have noted*, power imbalances exist in just about every relationship, if not every interaction. Life is often unfair, and so are the dynamics, resources, and positions of most disputants involved in mediation. So why do mediators believe they will be able to shift power imbalances during the course of one or even several mediation sessions?


How might the mediator be able to change the power dynamics between a divorcing couple who’ve been married for 15 years? While the “bread winner” may have more power in relationship to a partner who has never earned money, this same party may be at a disadvantage when negotiating for joint custody of their children. Could a white manager experience himself as less advantaged, and in a relatively weaker position than his Latino subordinate, in the mediation of a race-based discrimination complaint? How many times do mediators base their interpretation of the balance of power between parties on macro-societal power differentials and systemic inequities, which may have very little to do with how to best support both participants in having a more constructive interaction, in order to work out their conflict?

New Year New Beginnings


My new website is here and just in time for the new year! I’m bringing in 2018 with a fully re-structured site that gives my clients info about my upcoming work and access to all of my online media, all in one place. 


And what is a website without a blog? Connect with me here for more in depth looks at the services and trainings I offer, information about my professional travels, and advise from my 20+ years as a mediator, facilitator, and trainer.