Mediation is the Best Place to Tell Your Story

As an attorney, the biggest complaint from clients was that “I was not able to tell my story.” The reason the whole story could not come out, however, was because I was putting together a story to win the argument and make that client look credible. For those purposes, I only used what I needed from your story. Moreover, I may have fashioned the story wholly by making the other side not look credible or look like they were lying because your story had too many “holes.” And what were those holes? – weaknesses that made you look unreasonable, or like you were lying, or like you did not have a right to what you were seeking.

Thus, the story I ended up telling did not usually reflect reality as it were, but some twisted version that cast you, my client, in the best possible light. Ironically, while we are supposed to tell the truth in our courts, you can easily see that the whole truth does not come out. Furthermore, the trial process itself limits your ability to get the truth out as a result of the rules of Evidence, time limits, and trial procedures.

You see, the whole story is a drama – complete with heroes and villains and emotions and other characters and details. But within that story too, on both sides, is error in judgment, jealousy, overreaching, unreasonable demands and other weaknesses that we lawyers work incredibly hard to hide. During the litigation process and at trial, all those questionable pieces of the real story get covered as best as your attorney can do that. This is why, in my opinion, there is usually a lose/lose situation or sometimes a big winner and a big loser. A judge or jury either splits the difference or finds someone “right” and the other “wrong.” That is the best they can do with the “stories” that they have heard.

Mediation, on the other hand, allows the dramatic drama to unfold in full. It gives you and the other side the best opportunity to come into a room and tell your respective stories in their entirety. With a skilled facilitator, then, that story gets dissected. Flushed out are the background emotions – is jealousy playing into this, anger, frustration, vindictiveness from some other issue that is being hidden – as well as the details comprising why the conflict exists, what is at stake, what is being manufactured by a party, what other people are involved and what else may be driving the conflict, to name a few things. As the drama unfolds, a skilled mediator or facilitator helps each side take a hard look at the real story and at both the negative and positive consequences of continuing the conflict. Once the stories have been dissected in this way, and each side is facing questions, tactfully and skillfully laid out, that address their weaknesses, it is so much easier to work toward resolution than hiding behind a concocted story that entrenches each side deeper into a version of their story that is in reality not very much of the truth.

This is why resolution as a result of litigation leaves the parties empty and feeling like nothing has really been accomplished. This is why so many people seek out their own version of justice after they have played their case out in the courts. The courts cannot satisfy because most of the time, truth and justice do not come out. With mediation, when resolution is reached, it is done so after a thorough flushing out and reflection on the truth. This is a huge step in moving forward for everyone. It is not some imposed resolution that one or both sides do not like but a resolution that both sides fundamentally agree to which gives them the freedom now to move on and away from the conflict. Do not underestimate this fact because the feeling of that conflict as burden lifted from your shoulders is unmatched by a “win,” “lose” or “draw” in a courtroom – especially when all that energy and money spent amounts to nothing but more headache and heartache outside the courtroom.

Sanchez and Baietto are skilled at helping people have thorough, truthful discussions about the conflict they are facing. Whether you are having relationship issues, facing a divorce, a neighbor to neighbor issue, an issue with a business or at work, or even at home with your kids, Sanchez and Baietto gives you a forum to air your story in full, be heard and validated, be respected throughout the process and an opportunity to make a choice to move forward from conflict. We can help guide you through the emotions and issues comprising the conflict and help you see how your actions and behaviors as well as the other’s factor in to producing the conflict. It is about a choice. You can spend thousands of dollars to litigate your conflict to be left broke and still unresolved or you can spend a fraction of that money and put the time and hard work in to find resolution that frees you from the conflict.

Much thanks to Greg Stone from Taming the Wolf, a wonderful site dedicated to Conflict Resolution through the spirituality and transformative tradition of St. Francis of Assisi. Take a look at his instructional video Telling Your Story… here.