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Basic Mediation Training 

Resolution Washington Dispute Resolution Centers (DRCs) have been training mediators for over 30 years. We start with a core mediation course which ranges from 36 to 40 hours.


Training varies in delivery and form among the DRCs and can often be taken either online or in person. Check your local options through our training calendar or directory. Each training establishes a standard body of skills and knowledge which will provide an introduction to mediation and help participants develop the basic skills required to mediate. 


Upon completion of the Basic Mediation Training course, participants will be prepared to conduct a mock mediation with a mentor or senior mediator. Learn more about becoming a mediator and volunteering at Dispute Resolution Centers.


Whether you want to become a volunteer mediator with a dispute resolution center, mediator in private practice, act as a third party for others (such as employees and family members in conflict situations), or simply improve your communication and conflict resolution skills, you will find this course invaluable. The skills taught in Basic Mediation Training are easily transferable and designed to improve communication and enhance relationships in all settings.


After taking a basic skills training, trainees who wish to continue further learning may apply to enter a formal mediator practicum program to continue development, gain hands-on experience, and become a certified mediator. In DRC practicums, trainees start by observing mediations and then move on to co-mediate with their mentors.

“Mediation normalizes conflict and frustration, letting people know it’s OK to have disputes and there are tools to resolve them without landing in court.” -- LaDessa Croucher,  

Executive Director, Resolution Washington

“Now that I have completed the training, I feel rich and empowered with new skills --The fear of conflict is diminished and replaced with an eagerness to lean into my growing edges.”
–- Training participant, DRC of Thurston County

Some DRCs also offer specialized mediation training such as:

  • Family mediation 

  • Elder issues

  • Large-group facilitation


Basic Mediation Training teaches professional and personal skills around listening and exploring conflict and provides the technical and knowledge base to understand basic mediation. Participants will learn to: 

  • Ground into a neutral role including the ability to center oneself, and to be open, non-judgmental, and fully present for the parties.

  • Explore conflict and analyze obstacles to communication.

  • Show interest and neutrality to support the mediation participants.

  • Summarize participants’ positions, related feelings, and underlying interests.

  • Apply strategies to improve parties’ ability to communicate.

  • Use open-ended and other questions to assist in understanding and problem-solving.

  • Identify and articulate common ground between the participants.

  • Equitably reflect the issues of the conflict in neutral, non-positional language.

  • Identify common and varying interests and assist participants to craft proposals addressing the interests involved.

  • Understand how power imbalance can affect negotiation and apply strategies to support equitable representation of all parties’ interests.

  • Understand how participants’ approaches can be affected by their culture, gender, and other attributes of their identity, and develop strategies to promote productive negotiations.

  • Gain self-knowledge of how your conflict styles and personal experience may influence approaches to conflict resolution.

  • Perceive the conflict styles of others and adjust to work effectively with all conflict styles.

  • Appropriately manage the emotional climate and anger to foster productive dialog.


You will also learn the technical aspects of managing a mediation efficiently, ethically, and with empathy including learning to:

  • Manage the intake process.

  • Understand and explain mediator opening statements and agreements.

  • Identify and share appropriate information with a co-mediator.

  • Deliver an opening statement in a neutral and balanced manner.

  • Explain confidentiality, privilege, and the exceptions to confidentiality.

  • Build a mediation agenda for strategic importance.

  • Help participants negotiate issues related to limited resource distribution, future behavior, values, interests, identities, communication, and relationships.

  • Understand and foster the ethical standard of self-determination.

  • Assist participants to develop durable written agreements characterized by clarity, balance, adherence to ethical standards, and contingencies for potential difficulties.

  • Understand the risks and benefits of caucuses (meeting separately with each participant for a time) in a mediation and appropriately determine when to use a caucus.

Washington State doesn’t require licensing or certification for mediators in private practice. Resolution Washington has established its own standards for mediator training and certification. Read the full list of required student learning objectives and standard body of skills.

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