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Becoming a Mediator

Want to have deep impact? Mediators make life-changing differences.

 

The mediators supporting Resolution Washington Dispute Resolution Centers (DRCs) are highly experienced, dedicated individuals who receive extensive training to resolve conflicts peacefully and make powerful change in our communities.

Dispute Resolution Centers across Washington need volunteers!

  • Are you a listener?

  • Do people gravitate to you for support?

  • Do you stay curious when exploring conflicts?

Join our community of volunteers working together to reduce conflict.

DRCs offer trainings and workshops to develop your conflict resolution skills, learn how to help others find common ground, provide conflict resolution services, and train to become a mediator. Each DRC volunteer is supported by highly qualified staff members.

 

How would I help as a mediator?

Mediators and those who provide other types of conflict resolution services work to bridge divides to resolve disputes, often through a facilitated dialogue between the people in a conflict. They are neutral, active facilitators that help individuals and cannot offer legal advice. 

 

Mediators do not take sides or determine who is right or wrong in a dispute, instead they help people create solutions that work for their individual needs, circumstances, and culture. This kind of trauma-informed, equity-focused access to justice can be life-changing for those who participate.

 

Mediators work across many settings and conflicts including providing workplace facilitation, helping divorced parents collaborate on parenting plans, navigating tensions between landlords and tenants, and holding a safe space for teens and parents to bring up conflict.

What does it take to become a mediator?

Volunteer mediators are people who enjoy doing extraordinary work in their communities, with a variety of educational and professional backgrounds. First and foremost, being a mediator requires strong and effective communication skills and the ability to listen.

 

Mediators take a 40-hour basic skills training, followed by an apprenticeship or practicum with qualified mentors to continue development,  gain hands-on experience, and receive mediator certification. Learn more about Basic Mediation Training here.

 

People who work full-time, are retired, or are students have all been successful volunteer mediators, yet there is a regular time commitment required in addition to the training. Many DRCs offer a combination of daytime, evening, and weekend service hours, so a variety of volunteer schedules are welcome. DRCs are also interested in volunteers who are bi-lingual or speak a language other than English proficiently. 

Join us!

If you’re curious about becoming a mediator, contact the DRC in your community for training, apprenticeships, or networking opportunities in your area. Check out the Training Calendar.

Frequently Asked Questions

 

What qualities do I need to become a mediator?

We often say it’s hard yet fulfilling work to sit between people in conflict. Mediators are people who want to have a truly significant impact and are willing to make a commitment to help the community navigate polarizing issues and help people have a voice in conflict.

 

Mediators must also:

  • Manage their emotions in stressful situations

  • Remain optimistic in spite of deeply complex issues

  • Recognize how their behavior is impacting others

  • Be able to change tactics when the situation requires a different approach

 

What skills will I gain?

Conflict resolution training and workshops offered by DRCs, including Basic Mediation Training, build personal and professional skills to use in your own life and bring into your community. Mediators and conflict resolution providers build confidence in:

 

  • Listening skills including grounding, being open, non-judgmental, and fully present, and identifying others’ underlying interests.

  • Recognizing obstacles to resolutions and strategies to improve communications.

  • Understanding how your own responses to conflict are impacting relationships.

  • Understanding of power dynamics, assertiveness, and forgiveness.

  • Better navigating conflict in their own lives. 

  • Negotiation, facilitation, and mediation skills.

 

Learn more about the skills you will build in Basic Mediation Training.

 

What is the time commitment? Are there other volunteer opportunities?

The time commitment varies depending on your role and the DRCs needs. Most volunteer positions require a regular time commitment, but we recommend you contact your local DRC directly to talk about their opportunities and needs for mediators.

 

Some DRCs have opportunities for volunteers in roles to help connect people with resources and other conflict resolution services. There may also be other volunteer and board of director service opportunities at some DRCs.

 

How will I be supported?

Mediators work with a community of highly skilled professionals at DRCs. Mediators do an apprenticeship or practicum with qualified mentors to continue development and gain hands-on experience after Basic Mediation Training. In DRC practicums, trainees start by observing  mediations and then move on to co-mediate with their mentors.

 

Contact your local DRC to find out about specific roles and support.

 

What’s the training process?

Resolution Washington DRCs have been training mediators for over 30 years. To start, you’ll take a basic introduction to mediation course which ranges from 36–40 hours. To become a certified mediator at a DRC, you must also complete an apprenticeship or practicum with qualified mentors to continue development and gain hands-on experience.

 

Read more about Basic Mediation Training.

Learn More

The Washington Mediation Association (WMA) offers a certification process for volunteer mediators. Applicants who have completed an approved DRC practicum only need 60 hours of mediation experience for certification. Applications without a DRC practicum need 200 hours of experience.

A membership organization of community meditation centers, staff and volunteer mediators.

The ACR is a professional organization dedicated to enhancing the practice of mediation and improving public understanding of conflict resolution.

"This entire training was a game changer for the way I listen to and speak to others."  --Training participant, Six Rivers DRC

 

“Mediation training is a wonderful way to rethink your interactions with conflict. You learn how to step in, how to step back, how to guide and above all - how to trust other people's ability to problem-solve.”

--Maria DeLacy, Training participant, DRC of Thurston County

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