Conflict Mapping


Sometimes regular mediation feels too intense for the parties involved in conflict. In situations like this, an alternative to traditional mediation, called Conflict Mapping, may be useful. Conflict Mapping is a facilitated mediation where the mediator hears about the conflict from the clients in separate interviews and uses that insight to graphically “map” the underlying beliefs, goals, and interests at the heart of the conflict. Conflict Mapping is based on the premise that conflict isn’t always a bad thing. It can be good when it allows us to adapt to new situations and to invent new approaches to problems. In order to get to a place where conflict is a catalyst for growth or change, it can be helpful to understand its underlying causes.  The process isn’t about assigning blame…rather about gaining compassion towards ourselves and the other person by deepening understandings.


Conflict Mapping is comprised of three sessions; two individual meetings with the mediator (60 – 90 minutes) where each party tells the story of the conflict, and a third session (2 hrs.) where the parties meet to look at their maps and hold a mediated dialogue using the new insights that have come from the mapping process.

The total cost for the three sessions is $400.


Is Conflict Mapping therapy?

Conflict Mapping is tied to the discipline of mediation; the mediator is neutral. As the mediator, my role in Conflict Mapping is twofold. I listen to the narrative of the conflict to gather information for the maps. Next, I present the maps – not as a diagnosis or factual summation, rather as a snapshot of the thoughts and concerns of the person on the day they sat and spoke about the conflict. The maps become points of discussion to explore some of the ideas brought up during the mapping session. I do not give my opinion about the conflict, nor do I act as a therapist by helping the parties fix things or come to an understanding. And yet, my experience with clients who choose Conflict Mapping is that the process is therapeutic. As with transformative divorce mediation, the clients decide what to talk about, not the mediator. The clients make sense out of the information and find insights and applications for the mapping process on their own.

Why would I schedule Conflict Mapping instead of regular mediation?

Conflict Mapping is an alternative style of mediation that has great value in many situations. Some couples feeling stuck in a pattern of conflict may find Conflict Mapping a wonderful relationship “tune­‐up.” In a divorce, family or business conflict, where the intention is to come to further understanding or an agreement in a dispute, Conflict Mapping may provide an opportunity to slow down the process by giving parties a chance to meet separately, explore the nature of the conflict, and then see it mapped on paper before beginning the conversation about how to find understanding. These are just a few of the many good reasons to use Conflict Mapping.

Can we meet more than three total times if we choose Conflict Mapping?

Yes. Conflict Mapping clients have requested additional sessions when they want to continue the conversation, often after taking a break to process the information. Clients tell me that resuming the conversation in a mediated setting feels safer, in part because as a mediator I pay attention to the process of the conversation so that it feels respectful, balanced, and productive for everyone involved.

Does Conflict Mapping satisfy the mandatory part of mediation ordered by the 6th Judicial Court?

Yes. The third session where the couple comes together for a mediated dialogue satisfies the court’s requirement to mediate.

If the conversation leads to an agreement and the clients request it, I am happy to draft a Memorandum of Understanding for no additional fee.

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