November 19, 20 & 22 2019

A conversation with Cathryn L. Paul

FDRIO: What is the purpose of the Practicum?

A: The practicum is to help new mediators’ practice and develop their skills in realistic scenarios.   It can be hard for students to find practical experience opportunities to complete the supervised hours for certification.  We hope that this opportunity will help supplement their work with real clients, or be a starting point that will enrich their education before they start working with real clients.

FDRIO: What will happen during the three days?

A:  On the first day, there will be demonstrations by the teachers and coaches, and discussion of the practical aspects of mediation.  The next two days are “hands on”.  The students will be the mediators, and will make critical decisions that will determine how the mediation progresses.  The practice of mediation is a continual learning experience, and they will get the opportunity to make mistakes and try new things, without affecting real people.   Students will be responsible for all aspects of the mediations, including file management, intake, developing a process, conducting joint sessions, and reporting.  There will be experienced coaches to provide feedback and advice at each step.

FDRIO: Will the simulated role-play mediations and feedback provide an equivalent calibre of experience to ‘real’ mediations?

A: We hope that in some ways it will provide a richer experience, as students will have the opportunity to have real time feedback, and to pause and rewind how they manage the mediation to try alternate scenarios.  The practicum is not meant to completely replace the observation of ‘real’ mediations, but to allow students to be much more involved than they might be if they are simply observing other mediators.

FDRIO: Will the practicum be offered again?

A: We hope so!  It’s a great addition to FDR week.  We will assess after the program, and determine how this type of education is best offered.  We would welcome having multiple trainers offer this kind of program.  We think it is really important for students to gain practical experience in a safe environment such as this.

FDRIO: Is there anything else you would want our readers to know about the practicum?

A: This program is all about skill development.  Each mediator is different.  It is only through trying different approaches and seeing different styles that mediators develop their own authentic style.  This course is meant to be a stepping-stone in that process.

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