Mentalising in Mediation: Towards an Understanding of the ‘Mediation Shift’

Jill Howieson

University of Western Australia – Faculty of Law

Lynn Priddis

Curtin University

February 2012

Australasian Dispute Resolution Journal, Vol. 23, No. 52, (2012)
UWA Faculty of Law Research Paper No. 2013-21


Mentalising refers to the capacity to attend to and seek to understand behaviour based on the mental states in the self and the other, and is a capacity that can influence our ability to communicate clearly, be flexible and remain calm in interpersonal situations. This article presents several hypotheses about the ways in which the mentalising construct might apply in the mediation context. Broadly, it proposes that the mediation process provides the opportunity for the parties to engage their mentalising capacities and that this in turn helps the parties to shift from their entrenched positions towards negotiating constructive solutions to their disputes. The article also considers how opening up this research area could assist in obtaining a greater understanding of mediation both in terms of scholarship and practice.

Mentalising in Mediation- Towards an Understanding of the ‘Mediation Shift’

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