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Abstract

Building on the rich experience of mediators in many fields who have periodically experienced the process to be far more than just developing a settlement, a humanistic model of mediation is presented. The model allows practitioners to more intentionally and consistently tap into the intrinsic transformative and healing potential of mediation. The dominant Western “settlement-driven” model of problem-solving mediation is contrasted with the “dialogue-driven” humanistic approach and its nondirective style of mediation, which routinely involves the mediator meeting separately one or more times with parties in conflict prior to the mediation session. Specific elements of the model are presented, as well as the paradigm of healing on which it is based. Drawing on the wisdom of numerous indigenous traditions of peacemaking and the experience of many mediators in family, community, workplace, and victim-offender mediation settings, humanistic mediation practice offers a genuine transformative journey of peacemaking that is grounded in compassion, strength, and our common humanity.