Being a conflict resolution and mediation professional can seem like a lonely endeavor, as many
have transitioned from legal professions, management roles, and other industries, leaving
behind support networks and professional associations in pursuit of a new career in alternative
dispute resolution. At the same time, there is a competitive nature in the field of mediation as
practitioners and teachers look to attract clients and training groups which can leave some with
the impression that going alone is a better way to preserve opportunity and avoid overlap in
There is an alternative approach through the independent formation of peer support groups,
gathering like-minded professionals practicing under similar models, such as the understanding-
based approach. Individuals can work together to share local resources and expertise and talk
through professional challenges and client experiences. Peer support groups can create new
opportunities for professional development and practicing fundamental mediation processes
like Looping and the Inner V.
While it may seem counterproductive to those worried about competition over clients or
market share, a group formed with a mindful and intentional approach will offer a rewarding
experience for all involved. Defined ground rules, a recognized leadership structure, and
guidelines for facilitating meetings can help those working on common ground to find a
nurturing environment for long-term professional growth.
Suppose you have an independent practice, are new to mediation, or have worked alone for
many years. You may already have relationships with individuals doing similar work who might
be a good fit, or you have previously attended training or workshop events with participants
with whom you formed a friendly relationship. In that case, starting or joining a peer support
group can seem daunting, but there are best practices from experts who have worked in the
field for many years to help you begin. There are also methods for marketing and promoting
yourself and your newly minted peer group, which can help you get the word out and start
building a professional network for support.
Join Gary Friedman and Kim Gordon on February 21, 2023, to learn more about starting and
managing a peer group in the spirit of collaboration.