Conducting mediation online: Tips?

February 25, 2008

There is a possibility I might be able to start a project online, mediating/guiding for a group of people who work together. The group of people themselves work together online on a communal project and from time to time, as is human nature, there are feuds and communication issues.

I wrote a paper on Online Dispute Resolution about two years ago. I will dust that off and take a look. I’ve also been looking on YouTube for videos of mediation sessions, even though they aren’t online (it’s still fun for me to watch those).

What I really need is a mentor to help me get started. I need to be able to be some kind of internet-community liaison. For now, I’ll research the area, but I do wish there was a professor at my university who knew what the internet was. Ok, that’s harsh. But I  just need to know who/where to turn to for a bit of guidance.

Suggestions welcome!


Where are all the shoulder-advisors?

February 23, 2008

Exhausted from preaching communication for the past weeks. I’m watching, reflecting on and hearing about marriages, relationships and friendships falling apart.

I’m becoming more solidified in my thinking that no other qualities of a relationship, or a partner, matter unless you have good communication. What’s the point of all the other stuff if you can’t live on the same wavelength?

Of course, it’s one of the hardest things to achieve (seemingly) since it’s one of the biggest reasons for inter-gender game playing, slow get togethers, relationship maintenance failure, and drawn out break ups.

Sigh. I wish we all had the little angel-devil pair on our shoulders, advising us as we relation with our partners… Except just the angel, and even then, it’s a chilled-out angel with realistic expectations.

Where I’m at.

February 21, 2008

Well, school commenced a couple weeks ago after loads of interruptions, but I finally have my schedule figured out. I’m taking one last semester with two electives:

  • Ethical Dilemmas in Mediation
  • Psychological Study of Family Mediation

Those are loose translations, anyway. I’m really looking forward. I think these are the first courses I’m taking that actually feel like electives (like I’m electing to take them because they actually sound interesting/useful).

In the past month, I went through a lot of hardship about choosing classes (finishing easily but copping out of a challenge) but I decided it’s my last semester and it’s time to push myself to the finish line. How often will I be academically challenged when I am done with school?

In the summer I should be taking the official Mediation Course (for certification), assuming the schedule works out. If it doesn’t, I’ll just take it later in the fall.

The last thing I need to organize is an internship. So far it’s been kind of hard (why don’t Israeli organizations want free workers?). I have a few things in the works now, so here’s hoping.

And that’s it, in short. After a long low, I’m feeling pretty pumped. Opportunity, I’m waiting!

A little insight for a long road ahead.

February 11, 2008

For the past few months I’ve been consumed by the idea that something bad is going to happen in my life. Disastrously bad. Things have just been too good for the last couple years.

And then it hit me yesterday: Maybe things have been so good because before they were good, they were really really bad. Maybe because I spent most of the beginning of this century involved in detrimental relationships, hazy thinking and constant running away, these years are absolutely heavenly when in reality they are just – normal. Blissfully, wonderfully normal.

It kicked off with the fact that I have actually applied my life lessons to my daily life. I’ve developed all kinds of techniques for dealing with emotional pain – no, not defense mechanisms, not anymore – and those mantras, exercises and thought processes have helped me to pave the way to developing some real life wisdom.

The question for me now is where to go from here.

I’ve been living with a false sense of reality when it comes to taking all this life experience and turning it into a career. I’m no certified psychologist, social worker or guidance counselor. In this day and age, wisdom is measured by university degrees, not life experience, and if that is the case, I’m just not going to ever measure up; I’m not interested in studying from text books what my own life has taught me.

So how am I ever going to make it in the field of helping people?

My husband puts it in perspective somewhat. He told me that there are all kinds of outlets for pursuing the business of helping people; certification is not the only way to succeed, especially if I’m uncomfortable with the idea of certification and therapy-as-business.

Do I go the route of my mother, who is an emotionally intelligent psychologist trapped in the body of an early intervention professional? The fact is, she probably gives more and better advice to the parents of these kids than any other therapy would… and she sincerely enjoys it.

Do I go the route of my husband, who is a contemplative behavioral scientist trapped in the body of a teacher? He relishes in passing on life wisdom to his students, who are at the age when they are more than happy to lap it up.

Maybe I’m supposed to be a personal assistant. Maybe I’m supposed to be writing novels. Maybe I’m supposed to be satisfied with being a good friend to those in conflict. Or maybe that’s a cop-out and I need to truck on until I’m a certified something with a proper title.

I’m not sure what will satisfy me… But I need to grow accustomed to the idea that just because my mediation degree is disappointing – just because I feel ill-prepared to pursue the mediation field in this country – I can still share my experience with the people around me, and of course, with myself.

The question is how to manifest all this, not if.

Water pump + playtime = Girls’ education in Africa.

February 11, 2008

This is pretty clever: A non profit called PlayPumps International has developed an easy to build and maintain water pump system utilizing child labor in order to pump fresh water from the ground into a storage container…Children on merry go round

No, no, we’re not talking about back-breaking, human rights issue child labor: the water pump doubles as a merry-go-round. When the kids play on it, it is also working to bring up fresh water found about 120 feet below the ground and passing it to a reservoirs tank.

So what does this have to do with girls’ education in Africa? Well, the project has begun in sub-Saharan Africa, where girls are responsible for fulfilling the jobs of water carrier. Because they have to carry water back from springs and lakes, they are usually late for school and have to join the boys later on in the day.

With this system, the idea is that all the kids help the process move faster and the girls don’t have to be late for school, improving their education opportunities.

The video below has the full dirt on the project:

The site is taking donations, of course. Each pump costs $14,00.

Here are some additional facts from their site concerning human water crisis:

  • More than one billion people worldwide do not have access to clean water.
  • Water-related diseases are the leading cause of death in the world, taking the lives of 6,000 people a day, and are responsible for 80 percent of all sickness in the world.
  • 40 billion hours are lost annually to hauling water, a chore primarily undertaken by women and girls.
  • Unsafe water and lack of sanitation is now the single largest cause of illness worldwide.
  • Unless we act now, by 2025 the number of people who lack access to clean water could increase to 2.3 billion.
  • Half the people in developing countries are suffering from water-related diseases.