What is “Reality Testing” in mediation?

What is “Reality Testing” in mediation?

By Kayla Curtis

· Read time: 2 minutes

Reality testing refers to when a mediator “tests the perception” of an agreement or potential agreement with the mediating parties. 

Mediation is a fundamental step in attempting to resolve disputes between parties. Mediation is voluntary (unless Court ordered) and consists of the parties to the matter coming together with a neutral third party (the mediator) to discuss and explore options to settle the issues in dispute. 

How does Reality Testing arise?

Often, parties will throw ideas out to one another in a session without considering the long term effects. This may cause other issues to arise in the future. Sometimes, parties to the dispute will come up with options that may seem viable at the time, however only provide a short term solution.

This is when it is valuable for the mediator to “reality test” that option with the parties.

The mediator does this by asking the parties to put the option into a real life scenario and enquire if the parties could see the solution working over long periods of time and if any further issues may arise if that option is utilised. 

Mediation and different types of disputes

Mediation is available for all types of disputes, such as (but not limited to): Advocacy, Aged care and Retirement, Building and construction, Business, Commercial, Community disputes, Consumer Law, Contracts, Corporate Law, Debt, Dust disease, Entertainment, Environmental and Land Law, Leases, Property, School, Tenancy, Workplace and Employment, Family Law, Property Law

Who is the Mediator?

The mediator is an impartial third party, who will not provide legal advice to either party.  The mediator plays an important role and is there to facilitate the conversation between the parties and help to guide them to a suitable solution to the issues in dispute. The mediator must remain impartial at all times and be careful not to show favour to one party over another.

Mediators have studied mediation through an accredited body, such as NMAS, and possess the necessary skills and tools (such as reality testing) to help individuals sort through issues and conflict.  

If you require help with a mediation matter, contact our firm to discuss what options might be available. 

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