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Online Video Mediation Questions Training

Training Online – Video Access


Training Option 2

16 hour – Self-Paced Learning with Videos

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This online, self-paced video course is divided into seven modules which may be purchased as a full series or individually. It is accompanied by a course workbook containing the theory behind each of the Shift Thinking questions, with exercises to embed the learning.

Video links will be available for permanent access so you can learn at your own pace and rewind to recapture the learning!

Full series


The ‘S’ Questions Model

This advanced training covers the S4: Shift Thinking Questions from the ‘S’ Questions Model as developed in the book: The Mediator’s Toolkit: Formulating and Asking Questions for Successful Outcomes.

Divided into seven modules, each module starts with delivery of the theory behind the mediation question type with examples of how to ask effective mediation questions to achieve a paradigm shift in a party’s thinking and approach to their conflict.  It is explained using motion graphic presentations and eleven filmed role-played mediations to demonstrate skills on how to develop effective mediation questions.

Further learning for mediators in Workplace Mediation, Civil & Commercial Mediation, Community Mediation, Family Mediation and all sectors of mediation.

The Mediation Questions Training was excellent. Gerry expertly connects the psychological and theoretical elements to asking questions in mediation. I found the content and delivery to be exceptional and I can honestly say that I have learned more from this incredible training than any other course I have completed. I attended the live four half-days online training and I have purchased access to some of the videos so that I can watch them again for increased learning.

Sharon McGarr, BA (Hons) Psychology, MA Mediation and Conflict Intervention. Fieldwork Coordinator on the PRIMERA Project.

FREE Introductory Module 1

Module 1a: The Context for Creating a Paradigm Shift

This module shows the goals that need to be achieved when asking powerful questions in mediation. You will learn how the distortion, deletion and deficit of communicated information can hinder or block conflict solution and the physiological changes that occur when parties are in conflict.

Module 1b: Use of The ‘S’ Questions Model and its Application

This module gives an overview of the framework of the ‘S’ Questions Model and the four dimensions of powerful questions within that model. It also introduces the ‘Film Case Scenario’ that will be used as the context for all the filmed role plays in the other modules and the ‘Practice Case Scenario’ that will be used in exercises post learning for those who book the  self-paced training.

Module 1a The Context for Creating a Paradigm Shift

The images above are of role-played mediation and it is not a real case.

Module 1b The Use of The 'S' Questions Model

Module 2

Shift Thinking: Journey of Inference Questions

The mediation film contained in this module sets the context for the dispute, giving the interpretations and assumptions that parties made about the conflict situation and how this led to their misunderstanding of each other and to the positional stance that they took. This template of mediation questions for exploring a party’s Journey of Inference make an unconscious thinking process conscious, and they introduce new insight to the parties that creates understanding between them. These exploratory mediation questions can shift a party from being stuck in their old narrative towards a new narrative that will lead to a sustainable mediation settlement. These examples of mediation questions will dynamically improve a mediator’s competency level. (Demonstration mediation film is done by asking questions during a plenary meeting with both parties in the room.

Note: These Journey of Inference mediation questions are  derived from The Ladder of Inference developed by Chris Argyris.

Module 3

Shift Thinking: Other People Questions

The first mediation film in this module demonstrates how to ask powerful mediation questions to challenge Mediation Party Kathy’s Journey of Inference (interpretations, assumptions and conclusions) by using Other People Questions which demonstrate how this can be done in a safe way. The second film demonstrates how to formulate and ask Other People Questions with both parties in the room together during a later stage of mediation. 

These challenging mediation questions open the minds of parties and make it easier for them to respond to questions which might otherwise invoke a feeling of threat. They facilitate a party to think cognitively, rather than from an ‘avoid-threat reflex’ state and they create understanding and illustrate empathy between parties. (The two demonstration films show how these mediation skills and techniques can be used safely during separate caucus meetings or during joint plenary meetings with parties in the room together.)

Module 4

The two mediation videos in this module demonstrate how to ask transformative mediation questions. They cover private meetings with one of the parties, Kathy, during which a paradigm shift in her thinking starts to happen as a result of the mediation questions asked of her. As a result, Kathy starts to become less intransigent and more clear as to what she needs to say to the other party during the joint session.

Module 4a: Shift Thinking: Neurolinguistic Programming based Questions

These mediation questions asked of a party during an initial caucus session bring clarity and explore subjective realities, reconnecting a party’s language, along with its deletions, distortions and generalisations, with their actual experience. They separate a party’s ‘fears’ from the ‘facts’ and support a party to move from a defensive or attacking position. These questions lead to a change in a party’s subjective reality and thinking. (Demonstration mediation film is done asking mediation questions of one party at a separate caucus meeting)

Module 4b: Distinctions and Differences Questions

These mediation questions also bring clarity and explore subjective realities. Specifically. they enable a party to see the conflict and from an alternative perspective. These mediation questions facilitate a mediator to bring clarity, relevance and boundary to the dispute. They bring measurement regarding something that requires more clarity such as the extent of the effect of the dispute on parties; the level of understanding between them; the progress made during the mediation process; and whether a solution will be appropriate. These questions lead to an adjustment of a party’s subjective thinking and a shift in their approach to the confict. (Demonstration mediation film film is done asking mediation questions of one party at a separate caucus meeting)

Module 5

Shift Thinking: Cognitive Elements Based Questions

This mediation film shows an initial private meeting with Mediation Party Tom and it illustrates how to identify the inner conflicts that brought him into a state of cognitive dissonance. Using this knowledge the mediator demonstrates, through theoretical input and a video of a mediation done through roleplay, how to use simple challenging mediation questions so that a party can lessen their inner conflict and identify future actions. By returning to this state of cognitive consonance, a party can start to think logically and make clear decisions. These powerful mediation questions gently challenge a mediation party who is strongly defending their positional stance or who appears to be in ‘denial’ about what they have done. They support a party to explore their dissonance so that they can get to the root of their inner conflict, and make decisions about what they need to address in the joint session. (Demonstration videoed mediations are done with one party at a private separate mediation meeting.)

Module 6

Shift Thinking: Underlying Interests Questions

The two mediation films in this module illustrate how to ask searching mediation questions that will shift parties in conflict from positional to underlying interest level. These powerful underlying interests questions go beneath a party’s position and get to the core of their conflict. They are particularly valuable questions when parties are entrenched and the mediation reaches impasse. It may also be necessary to ask these questions of one party privately, if only one party is blocking solutions, particularly during Civil and Commercial mediations. 

If you are wondering what mediation questions to ask when there is a high degree of emotion in the room leading to a fight-fight-freeze situation, then there is firstly a need to identify the area in which a party may have been impacted, and only then ask exploratory mediation questions about that area of impact. This training will list and describe the elements that need to be explored  so that any mediation agreement meets the underlying interests of both parties.  One of the many ways to do this is by asking mediation questions based on Dr. David Rock’s SCARF Model and these, as well as asking questions about other important areas of impact, both conscious and unconscious, are also demonstrated on the mediation films in this module.  Mediation guidelines, tips and techniques are also covered during the theoretical inputs before and after the role-played film.

When underlying interests are reached and explored, parties then become less emotional and are able to think cognitively and make decisions. Identifying conscious or unconscious underlying interests provides a platform from which appropriate agreements that meet a party’s underlying interests are reached, rather than from their positional demands which are often only quick solutions that may not be sustainable.   (Demonstration film is done with both parties in the room at a plenary joint mediation session.)

Module 7

There are two films in this module, the first is with mediation party Kathy at an initial separate meeting where she is despairing that mediation party Tom will never stop apologising and harassing her. The second film covers both parties in the session together.

Module 7a: Future Focus Questions

Asking Future Focused questions is one of the best mediation strategies or techniques that  can change the state of a person so that they begin to think logically rather than at a high emotional level. This allows them to safely think through the kind of strategies or agreements that could meet their underlying interests and needs, while the mediator remains completely impartial and does not breach the principle of self-determination. These questions paint a possible hypothetical, conditional or consequential picture on which parties can reflect and make decisions, from outside their current paradigm. The hypothetical and conditional questions move a party off the conflict treadmill and lessen the chance of a party having an amygdala hijack and thinking from an emotional perspective. The Future Focused consequential questions cover the BATNA, MLATNA and WATNA questions that hep a party to weigh up the pros and cons of their situation. (Demonstration films are done with one party on their own as well as with both parties in the room)

Module 7b: Shift Thinking: Reflective Connecting Questions

Reflective Connecting mediation questions facilitate a party or parties to see the cycle of conflict that developed between them and how each of their actions may have led to a reaction from the other. They enable parties to make connections and links between various facets of a conflict, thus broadening and expanding their thinking and gaining new insight. These questions increase understanding and facilitate the parties to agree actions should an incident like this arise in the future. (Demonstration film is done with both parties in the room)

The ‘S’ Questions Model is a terrific resource and purchasing the video series offers a unique level of flexibility and accessibility for learning.  The video resource individually addresses key components of the process, provides magnificent insight and awareness into goals that need to be achieved when asking questions. 

Joanne Barry, JB Mediation, Family Mediator (Roundtable) , Certified Mediator (MII), Psychotherapist (BACP).